Paul, leading authority on Christianity, does NOT quote Jesus!

by Terry 204 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Awen


    Please don't think for a minute that I'm in favor of organized religion. Quite the opposite really. The Christians in the 1st Century had the right idea, meeting at personal homes to encourage one another (or for safety) and pretty much just living their lives without bothering anyone. I don't personally believe that religion needs the structure that is in place today. Many people have taken the words of all the Apostles and used them to their own ends, blatantly ignoring how things were done in the 1st century or making stuff up to support their own ends.

    As for believing in the Bible. When I first got out of the JW's I didn't stay a Christian as I tended to compare every denomination against the JW's. For a decade I stopped practicing Christianity altogether, but eventually I came back. I realized my problem wasn't with God, but with his followers. His followers had manipulated the Bible for their own ends and even though I read the Bible and compared what it said to those who tried to interpret it, what I found was I didn't need anyone to interpret it for me. I let my pride go and finally after not praying for so long, asked for forgiveness and insight.

    I personally feel that the best way to come to know God is first by not reading the Bible. Go outside, look around, investigate evolution, look at other paths and see what they have to offer. I did this and I found by and large that the "proof" of evolution is no more a fact than what people choose to believe. The Radio Carbon 14 dating that scientists love to use is somewhat flawed, considering it takes an estimated amount of time (no one really knows as no one has lived long enough to witness the event) for an isotope of carbon to break down. There are holes in the theory of evolution say some and some agree it's completely factual.

    Some quantum mechanics mathematicians will swear up and down that quantum mechanics supports the idea of intelligent design, whereas others say it doesn't.

    All in all it comes down to what you believe.

    For myself I came to the realization that I didn't need religion to believe in a Creator. I know enough about engineering, mathematics and such to know that evolution isn't correct (that is my own opinion and not a commentary on what anyone else thinks) and that life didn't happen by chance, nor that life is continually evolving. Mutation and adaption isn't evolution. Mutation is the physical change an animal undergoes, while still remaining in the same species. Adaptation is an animal doing likewise, although the process is less than perfect. evolution by definition is one animal changing into a completely different animal. A fish evolving into a human because it decided somehow it wanted to. For thousands of years humans have wanted to fly, yet not a one of us have ever begun to grow wings.

    I'm not condemning anyone else's beliefs. We all have free will to choose what is best for ourselves. My goal is to share what I know. If someone accepts it, that's fine. If they don't, that is fine with me also. It is not my intention to convert anyone or lord my knowledge (or perceived knowledge) or anyone else. I can't make you (nor would I try) believe something you don't want to believe. I share what I know and leave it at that, this is why when I see that a discussion is going nowhere, I no longer comment.

    I have very different views from the WTS. I believe that once someone comes to a knowledge of God and his son Jesus, they can throw their Bibles away, as the Bible is meant only to bring a person to them. Once they have what they need, a tutor is no longer required. I keep mine simply to refresh my memory. I talk about the Bible only in the interests of sharing what I believe to be true. If you don't agree, it's your choice. I'm not trying to force my opinions upon anyone.

    Peace Be With You,


  • designs

    Shelby, Stephen set another place someone's coming to dinner

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    In a famous passage, whose citation I am too lazy to access, Paul's speaks of being a fool for Christ. He talks how the world view's Christ's crucixion as a folly. Messiahs were to be all-powerful, charismatic nations and not leaders of fringe groups who end up executed by Rome as common criminals. He says the folly of the gospel is eternal life.

    The more I think about this thread I am more and more convinced that perhaps an earlier gospel existed that has not come to light. We are so dependent on reading that it is hard for me to realize that Homer's Odyssey and Iliad were recited from memory. Also,, a popular novel about Aztecs had chilling and interesting details about Aztec culture. Their specially trained reciters could go on for days, repeating things for word accurately. A priest once explained how we are so separate from the physicality of our bodies. New England farmers used to pick up a bunch of soil and predict weather conditions for the year. Today we've lost that skill with everything being analyzed chemically.

