Category Archives: Paul

True Message of Jesus Christ and Theology of Paul

It is a striking fact that Jesus never referred to himself as “God.” Equally remarkable is the New Testament’s use of the word “God”—in Greek qeoV theos —to refer to the Father alone, some 1325 times. Why this impressive difference in New Testament usage, when so many seem to think that Jesus is no less “God” than his Father? Sound theology begins with the creed to which Jesus subscribed in Mark 12:28-29 — the creed of Israel and the  “Good News” about the “Kingdom of God”:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”
[Deuteronomy;6:4, Mark;12:29]

Video

Matthew 22:37-40  

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Strangely enough leaving aside the clear mention of One God in Bible, some ambiguous verses are used to support Trinity; that Jesus Christ was Son of God, co-equal with God the Father and Holy Ghost. Paul the self declared 13th apostle of Jesus who never met him, claimed to see Jesus in a vision [Three conflicting narratives in Acts], with Satanic link (2 Corinthians 12:7). He also participated in persecution of followers of Jesus Christ, to become apostle of gentiles. He is considered architect of this deviation from original teachings of Jesus Christ to woe pagan Greco-Romans while incorporating  their pagans beliefs. The earliest writings in the New Testament are actually Paul’s letters, which were written about AD 50-60, while the Gospels were not written until the period AD 70-110. This means that the theories of Paul were already before the writers of the Gospels and coloured their interpretations of Jesus’ activities.

Paul, not Jesus, was the founder of Christianity as a new religion which developed away from both normal Judaism and the Nazarene variety of Judaism. In this new religion, the Torah [Law] was abrogated as having had only temporary validity. The central myth of the new religion was that of an atoning death of a divine being. Belief in this sacrifice, and a mystical sharing of the death of the deity, formed the only path to salvation. Paul derived this religion from Hellenistic sources, chiefly by a fusion of concepts taken from Gnosticism and concepts taken from the mystery religions, particularly from that of Attis. The combination of these elements with features derived from Judaism, particularly the incorporation of the Jewish scriptures, reinterpreted to provide a background of sacred history for the new myth, was unique; and Paul alone was the creator of this amalgam. Jesus himself had no idea of it, and would have been amazed and shocked at the role assigned to him by Paul as a suffering deity.
A critical reading of Bible with all the insertions and corruption one can still reveal the real monotheistic teachings of Jesus Christ and Jewish prophets. Some verses are referred here to clear the mist.
Monotheism in Bible:
The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. The miracles and signs by the messengers and prophets were enough to satisfy the followers. However even then immediately after coming out of Egypt under miraculous circumstances, the Israelites indulged in the worship of calf.  He who disbelieves the truth of God, is spoken of as one devoid of understanding: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”(Psalms;14:1). The First Commandment declared in the Old Testament as well as New Testament states the Oneness of God (Deuteronomy;6:4, Mark;12:29);“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”(Deuteronomy;32:4). The infinite nature of God is indicated explicitly: “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” (Ehyeh asher ehyeh)…”(Exodus;3:13-14). So when Moses asks who he is, God replies in effect: ‘Never you  mind who I am!’ Or ‘Mind your own business!’ There was to be no discussion on God’s nature and certainly no attempt to manipulate him as pagans sometimes did when they recited the names of their gods. Yahweh is the Unconditioned One: I shall be that which I shall be. He will be exactly as he chooses and will make no guarantees.
God’s attributes are spoken of by some as ‘Absolute’, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and Relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into ‘Communicable’, i.e. those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc; and ‘Incommunicable’, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into ‘Natural Attributes’, eternity, immensity, etc.; and Moral, holiness, goodness, etc. The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses: “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”(Exodus;34:6-7).
Attributes of God:
In the Bible, God is declared to be; Eternal (Deutronomy;33:27; Psalms;90:2), Immortal (1Timothy;1:17;6:16), Light (Isaiah;60:19; James; 1:17, 1John;1:5), Invisible (Job;23:8-9) Un-searchable (Job;11:7; 37:23;Psalms; 145:3; Isaiah; 40:28; Romans; 11:33), Incorruptible (Romans;1:23), Absolute sovereign (Daniel;4:25,35), Mighty (Job;36:5),Omnipotent (Geneses17:1; Exodus;6:3), Omniscient (Psalms;139:1-6; Proverbs;5:21), Omnipresent (Psalms;139:7; Jeremiah;23:23), Immutable (Psalms;102:26-27), Glorious. (Exodus;15:11; Psalms;145:5), Most High (Psalms;83:18; Acts;7:48), Perfect (Mathew; 5:48, Job;36:4; 37:16), Holy (Psalms;99:9; Isaiah;5:16), Just (Deutronomy;32:4; Isaiah;45:21), True (Jermiah;10:10), Upright (Psalms;25:8; 92:15), Righteous (Ezra;9:15; Psalms;145:17), Good (Psalms;25:8; 119:68), His being alone good.(Mathew;19:17), Incomparable(Isaiah;44:7; Jeremiah;10:7), Great(Psalms;86:10), Gracious (Exodus;34:6, Psalms;116:5), Merciful (Exodus;34:6-7), Long-suffering (Numbers;14:18; Micah;7:1), Jealous (Joshua;24:19; Nahum;1:2), Compassionate (2Kiings;13:23), None beside Him (Deutronomy;4:35; Isaiah; 44:6), None before Him (Isaiah;43:10), None like to Him (Exodus;9:14; Deutronomy;33:26; 2Samuel;7:22; Isaiah;46:5,9), Fills heaven and earth (1Kings;8:27; Jeremiah;23:24). Should be worshipped in spirit and in truth. (John;4:24), A consuming fire (Hebrews;12:29). His being alone possessed of foreknowledge (Isaiah;46:9-11). His being the sole object of worship in heaven and earth.(Nehemia;9:6; Mathew;4:10).His being the only Saviour. (Isaiah;43,11, 45:21-22). His being the only source of pardon.(Micah;7:18; Mark;2:7),Universal (Job;28:24; Daniel;2:22; Act;15:18), Infinite (Psalms;147:5; Romans;11:33), Wonderful, Beyond human comprehension (Psalms;139:6), and Underived. (Job;21:22; Isaiah;40:14). The idol worship is condemned in the Old Testament“(Exodus;20:3-5, Deuteronomy;5:7-9).
Mistranslation & Misinterpretation of Hebrew, Greek Terms:

Son of God:

The word ‘son’ cannot be accepted literally because in the Bible, God apparently addresses many of his chosen servants as ‘son’ and ‘sons.’ The Hebrews believed God is One, and had neither wife nor children in any literal sense.  Therefore, it is obvious the expression ‘son of God’ merely meant ‘Servant of God’; one who, because of faithful service, was close and dear to God as a son is to his father.
Christians who came from a Greek or Roman background, later misused this term.  In their heritage, ‘son of God’ signified an incarnation of a god or someone born of a physical union between male and female gods.  This can be seen in Acts 14: 11-13, where we read that when Paul and Barnabas preached in a city of Turkey, pagans claimed they were gods incarnate.  They called Barnabas the Roman god Zeus, and Paul the Roman god Hermes.
Furthermore, the New Testament Greek word translated as ‘son’ are ‘pias’ and ‘paida’ which mean ‘servant,’ or ‘son in the sense of servant.’ These are translated to ‘son’ in reference to Jesus and ‘servant’ in reference to all others in some translations of the Bible.  So, consistent with other verses, Jesus was merely saying that he is God’s servant.
WHY DIDN’T JOHN THE BAPTIST BECOME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, SON OF GOD?If John knew that Jesus was the son of God, why didn’t he become a disciple of Jesus? And why didn’t all, or even most, of John’s disciples become Jesus’ disciples? Most of John’s disciples remained loyal to him, even after his death, and a sect of his followers persisted for centuries.
The gospel writers could not ignore it because John’s followers and other Jews who knew of Jesus’ baptism were using the fact of his baptism to challenge the idea that Jesus was the sinless son of God. The gospel writers went to great pains to invent events that showed John as being subordinate to Jesus.

Jesus himself said “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10).
SALVATION THROUGH FAITH NOT WORKS:
Paul teaches that the gift of salvation through grace occurs apart from any behavioral requirement: Romans 3:28: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Paul reiterates this position in: Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5 — the first Bible writer to make the claim that salvation occurs apart from actions, which Paul repeatedly emphasizes.

Paul is specifically rebutted by the later writing of James (brother of Jesus) who offers one of the most striking and dramatic direct contradictions, in James 2:24, choosing vocabulary and syntax that specifically contradicts Paul’s wording in Romans 3:28 in both content and construction:

Lord:

The word “Lord means Master or Sir, it is a famous title for the Peers, for example “Lord Chancellor, Lord justice Bingham. In Britain, you adress a judge or Peer as my Lord” ( Cambridge International Dictionary of English)
This was what meant by Paul calling him lord: yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him. (1 Cor 8:5), so Paul separated between the two words God and Lord because he meant that Father is the only God to be worshipped other than false gods, and Jesus (Peace be upon him) the only master to be followed other than false prophets, this was also meant by saying “through whom are all things, and we through him. ” because he is the prophet whom they get their religion through him.
Even there are some English translations which sometimes use the word Master instead of Lord.
For example in John 5:7, CEV and LITV uses the word lord instead of Sir or Master, in John 13:36 YLT and WNT use the words Master or Sir instead of Lord.
The title “Lord” is used of many people in the Bible not just God and Jesus. The Hebrew word Adoni refers to “lords” that are not God, while another word, Adonai, refers to God. Reference to men: my lord, my master:
(a) Master: Ex. 21:5 (Covenant code) Gen. 24:12+, 44:5 (J, 20t.), 1 Sam. 30:13,15; 2 Kings 5:3,20,22; 6:15;
(b) Husband: Gen. 18:12 (J);
(c) Prophet: 1 Kings 18:7,13; 2 Kings 2:19; 4:16,28; 6:5; 8:5;
(d) Prince: Gen. 42:10 (E), Gen. 23:6,11,15 (P), Gen 43:20; 44:18+ ; 47:18, + (J, 12t.); Judges. 4:18;
(e) King: 1 Sam. 22:12+ (S&K 75t.);
(f) Father: Gen. 31:5 (E);
(g) Moses: Ex. 32:22; Num. 11:28; 12:11; 32:26,27 (J); Num. 36:2 (2x) (P);
(h) Priest: 1 Sam. 1:15, 26 (2x);
(i) Theophanic angel [an angel representing God]: Josh. 5:14; Judges. 6:13;
(j) Captain: 2 Sam. 11:11;
(k) General recognition of superiority: Gen. 24:18; 32:5+; 33:8+; 44:7+ (J 13t.), Ruth 2:13; 1 Sam. 25:24+ (15t.).(2). Reference to God: [adoni]. [Notice that now that word refers to God, it changes from the above form. The vowel under the “n” (the second letter from the left) has changed.].
More: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/articles/jesus-christ/lords-and-the-lord

