The Pauline Paradox

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Ben Masada, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    I don't find anything in the gospels that tells me of Mary being from the Tribe of Benjamin. The closest reference to Tribal genealogy as Mary was concerned is in Luke 1:5,36, that Mary was of a relative of Elizabeth descendant of Aaron the Levite.

    And with regards to being a mamzer, if there was anything which would morally prevent a man and a woman to get married to each other, a child born of such a couple would be a mamzer. Mary could never marry a Roman soldier if she was already married to Joseph. Therefore, IF the rape ever occurred, Jesus was a mamzer. But of course, it never occurred. The Christian claim that Jesus was not a biological son of Joseph's is only an attempt to keep the idea that he was born of God with Mary.
    Ben
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Azure24,

    I ignored nothing. Youa re not quoting scripture, you are quoting translations and condordances. Until you get to the error made in the opinions you quote (even if they are great theologians like John of Damascus or hacks like Lightfoor) you will never get to the layer of biblical interpretation you seem to desire. Discussing scripture is like any science... opinions are opinions. Mine are as valid as Lightfoot's, adoptionism is as ancient as trinitarianism. That is all I am pointing out.

    You cannot prove that Jesus is in the plural of elohim, nor can you prove the virgin birth from scripture alone. It does not suffice. You can (and have) made a very good case for the reasonableness of both, but proving scripture with scripture just does not work. All it shows if the the scripture is consistent (see "scientific method" for an example of the difference between verification, consistency check, versus vaildation, or proof). That is end of this discusssion from my pov.
     
  3. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    I'll go out on a limb, too. I don't wish to in any way diminish your debunk of Paul, however he's already been debunked multiple times down through history and moreso recently. (There is even a debunk of him hosted in the main part of interfaith by someone named Victor.) The Ebionites were one of the first groups to dismiss him thousands of years ago, but they are gone now. Many other groups did, too; but his writings fill a vaccuum for Christians, and that is why Paul continues to be. Paul adds a method of interpretation and layers of meaning. Paul is the connection between gentiles and the Bible, and nobody wants to give up that connection. Your message seems to be "Do without Paul," but you can't feel how hard that would be. What if I asked you to give up your connection to the Bible? If I could suggest a solution for you to effectively oppose antisemitism in Paul, try to research the basis of those things which Christians benefit from in Paul's writings. Eliminate what is bad without ruining what good we have, providing a better connection. Perhaps you can show a more attractive approach to the Bible, so that there isn't such a huge vaccuum if Paul is removed.
     
  4. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    I go further by stating that if Paul is removed, Christianity will collapse. Paul is Christianity and this is Paul.

    There is something else you say above that I would like to try you on. You state that "Paul is the connection between Gentiles and the Bible, and no one wants to give up that connection." Would you please, now, show to me when that connection was made? I can't find in the NT. He did rather demonstrate such a connection but with the Jews. When did he ever build any connection with Gentiles? Since his road to Damascus and until his last station in Rome, the connection was only with the Jews. Always in the synagogues of the Jews.
     
  5. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    Are you blind? Read that post again!

    I just proved Jesus is the firstfruit in the Genesis.

    I just proved Jesus is the "I AM" of the old testament.

    How can I prove Jesus is in the plural?....THIS IS OBVIOUS!!!

    You confuse yourself. I already posted:

    "Knowing this first, that no prophecy [inspired writing or speaking] of the Scripture is of any private [Gk: ‘its OWN’] interpretation" (II Pet. 1:20).

    I cannot prove the virgin birth using ONLY ONE verse, chapter etc, etc....

    However I backed it up using other Scriptures because that's what the Scriptures say...ONE Scripture can not explain ITSELF. Read my posts again and tell me WHO and WHEN was Jesus told He was the Son of God. He knew when He was 12...His parents did not know...

    So YOU tell me.
     
  6. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Ephesians is a letter that talks about being uncircumcised but brought near 'In Christ Jesus' in chapter two. It specifically puts forward membership in Christ Jesus as an alternative to circumcision. It says that those in Christ Jesus don't have to have physical circumcision, because if they are in Christ Jesus then they have 'access to the Father through one spirit'. This builds on the stories about Jesus who said he would draw all men to himself. (John 12:32) The connection is that people feel they have become a part of the Bible's story. Ephesians 2:19 continues "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." There is a feeling of purpose which comes out of that. Sadly a lot of people do think, because of reading Ephesians, that Paul was dismissing both Judaism and the Law in total. Despite being the most misinterpreted letter, Ephesians is the one that really shows Paul's attraction. He mentions some of the same things in his other letters however about being brought near and about what the body of Christ means and so on.
     
