Refutation of Pauline Controversy

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by juantoo3, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, all!

    Recently I had the distinct privilege to have an in depth discussion with A. Victor Garaffa regarding his thesis of the Pauline Controversy. Since it has been a long standing offer to refute his thesis, and since there have been those who believe there is no refutation (even possible!), I thought it well to bring this discussion into a place of its own, for reasons of scholarship and ease of finding.

    The original discussion has become buried in another thread, whose subject matter is unrelated, another reason for bringing this particular discussion into its own place. The original can be found here:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/...il-4895-4.html (Knowledge of Good and Evil)

    beginning post 53 through post 67, with emphasis on posts 59, 65, & 67.
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    (*This excerpt begins with a post by Mr. Garaffa, -jt3*)

    juantoo3
    Of course, look at my thesis on Paul. Sometimes I believe that we select our saints about the same way we select our politicians!

    As I have noted before, ‘truth’ like ‘beauty’ is in the eye of the beholder. What is truth, something that cannot be obviated by logical reasoning? Is it an undeniable fact that seems to have no other resolution but itself, like a prime number? As in, the sun rises or sets? Obviously these are not truths but personal observations that have no basis in fact. The earth rotates yet poetic license reigns supreme.

    Was there ever a time when this was true?
    In ‘truth’ there is no such thing as ‘truth’ simply because we cannot conceive of, nor do we have any method for discovering, any ultimate ‘form’. We cannot even conceive of a permanently solid object. Why? Because molecules are constantly in motion, and that motion is not constant from time-frame to time-frame. Truth is only relative to the moment, as are ALL things. Truth itself is an abstract concept.

    I think, therefore I am! But what am I? And what will I become? Where am I, and where am I going? The moment ‘ageing’ was considered as part of human existence, when death became an eventuality, the question of what is happening to me, what will happen to me, came into existence also. I would consider that an afterlife, heaven, paradise, et al; may be nothing more than a desire of mankind to continue, an after-death fantasy.
    Your statement may be the only ‘truth’ available here in this mortal existence of ours.

    I doubt it!
    Are you referring to the ‘person’ or the ‘spiritual ministry’? Christ means ’anointed one’, ‘chosen one’, or ‘Messiah.’ It has nothing to do with ‘messianic’ hope until we Christians got hold of it. The Christ? What connotations does that hold for the scholar, the seeker? Perhaps I should have said, Christ Soul, or Christ Spirit. For this one must consider the great apologists of the Judao-Christian Church; Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Tatian, Justin, James the Lord’s brother, Arias, etc.

    One must consider that Jesus did nothing superior nor more miraculous than G-d’s great prophets who parted seas, stopped the sun in the sky, healed, raised the dead, provided miraculous feedings, were incarnations of the power of G-od’s Holy Spirit, ascended into heaven, and did not die. So what’s new? Only Christianity uses Jesus of Nazareth, Yoshua bar Joseph, as a scapegoat and sin-eater! But as the author of Hebrews states: “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.”
    Hebrews 9: 22 But in its birth, there was no new covenant, it was born in Judaism.


    This is where the church had its beginnings, it roots are still planted there, but in our modern doctrine their Christology would be considered heresy. As late as the third century these great minds still considered , salvation, as a very real possibility through the efforts of the individual and their adherence to the Law and good works! The question even then was, could anyman become a Christ, return to his ‘beginning’ and achieve perfection.

    The divinity of a man and the ‘incarnation’ were still subjects of debate, and in some instances a matter of violence between the Gentile-Christian Church and the Judao-Christian Church. Too often we fail to remember the warfare that enveloped these two factions and ended with the Judao-Christian faith disappearing from our Christian history. What a sad estate!

    I have not been beyond the veil. I am as much in the dark as everyone else. What is to befall us I have no idea, nor can I state more than my own beliefs and hopes. They are relevant to no one but myself and they are a mixed bag of Christian aspirations and desires.

    I Am, as always;
    Victor G
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  3. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Victor!

    Thank you for your response! I apologize for the delay in my reply, I have been mulling over what to say. Being pressed for time, I may have to respond more in depth another time. But I will do what I can here for now.

    I must say, that is quite an extensive work. I had in mind to print it out at work, but it was over one hundred pages long! I did save it to my hard drive, and have gotten through the first chapter and most of the summary.

    I still have a nagging question, reflected in a thread I began some time ago on the Christianity board. What would Christianity look like minus Paul?

    One chief consideration, I would rather not dwell on here, is that of tearing down rather than building up. Using the example of demolition, a few well placed charges can bring a building down in a moment, a building that perhaps took thousands of man-hours to construct. It seems to me, any institutional religion can be destroyed with a few well placed charges, but what is lost in the process? What edifying purpose does it serve? What benefit serves those whose faiths are destroyed?

    Now, this thread is focused on the development of morality, an extension of the "morality in evolution" thread in the philosophy section. In that sense, looking beyond Paul, looking beyond Jesus, even looking beyond institutional religion, is appropriate.


    Perhaps. Yet, one must concede, it takes a certain kind of person with the wherewithal to step up to the plate and make things happen. Like him or not, one cannot truthfully take that from Paul. Or any elected politician, for that matter.

    I question quite what it is you mean here, I can see two interpretations. Yes, we all hold our relative / subjective truths. From our vantage, the sun appears to rise and set. I can grant you that. For how many centuries did humanity plod along under the assumption that the Earth was the focus of the universe? How many centuries have we plodded along under the premises laid down by Nicholau Copernicus, Galileo Galile and Isaac Newton? Now, most of us, labor increasingly under the influence of Albert Einstein and quantum mechanics. Each of these "truth sets" have been functional in their day and time, and no doubt there are residual influences even from before heliocentrism that still reside in our thought processes and influence our vision of "truth." The time may well come, perhaps not soon, when even quantum mechanics will seem as outdated to some future generation as heliocentrism seems now to us. Yet, beyond our vision, beyond our comprehension, lies a fundamental reality, an "objective truth," that by the nature of reality cannot be denied. Perhaps it is objectively true that Paul usurped Christianity. Nevertheless, without the efforts of Paul, I seriously question whether or not Christianity would even exist, in any recognizable form, today.

    I was refering to our prehistoric neolithic and paleolithic forebears. In my mind, yes, I see the possibility of "innocent" minds unpolluted by television, the rat race, nuclear armageddon, etc. If our minds could possibly be more directly connected to "nature," would we be more "in tune" with objective reality? Or would we still be too naive to make any sense of anything?

    Ah, therein lies the crux of the "matter." If we were open to objective truth, instead of imposing our will to observe something as "solid," we would instead see things as they are, in this case, in flux. Even stones are born, age, grow become diseased and die, just on a time scale so much slower than we are accustomed to seeing. It makes it difficult for us to fathom this, to imagine stones as "alive," because we operate on a different "frequency" and impose our will upon our vision.

    And yet, the experiences of multitudes who have "returned" suggest otherwise. Even shamanic communication with the spirit world, sky-walking, suggests otherwise. These experiences by their very nature are not "provable," but would seem, at least to those who have these experiences, to point to objective reality, therefore "truth." Truth for all, I cannot say. But in order for truth to be objective, it must encompass all subjective truths. Or at least, explain why a subjective truth is not altogether true.