Worship:

Also see: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/videos/can-we-worship-jesus-christ

The word worship throughout the Bible does not have one meaning. The Greek word of it is  proskunew proskuneo , according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary it means;to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):–worship”. Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that this word literally means to ‘kiss the hand of someone in token of reverence or to do homage.’ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, says that this word “denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to man . . . or to God.” In Bible times proskunew proskuneo often included literally bowing down before someone of high stature, the context clears the use of this word.  “Worship” [proskunewproskuneo] rendered to Jesus is not the same as worship which Jesus required his followers to render to God. Note that in Jesus’ parable at Matthew 18:26 the slave “worshipped” the king. Obviously this is not religious worship but an act of obeisance. Jesus as appointed king is worthy of obeisance. But Jesus HIMSELF said (again):
“Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10).
The  Christians we should listen to Jesus Christ to worship One God only!
The word “worship” in the following verses is not the same as religious worship given to God, it reflects reverence, respect:
Hebrews 1:6 (New Testament)- the angels worship Jesus Christ.
Only God is worshiped.
Matt. 2:2,11 – the magi who came to see the newborn Jesus came to worship Him.
Matt. 8:2 – a leper came to Jesus and worshiped Him without rebuke.
Luke 24:52 – as Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles worshiped Him.
John 9:38 – the blind man who was cured by Jesus worshiped Him.
Matt. 14:33 – the apostles who were in the boat worshiped Jesus without rebuke.
Matt. 28:9 – Jesus’ disciples took His feet and worshiped Him without rebuke.
Matt. 28:17 – Jesus’ disciples saw Him and then worshiped Him.
Mark 5:6 – the man with the unclean spirit ran to Jesus and worshiped Him.
Term “God” also used for prophets, judges
John 11:41-42
So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Psalms 82:6
“I said, “You are gods, All of you are sons of the Most High”.
Exodus 7:1
“See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

JESUS NOT GOD:
Proved through 90 verses from Bible:
Common Verses quoted to suport Trinity-Explained: The following are clear explanations of the verses in the Bible that Trinitarians have sometimes used in attempts to “prove” the Trinity and to substantiate that Jesus is God. Since there are an overwhelming number of very clear verses about Jesus Christ’s identity and his distinction from God, and since God’s Word has no contradictions, these comparatively few verses must fit with the many clear verses, and they do.  http://www.BiblicalUnitarian.com/verses 
Jews Allegation against Jesus Claiming Divinity: John 10:32-33 but ignore 34-35Christians frequently quote John 10:32-33 that Jesus accepted to be claiming divinity. They just stop at 33, do not mention Jhon10:34-35, with Psalms 82:6.
HERE IS TRUE CONTEXT:
John 10:31
The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.
32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”…

JOHN 10:34-35
Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS ‘?
35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
NOW HERE JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF MARY IS REFERRING TO JUDGES, WHO WERE CALLED GOD, AT
PSALMS:82:6
I said, “ You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.

It may be noticed that Jesus Christ is clearly refuting allegations of Jews, that he claim to be God, because even the judges, who recieved words of God were called God, and that scripture is not broken or violated.
Does the Bible ever refer to Jesus Christ as “God”? http://www.BiblicalUnitarian.com/videos/does-the-bible-ever-refer-to-jesus-christ-as-god
Rebuttal to common claims of divinity of Jesus Christ :

 

Divinity of Jesus – 15 Most Common Claims – An… by Peace-Forum

Jesus Christ: A Jewish prophet:
Jesus Christ was a Jewish prophet for the Jews; his teachings conform to the Jewish monotheism as recorded in Old & New Testament:
Matthew 15:24
But he answering said, I have not been sent save to the lost sheep of Israel’s house.

God made everything alone:

God’s people were not left in the dark about the Plan and purpose of the Almighty, who had made everything alone (Isa. 44:24; Job 9:8) , was executing for the benefit of His creation.

God Redeemer, Compassionate and Gracious:

Isaiah 44:24  Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb: I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who stretches forth the heavens alone; who spreads abroad the earth (who is with me?)
Job 9:8  Who alone stretches out the heavens, Treads on the waves of the sea;
The character of the God of creation was summed up in His divine Name which revealed Him as “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abundantly kind and faithful.”
Exodus 34:6  Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,

Jesus was created lower than Angels:

Jesus was a creation of God.  Anything created by GOD, becomes His creation including Jesus according to Colossians 1:15 and 1 Corinthians 15:28, therefore created things do not deserve worship and this clearly leads to idol worshipping according to the Bible.
Bible says Angels are not worthy of worship and claims Jesus was created lower than angels which confirms Jesus does not deserve to be worshipped:
But he (the Angel) said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brother’s the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!” [Revelation 22:9]
What about someone who is lower than the Angels ?!!
”But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor…” [Hebrews 2:9]
It is clearly shown from the Bible itself that Jesus was the creation of GOD and how he was created. Worship the creator not the created Jesus.
Romans 1:21-25
Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.
Do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’(GOD) for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. [Matthew 23: 9]
There is one God, the Father (1 Cor. 8:6), the one God of the creed of Israel affirmed by Jesus Christ (Mark 12:28). The Father is “the only true God” (John 17:3).

Master, Slave relationship:

Knowing God has to do with knowing him and having a relationship with HIM, BY OBEYING HIM, SUBMITTING YOU WILL TO HIM as Jesus Christ said:
“Your will be done,” [Matthew 6:9–13]. He did not say “My will be done”. Relationship between The Creator [God] and Creations [Like Human] is like Master with slave, that’s how Jesus said: Your will be done”.
Jesus referred to himself as “”God’s Son”” or “”the Son of God.”” (John 10:36; 11:4) Jesus never identified himself as Almighty God.
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only”[Mathew;4:10]
Jesus prayed to God. (Matthew 26:39)
While teaching his followers how to pray, Jesus said:
“”Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.””—Matthew 6:9.
Jesus said: “”Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.””—Mark 12:29; Deuteronomy 6:4.
John 18:20
Jesus answered him, I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always met; and in secret have I said nothing.
John 13:16
Most assuredly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him.
John 14:28
‘I am going to my Father;’ for the Father is greater than I.
John 20:17
Jesus said to her, “Don’t touch me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Matthew 23:9-10
Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ.
Luke 22:42-43
saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him.
John 5:37
The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.
John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
1 Cor 8:5
Paul said: “yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him”
1 Corinthians 15:27-28
For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Miracle
Jesus Christ performed many miracles which are presented as a proof that he was God. Miracles are performed by messengers of God with the power of God. Many prophets performed miracles similar to Jesus Christ but no one ever considered them to be God.

Raising the dead:

Jesus Christ performed the miracle of raising the dead, healing sick. Ezekiel raised thousands of dead people (Ezekiel 37:1-14), is Ezekiel God?
Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24). Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman 2 Kings 4:35.
A dead man comes back to life when he touches Elisha’s bones: Kings 13:21.
Jesus said:  “By myself I can do nothing” (Matthew 5:30), This was proved when he raised Lazarus in John 11. Healing of leprosy patient :  2 Kings 5:10-14.

Passage through water:

SEA was DIVIDED at just the right moment; the nation of Israel passed through on DRY GROUND. The sea then violently consumes the Egyptian army. (Ex. 14:21-31)
The JORDAN DIVIDED, so that Israel passed over dryshod near the city of Adam (Josh. 3:14-17)
Jordan divided by Elijah and Elisha near Jericho (2 Kings 2:7, 8, 14)

Accession to Heaven:

I (Jesus) ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to MY GOD and your God. [John 20:17]
Isaiah,  Levi, and Ezekiel as revealed in the documents, “Ascension of Isaiah”, “Testament of Levi” and the Book of Ezekiel  One can read these documents which relate the so-called experiences (or visions) of “heaven” undertaken  by them and related to their community on their return to earth, as it were.
John 3:13 : No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.
John 6:38: For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
According to the Bible, Enoch and Elijah are the only two people God took to heaven without them dying.
Genesis 5:24 tells us, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
2Kings 2:11 tells us, “Suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”
Enoch is described as a man who “walked with God for 300 years” (Genesis 5:23). Elijah was perhaps the most powerful of God’s prophets in the Old Testament. There are also prophecies of Elijah’s return (Malachi 4:5-6).

Melchizedek with no beginning no end:

” . . . even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).  And, “Your throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2)
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.… [Hebrews 7:1-4]
John 6:42:  They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
JONAH SURVIVED IN THE FISH’S BELLY. Safely landed (Jonah 2:1-10)—How could Jonah survive three days in the belly of a “whale”? Answer

Glory:

John 17:22
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one”
Dr Constable, a Christian commentator says on this verse: Jesus did not mean that He and the Father were the same person of the Godhead. If He had meant that, He would have used the masculine form of the word translated “one” (Gr. heis). Instead He used the neuter form of the word (Gr. hen). He meant that He and the Father were one in their action. This explanation also harmonized with the con**** since Jesus had said that He would keep His sheep safe (v. 28) and His Father would keep them safe (v. 29). (Dr. Constable’s Notes on John, p.169-170)

Jesus Christ not the first one to forgive sins:

Isaiah 33:24
“No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.
Notice also that Jesus Christ said “your sins are forgiven” NOT ” I forgive your sins”, he referred forgiving sins to unknown which is inevitably God, he didn’t refer it to himself.

Word was with God

John 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
There is a mistranslation to this verse, the first “God” in this verse is “hotheos” in Greek origin which means God (with capital G), while the second is “tontheos” which is supposed to be translated into god (with small g), and of course there is a big difference between both words , since God means Jehovah of the Old Testament, while the word god, means a god for pagans which is not meant in this verse, or god which means master as told about Moses in Exodus 7:1″ And Jehovah said to Moses, “See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh. And Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.” Or Psalms 82:6 “”I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ (Psalms 82:6)”

God Is a Trinity?