  7. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for mentioning the Ephesians. Now, if they constituted a church of Gentiles, what on earth did they need to know that Jesus, in his flesh, abolished the Law with its commands and precepts in Ephesians 2:15, if this was a thing of the Jews and not Gentiles? This is a good evidence that he was talking to the Jewish prozelites of the Jews who were questioning Paul about the Jewish laws.

    Take a look at Acts 19:8. "When Paul went to Ephesus, he entered the synagogue and, for over a period of three months, debated fearlesly with persuasive arguments about the kingdom of God." Does it sound to you that he was preaching his gospel to the Gentiles? IMHO, he was rather debating the Jews in the synagogue of Ephesus.

    Now, if you read Acts 19:1-4, you will see how different was Paul's gospel from the one of the Nazarenes. The disciples in the synagogue of Ephesus had never told about the Trinity. When Paul asked them how they had been baptized, they answered, in the baptism of John. That's the kind of baptism used by the Apostles of Jesus, and not according to Paul's, in the name of Jesus. And when Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they had been baptized, they answered and said that they had never even heard there was one. All according to the gospel of Paul.

    The bottom line, O Dream, is that the Jewish synagogue of Ephesus was but one more overturned by Paul into a Christian church.
    Ben
     
  8. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    And thank you for talking calmly about something like this, because I realize you are shocked about the persecutions. It seems impossible to me that somebody who understood Jewish people could persecute them, so I agree with your shock. The way I see it is that if he was persecuting Jews then he didn't understand them.

    I can't say whether he did understand Jews, but in the passage you mention, I believe that Paul is referring not to Jewish laws but to 'Law' and specifically to non-Jewish law. Paul sees a distinction between the two in his letters. You may notice here in Ephesians 2 that he describes Gentiles as being previously 'Dead in transgressions' but now 'Created in Christ Jesus for good works'. He sees them as moving from nonexistence into existence, but he sees Jews as already existing. In general this goes along with what Jesus says about the word of God being alive and active. Keep in mind that Pauls letters aren't textbooks and often refer to ideas that aren't directly mentioned. In Paul's view gentiles were like schoolchildren who had to be kept in line with rules, because they didn't have the same spirit of wisdom given to Moses and the elders of Israel, prophets etc. Gentiles were under dead 'Law'. The confusion comes, because its a letter and not a book about basic Christian teachings and people are full of themselves. Many people assume that Paul must be talking about Jewish law as abolished, but that is not the case nor does it make a sensible argument.

    I would say that he was informing Jews about it and also the gentiles who were there with them through the method of debate, but I do not think he was trying to force an opinion. His argument would have been to let Jews be Jews and gentiles be gentiles, if I follow his line of thinking properly. This would explain why Jews and Christians co-existed for over 2 centuries and why Christians would put menorahs on their ceilings though they weren't Jewish.

    Acts 19:2 -- Here you see again the perceived difference between a Jew and a Gentile in those days. Jews had the 'Holy Spirit' but gentiles were living by Noah's rules only. Jews had a living word, but Gentiles didn't. The message to them was 'Just try not to kill anyone for goodness sake!' There was no expectation of actual social progress and good works in that. Here also you can see what an upheaval was created by John the Baptist. He did not care about temple worship but only repentance and 'Confession', and you could be baptized by him or by his disciples without paying a cent. The implication is that he didn't even require circumcision, though I'm not sure about that. No he did not preach that anyone could receive the holy spirit through his ministry, but he believed that someone was coming that could cause anyone to receive it. When he sees Jesus he has a vision of 'The Spirit' coming down like a dove to remain on Jesus (John 1:32), and the idea is that Jesus can place the spirit onto others much the way that Moses put it on Israel's judges. (Numbers 11:25) The second chapter of Acts here is just saying that now those people who converted under John's baptism could receive the holy spirit.

    (I do not understand the O) I am not convinced that Paul could have turned any synogogue into a Christian church. Jewish people already knew that they had the spirit of wisdom, so they wouldn't have perceived any need to convert. I also don't think that his letters indicate any disrespect for the Jews in their synogogues but rather the opposite.
     