    I am prepared to accept this, but not without a figurative fight.

    Having had a little time to consider, you may be correct. In order for our mind to more fully comprehend objective truth, we would have to jettison our subjective truths. Fundamentally, I don't think our minds are structured to work that way. Our relative truths are reinforced by a library catalogue of facts and figures and experiences. Wholesale jettison would effectively leave us in a vegetative state. I do wonder though if we can catch glimpses, and as we catch more and more of them, perhaps we might eventually overwrite our library.

    Well, as much as some may question my sincerity or motivation, I am approaching from a Christian vantage. So yes, I am using Christian connotation of the term.

    I am not familiar with any of these, save James. And I fail to recall where he used the term "Christ" in a more broadly defined method.

    Of course, this returns us to the problem of Christianity without Paul, and now I see without the central figure of Christianity itself. Side note, since we are off track anyway, is that if Jesus would be known by his Hebrew name, Yoshua, because there is no "J" in the alphabet, then it would stand to reason "Joseph" would not be correct either. Checking the Strong's, I see the name is Ioseph. Didn't check James, but I know from past experience the Spanish is Santiago, I presume Saint Iago (no doubt from the Latin). I also think it a little curious, since Paul is traditionally credited with writing the book of Hebrews, that he should be quoted, somewhat anonymously. I do not find it strange the comment about shedding of blood for remission of sins, Judaism during the Temple period had developed it into a factory scale art form. Not to mention, how many countless cultures lost in antiquity used blood sacrifice for essentially the same purpose? I might point to the Romans as only one example.

    Even if Christianity is born in Judaism, which I find to be a very honorable thing, sacrifice is an integral part of that faith. By command! The chief difference is that Christianity had one Messiah offered as the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all. No more was required the shedding of blood of innocent creatures simply for the purpose of remission of human sin. So, while sacrifice holds ugly connotations for those of squeemish constitutions, those who simultaneously have no problem eating a triple whopper with cheese, I see Christ's sacrifice as a natural extension of the Jewish ritual. A ritual dating a couple of thousand years before, even to the acceptable sacrifice of innocent Abel, and the animals G-d "took" to make clothes for Adam and Eve.

    I understand Christ was a Jew, born and raised into a Jewish household, presumably devout, for which no doubt his mother offered suitable sacrifice on the eighth day per custom and command. Jesus was taught Jewish law, and by all accounts within 50 years or so of his life He was blameless before G-d. (Short of the little fiasco that got Him hung on a cross) Jesus taught a new interpretation of Jewish law to Jewish followers, healed and fed and worked miracles among Jews (and occasionally non-Jews). And He died an ignoble death at the instigation of some Jews who were likely jealous of and threatened by His endeavors. So yes, I do not in any way discount the close association and affiliation with Judaism.

    Even so, considering the sack of Jerusalem + / - 60 ad, and the final straw in the eyes of the Roman empire, the Bar Kochba revolt + / - 120 ad, Judaism and anything remotely associated with it was forcibly removed from Palestine for nearly two thousand years. Judaism, a religion with a long and rich, established history, was cast to the wind, and has only miraculously survived! What would the fate of a novel, miniscule, infant sect of Judaism have suffered were it not for Paul taking it to the rest of the Empire prior to the dispersal post Bar Kochba? Hint, think Essenes and Qumran, who were annihilated and obliterated during the sack of Jerusalem. If anything, Jesus warned this would happen! I admire James. I appreciate his teaching above that of Paul. However, if all had been left to James, Peter and John alone (essentially, for other than rumors, the other apostles made little significant contribution left to us today, save the questionable gospel of Thomas), Christianity would have disappeared. Is it possible, just maybe, that the hand of the Creator might have played a part in any of this?

    I have little doubt these issues were being discussed among theologians of the time. I have little doubt about the importance of "works" as alluded to by James. I have serious doubts about achieving perfection, particularly without the benefit of blood sacrifice, per Judaism, per command, ritual and tradition.

    But this premise, so far as I have seen having not read your thesis in entirety, ignores the impact of the Roman government via its military on the region in question. That there were squabbles among factions is nothing new, but the claim here seems to infer that the "Gentile-Christians" took up arms to specifically annihilate the "Jewish-Christians," of which I have seen no historic reference to support. Quite the contrary, the annihilation of the Jewish presence in Judea by the Roman military is quite well known and understood, including the annihilation of Jewish and Gentile Christians from the region.

    I presume this references my questions regarding why we, collectively, look to some semblence of heaven. My aspirations and desires are no less vague to me. Even so, I will continue to conduct my affairs by hope, trust and faith, ever mindful of Pascal's wager.

    Ever looking for G-d, ever mindful of the value of the teachings of my tradition, and ever mindful of other's truths,

    I remain respectfully yours,
    Juantoo3
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
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  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Juantoo3:
    With deepest respect I offer you the following. Do not take offense as we are now debating on a formal scholastic level. This post refers only to a study of Paul. I will most happily respond to the rest of your post later as I truly enjoy our conversation and the trading off of ideas. But Paul is a thorn in my side with whom I take great exception!

    Before I even begin to respond to your latest, I must first ask you to thoroughly explore all 249 (two hundred forty-nine) pages of the thesis. There are also 622 (six hundred twenty-two) biblical and theological footnotes, each of which must be explored individually, for its merits.

    Then note that most major, professional Christian theologians and interpreters agree with my findings! In the modern church, theologically, Paul is losing face. Why? Because he was a liar, a thief, a hater of life, a despiser of the Apostles, an imposter, an interloper, apostate to Judaism (where Christianity was given birth by Christ himself) built off other men’s works, and was a murderer! All this confirmed by his own written word.

    He was a literary genius, yes. He was a genius at forming and constructing a world-wide organization, but one that eventually destroyed the church as led by Peter, James, the Lord’s brother, and John. I find him no better than the most articulate modern-day godfather. The only comment I will make in reference to your post is this: What would the church be today without Paul?

    Christ centered with Christ Jesus at its head! In experience and intimate involvement within the church scholastic I can honestly say that at least (at least) 90% of the church body today in its congregations, is Gospel illiterate! They know nothing of Jesus’ teachings, the world he was born into, the world he lived in, and his instructions on how we are to live and govern ourselves within the body of believers.

    When you have given your full attention to the thesis and its total references so you will understand the why and wherefore of its contents, I would suggest that you write a formal apology (criticism) to it. Then offer it to the manager of this site (Brian) for his approval, and if he finds that it is a serious, learned work, it will be published here for the world to evaluate. We have been waiting for over six years for such a response. From one of your talent and understanding this would be most welcome. Only then can I offer a proper rebuttal.

    But know this before you start, you must sacrifice everything save the Spirit’s guidance if you are to undertake this task. I am NOT a Pauline Christian. I attempt to build my life, my worship, and my studies on the basis of the Word, Jesus the Christ, his teachings and his life activities.

    My question to you then is, why isn’t Jesus, the living Word, enough? As I remain your servant in all things.