    Paul's teachings were so different from Judaism that I wonder. He could not have conceptualized these thoughts in a vacuum. Not knowing the Jewish philosophical trends of the period is limiting. Erik Erikson wrote Young Man Luther and discussed psychological aspects of conversion that would apply to Paul and Augustine. His conversion must have been triggered by some aspect of his temperament rather than only an incident on the road to Damascus. Only Paul sees the blinding light and hears the voice. Others present noticed nothing. It was so profound that his life was completely altered. I envy his single-mindedness and his devotion to certainty. Maybe converting to Christianity was comforting compared to inner conflict about condemning Christians. We don't linger on the hapless Christian martyrs he executed. Indeed, they are not even saints. They are nameless. He needed God's grace. If only I could be certain and feel God's grace rather than agreeing it is good in a rational way.

  • AGuest

    Greetings, dear Pistoff, and peace to you!

    while it is one thing to believe, it is another to say that the gospels were written by 65, they weren't, etc.

    My understanding is that some where and some weren't; however, I do not believe Paul's writings to BE "gospel." Paul simply wrote letters (often with other's help) to various congregations, often setting forth what HE believed they should/should not be doing, and sometimes setting forth what he received from the Holy Spirit (which was somewhat infrequent). I cannot speak to his intention for saying things like "some were given as teachers," in light of my Lord's words that only HE is our teacher. I have not heard as to that discrepancy; I have not asked, either. However, I did ask... and received a response... as to Paul's position as to the women at that time. And that's what I shared.

    There is no evidence that Jesus didn't rise? No evidence that the pot of gold does NOT exist either, but plenty of reasons to think it doesn't.

    For me, however, there is absolutely evidence that he did indeed rise: I hear him... and have seen him. As I've stated from the start, the things I share here with reference to him, the Father, the Body of Christ, the anointing, holy spirit, things that occurred and for what reason/under what circumstances... are not mine. I don't know these things in an of myself... and I often marvel at them, too. I marvel, though, because I KNOW it is NOT from me, and am blown away that all it takes is FAITH... versus trying to be perfect (in flesh and/or spirit).

    The sad thing is that a whole community rose up after Jesus' death who lived a close knit reality, and along comes Paul and builds, not on the idea of community, but on the tired old model of the murdered and risen god/son, a COMMON theme in religions of the day.

    Yes, but those themes originated LONG before there were separate religions. They were foretold even before language fragmented. So, there is no reason to wonder why there are some similar tales, myths, and truths... among ALL religions. Every religion that exists came OUT of one before it... and each one took that which its founder believed... and left that which he/she/they rejected. Every one of them.

    By the end of no less than 300 years, a religious structure was built that made the excesses of other religions pale by comparison.

    Yes, but even that was foretold - that wicked men would arise FROM AMONG the christians. I mean, it's not like the congregagtion was closed and protected from such a thing.

    Jesus impaled religious structure and in place hierarchy; Paul and those writing in Paul's name over many decades went to work erecting their own structure and hierarchy.

    I agree... and this often caused divisions. BUT... if you read Paul IN SEQUENCE... you will see that he realized his error and tried to correct it. That there are those who came after that chose to go with the more oppressive teachings, under the guise of needing "order" is his fault only to the extent that he made mistakes at first. If such chose to pick and choose which of his letters to include in the Bible canon... and such choices were those letters that could be used in this was... I am not sure he can be blamed.

    I believe Jesus was real, and that many of his sayings were genuinely original and inspiring; the rest is a construction by those who could not accept his death and those who took comfort, not in challenging and seeing through hierarchy but in building their own.

    I can see where that might make sense. If what has occurred with me had not, I would be inclined to agree with you. As it is, however, what has occurred has in fact occurred... and I would be lying if I said it didn't. Considering all of the lies I bought... and told... on behalf of the WTBTS, I can no longer do that. These days, I endeavor to speak the truth... REALLY speak the truth... and it BE the truth... regardless of what others think of me. While in the WTBTS, a LOT of what I spoke was NOT true... and even after I began to realize that I still spoke it... because I knew others would have a "problem" if I didn't. No more. I do not ask anyone to believe me. I do not share it in the hopes that they will. I do it to work out my own salvation and that of MY household. Now, some may go, "Hmmmmm..." and that's all well and good. But if they DON'T, it's no skin off my teeth.

    It was and IS skin off my teeth, however, if I lie... simply to make others happy... or ease THEIR minds... or appease their need to believe whatever it is they do or don't believe. Or lied... to help others mislead others. Which I once was a part of. But no more. The pure language of truth doesn't allow it. It is not concerned with what others think; it is concerned with one thing... speaking truth... and doing so in love... whether others hear or refrain.