  9. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    Paul rather never did any different from turning Jewish synagogues into Christian churches. So much so, that in his absence, Jews from Jerusalem would be sent to try to salvage their synagogues and Paul would raise a bitter dissention against whom he would refer to as Judaizers. And, sometimes, he would get so upset that he would curse the preachers of "the other gospel," an expression of his for any other gospel different from
    his. Even if such a gospel had been brought down from heaven by an angel. That's in Galatians 1:6-9. Interesting that you don't find disrespect in the attitude to invade other people's religious places of worshipping and preach a different message with the intent to convert the locals to his own ideologies? And this attitude of his started since his first station in the synagogues of Damascus and until Rome, when he would invite the Jews to come to him in his house arrest condition to hear his gospel. The man was really something.
    Ben
     
  10. Servetus

    Servetus Well-Known Member

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    That is quite a slippery slope. I have heard the same type of logic expressed by gay people against Judaism. For instance, one of my friends, who consciously renounced his (Orthodox) Jewish for a gay identity, argued that, if it hadn’t been for the Jews and their Law of Moses (which not only forbade but also demanded the death penalty for homosexual acts), and had it not also been for St. Paul and others extending that law into Europe by their obviously largely successful missionary efforts to convert pagans to "Judeo-Christianity," there wouldn’t have been as much homophobia and the Nazis wouldn’t have thrown gay people into concentration camps. The Jews, said he, as the promulgators of the Laws of Moses, therefore not only owe him an apology, but reparations for twenty plus centuries of institutionalized hatred and cruelty.

    "History is a pile of debris." And, on some level, it seems everybody is more or less a victim.


    Serv
     
  11. Servetus

    Servetus Well-Known Member

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    "It's just a flesh wound!"

    :)

    Serv
     
  12. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Ben, I was just reading some more responses in the Coocoo bird thread, and I came across your response to Mary Kay.
    Something must be done! Something must be done to solve this problem of people continually thinking that God can break a promise yet be honest. That I agree with, but I'm not sure what just yet. If you ask me, that is a continuing source of lots of problems.

    No, I agree that invading other people's religious space and forcing opinions on them or pushing them out of their space is disrespectful. What I think is that your arguments against Paul have both a strength and a flaw. The strength is "Evil has happened, so cut off its head and let the body die," but the weakness is you are relying upon an argument "after this, therefore because of this." Its usually quoted in Latin 'Ergo hoc propter hoc' (I think). In doing so you seem to be retooling or re-purposing Judaism or its approach to evil, not that I'm an expert but that's how it appears.

    One of the great things your prophets have said is Isaiah 42:3, which I will quote though I have an imperfect knowledge of it. "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." This is talking about the servant of the L_RD trying to preserve good things by through slow effort extracting bad things out, and I personally think this represents a huge chunk of thought that has influenced Jewish theology and its various approaches to issues down through the centuries. Probably not this particular verse but this idea of not breaking a bruised reed is the reason that Jewish people have not attacked Paul with any regularity over the last two millenniums. Your focus is on long suffering and preserving what good you find, therefore you have excepted that in Paul's case "after this, therefore because of this" is insufficient reason to totally destroy him. You say "After all, perhaps something good is coming from his ministry? What if by destroying Paul we would be destroying something good along with him?" So until now you have let him be, for the most part. So the strength of your argument is that, Yes, Paul may be causing a lot of problems even if it is because he is misunderstood; but the weakness is that you are upturning centuries of policy by pretty much all rabbinic Jews everywhere. What is going to happen next once you have obliterated Paul? Are you also going to do away with psychologists since they try to preserve worthless souls of men that have gone astray? What about other flawed religions that have some negative component?

    I think that if you want to more actively oppose Paul, you are going to have to take a tip from Maccoby. If you remove Paul violently, can you patch the hole that it will leave?
     
  13. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    Well, Servetus, my policy about gay people is, if they don't bother me, I don't bother them. This that Moses established as a law that homosexuality be punishable with death, we cannot erase it from the Bible. I neither defend the law, nor promote the punishment. It is just not of my concern if some men choose to live their lives the way they please. The law of cause and effect is quite clear. AIDS has been the salary of homosexuality. But we cannot compare the Jewish genocide with the killing of gay men. It is not a sin to be Jewish.
    Ben
     
  14. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    Dream, I have come to the understanding that the main foundation of Christianity is Replacement Theology. So much so that no Christian preacher can open his or her mouth from the pulpit without promoting the Pauline policy of Replacement Theology. My wish, therefore, is that Christianity either undress Jesus of his jewishness, I mean the conclusion that he was not Jewish, or consider the virgin birth simply metaphorical. I mean, that Jesus was indeed a biological son of Joseph's and that he post-figured Israel as that child born of the virgin, according to Isaiah 7:14,15,22; 8:8.
    Ben
     
  15. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Ben, I'm glad that you are still searching for a solution to this problem and are not discouraged by me. I believe that it may be possible in modern times to go with an openly metaphorical teaching scheme.