    I Am, as always;
    Victor G
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Victor!

    Please accept my reply with the respect in which it is sent.

    I appreciate this. Please bear in mind a few things. First, I am not a professional student, nor am I independently wealthy. I do have demands on my time. Considering my post last night took about 4 hours to compose, and it probably represents about one page of your thesis, not counting research, I am looking at well over 400 hours should I proceed as you suggest.

    Second, I am human. I can get emotional at times. Of course, a great deal has to do with whom I am conversing and how they present themselves. To this point, I see no problem. As long as we both understand that our respective disagreements are not personal slights, and we remain polite toward one another, I do not foresee any issues regarding this.

    Finally, because I am not a student or professor, I am not beholding to any educational institution for my views. Because I am not a member of, or affiliated with, any specific church or religious organization, I am not beholding to them either. In other words, I am but a lowly freelance thinker.

    You may ask, but it may be some time before I complete what I have saved. Again, time constraints.

    Keep in mind too, I am speaking in reference to a much larger picture. You desire me to focus on a myriad of little details, rather than see the big picture. I am thinking outside of the box here. The devil, as we know the saying goes, is in the details…

    Your reputation precedes you here. I have been participating on CR for some time now, but I suspect I signed on just about the time you left the first time. I have actually been looking forward to this conversation with anticipation.

    That other scholars agree with you is not in question. It is my experience, that if one searches hard enough, they can find scholars to support most anything. When careers are on the line, a lot of things can be put forward, some that hold merit, some that do not.

    Since I am not beholding to any scholarly institution, and have no grants at stake, I am free to "think outside of the box."

    It's kinda hard to defend someone who is viewed as a modern-day godfather. One is not beholding to Paul, nor to Jesus for that matter, once one takes your conclusions to their natural end.

    In the sense you seem to be depicting Paul, I see him figuratively as initially a corporate officer of Christianity Incorporated. Jesus of course was the founding CEO, James becoming the follow on second CEO. Now, presuming the words spoken in the Gospels is true, that is, the words of Jesus, then the founding CEO predicted before his untimely death that the Corporation would struggle, and that it would be laid waste (along with the rest of Judaism) soon. When looking at the Temple with his followers, he made the comment that no two stones of the Temple would remain on top of each other. Now, "soon" as we know from the Bible, is a relative term. It actually took nearly 30 years for his vision to transpire, but transpire it did. When it did, the corporate offices in downtown Jerusalem were utterly destroyed along with the Temple. Seems I recall reading somewhere that James was thrown to his death from the Temple roof just before it was destroyed. At this point, Jesus or no, desire or no, Christianity would have disappeared. Likely we would know little of it, other than a chance footnote in Josephus or perhaps some tattered shreds of a collection of Jesus sayings, which would be to us today no more than an historical curiosity.

    Now, Paul prior to this, as a corporate officer, had taken the company to neighboring countries. In this sense, Christianity was a multinational corporation, specifically due to the efforts of Paul. Yes, presuming the epistles written of him are anywhere near accurate, he did have some run ins with corporate headquarters. But there is no denying that he got the job done. The message Jesus wanted to get out, the new interpretation of the Jewish tradition, was reaching converts far afield, especially *non-Jews!*. Praise G-d for this! Without Paul's efforts, the company would have been destroyed along with the Temple, and any trace would have been forcibly removed or destroyed by the time of Bar Kochba. Christianity could not have survived in Palestine any more than Judaism did. Like him or not, Paul got the job done. Like his methods or not, there is no denying his motivation and intent. And like it or not, the otherwise prerequisite for being Christian that one must of necessity first be a Jew, was excepted by the efforts of Paul. IOW, one need no longer be Jewish to become Christian. This is a crucial point.

    However, as you alluded to in your earlier post, without Paul, Christ becomes "just" an ordinary man. So what if an ordinary man stands at the head of an institution like Christianity? It means nothing. Let me explain:

    First, if Paul is to be discounted (presuming Christianity somehow could survive the Roman onslaught), then surely his entourage is to be discounted as well. That means Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles, are to be removed. Which casts doubt on the other two synoptic Gospels. And Timothy, and his efforts.

    And Revelations surely couldn't be true, if Jesus is just an ordinary man! How can an ordinary man return with an army of angels to defeat evil and cast it in chains into the abyss? Whoa, that means John was a liar too! Throw away the Gospel of John and his epistles as well.

    Let's see, that leaves I think James and Peter. Not much to build on. Doesn't matter anyway, the message is moot. Messiah was "only" an ordinary man. Ordinary men don't resurrect, so the Old Testament promises to that effect are cast into doubt.

    So, what do we have left? The root Judaism from which it all came. Why call oneself a Christian then, why not formally convert to Judaism and be done with the affair? Unless one still desires to eat ham and pork chops…(of course, that is contingent on the acts of Paul!, or denial of monotheism at that day and time.)

    Yes, this is a "slippery slope" argument, and I do not see how it can be avoided. The points, not the method of argument.

    That 90% of Christians are Biblically illiterate is a travesty, but certainly not the fault of Paul. What transpired after Paul was out of his hands, as much as your child is not under your direct control especially after a certain age. That institutional and political influences some 300 or so years later seriously affected the outcome of what became Christianity is a matter of scholarship that is no longer even questioned, it seems. One needn't look far at all to find faults, perhaps debilitating ones. All of the texts, Old and New Testament, are brought into question by scholars of one stripe or other.

    So yes, I agree with the lament that congregations are unknowing of the history and cultural significance of the times and place in which the Gospel narrative unfolds. Yet, we still have the quandary, in that if we take away what little "they" have, what do we leave them? If we destroy their tower of building blocks, what do they have left?

    Because we can, does not mean we should. How Christian is it, to be a bully? In light of the fact we are talking about a "modern-day godfather," how like this analogy are we personally acting if we take away an otherwise ignorant hope? Not all people are intellectually capable of comprehending. Not all people have the time or wherewithal to devote to understanding. For some, perhaps ignorance is bliss. I'm personally not about to try to convince otherwise. Which means that ultimately, in my view, this is a discussion that is pretty well confined to academia, at least for now.

    *continued*
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    You are not the first to personally lay this gauntlet before me, although I am honored and humbled to have it laid at my feet by the author. Bearing in mind I have little alphabet soup behind my name, and nothing to denote a formal education in theology or any related field, my "apology" is certainly not of the caliber to spur one's career. Since I have nothing to gain, no career at stake, no financial benefit, no congregation looking to me, no degree at stake, there is really no benefit to my formally undertaking this. I have only my humble observations. Accept them, or not. Perhaps for a percentage of the profits, I might consider the formal undertaking with the time required. Otherwise, I have no incentive.


    There is no direct recourse on my faith-walk.

    Besides, I already presented my "apology," in my previous posts and here.

    Would this be the same Spirit that compelled Solomon to compose this:

    Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise (are) as goads, and as nails fastened (by) the masters of assemblies, (which) are given from one shepherd.

    Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books (there is) no end; and much study (is) a weariness of the flesh. (emphasis mine)

    Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this (is) the whole (duty) of man.

    Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether (it be) good, or whether (it be) evil. -KJV

    I accept this, no problem. I hope you do not feel threatened that I disagree. I traveled this route for a time once, and it left a bitter taste in my mouth, chiefly because of the person with whom I traveled. This becomes, or can easily become, a doctrine of personality assault. Look hard enough at anyone, and you will find errant moments. Put anyone on a pedestal, and they will fall. It is human nature. No one is perfect. If G-d had to wait to find a perfect person to champion His cause, He would wait a long time indeed. I would guess forever. It is impractical to insist that Paul had to be perfect. Peter wasn't. John wasn't. There is no reason to believe James was perfect. Why the assault on Paul's character? In light of what Paul has done, again presuming the texts are even accurate to begin with, he should be commended, not vilified. Alas, this is my opinion. I have no illusions of convincing you.

    Is Paul the "be all and end all" of Christianity? Hardly. But I do think he served a very noble and crucial purpose in the formative years of the fledgling Christianity. Like him or not, the efforts of Paul are integral to bringing us the Christianity we have today. Of course, being a Christian, I see this as a good thing. Just as I am certain there are those who disagree with me. Of course, I had always thought before now that the ulterior motive of the character assassination of Paul was the demolition of Christianity. I still fail to see the benefit, the edification, the construction of anything of value towards a faithful walk with G-d by dismantling Paul, particularly with the logical repercussions that would naturally follow.

    Why stop at Judaism or Deism? Dismantle away, one can ultimately bring down every faith in the world. Is this not one of the prime motivations lying behind so many conversions to atheism? At some point one must (or perhaps not) say "this path is the path." With all of its faults and illusions, with all of its frailties and impositions, with all of its irrationality and questionable history, it is the path for me, to do the best I know how with, in an effort to return to the Source from which I intuitively know I came.

    How can Jesus be the living Word if he is but another mere mortal human? All he would be, under the best case scenario without Paul, is "just" another wise teacher. Whoopee. The world is full of 'em.

    I'm sorry to be sarcastic here, but by removing Paul and the expectant aftermath, this Jesus is just another man. Why not worship Mohandas Gandhi? Or Martin Luthur King Jr.? The world is full of basically good people, history is full of basically good people. What makes a Jesus who is a shadow of a Christian Messiah, who because of mortality could not resurrect, special and worthy of worship and having a religion based upon Him? Why not worship Nelson Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie? Or Caesar? Or Mammon?

    I realize I'm getting a bit "out there," but it is to make the point. Christianity is special because our Christ is special. He can raise the dead. He can walk on water. He can make wine from water. He can heal the sick. And He rose from the dead 3 days after suffering a criminal's death, showing us definitively that we too have the opportunity to achieve heaven. No guesswork, no character assassination (forgive, that ye may be forgiven), no doubt, all I ask is "do." In love.

    Ecclesiastes 3:12 I know that (there is) no good in them, but for (a man) to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

    Ecclesiastes 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it (is) the gift of God.

    Ecclesiastes 3:22 Wherefore I perceive that (there is) nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that (is) his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

    With greatest respect,
    Juantoo3
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Juantoo3:
    Dear friend, the letters after my name are as lengthy as your own. I am no academician nor do I owe my knowledge to any other than the Holy Spirit and a calling of G-d to honor His name and worship him! In fact, we are of the same school; of the general congregation struggling to determine what happened two thousand years ago. I understand that you have many responsibilities to attend and I certainly do not deny you that.

    I, however, was of an age and a mind when I was called out of the church to take care of my family, a wife and two young sons, manage a large office which dealt with attorneys and large corporations all over this world, and yet study every night and weekend with two hours sleep a night or less, and none on holidays or weekends for a period of over two years!

    When it came time to write the three thesis, I had been studying for more than twenty-one years and was of an age where I could work part time, and then finally retire to complete the work that took another five years plus! I am penniless save for Social Security, I have no letters after my name, I have spent so much time alone with no friends and no social life that I have tremendous difficulty around people and prefer total seclusion. All this done with great pain, often agonizing deep into the night, forcing myself into a renewed life in the church from which I suffer endlessly, (and which is not working out except for my Sunday class), but all by my own choice to serve God in a manner I can understand!

    Now, I would consider my vision of the Christ much as Islam and the Holy Qu’ran. A human being, yes, but divine by nature as signified by the Apostle’s Creed. This is also the Lutheran determination, so I can never be charged with saying that he is merely a human being and nothing more. I probably am less willing to admit the depth of my belief in the Lutheran path, and that of my Catholic relatives, than I should.

    Toward the third century there was a drifting toward a 'divine' Christ within the Judaic movement, the big hangup being a long debate concerning the, Incarnation. I believe that a Divine Christ was inevitable in any movement be it Jewish or Gentile.

    As to the Judao-Christian church, when you have time, you should read the extant writings of Theophilus of Antioch, Athenagoras, Arias, James; in other words, the Apologists of the Judao-Christian movement, for that body of believers were still active and fighting for their theological and community lives well into the third century! It is not a matter of the church trying to destroy them as they did the Gnostics, but rather a choice that was made to take one side and ignore the other. The strength of Paul’s work, and his followers, was surely a deciding factor in this lengthy struggle. We have little of their works left but sufficient to note their state of affairs until their disappearance. Note, I do not say their demise, but rather their disappearance.

    As for you and I personally, I believe our discussion is absolutely essential! Perhaps it is even a model for others. I pray you have success in being heard by the world for much that you have to say has merit. For myself, my position leaves room for little more than a squeak, and for that I am thankful. I think that any public display would probably destroy what may be left of my character.

    VIRTUAL CLIFF, I would suggest, for a synopsis that you read the last Chapter of the thesis, Summation, and my post above. The remainder would be a repetition of the entire thesis for I have used Paul’s own written word and those of his ‘disciples’.

    As to the church today, I can only quote Juantoo3: “Thank you for the glaring reminder of why I remain a solitary in my walk.”

    For both of you I offer this, and I am not unmindful of Juantoo3’s time spent in his replies to this string, is not life among us humans such that at times we must contract ‘evil’ to fight ‘evil’? It took Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday to undertake the fight at the O.K. Corral, and they were just as much murderer’s, hired guns, as those they fought. Yet today they are ‘heroes’ of a kind. Many question the motives and the actions of the Big Three during the Second World War, yet today, despite their collective history they are ‘heroes’ of a kind. (I belittle none of them, especially Sir Winston!)

    Was Paul a necessary evil in a fight against paganism? You must judge. A look at the church today seems to cause Virtual Cliff AND juantoo3 some consternation. I know it does me, but as the writer of Hebrews points out, the priesthood we have of old is a mere reflection of the true priesthood. Such is the church today, a mere shadow of that which is real and eternal. And if Melchisedek is G-d’s High holy priest, Christ is more because he not only attended to the sacrificial office, he was himself the sacrifice. And to the writer of Hebrews, who was assaulting the Judao-Christian church at the start of the second century as one of the Protagonists, “Without an offering of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”

    I will give you this… if we must continually protect ourselves against ‘evil’ by contracting ‘hired guns’, Paul may well have been a ‘necessary evil.’ Would Christianity have survived under a totally Jewish background? G-d alone knows the answer to that one.