    Again, I bid you peace!

    A slave of Christ,


  • TD

    Imagine a person who represents themself as intimately familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King, but not only refrains from telling you a single material detail about the man, but the rest of their story contains more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese.

    Would it be wrong to regard that person's claim with a great deal of skepticism? This question isn't to suggest that absence of evidence is the same thing as evidence of absence, (As the saying goes) but by the same token, post hoc explanations and speculative excuses for why reasonable standards of evaluation should not and would not apply to this person all fall into the catagory of special pleading.

    Paul doesn't give us any material details about Jesus' birth, life and ministry even in a book like Romans that cries out for it. Okay, let's set that aside. We've beaten that horse to death.

    Paul tells us that he was a Pharisee and "a son of Pharisees" (Acts 23:6) Yet Saul of Tarsus was murderously opposed to the early Christians, (Acts 8:3) which is very much at odds with the claim of being a Pharisee.

    First, the Pharisees were not a violent sect. They had a long history of shying away from the death penalty and recommending leniency even when it hurt them to do so. (Antiquities Bk. XII,X,6) Take Gamaliel for example. He was the grandson of Rabbi Hillel himself. You're not going to find a more important and influential Pharisee in the entire Bible. Stop and think about the fact that Paul explicitly claims to have studied the Law at the feet of this man. (Acts 22:3) Now contrast Gamaliel's counsel at Acts 5:34-40 with the concept of Saul as the murderous Pharisee. Your BS meter should go off the scale!

    Even more perplexing is the fact that prior to Paul's arrival on the scene, the Pharisees and the Christians did not have any substantial idealogical disagreement. Jesus quarreled with some of the Pharisees over how the Law should be kept, but there was never, ever a question over whether the Law should be kept.

    Jesus other contact with Pharisees is friendly. (Mark 12:28,34) It is the Pharisees that warn Jesus of Herod's intent to kill him (Luke 13:31) and the Pharisees consider Jesus acceptable dinner company, (Luke 7;36; 11:37; 14:1) despite the fact that they were forbidden to dine with anyone outside of their order. A number of early converts to Christianity were Pharisees (John 3:1; 7:50; 19:38,39) and before Paul came along, the line between Christian and Pharisee was apparently permeable enough that a Pharisee could become a Christian and still be a Pharisee. (Acts 15:5)

    What is especially ironic when you try to make sense of the idea of Saul as the murderous Pharisee is that the animosity that later developed between the Christians and Jews had nothing to do with either Jesus or Christianity prior to Paul (i.e. The Nazarenes) and everything to do with Paul (The alleged Pharisee!) and Christianity after Paul steered it onto a new course. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that Christianity prior to Paul was simply an acceptance of Jesus fused with a full adherence to the Law. The very earliest Christians were very supportive of the temple cult (cf. Acts 2:46; 21:24 Eusebius Hist. II.23)

    It's no surpirse then that those that actually did know Jesus and were closest to him were those that Paul was in idealogical disagreement with (Galatians 2:6) Paul's views on the Law, specifically the abrogation of the Torah were so incendiary even among the early Christians themselves that they directly contribute to his death. (Acts 21)

    Okay, let's set that aside. We're told that Paul was not content with persecuting the Christians in Jerusalem but went to the High Priest and asked for authorization to go to Damascus. (Acts 9:1) Here again, it's hard to keep the BS meter from going off the scale. Why Damascus? Why not Samaria or some other city in Judea? Damascus was not a Jewish city and at the time was not part of Judea. The High Priest would not have had jurisdiction and by extension neither would Paul. What is more, the High Priest would have been a Sadducee and if Paul had been a Pharisee, especially a Rabbi of Bet Hillel, would have had nothing to do with him.

    Okay, let's set that aside. A source of information about Paul that is dismissed by and large by Christianity is the Ebionites. They were familiar with Paul and from what is left of their writings, paint a very different picture of his life prior to conversion. They describe a Gentile born in Tarsus who moved to Jerusalem; converted to Judaism and attached himself to the High Priest as one of his henchmen. They describe a man with no Pharisaical background whatsoever.

    Okay, let's set that aside....

    On second thought, how many times are we justified in dismissing serious anomalies as of no real consequence and making up excuses out of thin air? I'm not trying to be the "turd in the punch bowl" here, but does the actual evidence we have count for nothing?