Image result for 3 faced jesus
“The impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th-century invention. In a sense, this is true . . . The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century.”— [New Catholic Encyclopaedia (1967), Volume 14, page 299]
“The Council of Nicaea met on May 20, 325 [C.E.]. Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed . . . the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council, ‘of one substance with the Father.’ . . . Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination.” [Encyclopaedia Britannica (1970), Volume 6, page 386]
What does the Bible say?
The First Commandment declared in the Old Testament as well as New Testament states the Oneness of God (Deuteronomy;6:4, Mark;12:29).
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me.” [Deut. 32:39]
“I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images.” [Isaiah 42:8]
“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” [Isaiah 44:6]
“You are my witnesses,” says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there by any after me. I, I am the Lord and besides me there is no saviour.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]
“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” This can be found in the Gospels of (Matthew 4:10) and (Luke 4:8) both in the Bible.
Jesus clearly states that only God is to be worshipped and his inferiority to God.
Jesus told them, “but I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. These places belong to those for whom my Father has prepared them.” (Matthew 20:20-23)
“Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘Look! I can see heaven thrown open,’ he said, ‘and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’”—Acts 7:55, 56, The New Jerusalem Bible.

What did this vision reveal? Filled with God’s active force, Stephen saw Jesus “standing at God’s right hand.” Clearly, then, Jesus did not become God again after his resurrection to heaven but, rather, a distinct spiritual being. There is no mention of a third person next to God in this account. Despite attempts to find passages of Scripture to support the Trinity dogma, Dominican priest Marie-Émile Boismard wrote in his book À l’aube du christianisme—La naissance des dogmes (At the Dawn of Christianity—The Birth of Dogmas): “The statement that there are three persons in the one God . . . cannot be read anywhere in the New Testament.” or Old Testament:

Is the Trinity in Genesis?

Most Christians believe in the church doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Many cite three passages in the book of Genesis as their primary Old Testament (OT) support for the Trinity: Genesis 1.26; 3.22; 11.7. And they often refer to them when asserting that Jesus preexisted. These texts are as follows:

1.26 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’”
3.22 “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become as one of Us, knowing good and evil’”
11.7 “And the LORD said,… ‘Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language’”

In all three instances God is the speaker, whom Christians view as God the Father. But none of these narratives identify the “Us.” Many Trinitarians have claimed the “Us” are the other two members of the Trinity: the preexistent Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The four primary interpretations of the words “us” and “our” in Genesis 1.26 are as follows:
(1) most Jews have interpreted them as God’s communication to a special group of angels who gather around God’s heavenly throne and constitute his royal court or council;
(2) post-Nicene church fathers understood God the Father to be speaking to the other two members of the Trinity;
(3) many commentators have regarded these words as a plural of majesty, which allows for Trinitarian belief but does not necessitate it;
(4) God’s addresses himself. How one interprets this text usually determines how one treats the others, so that all three passages are interpreted the same.

The “Us” in Genesis 1.26 cannot be the supposed other two members of the Trinity because it says God made man in his image. If God is a Trinity of Persons, then man, being made in God’s image, would have to be tri-personal as well. Since man is a uni- personal being, God must be a uni-personal being. The closest man ever comes to being tri-personal is schizophrenia, a mental disorder which does not reflect God.

The word translated “God” in the Hebrew Bible is elohim, the plural of eloah. Elohim is often shortened to the proper name El. Elohim occurs about 2,570 times in the OT, either as a common noun or as a divine name. Most past Trinitarians insisted that elohim, being plural, indicates that God subsists as a plurality of persons.

Jewish and many contemporary Christian scholars disagree. They contend the plural word elohim merely indicates intensity, expressing the dignity or greatness of God. Jack B. Scott says most scholars insist that this “plural ending is usually described as a plural of majesty and not intended as a true plural when used of God. This is seen in the fact that the noun elohim is consistently used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular.” Then he cites antiquities authority William F. Albright, who claims that this plural of majesty was used commonly in the ancient Near East to express the “totality of manifestations of a deity.” Trinitarian F.F. Bruce says elohim is “a plural denoting God as including within Himself all the powers of deity.”

Besides, how could the most frequent word for God (except YHWH) in the Hebrew Bible accommodate a Gentile notion that God is three persons? That contradicts strict monotheism. And it seems presumptuous of Gentiles to tell Jews what Hebrew words mean. Few church fathers knew Hebrew, and their theology suffered from it.

Scripture attests that the Most High God meets regularly with a court of angelic advisors. The psalmist tells of “the assembly of the holy ones,” describing Yahweh as “a God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all those who are around Him” (Ps 89.5, 7). Job twice says of some angels, “the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD” to give an account of their activities (Job 1.6; 2.1). This hierarchy of delegated responsibility is like human government.

Since God regularly appoints angels to accomplish his will, perhaps he also involved them in creation. The Jewish Talmud states concerning God, “the Holy One, blessed be he, does nothing without consulting his heavenly court.” And the famed Sir Isaac Newton explained, “God does nothing by himself which he can do by another.”

Donald Gowan similarly remarks concerning Genesis 1.26 and 3.22:

There is no support in the OT for most of the proposed explanations: the royal “we,” the deliberative “we,” the plural of fullness, or an indication of a plurality of persons in the Godhead…. The only theory that uses the language of the OT itself is that which claims God is here addressing the heavenly court, as in Isa 6:8. That God was believed to consult with spiritual creatures in heaven is revealed by the scenes described in 1 Kgs. 22:19-22 and Job 1:6–2:6. Hence the consultative “we” has support from other texts, and it fits both the Gen. 1:26-27 and 3:22 on the assumption that Israel believed there were creatures in the heavenly realm (“the host of heaven,” 1 Kgs. 22:19) whose identity had something in common both with God and with human beings. The familiar objection that angels could not have participated in creation is a theological judgment about what is possible in heaven.

So, those to whom God spoke the words “us” and “our”—in Genesis 1.26, 3.22, and 11.2—probably were a special class of angels. Perhaps they were members of his royal council or “the seven spirits of God,” that is, “the seven angels who stand before God” (Revelation 1.4; 8.2), who probably are seven archangels. Regardless, the book of Genesis has no substantial evidence that they were two members of a supposed Trinity. Trinitarian Murray Harris states, “It would be inappropriate for elohim [God] or yhwh [Yahweh] ever to refer to the Trinity in the OT when in the NT theos regularly refers to the Father alone and apparently never to the Trinity.”

Jesus – A Prophet for Israelite not Gentiles:

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.’ [John 5:30]

Matthew 15:22-26
and lo, a Canaanitish woman, coming out from those borders, cried to him saying, Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is miserably possessed by a demon. But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came to him and asked him, saying, Dismiss her, for she cries after us. But he answering said, I have not been sent save to the lost sheep of Israel’s house. But she came and did him homage, saying, Lord, help me. But he answering said, It is not well to take the bread of the children and cast it to the dogs.

Matthew 10:5-6
Jesus sent these twelve out, and charged them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 7:6
“Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” [Mark 10:18]

 “And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3]
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” [Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32]
I (Jesus) ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to MY GOD and your God. [John 20:17]
Matthew 13:57
And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
John 4:44
Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
Matthew 21:11
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Luke 24:19
“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
John 6:14
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.
My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me [John 7:16]
The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me [John 14:24]
Now you seek to kill me, A MAN who has told you the truth that I heard from God [John 8:40]
The Father Himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak [John 12:49]
 “I live because of the Father” (John 6:57).
“So that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel” [Matthew15:31]
 And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor. [Matthew 13:57]

Jesus forewarned about False Prophets:

Matthew 7:15-20
Jesus Christ said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
Note: What could more evil fruit than the polytheist doctrine of Trinity based upon Greco-Roman pagan traditions to replace pure monotheistic Hebrew doctrine of One, Single God preached and practiced by all the prophets form Abraham, Jacob, Moses to Jesus Christ !

How They Are Deluded Away From the Truth

Proof that Christians are indeed deluded away from truth, even with reading their own Bible. All things are created by God, we are all his creation, there is a clear distinction between the Creator and the creation.
Worship none but one:
“Here, O Israel: The LORD our God is one Lord.” [Deut. 6:4]
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me.” [Deut. 32:39]
“I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images.” [Isaiah 42:8]
“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” [Isaiah 44:6]
“You are my witnesses,” says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there by any after me. I, I am the Lord and besides me there is no saviour.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]
“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” This can be found in the Gospels of (Matthew 4:10) and (Luke 4:8) both in the Bible.
Jesus clearly says that only God is to be worshipped.
Jesus told them, “but I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. These places belong to those for whom my Father has prepared them.” (Matthew 20:20-23)

Paul- The Founder of Christianity 

 

Paul –Scholars & Statesmen’s Perspective:

Image result for saint paul of tarsus

All that is good about Christianity stems from Jesus, and all that is bad about it stems from Paul.

Tom O’Golo, Christ? No! Jesus? Yes!, p.199
Paul distorted the original and true faith or claim that Christianity is, largely, his invention. The criticisms by Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell,  are based upon their moral objections to Paul’s thought.
The pejorative use of the expression “Pauline Christianity” relies in part upon a thesis that Paul’s supporters, as a distinct group, had an undue influence on the formation of the canon of scripture, and also that certain bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome, influenced the debates by which the dogmatic formulations known as the Creeds came to be produced, thus ensuring a Pauline interpretation of the gospel. The thesis is founded on differences between the views of Paul and the apostles in Jerusalem, and also between the picture of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles and his own writings, such that it is claimed that the essential Jewish or Old Testament character of the faith was lost (see Jewish Christian).
Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, believe Paul distorted Jesus’ teachings. Tolstoy claims Paul was instrumental in the church’s “deviation” from Jesus’ teaching and practices, whilst Hennacy believed “Paul spoiled the message of Christ.”
According to Tom O’Golo, the Ebionites believed Paul was a false prophet whose task was not to convert Romans to Christians but Christians to Romans.
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, wrote in the latter half of the 2nd century that the Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate from the law, using only a version of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, known as the Gospel of the Ebionites.
Tom O’Golo postulates several key elements were added by Paul to Christian theology that weren’t evident in Jesuism. These included:
·       Original sin
·       Making Jews the villains
·       Making Jesus divine
·       Transubstantiation of bread and wine into actual flesh and blood
·       Jesus’ death being seen as atonement for human sin
·       Shifting the emphasis from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom
·       Enlarging chosen people to include anyone who accepted Jesus as Saviour
·       Making salvation upon belief in Jesus regardless of demands of  Torah
·       Establishing a hierarchy (literally a holy order) to create and control a Church and more importantly to create and control the beliefs of its membership.