    To close, no one here is below me; no one here is below any other here or in the world. We are all servants to one another. We are judged by One, not by each other, and that which we offer is offered on an equal ‘plate’.

    I Am, as always;
    Victor G
     
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Victor!

    Thank you for your heartfelt reply!
    Agreed.

    While I agree our respectful dialogue may help serve as an example for others, I fail to see how your contribution is but "a squeak." You are probably the first to raise this issue here, and certainly the most eloquent and studied, but you are not the only person to raise the issue of Paul's methods. Sadly, in trying to draw the other contributors into explanation of their reasoning, most just tucked tail and ran, not to be seen here again. This signifies to me an incomplete understanding of their point of view. It also signifies to me what I alluded to concerning my traveling companion at the time I looked into this some years back. To this day, He is still a very embittered and judgemental person, finding fault with everyone. And he's a dimestore excuse for a preacher!

    Perhaps it would serve you well, and the greater community here, to describe a Christianity without the influence of Pauline doctrine. What unnecessary trappings are unloaded? What doctrines and dogmas are shed? What is such a Christian liberated from? What does such a path look like, and what value does it hold?

    I ask in the interest of showing what is another path, perhaps another valid path, a supplemental path in Christianity. I believe it would be better to focus on the positive aspects of such a view towards a faith-walk, rather than accentuating the negative reasoning behind such a path. Just a friendly suggestion...

    If I may wax philosophical for a moment, what is "evil?" If we fight fire with fire, is fire evil?

    Yet, the question arises, is Paganism evil? Is a Pagan automatically condemned by no more than an accident of birth? This is a judgement I would rather not make, that I be not judged.

    Agreed.

    I am confused by your application. It seems to me you suggest this is inappropriate. Yet this is a ritual tradition dating into the Tabernacle period, formulated from events that transpired just outside of Eden. It is a delicate subject, one I could get few others to discuss, but blood sacrifice is extremely relevant to so many of the religions of antiquity, not solely Judaism. And while I hear condescending remarks from time to time pertaining to Christian "sacrifice," that is, how could we dare sacrifice a human being, it was a one time for all event, unlike other traditions who continue, some to this very day, to use blood sacrifice in their ritual and tradition! I mean, were it not that the Jews were forcibly required to stop sacrificing because of the destruction of the Temple, they would likely still be offering sacrifice today. Some things I have read speak to this very thing, suggesting that there are those who look to a third building of the Temple, who are actively engaged in reconstructing Temple implements such as musical instruments and robes and curtains and menorahs. And even sacrificial implements. Further, I hear the whereabouts of the ashes of the Red Heiffer are known, and it is a matter of timing as to when the traditional rituals are to be reinstated. There are people who fervently believe in this effort, to whom in their minds and faith-walk it is entirely appropriate to offer blood sacrifice to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and who are just waiting for the opportunity to begin once again. In light of Old Tesatament passages speaking of the Millenial Rule, I sometimes wonder if there is merit...

    Agreed. I am familiar with Messianic Judaism. If it is this to which you allude by negating Paul, then I understand. As long as one realizes the implications, that is, one is no longer bound solely by the Noahide Laws, but instead is bound by the 600 odd Levitical Laws. Afterall, Jesus did not come to do away with the Law...and Jesus was a Jew.

    Not only do I agree, I think this is the most profound and important statement thus far in our dialogue.

    I wish you well, and hope for a continued discussion.

    I remain respectfully yours,
    Juantoo3
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Juantoo3:
    A quickie here. Since we are repeating our discussion at church this Sunday, I have the time to write and send you a ‘positive’ example of what the church would be like without Paul’s influence in today’s church, this person’s, ideal!

    This will include the remark I made concerning the ‘blood offering’ for the remission of sin, which is absolutely necessary to this discussion. Then you and the others who have contributed may ascertain whether it would be valid for you.

    It is, in fact, the path that I currently follow, or at least attempt to follow. It is the reason I am in ‘deep water’ with our church council and the Pastor. It is the reason that foreign influences are slipping into the ‘church’ today which will eventually bring about its demise! At least change it to a point where it will be unrecognizable within the next fifty years!

    I Am, as always;
    Victor G
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Victor!

    Very well, I will look for your response!
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Victor!

    In the interim, while awaiting your response, I composed a brief "apology" of the summary of your thesis. You will find the points are effectively the same, simply placed where relevant to the text.

    Response to Summary of Pauline Controversy

    In essence I agree, contingent upon the conclusion that were it not for Paul carrying the message beyond the Jews of Palestine (a very significant contribution to the organization called Christianity), the fledgling Christianity as practiced by the Apostles in Palestine would have been obliterated by the Roman onslaught when the Temple was destroyed and after. In carrying the message of Jesus beyond the initial Jewish converts, the message was made available to any person in the world who cared to hear. This is crucial to understanding the growth and spread of Christianity, without which the fate of Christianity is tied directly to that of Judaism. As a lesser and recent sect of Judaism, Christianity would most likely have suffered a fate not unlike that of Qumran or Masada.

    Which Gamaliel? Having asked this question of a Jewish student of the Torah whose knowledge I hold in high esteem, I learned that there are several Rabbis with that given name.

    So that I am certain my understanding is in line with this, this is the same Luke who wrote the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke, and this is the same John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark? As "hired hands" (to be polite) of Paul, surely these works also come into question…and since Matthew was a tax collector, and we all know tax collectors cannot be trusted to tell the truth…
    This is the slippery slope I alluded to earlier. Are we to selectively edit the New Testament, and if so, where do we draw the line and by what justification? In condemning one writer by a set of standards, do we ignore those same standards when applied to other writers?

    "Paul's" domination is twofold. First, the message of Jesus was carried beyond the confines of Judaism. Second, the "firstborn" church of Christianity was laid waste by the Roman military. Ah! Seeing it now in this manner, how often in the Old Testament is the younger son set above the older son? Jacob and Esau leap to mind, and Ephraim and Manasseh come to mind as well. Further, had Paul not carried the message of Jesus beyond the confines of Judaism, then it would still be requisite to be Jewish before one could be Christian!

    Is this a nice way of silencing critics? Yes, we might "draw assumptions." We might also base those "assumptions" on known history, rather than selective interpretation of texts that have long drawn criticism from scholars. We might take a bigger picture view of the affair, looking at the political climate of the region as a whole, in drawing our assessment. And we might, considering this is a subject related to the growth and promotion of a monotheistic faith in One Creator G-d, consider that that Creator G-d might have actually had some hand in the growth and promotion of that monotheistic faith. This is appeal to authority, true, but an authority without which this entire discussion is meaningless.

    To paraphrase Paul, did he not say something to the effect of: "To the Romans I am a Roman, to the Greeks I am a Greek, to the Jews I am a Jew." Yes, Paul was a political and cultural chameleon. And I do wonder how much of the misgivings over his works are misunderstandings or misinterpretations cross-culturally. And politically motivated. Personally, I find it impressive that he was able to translate a radically Jewish concept into Greek and Roman terms, that is, present Jesus' message in a meaningful way to non-Jews. Perhaps this "poetic license" of Paul was later abused, it remains to be seen. Paul's cultural chameleon methods are certainly the same methods historically used by the Catholic institution in its missionary spread throughout the world.

