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Zzyzx
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 10:16 am  Questioning Paul/Saul Reply with quote

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A great deal of the New Testament (31% of the total and thirteen of the twenty seven books of the New Testament) is attributed to Paul/Saul. He was apparently a (or the) driving force / originator of early Christianity and a mainstay of modern Christianity.

However, there are reasons to question the truth and accuracy of what his writings.

First, Christian scholars and theologians are in general agreement that some epistles attributed to Paul/Saul were actually written by others.

Quote:
There is wide consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. [b]Several additional letters bearing Paul's name lack academic consensus, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether Ephesians and Colossians are the letters of Paul; however, the remaining four–2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles–have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles

Thus, seven (about half) are deemed authentic Paul/Saul, four are generally considered pseudepigraphical (written by others and falsely assigned) and two are disputed.

Second, Paul/Saul himself said VERY little about the “vision” (“conversion”) and did NOT describe the event. All he said was:

Quote:
In the Pauline epistles, the description of the conversion experience is brief. The First Epistle to the Corinthians[9:1][15:3-8] describes Paul as having seen the risen Christ:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
— 1 Cor. 15:3–8, NIV

The Epistle to the Galatians also describes his conversion as a divine revelation, with Jesus appearing to Paul.
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
— Galatians 1:11-16, NIV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle#Pauline_epistles

Detailed accounts of the “vision” were written by the author of “Acts of the Apostles” attributed to Luke (whoever that may have been). Acts 9:3–9, –  Acts 9:13–19. That is a second-hand account by a person whose identity is unknown to or disputed by scholars and theologians – and who cannot be shown to have personal knowledge of the event (only what he was told by others) – AND who was writing decades or generations after the claimed event.

Christianity is heavily dependent upon the “vision” tale being true. If it is not, much of Christianity is based upon a false / fictional / imaginary event – that was NOT described by the supposed participant.

Questions for debate:

1. Why believe the “vision” tale?

2. Why believe anything said by or about Paul/Saul?

3. Are there additional reasons to question the authenticity / veracity of Paul/Saul?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 21: Mon May 23, 2016 4:12 am
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[Replying to post 19 by Monta]

Probably a typo. He probably meant 'fundie'. B and N are right beside each other on the keyboard.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 22: Mon May 23, 2016 4:43 am
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Re: Questioning Paul/Saul

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liamconnor wrote:



I see no reason why either should be judged as more rational than a neutral approach which assesses the veracity of each document on its own merits by applying methods and criteria appropriate to the discipline--that indeed is how historians of other topics approach their data.

If historical methodology is not sufficient for you, that is fine. But it does not mean the rest of us are irrational in accepting Paul's claim.


Liam - there is nothing at all wrong with applying historical methodology. This involves assessing the claim. It is of such amazing proportions that one would welcome lots of detail, but we don't have that directly from Paul. We can reasonably conclude SOMETHING happened (unless we simply dismiss the tale as a lie) but we are not compelled to accept the explanation given for the event. You seem to think we should. I don't know why.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 23: Mon May 23, 2016 7:09 am
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Zzyzx wrote:
First, Christian scholars and theologians are in general agreement that some epistles attributed to Paul/Saul were actually written by others.
I have no problem accepting that parts of the Epistles were written by other people. Even Paul suggests that he had to have some people write letters because writing for some reason proved difficult for him. If that is the case then one can assume that Paul approved what was written.

Zzyzx wrote:
If [the vision] is not [true], much of Christianity is based upon a false / fictional / imaginary event – that was NOT described by the supposed participant.
Christianity is actually based upon The Gospels and not upon Paul’s writings that are important but of lesser importance than the Gospels. I will agree that if the vision is false then Paul’s writings are suspect. That said, I don’t think they’re false so I’ve no reason to believe they’re suspect.

Zzyzx wrote:
Why believe the “vision” tale?
. . . because acceptance of the supernatural makes it fall well w/in the realm of possibility?? The same would apply to the other questions.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 24: Mon May 23, 2016 7:47 am
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JLB32168 wrote:



. . . because acceptance of the supernatural makes it fall well w/in the realm of possibility?? The same would apply to the other questions.


One may well accept the supernatural, but what you are accepting is a supernatural explanation of something that can easily have an ordinary explanation. It is one thing to say that you agree something happened; quite another to accept an explanation. The reason you do accept it is it is nice to believe in divine intervention in ordinary lives. It also adds purpose to life, so who can blame you for your acceptance?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 25: Mon May 23, 2016 8:02 am
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[Replying to rikuoamero]

Thanks*
I really thought it was a name for some sect or something..

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 26: Mon May 23, 2016 9:15 am
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Paul admits he deceives "for the sake of the gospel&quo

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19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. (NRSV 1 Cor 9:19-23)

Paul admits that he used deception to win converts. Deception is basically a lie.

Paul on The Second Coming 1 Thes 4 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.[j] 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

Claims that 1 Thes is a forgery. 2 Thes 2:1-2 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters,[a] 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.

A contradiction again. Who is lying?

Which is supposed to be inerrant and inspired scripture?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 27: Mon May 23, 2016 9:40 am
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marco wrote:
One may well accept the supernatural, but what you are accepting is a supernatural explanation of something that can easily have an ordinary explanation.
And because there can be a natural/ordinary explanation – such as grave robbing – I should accept it over the supernatural? If I did that then I would be an atheist.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 28: Mon May 23, 2016 10:26 am
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JLB32168 wrote:

marco wrote:
One may well accept the supernatural, but what you are accepting is a supernatural explanation of something that can easily have an ordinary explanation.
And because there can be a natural/ordinary explanation – such as grave robbing – I should accept it over the supernatural? If I did that then I would be an atheist.



This is an exceptionally mind-blowing question. Can you answer it for us? Indeed, why should anyone accept a natural/ordinary explanation over a supernatural one?

By this reasoning, why do you not accept ALL supernatural explanations over natural ones?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 29: Mon May 23, 2016 3:39 pm
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JLB32168 wrote:

marco wrote:
One may well accept the supernatural, but what you are accepting is a supernatural explanation of something that can easily have an ordinary explanation.
And because there can be a natural/ordinary explanation – such as grave robbing – I should accept it over the supernatural? If I did that then I would be an atheist.


RESPONSE: But an honest and correct atheist.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 30: Tue May 24, 2016 8:53 am
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Inigo Montoya wrote:
This is an exceptionally mind-blowing question. Can you answer it for us? Indeed, why should anyone accept a natural/ordinary explanation over a supernatural one?

I know several people who went to the Holy Mountain in Greece. There are monks there – thousands of them. Several of them possess the ability to be clairvoyant, that is, people who go there looking for spiritual answers have gone to introduce themselves to the monk and he tells them the answer to their question before they’ve even asked it. I’ve seen icons weep myrrh. I’ve seen the newpaper images of the Marian vision from 1968 that occurred in Zeitun Egypt where the authorities shut off all power to that quadrant of the city to determine who was causing the hoax, but who were shocked when the luminous figure didn’t disappear after the power had been cut.
I let facts inform my conclusions and in these cases the facts didn’t jibe with mere natural explanations; therefore, I concluded they are supernatural in nature.

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