Paul & Satanic Connection:

Image result for saint Paul & Satanic Connection
Paul never actually met the historical Jesus, he is not mentioned among 12 disciples. The outcome of teachings of Paul is trinity, corruption of monotheistic teachings of Jesus Christ, an evil fruit against monotheistic teachings of Jesus Christ. Just consider following:
Devil tempted Adam, Eve got them out of gardens of bliss.
Devil tempted Jesus Christ but was rebuked: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[Matthew 4:10]
The disappointed Satan later got Paul in vision [as did David Koresh and Jim Jones] and possessed him.
* THE APOSTLE PAUL’S CONVERSION

Image result for apostle paul conversion

The dubious VSION of Paul and conversion story  is exposed in conflicting account at Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-10; 26:13-18; Gal. 1:15-17.
The Book of Acts contains three accounts of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. All of four  accounts contradict each other regarding what happened to Paul’s fellow travelers.

1. Acts 9:7 says they “stood speechless, hearing the voice…”

2. Acts 22:9 says they “did not hear the voice…”

3. Acts 26:14 says “when we had all fallen to the ground…”
4. Galatians 1:15-18  But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.

The Bible  says, in passages such as Num. 12:6, Deut. 18:20 and Ez. 13:8-9, that revelations come ONLY from God, and accounts of numerous disagreements between the other disciples and Paul regarding his teachings are recorded in Acts.

Some translations of the Bible (the New International Version and the New American Standard, for example) try to remove the contradiction in Acts 22:9 by translating the phrase quoted above as “did not understand the voice…” However, the Greek word “akouo” is translated 373 times in the New Testament as “hear,” “hears,” “hearing” or “heard” and only in Acts 22:9 is it translated as “understand.” In fact, it is the same word that is translated as “hearing” in Acts 9:7, quoted above. The word “understand” occurs 52 times in the New Testament, but only in Acts 22:9 is it translated from the Greek word “akouo.”

Paul confessed his devil connection: “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” [2 Corinthians 12:7]

“In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn’t do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn’t love his brother.”[ 1 John 3:10]
The case henceforth, is that Paul was sent a messenger of Satan, who is truly a messenger of God, to torment Paul. The tormenting could be bodily, of the mind or spiritually, perhaps even a combination of two or all three ailments. Paul received this messenger of Satan because he became prideful (self conceited), the use of the messenger was also to teach Paul grace. A Messenger of Satan was sent to teach Paul the true meaning of grace. Paul was unable to rid himself of this messenger of Satan, who remained with Paul and influenced/ tortured him as he preached and wrote Epistles, which are in today’s Bible.

Paul, under influence of Devil, changed teachings of Jesus about worship One God, to false pagan doctrines like Trinity. Paul was tried and punished to expatiate his sins of going against Law of Moses. Whole episode is narrated in Acts:21.

*  THE LORD’S SUPPER – INSTITUTED BY JESUS OR PAUL?

Image result for original passover meal

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper during the Passover meal (in John’s gospel the Lord’s Supper is not instituted – Jesus was dead by the time of the Passover meal).

In 1 Corinthians 11:23 the Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread…” Here Paul claims that he got the instructions for the Lord’s Supper directly from Jesus (evidently from one of his many revelations). Paul writes these words about twenty years after Jesus’ death, and had the church already been celebrating the Lord’s Supper he certainly would have been aware of it and would have had no need to receive it from the Lord. Some apologists try to play games with the text to make it seem like Paul actually received the instructions from the other apostles, but one thing Paul stresses is that what he teaches he receives from no man (Galatians 1:11-12).

Paul admits that he did not know Jesus during Jesus’ lifetime. He also says that his gospel was not taught to him by any man (Galatians 1:11-12)
. All of Paul’s theology is based on his own revelations, or visions. Like dreams, visions or hallucinations do not come from nowhere, but reveal what is already in a person’s subconscious. It is very likely that the source of most of Paul’s visions, and therefore most of his theology, is to be found in Mithraism. That we find Jesus at the Last Supper saying more or less the same thing Paul said to the Corinthians many years later is another example of the church modifying the gospels to incorporate the theology of Paul, which eventually won out over the theology of Jesus’ original disciples.

* THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JESUS’ AND PAUL’S GOSPELS

The gospel that Jesus and his disciples proclaimed to the Jews was in accordance with what the Old Testament predicted about a human Messiah reigning over a restored kingdom of Israel, a kingdom of peace and righteousness. The people of Israel were to repent as personal righteousness was necessary to become a member of the kingdom.

In contrast to Jesus’ gospel was the gospel preached to the Jews and gentiles by Paul, which Paul refers to as “my gospel” and “the gospel that I preach” to differentiate it from what was being proclaimed by the disciples. In Paul’s gospel the human Jewish Messiah became a divine saviour of all nations, the restored kingdom of Israel became a heavenly kingdom, and admittance to the kingdom was based on faith rather than personal righteousness.

The two gospels caused great animosity between Paul and the original apostles, an animosity that is played down in the books of Acts and Galatians, but which still shows through in several places. When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were scattered or killed, and the opposition to the gospel of Paul was largely eliminated. The gospel of Paul was incorporated into the gospel of Jesus, in many cases supplanting it.

On the critical religious matter of just what it takes to attain salvation, what Jesus teaches is very different than what is written in the words of the renegade “apostle” Paul.
When asked by a lawyer what the most important commandment in the law was, Jesus answered (as reported in Matt 22:36-40 and Luke 10:25-37) with references from the Old Testament, that the greatest law was to love god (see Deut 6:5) and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself (see Lev 19:18). In the Luke text, the lawyer specifically asks what is necessary for eternal life (verse 25) and after Jesus references the two great commandments, he says “This do and you will live” (verse 28) — showing clearly that salvation is related to works/deeds/ actions, however important faith might be to motivating such behavior.

* FAITH vis WORKS

Another time during his ministry, Jesus taught that the people who would go to heaven (be saved) must be as little children (Matt 18:4-5; 19:14; Mark 9:36-37; 10:14-15; Luke 18:15-17), while Paul wrote that maturity demands us to forsake the things of childhood (I Cor 13:11). Thus, while Jesus teaches us that the kingdom of heaven will be filled with those who lived their lives in active compassion and childlike innocence, Paul envisions a heaven of crusty, serious “mature” grouches who merely have to profess “acceptance” of Jesus without ever actually performing a single kind, compassionate, cheerful or childishly playful deed.

In his last public teaching, Matt. 25:31-45, Jesus describes the final judgment as being based solely on behavioral responses to internalized compassion. And Jesus makes it very clear that those who do express universal compassion in behavioral action will be saved, and those who do not will not be saved. Period. There is no other qualification.

Image result for faith and works quotes bible

Paul teaches that the gift of salvation through grace occurs apart from any behavioral requirement: Romans 3:28: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Paul reiterates this position in: Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5 — the first Bible writer to make the claim that salvation occurs apart from actions, which Paul repeatedly emphasizes.

Paul is specifically rebutted by the later writing of James (brother of Jesus) who offers one of the most striking and dramatic direct contradictions, in James 2:24, choosing vocabulary and syntax that specifically contradicts Paul’s wording in Romans 3:28 in both content and construction.
The passage from Paul comes near the end of the third chapter of Romans; immediately after that, opening up the fourth chapter, Paul cites the example of Abraham, and quotes from Genesis 15:6, and says it was Abrham’s faith, not his works, that justified him (Romans 4:1-3). In James 2:21-24 (the same passage noted above), Paul’s very example and scriptural reference are used against him, but with the opposite (and contradictory) conclusion, that Abraham was justified by the combination of faith with works. James’ use of the same examples, quotes from the same Old Testament verse (Gen. 15:6) using the same words, and parallel structure clearly suggest that this was an intentional reply/rebuttal to Paul.

* The Law of Moses:

Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who always upheld the Law of Moses. In his first public teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, he made it very clear in Matt. 5:18-19: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (“jot or tittle” in modern translations is “not one iota nor one dot”.) Have heaven and earth passed away? Have all the prophecies, including those of the last days, been fulfilled?

Even some of the occasions when Jesus seems to add to the Law or teach in new and different ways, he goes to great lengths to show that it is based on the Law. For example, when this rabbi asked by a “lawyer” (one versed in the Law of Moses) what was the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus turns the question back to him and asks what is in the Law, and from that extrapolates his great commandments to Love God (from Deut 6:5) and Love Neighbor as Self (from Lev. 19:18) which was clearly the centerpiece of his ministry and his doctrine of active love and compassion for all.

Paul, on the other hand, wants to throw out the Law of Moses! Romans 3:19-21: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.”

Image result for law of moses by jesus quotes bible

And even more explicitly, Paul states in Romans 6:14, that “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Additionally, when Paul denounces the need for compassionate actions, or which Jesus and others spoke so much, in Romans 3:27-28 and Galatians 2:16, he also specifically mentions which works: that obedience to the Law is what is not required, contrary to Jesus’ statements.

* THE ORIGINAL SIN?

Paul is the one who introduces the concept of original sin and the “inheritance” of sin, in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Why are we, in any way whatsoever, held “responsible” for the sins of Adam and Eve? How can a person be “guilty” of something they didn’t do, which in fact was done thousands of years before they were even conceived? How can there be an “inherited” moral flaw. Morality is a matter of “right and wrong,” not a physical, tangible object. In any case, how can you be responsible for something you had nothing to do with?

If my father and mother do something wrong, why do I get punished for that? What do their wrongs have to do with my sins? Talk about unfair!
One cannot imagine that a god could be called “just” who allows people to be punished for something they have no control over: the way they were born; i.e., the way god created them. Is sin a matter of moral character, or a birth defect? Should babies born with birth defects be punished? Should we require abortions for fetuses born deformed?

It is interesting to note that while Paul invents a theology of atonement based on the offering of Jesus as a human sacrifice for sin, Jesus explicitly rejects this doctrine. The gospel according to Matthew twice, in Matt 9:13 and Matt 12:7, states that Jesus said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (KJV). More modern translations, such as the RSV and NIV, update the archaic meaning of the word “will” and translate Jesus’ statements in both verses as: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”. This could not be a more explicit rejection of Paul’s later teaching.[Extract from Davis D. Danizier]

* Why Teachings of Paul became popular?

1. It is the easy way. Jesus requires you to actually transform your character and put it into action. Paul says, “Just have faith and believe” and you get a free gift, without ever having to actually DO anything — something for nothing; the easy way out; the lazy man’s way to salvation; the free ride.

2. As has been noted previously, Paul was wealthy, educated, and had the rare status of being both a Jew and a Roman citizen, affording him both the means and papers with which to travel. He was able to travel widely, throughout the entire Roman empire, converting gullible victims by the thousands, giving him extraordinary power, and all of them had their interpretation of what Jesus taught coming by way of Paul’s version, so it gained traction early.