    Personally, I think Paul brought a rather deep understanding to some OT teachings, if one can get past the fluff usually taught in a typical church today.

    We do not know this.

    Poor Luke can't catch a break, he's damned if he does and damned if he don't…"the Bible is something less than inspired by God" either way...regardless of how Luke is discounted, it further erodes the value of the Gospels and the Acts, and the New Testament by extension. Do we keep the Gospel and trash the Acts, when they are effectively the first and second halves of the same narrative?

    Besides, depending which professional Christian theologian you are speaking of, any part of the entire Bible can be brought into serious question.

    Considering, if Paul was a Jew of the Pharisaic tradition having learned at the feet of Gamaliel, living during the time when animal sacrifice was practiced on a factory scale by the Jews at the Temple, and blood sacrifice was practiced by virtually every surrounding culture, I fail to see why one should be shocked at this. The Jewish Temple is usually thought of by Christians today as if it were some kind of Church or Cathedral. It was not. The inner sanctuaries were reserved solely for devout Jews born into the faith, and the inner most sanctuary was reserved solely for the High Priest on one specific day of the year. The outer court, where everybody did their religious business, going about seeking absolution of sin, was a marvel of engineering for the sole purpose of slaughter and butchering and burning the sacrifices. That is why the sellers of doves and money changers were in the outermost courtyard, offering their wares in what, IMHO, had become a mindless ritual devoid of any meaning any more. The people no longer offered sacrifice out of a sense of duty, it was something you just did because it was expected of you. Hence, a portion of the motivations that lay behind the rage behind Jesus' cleansing of the Temple courtyard.

    Is not your theology, mine, everybody's, if we really get truthful with ourselves?

    Don't we all?

    Why? 14 years ago my eyes were much better than they are now, it troubles me greatly to watch as my vision deteriorates.

    I missed this part. Are you saying a student the likes of Paul, duly trained in the Pharisaic tradition, denied the Ten Commandments? Now, I can see a lot of wiggle room pertaining to the 600 other Levitical laws, which IMHO would seem necessary in order to translate what is effectively a Jewish cultural thing into a more Greek / Roman / Pagan cultural thing. But he still remained, as far as I can see, within the confines of the Ten Commandments and The Noahide Laws, particularly once his ministry started.


    Now, I can understand and sympathize with the conclusion that Paul places an inordinate emphasis on faith over works. In this I am more inclined towards the teaching of James, and the words of Jesus. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

    Ummm, no. This is circular logic. You allude to laws speaking of Jesus, yet provide no support, at least not here. And I know from previous experience, in asking Jewish scholars about prophecy pertaining to Messiah, even the prophecies typically raised by Christians from the OT, (Isaiah comes to mind). The Jewish interpretation is quite different. In their view, Jesus did not fulfill prophecy, let alone law. It is not denial of law if the law cannot be produced. This challenge has been laid before Christians here in times past, with nothing definitive ever coming from it. In short, this is a circular supposition. How can a law that doesn't exist be denied? How can one point to a law that doesn't exist as proof, and then accuse those who don't accept a blind supposition without evidence?

    *continued*
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    OK, which law? Paul did not teach against Noahide Law. Paul did not teach against the Ten Commandments. That leaves the Levitical Law. So, if no part of the 617 (*correction, 613, -jt3) or so Levitical Laws (not a jot or tittle!) passes, then how come Christians often eat pork? How come Christians are often uncircumcised? My suggestion would be because they never were bound by Levitical Law to begin with, coming from the pagan backgrounds that they did. Of course, others are welcome to guide their Christian faith-walk by a different set of parameters if they wish, but if one carries this line of reasoning to its natural conclusions, circumcision is a must, no unclean meats may be eaten, linsey/woolsey must be observed, the Jewish Holy Days must be observed in propriety…in effect, one must be a Jew in all aspects who also happens to believe Jesus is Messiah. Monumental undertaking, especially since one is not likely to gain much sympathy or assistance from the Jewish community, who view Jesus at worst as a traitor to the faith, and at best as a misguided rabbi.

    Just want to be certain I am on the same page…this is after having rebuked Paul for disregarding the Law? What is contemptible about saying that something as sacrosanct as Communion to a Christian should be done in the reverent and contrite (read that: correct) attitude it was intended? Indeed, considering the direct connotation between Jesus' sacrifice (of which Communion is the symbol) and the blood sacrifice of the Jewish Temple, and what was brought to light earlier about how the sacrifice had become a mindless habit, Paul was (in my view) forewarning against the same mindless disrespect following onto the Christian symbol of remembrance. Bearing in mind this same mindlessness was a contributing factor to the only time written that Jesus actually showed righteous indignation.

    I don't know that I would use the term "false." That one sees an alternate path does not inherently presume that G-d has chosen only one path back to Him. (Let alone, that one is specifically on that singular correct path)

    I do not speak for the church, any church, but as a humble student finding his way along the path back home to my Father. On this issue we will simply have to agree to disagree. I do not take my value of Communion from Paul, but from Jesus in the role of Christ. Perhaps one must see and understand the value of the Jewish Holy Days, specifically the High Holy Day of Passover, and the timing of Jesus' sacrifice (when He "gave up the ghost") in order to fully appreciate the symbolic meaning and the reverence with which it should be rendered, if it is to be rendered properly in my view. Better not to partake of Communion or the Passover meal at all, than to do so improperly.

    Ah, but this presumes people think for themselves! How few really do? The rest, as the famous atheist Neitzsche reminds us, are "cattle." Wherein lies the fault, on the cattle, or the cattle herders?

    (Just put your indulgence money in the coffers, and all will be forgiven……can't blame that on Paul)

    Paul's activities are *not* the singular cause of the disappearance of the Jerusalem church. If we must seek one singular cause, then it is the Roman army and the Roman government. From the sack of Jerusalem, the Diaspora brought on by the Bar Kochba revolt, at least 4 "great" persecutions of the Christians in the interim leading up to Emperor Constantine, and under Constantine the consolidation by the first great Council (Nicea?). It would be interesting to learn more of the British Christians of the time of Constantius (Constantine's daddy), what their views towards Paul were, considering it was a favor to them specifically that Christianity was removed from the roles of outlawed religions in the Roman Empire. This is not relying on circular reasoning, or questionable interpretation; this is historically known and accepted by any reputable scholar of history of the time.

    If this is so, then we are back to denuding the New Testament. In effect, the end result is that none of the material is reliable, ergo, trash it all. Why be a Christian? Just be a Jew and be done with it. Or a Deist, if one still prefers to eat ham and pork chops.

    Seems a lot to lay at the feet of Paul. He alone is responsible for all of these things? Hmmm, maybe he is responsible for my ingrown toenails too.

    I can understand "blaming" Paul for things He did directly, and how one may not agree with his methods and style. But it hardly seems fair, or accurate, to lay blame upon him for things that transpire hundreds of years after the man has been laid to rest!


    Caesar, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with any of this…?