  • Balsam

    I found the same thing when it comes to Paul, he is really the founder of Christianity as it is today and some of what he says doesn't even stand up to what Jesus is claimed to have said. He is main writer of the NT too so what does that say?

  • myelaine

    the apostle paul may not have quoted Jesus too much but his systematic theology is based on the concepts of OT types and he has imbued bible Jesus(for our "literary" education) with the power to defeat any and all anti-types...some may not "see" that as they bite the hand that feeds them.

    love michelle

    p.s. dear #7376...would THAT be an idle word?...matthew 12:36...37.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run


    Why would Paul make the claim to be a Pharisee? Everything I've read about them is positive, sans the New Testament.

    Would you save me from accessing wikipedia and comment on the ebionites. I studied with Elaine Pagels but she never mentioned them. There may have been time constraints.

    One thing I know is that I am Bible detail oriented. My Witness upbringing shows. I believe the larger picture is how do I conduct myself in light of these scriptures associated with my culture? Also, the Bible is such a source of almost everything I find meaningful in my culture. I don't see it has validity to other cultures. They can assert, as the terrorists do, that we must acknowledge their religion as true. Jews don't seem to care outside of their group. I find extraordinary beauty in the Bible. I wrote of The Last Temptation of Christ recently. Paul triumphed. His view of Christianity supplanted other viewpoints. In large measure, it doesn't matter whether he was accurate. I do notice similar stories and saying running through the canonical gospels and gnostic gospels. The interpretation is different but the core stories are the same. What does it mean to me?

    Rather than posting here, why don't I go to the ballet or listen to the Beatles. The Beatles were my line in the sand against Witness pollution. John Lennon, adored by millions upon millions, was the antiChrist to my father. They mean vastly more to me than being the Beatles.

    I've spent my whole life searching for something after the Witnesses. My last project was trying to learn Koine Greek when I am very bad at languages.

  • AGuest
    At Passover an empty chair is set aside for the Prophet Elijah to come and annouce the Messiah,

    That's because the scribes of that day did not recognize his spirit when he came, dear designs (peace to you!), and so, could not relate it so that those Jews of today who deny it... still deny it.

    and annouce the Messiah

    "Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John; and if YOU want to accept it, He himself is ‘E·li´jah who is destined to come.’ Let him that has ears listen." Matthew 11:11-15

    "... the disciples put the question to him: “Why, then, do the scribes say that E·li´jah must come first?” In reply he said: “E·li´jah, indeed, is coming and will restore all things. However, I say to YOU that E·li´jah has already come and they did not recognize him but did with him the things they wanted. In this way also the Son of man is destined to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples perceived that he spoke to them about John the Baptist." Matthew 17:10-13

    Jesus is welcome to show up anytime he wishes....

    He did, once before... yet, they did not recognize... or receive... him, either. But, he will again, dear one, this time with Elijah himself.

    2000+ years and waiting

    As, apparently, are the Jews... yet, for an even longer period. Almost twice as long, actually (I mean, if we're counting time...).

    Not sure how you can ridicule christians on this note, dear designs, without ridiculing Jews. I mean, I'm just saying...

    Again, peace to you!

    A slave of Christ,


  • Midget-Sasquatch


    There's no denying that Paul definitely had zero credibility among the earliest Jewish Christians. And you've listed some thought provoking inconsistencies about the biography of Saul, that should make us skeptical of the Paul presented to us by the NT.

    James the Just was leading a movement that almost certainly was apocalyptic, and Josephus wrote that James was very popular with the Jewish people. Many of them were against the establishment (i.e Sadduccees).

    I'm not sure if its Eisenman or not, but I recall reading someone's suggestion, that Saul of Tarsus may have been Herodian and had a vested interest in subverting the anti Roman movement in Judea. He put his own spin on the movement, co-opting it from James and turning it into something that was not going to be an immediate revolutionary threat to Herod and the Sadduccees.

    Band to Run

    The Ebionites were described by later writers as being a sect of Christians that still believed they should keep Torah. "Ebion" deriving from the word for "poor". Likely that they considered themselves "The Poor" in that they didn't focus on material things, status, priviledged living etc. The later writer mocked the meaning of "Ebion" and said they were "poor" spiritually.

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