3. The doctrine of salvation by atonement through the bloody human sacrifice of a sinless substitute originates from Paul. The God, Son of God was familiar concept to pagans of Roman empire, though fundamentally contradictory to the key principles taught by Jesus and his brother, James, yet it has become the core principle upon which evangelical Christian theology is founded.
Note: * Extracts from Davis D. Danizier articles

Jesus Rebukes followers, not adhering to his teachings:

“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” [Matthew 13:15]
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” [Matthew 7:26]
“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘And in vain they pay reverence [Greek sebomai sebomai, revere, worship, adore] to me as they teach doctrines of commandments of the sons of men.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”  [Mark 7:6-10]
“For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”[2 Corinthians 11:4]
John 14:23-24
Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me.
John 8:43-44
Why don’t you understand my speech? Because you can’t hear my word. You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Matthew 7:21-26:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Master, Master ‘ [Greek:kurios, master, as a respectful title, Lord, sir] will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will tell me in that day, ‘Master, master didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.“Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.
Please Leave false teachings of devil inspired Anti-Christ and follow the clear, unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ still available in Gospels:
‘ Hear, Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” [Mark; 12:29]
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“Let the people of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God has revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.” [Qur’an 5:47]
“Say: “O People of the Book [Jews and Christians]! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to God’s Will). “[Quran 3:64]
“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the IGNORANT [foolish]” [QURAN 7:199]
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He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him and they did not become divided until after knowledge had come them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord [postponing the penalty] until a specified time, it would have been concluded between them. And indeed, those who were granted inheritance of the Scripture after them are, concerning it, in disquieting doubt.
So to that [religion of God] invite, [O Muhammad], and remain on a right course as you are commanded and do not follow their inclinations but say, “I have believed in what Allah has revealed of the Qur’an, and I have been commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us are our deeds, and for you your deeds. There is no [need for] argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the [final] destination.”
(Quran;42:13-15)
“How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly he made it falsely; the pen of the scribes made it a lie.”[Jeremiah 8:8]. “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write misfortune which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from justice, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”[Isaiah 10:1-2]
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True Message of Jesus Christ   – The Kingdom of God:

The Kingdom of God (and its equivalent form Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew) is one of the key elements of the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Drawing on Old Testament teachings, the Christian characterization of the relationship between God and humanity inherently involves the notion of the “Kingship of God”. The Old Testament refers to “God the Judge of all” and the notion that all humans will eventually “be judged” is an essential element of Christian teachings. Building on a number of New Testament passages, the Nicene Creed [325 E.] indicates that the task of judgement is assigned to Jesus.
No overall agreement on the theological interpretation of “Kingdom of God” has emerged among scholars. Some scholars have interpreted it as a Christian lifestyle, some as a method of world evangelization, some as the rediscovery of charismatic gifts. Others relate it to no present or future earthly situation, but to the world to come. The interpretation of the phrase is often based on the theological leanings of the scholar-interpreter. A number of theological interpretations of the term Kingdom of God have thus appeared in its eschatological context, e.g., apocalyptic, realized or Inaugurated eschatologies, yet no overall consensus has emerged among scholars.
References for New Testament on Kingdom of God:

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Jesus commanded belief in that Gospel Message (Mark 1:14-15) in contrast to much modern evangelism which often ignores Jesus’ Message about the Kingdom of God:
Luke 4:43  But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also. For this reason I have been sent.”
Kingdom of God: Mt 6:33; Mr 1:14-15; Lu 4:43, “kingdom of Christ” (Mt 13:41; 20:21), “kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5), “kingdom of David” (Mr 11:10), “the kingdom” (Mt 8:12; 13:19), “kingdom of heaven” (Mt 3:2; 4:17; 13:41)
Mark 1:14-15:  Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News [Gospel] of the Kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News [Gospel]”
The term “Kingdom of God” does not appear in the Old Testament, although “his Kingdom” and “your Kingdom” are used in some cases when referring to God. However, the Kingdom of God (the Matthean equivalent being “Kingdom of Heaven“) is a prominent phrase in the Synoptic Gospels and there is near unanimous agreement among scholars that it represents a key element of the teachings of Jesus.
Interpretations:
Historically, the Church Fathers presented three separate interpretations of the Kingdom of God: the first (due to Origen in the 3rd century) was that Jesus himself represents the Kingdom. The second interpretations (also by Origen) is that the Kingdom represents the hearts and minds of the faithful captured by the love of God and the pursuit of Christian teachings. The third interpretations (influenced by Origen but brought forth by Eusebius in the 4th century) is that the Kingdom represents the Christian Church composed of the faithful.

Over the centuries a wide range of theological interpretations for the term Kingdom of God have appeared. For instance, in Catholic teachings, the official declaration Dominus Iesus (item 5) states that the kingdom of God cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church, for “if the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed.” Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that the Kingdom of God is present within the Church and is communicated to believers as it interacts with them. On the other hand, Jehovah’s Witnesses (who hold the kingdom of God as a central theme) believe that their door-to-door preaching is part of a “sign” before God’s kingdom destroys the world’s governments, to have God’s will done on earth.

In Islamic traditions Jesus Christ will return before end times, to prove that he is human not God, rule as just ruler under Quranic law, kill pigs, break the cross and convert Christians and Jews to the true faith of Islam. He shall die natural death as Muslim. This is fulfillment of his mission.

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Related:

God Need Not to Say, He is God:
Seen Me, Seen Father:
Thomas Said ‘My Lord My God’:
The Alpha and Omega:
Jesus asked to pray to him – John 14:14
The Pre-Existence of Christ- ‘I Am’:
One with God:
In the Beginning was the ‘Word’:
Logos:
Word’ As Command:
Son of God:
Expression: Son of God as Servant of God:
Son of Man & Son of God in New Testament:
Jesus Addressed as God, Father:
Metaphorical use of word ‘Father’ in Bible:
Jesus Addressed as Lord:
Jesus Called Rabbi:
Jesus Accepted Worship?
Jesus Preached to Worship only One God:
Jesus Performed Miracles
Jesus and The Prophesies of Isaiah:
Did Jesu preach Trinity & to Gentiles:
Did Jesus Claim to be God:  

Free-eBooks: http://goo.gl/2xpiv
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Paul suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

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According to 2 Corinthians 12:6-9, Paul, in the Bible says:
“But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:6-9.

”According to ‘Saint’ Paul, God sent a Messenger of Satan to teach him the reality of grace. If it is a Messenger from God,why then, does Paul call it a Messenger of Satan?

Since it is from God, shouldn’t it be a Messenger of God? Since Paul calls Messengers sent by Christ to teach him grace, Satan, and since Paul is tormented and Christ is unwilling to remove the ‘Messenger of Satan’, then we must conclude that Paul was a man possessed by some demon.

Devil tempted Adam, Eve got them out of gardens of bliss , tempted Jesus Christ but was rebuked:
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[Matthew 4:10]

The disappointed Satan later got Paul in vision [as did David Koresh and Jim Jones] and possessed him. The dubious VISION of Paul and conversion story  is exposed due to conflicting account at Act, chapters 9,22 & 26.

St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy:

A Research Article: “St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy” by D Landsborough was published in “Journal of Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry”. In the article Evidence is offered to suggest a neurological origin for Paul’s ecstatic visions. Paul’s physical state at the time of his conversion is discussed and related to these ecstatic experiences. It is postulated that both were manifestations of temporal lobe epilepsy. The article can be viewed at http://goo.gl/eCpz0v
It is embedded below:-


Videos:

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Paul converted by epileptic fit, suggests BBC:

A documentary about St Paul has infuriated Christians by suggesting that the apostle’s conversion on the road to Damascus may have been caused by an epileptic fit or a freak lightning bolt. In one of the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Paul was transformed from a zealous persecutor of Christianity into one of its most powerful advocates after being struck down by a blinding light. The documentary, presented by Jonathan Edwards, the athlete and evangelical. It challenges the belief that Paul’s conversion was caused by divine intervention by quoting scientists who link religious experience with epilepsy. It suggests that the Paul’s reference to an ailment which he described as “a thorn in the flesh, which acts as Satan’s messenger to beat me, and keep me from being proud” could be the condition.
Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, the neuroscientist who delivered this year’s Reith lectures, told the programme that patients who suffered seizures often had intense mystical experiences like Paul’s.
An even more bizarre theory, suggested by Dr John Derr, an American earthquake expert, is that Paul could have been struck by a bolt of electro-magnetic energy, similar to ball lightning, released by an earthquake.
The programme quotes scientists saying that such an event could have triggered what Paul would believe to be a mystical experience, as well as leaving him blind for several days. Paul’s conversion is thought to have occurred around AD 35, and his apostolic journeys took place from AD 47 until he was arrested in Jerusalem in AD 58. According to tradition he was beheaded in Rome.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1427916/St-Paul-converted-by-epileptic-fit-suggests-BBC.html

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Paul and Epilepsy-3

St Paul was born Saul of Tarsus at the beginning of the first century. He was a Jewish Pharisee who persecuted the Christians throughout his early life.7 At some point between the years AD31 and 36, while travelling from Jerusalem to modern day Syria, Saul experienced a dramatic event on the Road to Damascus:

“As he neared Damascus in the course of his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed round him; he dropped to the ground and heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you?” he asked. “I am Jesus” he said “and you persecute me. Get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do … ”. Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open he could see nothing; so they took his hand and led him to Damascus. For three days he remained sightless. “The key features of Saul’s experience were that he saw a bright light suddenly flash around him, he fell to the ground, he heard a voice, arose blind and remained sightless for three days. Following this experience Saul underwent a profound conversion to Christianity and became a key figure in the promotion of the new religion.

It has been suggested that the experience described by Saul is very much in keeping with an attack of TLE.  It is possible that the visual disturbance and the falling to the ground were ictal phenomena that are often seen in this form of seizure. It is important that, although Saul described flashes, he did not mention seeing any formed images during the experience. This is consistent with the visual hallucinations that occur in TLE and which differ from those of occipital lobe seizures where formed visual images occur. Although auditory hallucinations do occur in TLE, the conversation described is more elaborate than the simple voices that are commonly heard. However, the three biblical accounts of this particular experience are secondhand and were written by Luke rather than by Saul himself.  Although Saul is likely to have heard voices, Landsborough suggests that the full conversation was an embellishment of the actual voices he heard and that the details of the story were likely to have been altered over time. Additionally, postictal blindness is a rare but well-documented consequence of a TLE attack. In 1903, Ashby and Stevenson described blindness in children following TLE seizures. In all but one child, sight returned within days to weeks just as Saul’s blindness had done However, unlike the gradual resolution of blindness that would be expected, Saul’s blindness is said to have returned suddenly ‘like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again’. Again, it is difficult to know whether this inconsistency is due to an elaboration of actual events or whether Saul’s sight truly returned in such a dramatic fashion.