    "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought, But if it be of G-d, ye cannot overthrow it: lest haply ye be found even to fight against G-d." -Acts 5:38-39

    Of course, I suppose one could claim that since Luke was a dupe of Paul, that Paul had Luke write that just to cover his hiney…

    I have no argument with this assessment. It does not require undermining Paul to achieve it. Just remember, Jesus was a Jew. To properly follow this specific path will require becoming observant of the Levitical Laws, while simultaneously being ostracized by Judaism proper. Tough task. A noble aspiration. Best of wishes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  13. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    Juantoo, so you didn't see the correlation in your prior post?

    I read some of this thing from Victor. I simply apply Victor's method of character analysis to Victor. I find that Victor has swallowed a number of camels whole, and advises the reader to do the same with him. It is similar to character attacks presented by world leaders at the UN. Any character analysis begs for a comparison of character, of values, and the different viewpoints and definition of terms... not a bad exercise, but understand that the author ALWAYS speaks about themselves, about their own beliefs. Can I learn more from Victor about Paul than I can from Paul about Victor? NOPE, I can't... not unless God (swt) is influencing it. Everyone speaks for their own beliefs. Victor might draw attention to some existing verses, but he does not reveal any new evidence from a cave or somewhere. Victor is largely selling his beliefs just as Paul was selling his. I find agreement with Matthew 12:37, "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Think about that for a minute. This business of character assasination to discredit a person's belief, testimony, or words does not hold up. A number of people I know refer to that as dirty underhanded politics. Jesus (pbuh) cleared the air with a single sentence noting that a person is justified or convicted by their own words... not someone elses. So lets just nail the concept of analyzing a character to discredit a person's word. I think some people might get offended if a prophet or messenger's word was thrown out due to questions raised about his character. Correct? So that was the first camel that I found, in the first sentence, from Victor.

    In the second sentence I am asked to eat another camel. Who finds parentage, or ethnicity, race, religion, or country of origin extremely important to evaluate someone's character? I don't... I think that would be evil. Why am I being included in this plural pronoun 'us'? Should I be included with Victor in 'we' or 'us' if I should be judged by my own opinion and words instead of Victors? Why is Victor indirectly using my name? I object. Victor speaks for Victor and for the camels that Victor has consumed. I will speak for mine. I see lots of cars on the road with various makes and models, some old and some new, and to me the type of car does not determine the character or driving record of the driver. I can already see where Victor has conflict with Paul in just the first two sentences.

    Skipping ahead... I notice there is a large number of people who oppose Paul and take various approaches to discredit him. I witness that many alledged Muslims today are propelled to do this. When I have peeled back the onions I find the source of the conflict is usually over differences of law, jurisprudence, faith, and works. Some alledged Muslims prefer to be told how to do everything, a law for everything, and prefer to see alledged Christians as lawless. Victor describes his viewpoints on the subjects of law, faith, etc... but lets drop the charade and deal with those elements directly. To do so, I focus on wherever Victor quotes Jesus (pbuh) from the Gospels... I love that he quoted Matthew 23:23 but he did nothing with it. Or, I see that Victor lists the Qur'an in his bibliography, but instead of quoting the Qur'an he has provided his beliefs more authoritatively. So, lets compare the words from Jesus (pbuh), and the Qur'an, directly with the beliefs that Victor has provided. I consider that a healthy exercise for anyone to do.

    I find that people have pre-derived notions about their words, like Law, Faith, Works, etc... For example, the idea that all laws are God's (swt) laws. Or the idea that laws can be logically derived from the Qur'an and still considered God's laws. Or the notion that whatever law a prophet followed in his time is a law from God (swt). Or the notion that Law builds towards some perfecting Truth that people must be held to. Those are interesting notions that should be focused on. Some countries are fighting over them today. If people do not agree today with what the word 'LAW' means, then how does anyone really know what Paul was discussing centuries ago?

    Or... if one is lazy as I often am... then just compare one's beliefs directly with Victor in the way that Victor has with Paul... only be more honest where the beliefs come from. I think if Paul hijacked Christianity, the Qur'an would have mentioned him. Right? It doesn't, so there goes the conclusion that Victor arrived at. Should I waste time reading the meat of a futile argument? I have NOT come to bury Victor as Victor came to bury Paul... I think it is a healthy and fruitful exercise either way. I just wish people would drop the charade and discuss their beliefs directly and honestly.

    I will spend more time and pull out the definitions of the key terms that I read from Victor. I recall that Victor said that Works reveals a person's Faith. I agree with Victor there... but it also requires communication prior. A good deed is only good if a person wants it. If they don't want it, and you do it anyway, then it is NOT Faith in the person, but enforcing a Truth. For example, administering a child immunization shot, and the child does not want the shots. I consider that is NOT placing Faith in the child, but it is requesting the child to place Faith in you. It doesn't always have to be children: an alcoholic wants another bottle so do you take it from him against his will? If you just take it, then you did not ask the person to place Faith in you. If you tell them you care and ask to help them, and they agree to your help, and then you take the bottle... it is. Huge difference. Absolutely paramount to understanding Faith. My belief of course, but per the gospels did Jesus (pbuh) just heal anyone off the street, or did he heal those who asked?

    Victor presents beliefs that he absorbed from somewhere else. I'm doing the same. Some of that absorption is unwritten. I learned a definition of Faith as a young child and it was not by reading the bible. It was in a simple exercise in Sunday school at a church. From that exercise I compared my understanding with the stories that were told there, which were mostly from the OT, and I saw the Faith in those stories. To my delight as I was older, I found agreement with what was written in the parables from Jesus (pbuh). I also found scientific agreement by a study of control, communication, and information theory in college, which further cements my understanding. When I review the Qur'an, I see wisdom but I do see things differently than what many Muslims see. Where I am going with this... why judge Paul by the words that he wrote to far away places when a person does not not know what was taught within the church? Victor says what is taught in the church is none other than what Paul wrote. As I have described, from my own life, I easily refute that. Easily as I have described. Just because something is not written in the bible, does not mean that the information is not in the world. If a person truly credits a person who did not write, then how does that person discredit another by what little they did? Think about that one.
    Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    OK enough... lets extract Victor's definitions and put them in a list. I'll work on that Sunday.
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Cyberpi!
    Hmmm, I fail to see the relevance. Like I said in the first post here, this is a compilation of a refutation of Victor's thesis, so that it will be easier for anybody (not least myself) to find.

    Well, I suppose one could revert to "do unto others," so to speak, but I fail to understand how an ad hominum attack contributes to the discussion. Victor is entitled to an opinion, as much as you are, or myself. Victor has put a great deal of effort and thought into his beliefs on this matter, and he has reached the conclusions he has. What is most important, is that it seems he is putting his faith where his mouth is, he is trying to live his faith walk as he understands it. That is all anybody can ask of anybody. In my opinion, that is the important question G-d is going to ask every one of us. Not "what do you believe?," but "what did you do with what you believe?"

    Yes, how could we expect otherwise?

    If he had, would it convince you? A *lot* of people see this very differently; "if it ain't in the (Bible, Koran, Veda, what-have-you), I don't believe it." Hypothetically, if science could somehow prove G-d does not exist, would it convince you?