    Possibly one good idea for a next step is to focus on the metaphorical meaning of oil used to anoint people. Christians have forgotten that they are supposed to be flexible and soft, and so a renewal has to precede a change like the one you are talking about. If there isn't a renewal in progress, then there needs to be one soon.

    There's a passage in Revelation 6:6 (The 'Black Horse' passage) that mentions oil, barley and wheat in an apocryphal sense to remind Christians especially leaders to keep themselves conditioned. The price of barley and wheat are a reminder to remember both the poor and the poor in spirit, to make sure that they can get what they need. The importance of the oil cannot be overstated.

    Revelation 6:6
    And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say,
    A measure of wheat for a penny,
    and three measures of barley for a penny;
    and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
     
  16. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    Dream, you can sleep and dream sweet dreams of peace. You are too far from discouraging me into trying to convey a solution for the Christian problem. What is encouraging is that you have at least conceived the usefulness of metaphorical language in the understanding of the Scriptures.
    Ben
     
  17. Servetus

    Servetus Well-Known Member

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    I understand. That is sort of my policy too. However, my sometimes nevertheless bothersome ex-Jewish now gay friend tells me that your "live and let live" attitude is not enough: he wants reparations for in excess of two thousand years of Jewish (via Laws of Moses) persecution, defamation and destruction of gay people. He is a radical. I think of him as a sort of Trotsky-type character, but driven more by libidinal insurgence than by political ideology.

    Well, work on it. In the meantime, I'll ring up St. Paul and have a chat about that irksome idea he has of "replacement" theology.

    However, some of your coreligionists do. According to David Hirst, for instance:

    "... Like fundamentalism everywhere, the Jewish variety seeks to restore an ideal, imagined past. If it ever managed to do so, the Israel celebrated by the American "friends of Israel" as a "bastion of democracy in the Middle East" would, most assuredly, be no more. For, in its full and perfect form, the Jewish Kingdom that arose in its place would elevate a stern and wrathful God's sovereignty over any new-fangled, heathen concepts such as the people's will, civil liberties or human rights. It would be governed by the Halacha, or Jewish religious law, of which the rabbis would be the sole interpreters, and whose observance clerical commissars, installed in every public and private institution, would rigorously enforce, with the help of citizens legally obligated to report any offense to the authorities. A monarch, chosen by the rabbis, would rule and the Knesset would be replaced by a Sanhedrin, or supreme judicial, ecclesiastic and administrative council. Men and women would be segregated in public, and "modesty" in female dress and conduct would be enforced by law. Adultery would be a capital offense, and anyone who drove on the Sabbath, or desecrated it in other ways, would be liable to death by stoning ..."

    I've tried that one. My ex-Jewish now gay friend asked if God was just practicing on hemophiliacs.

    I thought you said you don't defend the Law of Moses. From whom, if not Moses and the Torah, are you getting the idea that homosexuality is a sin? You must be aware that there are those who are trying to immobilize your Torah (and its "homophobic" correlative, the New Testament) as "hate" literature? Why are they doing that?


    Serv
     
  18. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Points taken, and yes I can see that metaphor might be useful for communicating at a higher level. Interfaith is a metaphor for something higher.
     
  19. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    I do defend the Law of Moses. But time has changed. What I don't agree is to capitally punish one for preferring to adopt an unnatural behavior. I prefer to leave the punishment to the law of cause and effect. It is much more to the responsibility of the individual without having to jurisdict the action.

    Regarding being homosexuality a sin, what is a sin, isn't it the transgression of the Law? If there is a law against homosexuality, this, by sheer logic becomes by definition a sin. But, as I said above, I prefer that the punishment be dealt under the law of cause and effect.
    Ben
     
  20. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada Well-Known Member

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    "Something higher." What could it be, accommodation of opposites or assimilation of the weaker?
    Ben
     

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