Taken alone, the single event on the Road to Damascus would be insufficient to diagnose epilepsy, which by definition requires the presence of recurrent seizure episodes. However, there are numerous other references to ‘a thorn in the flesh’ that plagued St Paul throughout his life. He often described how this thorn would visit him at inconvenient times and cause him great embarrassment in front of others. Although it is widely agreed that St Paul suffered from some sort of chronic illness, the exact nature of the ailment remains unknown but may well have been epilepsy.

In addition, religious ecstasy is a widely accepted feature of TLE. Dewhurst and Beard described six cases of religious conversions in TLE patients.15 Case 2 describes a young man who was taken to church regularly as a boy but whose interest in religion dwindled by the time he reached his twenties. Immediately after a TLE seizure at the age of 23, he suddenly felt ‘God’s reality and his own insignificance’ which compelled him to live his life since then as a devout Christian. The religious ecstasy associated with TLE may also have contributed to St Paul’s decision to devote his life to his faith.

It is important to stress that the diagnosis of epilepsy does not detract from the religious significance of Paul’s conversion. Religious scholars have embraced this diagnosis as evidence of a divine hand acting through physical means to achieve miraculous outcomes while others have argued that his experience was simply the result of a biological phenomenon. The evidence hitherto presented does not favour either argument and merely suggests that, regardless of the underlying reasons, epilepsy played a part in events that day on the Road to Damascus.
http://jmb.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/04/0967772013479757.full

Related:

The Original Sin

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

“…No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another…” (Quran 6:164)
None can reject that in these two verses, the first from the Quran and the second from the Bible, is an allusion to the same meaning: that the Just God will never punish people for the sins of others.

Christianity alleges that God created humans to live eternally in Heaven, and that when Adam ate from the tree from which he had been forbidden, God punished him through death and banishment from Heaven.  They further assert that as death was inherited by his progeny, so too was the sin of their father, which was a permanent stain on the hearts of humanity, never to be removed except through a sacrifice so great that it would oblige God to forgive humanity.  This sacrifice would be nothing other than the sacrifice of God himself, incarnate in His “son” Jesus.  Therefore Christianity deems all of humanity as damned to Hell for the sin of Adam from which they could never be cleansed, except through the belief that God became incarnate and died for Adam’s sin, ritualized as Baptism, through which Christians are ‘born again’ into the world, but this time free of sin.[1]  So we see that the theory of ‘Original Sin’ forms the basis of various Christian beliefs, from the crucifixion of Jesus to the concept of salvation and savior from Hell.  It forms the very basis for the mission of Jesus himself.

So the questions arise, is humanity guilty for the sin which Adam committed by eating from the tree he was forbidden?  Must we all repent from that great sin?  In what way is one to repent?  And if so, what is the fate of those who did not?

Islam strictly promotes the notion that the punishment of sins will only be faced by those who commit them.  Sin is not a hereditary trait or ‘stain’ passed to one’s progeny one generation to another.  All people will be accountable to what only they themselves did in this life.  Therefore, even though the Quran mentions the sin of Adam and how he was banished from the Garden, it places no responsibility on the shoulders of his progeny.  None of the Prophets before Jesus were known to have preached this concept, nor were any other beliefs or rituals based upon this belief.  Rather, salvation from Hell and attainment of Paradise was achieved through the belief in One God and obedience to His commandments, a message preached by all prophets, including Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, as well.
The Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful

As for the sin of Adam, the Quran tells us that he repented for his sin.  God revealed to him words with which to repent, which he then accepted from him.

“Then Adam received Words (of forgiveness) from his Lord, and he accepted his repentance.  Verily, He is the One Who repeatedly accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Quran 2:37)

Through God’s acceptance of Adam’s repentance, Adam was cleansed of the sin which he committed.  God in the Quran repeatedly ascribes to Himself attribute of mercy and forgiveness.  He also mentions that from His Names are The Oft-Forgiving, The Most Merciful, the Accepter of Repentance, and others, all of which emphasize the All-Encompassing Mercy of God.  Even to those who have sinned much and may lose hope in the forgiveness of God, He says:

“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)!  Despair not of the Mercy of God, indeed God forgives all sins.  Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Quran 39:53)

If a person sins, all they need to do is truly repent from their heart, and they will find God Ever Merciful.  Adam did sin, and the sin did stain his heart, but it was removed through his repentance.  The Prophet Muhammad said:

“Indeed if a believer sins, a black spot covers his heart.  If he repents, and stops from his sin, and seeks forgiveness for it, his heart becomes clean again.  If he persists (instead of repenting), it increases until covers his heart…” (Ibn Maajah)

Even if we were to say that Adam did not repent, that stain is not passed on to further generations.  Therefore, we see that God does not need any physical sacrifice in order to forgive sins, and that no sin is too great for His Mercy; to say so would be to ascribe deficiency to His Excellence and Perfection.  The Prophet Muhammad relates to us that God said:

“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind.  O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.  O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

God says in the Quran in regards to sacrifice, that it is the intention of the person when offering the sacrifice which is of importance, and not the actual sacrifice itself.

“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches God, but it is piety from you that reaches Him…” (Quran 22:37)

If we were to implement this verse in regards to the original sin and God incarnate sacrificing himself in order to forgive all of humanity, we see that even without seeking repentance for Adam’s sin, God forgave human beings due to His Own Sacrifice. Could He not have forgiven them without such a sacrifice?

It is also mentioned in the bible:

“To what purpose (is) the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?  Saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.  When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?  Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; (it is) iniquity, even the solemn meeting.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear (them).  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.  Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/13/viewall/

Related:

List of Contradictions of Jesus by Paul to make New Theology

Paul of Tarsus, a Jew with Roman citizenship, who never met Jesus Christ in his lifetime, took active part in persecution of followers of Jesus, accepted “thorn in flesh from messenger of Satan”, claimed to be 13th disciple through a “vision” with conflicting narrtives at three places in Acts. He changed the doctrines and teachings of Jesus Christ to conform with the pagan traditions and practices of Greece-Roman pagans. He succeeded to a transform monotheistic Jewish faith in to pagan religion which has nothing in common with Christ except his name.

Maccoby’s theories on Paul:

According to Hyam Maccoby (1924–2004) the  British Jewish scholar and dramatist specializing in the study of the Jewish and Christian religious tradition, the founding of Christianity as a religion separate from Judaism was entirely the work of Paul of Tarsus. In this Maccoby’s view is largely based on that of Heinrich Graetz.
Maccoby claimed that Paul was a Hellenized Jewish convert or perhaps even a Gentile, coming from a background exposed to the influence of Gnosticism and the pagan mystery religions such as the Attis cult, a myth involving a life-death-rebirth deity. The mystery religions, according to Maccoby, were the dominant religious forms in the Hellenistic world of that age and so, would have strongly influenced Paul’s mythological psychology. Maccoby partially derived this theory from fragments of the writings of opponents of Ebionites, particularly in the treatise on Heresies by Epiphanius of Salamis.
Maccoby considered Paul’s claims to an orthodox Pharisaic Jewish education to be false, asserting that while many of Paul’s writings sound authentic to the uninitiated, they actually betray an ignorance of the original Hebrew scripture and the subtleties of Jewish Law. Maccoby claimed that an examination of the New Testament indicates that Paul knew no Hebrew at all, and relied entirely on Greek texts that no actual Pharisee would ever use because they were not properly translated.

According to Maccoby, Paul fused the historical story of Jesus’ crucifixion with elements of contemporary mystery religions and Gnosticism [Ancient Greek: γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge; Arabic: الغنوصية‎ al-ġnūṣīh) is the belief that the material world created by the demiurge should be shunned and the spiritual world should be embraced (God‘s world).], developing such new non-Judaic mythic ideas as the Trinity and the Last Supper. Paul also made an attempt to find prophetic justification for his newly created myth in the Old Testament. Paul came to present Jesus as a dying and rising savior deity similar to those from the Hellenistic mystery cults, fused with the historical pedigree of Judaism, thus giving birth to a powerful new myth whose preaching gained him a large following. As the Jerusalem group of the original disciples of Jesus gradually became aware of Paul’s teachings, bitter hostility ensued between them.
Maccoby interpreted certain New Testament passages (for example Paul’s account of his quarrel with Peter in the Incident at Antioch) as remnants of authentic accounts of this hostility. However, the Jewish Rebellion of 66-70 soon brought a violent end to the Jerusalem sect, and the Gentile Church founded by Paul emerged as the winner by default. Maccoby viewed the Book of Acts as a later attempt by the Pauline Church to present the relations between Paul and the Jerusalem disciples as harmonious, thus presenting the Pauline Church as legitimized by the chain of apostolic succession reaching back to the original disciples of Jesus. Maccoby also conjectured that the Jewish-Christian sect of Ebionites may have been an authentic offshoot of the original Jerusalem community.
Maccoby focused his work on tracing the roots of anti-Semitism back to an early-Christian origin, and on disassociating Christianity from a truly Jewish background. Maccoby placed the blame for the death of Jesus on the Roman authorities and their Jewish collaborators from the Sadducee party, who controlled the Temple, its funds, and its police. He considered the Gospel accounts of the hostility between Jesus and the Pharisees as an invention of the Pauline Church, and argued that Jesus himself subscribed to Pharisaic Judaism as revealed in such texts as the Sermon on the Mount. [Wikipedia]

Here some of the contradictions introduced by Paul against teachings of Jesus Christ as available in NT have been enumerated.

While one may not agree with all of them, any fair-minded individual could make his own conclusions.

Contradiction #1

This is a major one. Jesus clearly claimed to have personally delivered the Gospel to the world.
Jn 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Paul would like you to think that doctrines that Jesus did not teach (eg. Deity of Christ, blood atonement, “grace”, demotion of the Law, abolition of the Sabbath, church hierarchy, etc etc) was brought via him.
Gal 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus spent years training 12 apostles and 70-odd disciples as witnesses of Jesus and his words. But the main doctrines of the Christian church were delivered to humanity via a claimed revelation to a single witness: Paul. Jesus said that 2 or 3 witnesses are a necessary minimum for something to be true.

Contradiction #2

Jesus teaches that the Law has not been annulled.

Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
[Luke 16:16-17]
Mt 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Paul teaches that it has.
Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Contradiction #3
Jesus teaches equality of believers.