    The Qumran texts do not shed any new light on the existing Bible, only on the community at Qumran. The Nag Hammadi scrolls do not shed any new light on the existing Bible, they shed light on the Nag Hammadi community. Even the scrolls languishing in monastery scriptoriums shed little new light on anything, and even in those rare instances when they do, not everyone is agreeable to those new findings.

    I do not see this as wrong, I see this as convinced and convicted (in the Christian sense of the term).

    But wait a minute, did you not say earlier that you were looking to effectively assassinate Victor's character?:
    So why continue? This is one reason why ad hominum attacks are useless to logical or polite discussion.

    Well, while you may think it evil, I assure, there are cultures for which heritage is a crucial factor in how your peers see you. Look at the caste system of India. Look at the royal houses of Europe. As I learned recently about the Orient, the Chinese have differing terms not only for brother and sister, but older and younger brother and sister. Grandparents are Father's Father, Father's Mother, Mother's Father and Mother's Mother. And so on. Aunts, Uncles and Cousins can get very difficult to keep track of, and it is *all* parentage and lineage and gender! This is not something one can just stroll in and act dismayed, this is all cultural norm. A person's character is routinely gauged by many factors, not least color of skin and country of origin, and yes, religion. Evil or not, it occurs all the time.

    I expect this would be a good exercise. I regret I have not found an English version of the Koran to add to my library, although I understand that to a purist Muslim, an English translation is not acceptable, that the Koran *must* be taught in Arabic. With all due respect, I will not abide by that, for a list of reasons. Not least, because G-d does not require it of me.

    You have a very good point here. Just remember it follows in both directions.

    Ummm, no. Why would it?

    Considering you have only this one post, "bury" is a relative term. I do think that you are trying to discredit Victor, just as Victor spent a great effort in trying to discredit Paul.

    From what I could see, Victor did just that. I don't think he took a lot of things into consideration, not least the history of the time and region. But that in no way means he was not sincere in his pursuit of what he believes. No less than yourself. No less than myself.

    I think I see what you are getting at, and I think I agree. I know one cannot help a person who isn't ready or willing to accept help. In much the same way, I will not discuss my faith with someone who isn't willing to listen. It can create more ill will than good will.

    Yes. We all do. A great many scholars, the same kind of scholars that find things hidden in caves, have presented things that agree with Victor. Or more precisely, Victor has taken a great deal of scholarship from these scholars and tried to gell a faith-walk that was acceptable to his conscience. I cannot fault Victor for that, no more than I may fault you for trying to live your life in accord with what you understand.

    I'm not sure I follow you here. All of those "far away places" were churches that Paul founded. They were his "babies." That is the only way we can know (or judge) Paul, by what he taught within those churches he built that taught Jesus as risen from the dead. Now, yes, I did use the word "judge," and we as Christians are not supposed to judge. Yet, we are supposed to guage the spirit of those around us. How can we avoid troublemakers unless we judge their character? Paul, on the otherhand, seems to me to display the evidence of spirit in his character. Apparently, to Victor and others, Paul does not.

    I can see very clearly what Victor is saying.

    I'm afraid I see no bearing on the issue, comparing Jesus to Paul as non-writing and writing. Besides, if the implication is that Paul is to be considered because he wrote, then the passage in Matthew is moot (Jesus didn't write it). If the implication is that Jesus is better because He did not write, then what's the point, the New Testament would not exist. We end up back at ad hominum, and a irrelevant one at that.

    As you wish, but I think it is pointless to focus on Victor. I think it is far more productive, on so many levels, to focus on the issue. Victor is only one voice with these thoughts, there are many more. To discount Victor is to dismiss only one voice. Better I think, to address the issue. Besides, I might learn a thing or two.

    There is always the possibility I might be mistaken.

    What's more, I love Victor, as a brother in Christ. He and I simply disagree.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2006
  15. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    juantoo3, I think I see your point... you have not come to refute your brother Victor, but to judge Paul in the same manner that Victor does. Very well. Or did you come to refute Victor's character analysis?

    Let me try a different approach to explain my intended point: Is it possible for me to say that you are NOT following the religion that you claim as taught by Jesus and his disciples? Can I prove black and white that you are or are not an apostate or apostle? Shall I ask for your posts to be removed from here as a result so that nobody is misled? Can I call you deceitful? Can I claim that you have committed Satan's greatest victory since Adam and Eve were banished? Can I say that your beliefs are the cause of innocents being burned at the stake, hanged, strangled, impaled, beheaded and stoned to death? Shall I use your geneaology, parentage, race, customs, or country of origin to determine your character? Can I claim that the church is a place for Jesus (pbuh) to teach, and not you? Can I prove from any and all evidence available to me whether or not you are a follower of God (swt) or of Satan?

    Now, can I answer my questions NOT by asking you... but by instead asking your neighbor? If your answer is HELL NO... then you have refuted Victor in the best possible way.

    Try and replace the word 'Paul' with the word 'Victor', or 'juantoo3', or 'cyberpi'. I extracted the questions from the SUMMATION. My point is NOT one of judgement, but one of what can be judged. I am NOT judging Victor's character. I imagine he is a good guy... a faithful brother. I rebuke Victor for judging something that he can't see any more than Paul in the flesh can see Victor. I welcome judgement of Paul's words, what few there are... just as I welcome you to judge my words. I rebuke judgement of Paul's character... in the same manner I am betting that you would rebuke me if I judged yours by the thesis of your neighbor.

    Sorry to mislead you. I did not word that very well. What I meant was, I'm not going to support, nor refute what I think can NOT be seen in Paul. I am going to apply Victor's words to Victor and see if he likes his approach... in the same manner that I hopefully have with you with my questions here.
     
  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Cyberpi!
    Let us not confuse the messenger with the message.
     
  17. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Bump so I don't lose sight of this thread.

    A thought I had goes along with the quote, "When you're up to your arse in alligators, it's hard to remember the objective is to drain the swamp."

    In a sense, I see the criticism of Paul's character as a collection of alligators. Not that the criticisms are untrue, or unreal, or have no merit; but that in the end analysis they are irrelevent to the objective. The objective being able to stand before the Great White Throne Judgement and pass muster.

    I still have yet to hear what Christianity should look like in the absence of Pauline doctrine. Not trying to be a butthead about this...I think the question is simple enough, yet I have received no takers. Even a sample question, like how to mark and observe Easter for instance, just to get the subject started.
     
  18. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    I'll take a small bite...

    Easter is a pagan holiday and shouldn't be observed at all (in the strictest Christian sense)
     
  19. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Prober!
    Ah, very good!

    Of course, I've gotta ask, are you a Pauline detractor?

    If not, then giving them the answer doesn't help their cause any...

    If so, you have hidden it well from me. (Not to imply I am anybody in particular...)
     
  20. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    I Love Paul! In his words I see no disagreement with the words of Jesus. He does a great job of explaining, but it seems like nobody got him then and nobody gets him now.

    Sorry I let the cat out of the bag!

    (The post was so long that I got lost and forgot who was for whom!)
     

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