Mt 23:8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ; and you are all brethren.

Paul not only sets himself up as a teacher, he sets up a church hierarchy!
1Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Tim 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Contradiction #4
Jesus says that the Gospel must be preached without financial reward.
Mt 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Paul disagrees, as do the multitude of churches.
1Cor 9:11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

Contradiction #5
Jesus teaches to bless unbelievers.

Mt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
[Mark 6:27-28]

Paul teaches that unbelievers should be cursed.
1Cor 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

Contradiction #6
Jesus teaches to follow/imitate Him.

Jn 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Paul teaches to follow him.
1Cor 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. [KJV=”Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”]

Contradiction #7
Here’s how Jesus dealt with one accused of sexual sin.
Jn 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Paul’s solution was a little more Draconian.
1Cor 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit [NKJV = his spirit] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Contradiction #8
Here’s how Jesus treated the sin of blasphemy.
Mt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [Luke 12:10]

Paul’s solution was again Draconian.
1Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Contradiction #9
Eating things sacrificed to Idols was prohibited in the Law, and is specifically mentioned as something not permitted in Revelations.

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Paul gives “liberty” to eat these things.

1Cor 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Cor 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake:

Contradiction #10
Jesus had no difficulty with speaking to women, even though this was unusual in that culture.
Jn 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

Contrasted with Paul’s chauvinism.
1Cor 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1Tim 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Contradiction #11
Jesus taught that God’s forgiveness is dependent on us forgiving others.

Mt 6:14 For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
And:
Forgive and you will be forgiven (Lk 6:37).

The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35 illustrates this point with someone who was forgiven by God, but remained unforgiving to others.

Paul understood that he was forgiven:

1Tim 1:13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of out Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

But when someone sinned against Paul, Paul did not forgive the very sin he admitted to being guilty of only a few sentences earlier.

1Tim1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophesies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom Hymanaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

By not understanding this principle of conditional (or reciprocal) forgiveness, Paul contradicts Jesus. Furthermore, Paul asks us to believe that forgiveness is obtained by some other means:

Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Contradiction #12
Paul says that one is saved by “faith” and “confession”

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
1Cor 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Jesus teaches precisely the opposite.
Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
[NKJV = lawlessness].
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

James adds this observation:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Contradiction #13
As discussed in an earlier thread, Paul wants it to be known that he is a spiritual father to his flock.
1Cor 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

Paul must have forgotten about this little number.
Mt 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Contradiction #14
Jesus preaches meekness.
Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Paul’s version of meekness is rather conditional and mixed with threats.
1Cor 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Contradiction #15
Paul teaches that his followers will be judges on judgement day.
1Cor 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Jesus has other ideas.
Jn 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.

Contradiction #16
Paul specifically seeks to please men and to be “all things to all men”.
1Cor 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1Cor 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Paul clearly failed to comprehend these teachings of Jesus.
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Jn 5:41 I receive not honour from men.

Contradiction #17
Paul makes this claim:
Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

Which Jesus pre-emptively dismissed with these words:
Mt 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Contradiction #18
Jesus teaches that God is not a God of the dead.

Luke 20:38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
Mk 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

Paul contradicts this, demonstrating his unawareness of the words of Jesus.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Contradiction #19
Paul teaches public prayer.
1 Tim 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Jesus teaches private prayer.
Mt 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Contradiction #20
Paul thinks that once saved always saved.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sadly—not true.
Lk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Contradiction #21
Jesus is careful to attribute his teachings to God (another nail in the coffin of the Jesus is God theory).
Jn 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

Paul has no difficulty taking the credit.
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel

Contradiction #22
Jesus teaches that Eternal life will cost you everything you own.
Mt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Lk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Not only does Paul fail to teach this, he teaches that eternal life is entirely free.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In fact, many churches go further and claim that believing in their religion will make you materially prosperous.

Contradiction #23
Paul is deferential to worldly authority, claiming that it comes from God.
Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Jesus refutes this idea.
Jn 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

It may not be supposed that we need Jesus to tell us that earthly powers are often corrupt, but here it is anyway:
Mt 17:25b “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 Peter said to him “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first.”

Contradiction #24
Jesus teaches charity.
Mt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Paul is concerned that welfare is going to cost his church too much.
1Tim 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Contradiction #25
Jesus’ teaching on “Sanctification”
Jn 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Is “blood” and “thy truth” the same thing?
Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

And I don’t quite understand how this works, but its kind of funny really.
1Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Contradiction #26
Paul makes a stark admission that he cannot control his sinful nature in Romans 7
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

25b So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Rather, imitate Jesus who teaches thus:
Mt 22:37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Mk 12:30, Deut 6:5)

and

Jn 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.”

and

Jn 5:14 “Sin no more”

If you hate something, should you not stop doing it?

Contradiction #27
Jesus prophesised this:
Jn 9:4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

Paul says the opposite.
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

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Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace

SAUL OF TARSUS (known as Paul, the Apostle of the Heathen): Jewish Perspective

The actual founder of the Christian Church as opposed to Judaism; born before 10 C.E.; died after 63. The records containing the views and opinions of the opponents of Paul and Paulinism are no longer in existence; and the history of the early Church has been colored by the writers of the second century, who were anxious to suppress or smooth over the controversies of the preceding period, as is shown in the Acts of the Apostles and also by the fact that the Epistles ascribed to Paul, as has been proved by modern critics, are partly spurious (Galatians, Ephesians, I and II Timothy, Titus, and others) and partly interpolated.

Not a Hebrew Scholar; a HellenistSaul (whose Roman cognomen was Paul; see Acts xiii. 9) was born of Jewish parents in the first decade of the common era at Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts ix. 11, xxi. 39, xxii. 3). The claim in Rom. xi. 1 and Phil. iii. 5 that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, suggested by the similarity of his name with that of the first Israelitish king, is, if the passages are genuine, a false one, no tribal lists or pedigrees of this kind having been in existence at that time (see Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.” i. 7, 5; Pes. 62b; M. Sachs, “Beiträge zur Sprach- und Alterthumsforschung,” 1852, ii. 157). Nor is there any indication in Paul’s writings or arguments that he had received the rabbinical training ascribed to him by Christian writers, ancient and modern; least of all could he have acted or written as he did had he been, as is alleged (Acts xxii. 3), the disciple of Gamaliel I., the mild Hillelite. His quotations from Scripture, which are all taken, directly or from memory, from the Greek version, betray no familiarity with the original Hebrew text. The Hellenistic literature, such as the Book of Wisdom and other Apocrypha, as well as Philo (see Hausrath, “Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte,” ii. 18-27; Siegfried, “Philo von Alexandria,” 1875, pp. 304-310; Jowett, “Commentary on the Thessalonians and Galatians,” i. 363-417), was the sole source for his eschatological and theological system. Notwithstanding the emphatic statement, in Phil. iii. 5, that he was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews”—a rather unusual term, which seems to refer to his nationalistic training and conduct (comp. Acts xxi. 40, xxii. 2), since his Jewish birth is stated in the preceding words “of the stock of Israel”—he was, if any of the Epistles that bear his name are really his, entirely a Hellenist in thought and sentiment. As such he was imbued with the notion that “the whole creation groaneth” for liberation from “the prison-house of the body,” from this earthly existence, which, because of its pollution by sin and death, is intrinsically evil (Gal. i. 4; Rom. v. 12, vii. 23-24, viii. 22; I Cor. vii. 31; II Cor. v. 2, 4; comp. Philo, “De Allegoriis Legum,” iii. 75; idem, “De Vita Mosis,” iii. 17; idem, “De Ebrietate,” § 26; and Wisdom ii.24). As a Hellenist, also, he distinguished between an earthly and a heavenly Adam (I Cor. xv. 45-49; comp. Philo, “De Allegoriis Legum,” i. 12), and, accordingly, between the lower psychic. life and the higher spiritual life attained only by asceticism (Rom. xii. 1; I Cor. vii. 1-31, ix. 27, xv. 50; comp. Philo, “De Profugis,” § 17; and elsewhere). His whole state of mind shows the influence of the theosophic or Gnostic lore of Alexandria, especially the Hermes literature recently brought to light by Reizenstein in his important work “Poimandres,” 1904 (see Index, s. v. “Paulus,” “Briefe des Paulus,” and “Philo”); hence his strange belief in supernatural powers (Reizenstein, l.c. pp. 77, 287), in fatalism, in “speaking in tongues” (I Cor. xii.-xiv.; comp. Reizenstein, l.c. p. 58; Dieterich, “Abraxas,” pp. 5 et seq.; Weinel, “Die Wirkungen des Geistes und der Geister,” 1899, pp. 72 et seq.; I Cor. xv. 8; II Cor. xii. 1-6; Eph. iii. 3), and in mysteries or sacraments (Rom. xvi. 25; Col. i. 26, ii. 2, iv. 3; Eph. i. 9, iii. 4, vi. 19)—a term borrowed solely from heathen rites.

His Epilepsy:

  There is throughout Paul’s writings an irrational or pathological element which could not but repel the disciples of the Rabbis. Possibly his pessimistic mood was the result of his physical condition; for he suffered from an illness which affected both body and mind. He speaks of it as “a thorn in the flesh,” and as a heavy stroke by “a messenger of Satan” (II Cor. xii. 7), which often caused him to realize his utter helplessness, and made him an object of pity and horror (Gal. iv. 13). It was, as Krenkel (“Beiträge zur Aufhellung der Geschichte und Briefe des Apostels Paulus,” 1890, pp. 47-125) has convincingly shown, epilepsy, called by the Greeks “the holy disease,” which frequently put him into a state of ecstasy, a frame of mind that may have greatly impressed some of his Gentile hearers, but could not but frighten away and estrange from him the Jew, whose God is above all the God of reason (comp. II Cor. v. 13; x. 10; xi. 1, 16; xii. 6). The conception of a new faith, half pagan and half Jewish, such as Paul preached, and susceptibility to its influences, were altogether foreign to the nature of Jewish life and thought. For Judaism, religion is the hallowing of this life by the fulfilment of its manifold duties (see Judaism): Paul shrank from life as the domain of Satan and all his hosts of evil; he longed for redemption by the deadening of all desires for life, and strove for another world which he sawin his ecstatic visions. The following description of Paul is preserved in “Acta Pauli et Theclæ,” an apocryphal book which has been proved to be older and in some respects of greater historic value than the canonical Acts of the Apostles (see Conybeare, “Apollonius’ Apology and Acts, and Other Monuments of Early Christianity,” pp. 49-88, London, 1894):
“A man of moderate stature, with crisp [scanty] hair, crooked legs, blue eyes, large knit brows, and long nose, at times looking like a man, at times like an angel, Paul came forward and preached to the men of Iconium: ‘Blessed are they that keep themselves chaste [unmarried]; for they shall be called the temple of God. Blessed are they that mortify their bodies and souls; for unto them speaketh God. Blessed are they that despise the world; for they shall be pleasing to God. Blessed be the souls and bodies of virgins; for they shall receive the reward of their chastity.'”
It was by such preaching that “he ensnared the souls of young men and maidens, enjoining them to remain single “(Conybeare, l.c. pp. 62, 63, 67; comp. ib. pp. 24-25; Gal. iii. 38; I Cor. vii. 34-36; Matt. xix. 12; Clement of Rome, Epistle ii. § 12).
Anti-Jewish Attitude.Whatever the physiological or psychological analysis of Paul’s temperament may be, his conception of life was not Jewish. Nor can his unparalleled animosity and hostility to Judaism as voiced in the Epistles be accounted for except upon the assumption that, while born a Jew, he was never in sympathy or in touch with the doctrines of the rabbinical schools. For even his Jewish teachings came to him through Hellenistic channels, as is indicated by the great emphasis laid upon “the day of the divine wrath” (Rom. i. 18; ii. 5, 8; iii. 5; iv. 15; v. 9; ix. 22; xii. 19; I Thess. i. 10; Col. iii. 6; comp. Sibyllines, iii. 309 et seq., 332; iv. 159, 161 et seq.; and elsewhere), as well as by his ethical monitions, which are rather inconsistently taken over from Jewish codes of law for proselytes, the Didache and Didascalia. It is quite natural, then, that not only the Jews (Acts xxi. 21), but also the Judæo-Christians, regarded Paul as an “apostate from the Law” (see Eusebius, l.c. iii. 27; Irenæus, “Adversus Hæreses,” i. 26, 2; Origen, “Contra Celsum,” v. 65; Clement of Rome, “Recognitiones,” i. 70. 73).

His PersonalityTo judge from those Epistles that have all the traits of genuineness and give a true insight into his nature, Paul was of a fiery temper, impulsive and impassioned in the extreme, of ever-changing moods, now exulting in boundless joy and now sorely depressed and gloomy. Effusive and excessive alike in his love and in his hatred, in his blessing and in his cursing, he possessed a marvelous power over men; and he had unbounded confidence in himself. He speaks or writes as a man who is conscious of a great providential mission, as the servant and herald of a high and unique cause. The philosopher and the Jew will greatly differ from him with regard to every argument and view of his; but both will admit that he is a mighty battler for truth, and that his view of life, of man, and of God is a profoundly serious one. The entire conception of religion has certainly been deepened by him, because his mental grasp was wide and comprehensive, and his thinking bold, aggressive, searching, and at the same time systematic. Indeed, he molded the thought and the belief of all Christendom.

Jewish Proselytism and Paul.Before the authenticity of the story of the so-called conversion of Paul is investigated, it seems proper to consider from the Jewish point of view this question: Why did Paul find it necessary to create a new system of faith for the admission of the Gentiles, in view of the fact that the Synagogue had well-nigh two centuries before opened its door to them and, with the help of the Hellenistic literature, had made a successful propaganda, as even the Gospels testify? (Matt. xxiii. 15; see Schürer, “Gesch.” 3d ed., iii. 102-135, 420-483; J. Bernays, “Gesammelte Abhandlungen,” 1885, i. 192-282, ii. 71-80; Bertholet, “Die Stellung der Israeliten und Juden zu den Fremden,” 1896, pp. 257-302.) Bertholet (l.c. pp. 303-334; but see Schürer, l.c. i. 126) and others, in order that they may reserve the claim of universality for Christianity, deny the existence of uncircumcised proselytes in Judaism, and misconstrue plain Talmudic and other statements referring to God-fearing Gentiles (Bertholet, l.c. pp. 338-339); whereas the very doctrine of Paul concerning the universal faith of Abraham (Rom. iv. 3-18) rests upon the traditional interpretation of Gen. xii. 3 (see Kuenen, “Prophets and Prophecy in Israel,” pp. 379, 457) and upon the traditional view which made Abraham the prototype of a missionary bringing the heathen world under the wings of the Shekinah (Gen. R. xxxix., with reference to Gen. xii. 5; see Abraham; Judaism; Proselyte). As a matter of fact, only the Jewish propaganda work along the Mediterranean Sea made it possible for Paul and his associates to establish Christianity among the Gentiles, as is expressly recorded in the Acts (x. 2; xiii. 16, 26, 43, 50; xvi. 14; xvii. 4, 17; xviii. 7); and it is exactly from such synagogue manuals for proselytes as the Didache and the Didascalia that the ethical teachings in the Epistles of Paul and of Peter were derived (see Seeberg, “Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit,” 1903, pp. 1-44).
The answer is supplied by the fact that Jewish proselytism had the Jewish nation as its basis, as the names “ger” and “ger toshab” for “proselyte” indicate. The proselyte on whom the Abrahamic rite was not performed remained an outsider. It was, therefore, highly important for Paul that those who became converted to the Church should rank equally with its other members and that every mark of distinction between Jew and Gentile should be wiped out in the new state of existence in which the Christians lived in anticipation. The predominating point of view of the Synagogue was the political and social one; that of the Church, the eschatological one. May such as do not bear the seal of Abraham’s covenant upon their flesh or do not fulfil the whole Law be admitted into the congregation of the saints waiting for the world of resurrection? This was the question at issue between the disciples of Jesus and those of Paul; the former adhering to the view of the Essenes, which was also that of Jesus; the latter taking an independent position that started not from the Jewish but from the non-Jewish standpoint. Paul fashioned a Christ ofhis own, a church of his own, and a system of belief of his own; and because there were many mythological and Gnostic elements in his theology which appealed more to the non-Jew than to the Jew, he won the heathen world to his belief.

Paul’s Christ.In the foreground of all of Paul’s teaching stands his peculiar vision of Christ, to which he constantly refers as his only claim and title to apostleship (I Cor. ix. 1, xv. 8; II Cor. xii. 1-7; Phil. iii. 9; Gal. i. 1, 12, 16, on which see below). The other apostles saw Jesus in the flesh; Paul saw him when, in a state of entrancement, he was carried into paradise to the third heaven, where he heard “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. xii. 2-4). Evidently this picture of Christ must have occupied a prominent place in his mind before, just as Meṭaṭron (Mithra) and Akteriel did in the minds of Jewish mystics (see Angelology; Merkabah). To him the Messiah was the son of God in a metaphysical sense, “the image of God” (II Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15), “the heavenly Adam” (I Cor. xv. 49; similar to the Philonic or cabalistic Adam Ḳadmon), the mediator between God and the world (I Cor. viii. 6), “the first-born of all creation, for by him were all things created” (Col. i. 15-17), identical also with the Holy Spirit manifested in Israel’s history (I Cor. x. 4; II Cor. iii. 17; comp. Wisdom x. 1.-xii. 1; Philo, “De Eo Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiari Soleat,” § 30; see also Jew. Encyc. x. 183b, s.v. Preexistence of the Messiah).
It is, however, chiefly as “the king of glory” (I Cor. ii. 8), as ruler of the powers of light and life eternal, that Christ is to manifest his cosmic power. He has to annihilate Satan or Belial, the ruler of this world of darkness and death, with all his hosts of evil, physical and moral (I Cor. xv. 24-26). Paul’s “gnosis” (I Cor. viii. 1, 7; II Cor. ii. 14; I Tim. vi. 20) is a revival of Persian dualism, which makes of all existence, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, a battle between light and darkness (I Thess. v. 4-5; Eph. v. 8-13; Col. i. 13), between flesh and spirit (I Cor. xv. 48; Rom. viii. 6-9), between corruption and life everlasting (I Cor. xv. 50, 53). The object of the Church is to obtain for its members the spirit, the glory, and the life of Christ, its “head,” and to liberate them from the servitude of and allegiance to the flesh and the powers of earth. In order to become participants in the salvation that had come and the resurrection that was nigh, the saints were to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light, the breastplate of love, and the helmet of hope (Rom. xiii. 12; II Cor. x. 4; Eph. vi. 11. I Thess. v. 8; comp. Wisdom v. 17-18; Isa. lix. 17; “the weapons of light of the people of Israel,” Pesiḳ, R. 33 [ed. Buber, p. 154]; Targ. Yer. to Ex. xxxiii. 4; “the men of the shields” [“ba’ale teresin”], a name for high-ranking Gnostics, Ber. 27b; also “the vestiture of light” in Mandæan lore, “Jahrbuch für Protestantische Theologie,” xviii. 575-576).

The Crucified MessiahHow then can this world of perdition and evil, of sin and death, be overcome, and the true life be attained instead? This question, which, according to a Talmudic legend (Tamid 32a), Alexander the Great put to the wise men of the South, was apparently the one uppermost also in the mind of Paul (see Kabisch,”Die Eschatologie des Paulus,” 1893); and in the form of a vision of the crucified Christ the answer came to him to “die in order to live.” This vision, seen in his ecstatic state, was to him more than a mere reality: it was the pledge (“‘erabon” of the resurrection and the life of which he was in quest. Having seen “the first-born of the resurrection” (I Cor. xv. 20-24; the Messiah is called “the first-born” also in Midr. Teh. to Ps. lxxxix. 28, and in Ex. R. xix. 7), he felt certain of the new life which all “the sons of light” were to share. No sooner had the idea taken hold of him that the world of resurrection, or “the kingdom of God,” had come, or would come with the speedy reappearance of the Messiah, than he would invest with higher powers “the elect ones” who were to participate in that life of the spirit. There can be no sin or sensual passion in a world in which the spirit rules. Nor is there need of any law in a realm where men live as angels (comp. “The dead is free from all obligations of the Law,” Shab. 30a, 151b; Niddah 61b). To bring back the state of paradise and to undo the sin of Adam, the work of the serpent, which brought death into the world—this seems to have been the dream of Paul. The baptism of the Church, to which sinners and saints, women and men, Jews and Gentiles, were alike invited, suggested to him the putting off of the earthly Adam and the putting on of the heavenly Adam (Rom. vi.). He was certain that by the very power of their faith, which performed all the wonders of the spirit in the Church (I Cor. xii., xv.), would the believers in Christ at the time of his reappearance be also miraculously lifted to the clouds and transformed into spiritual bodies for the life of the resurrection (I Thess. iv.; I Cor. xv.; Rom. viii.). These are the elements of Paul’s theology—a system of belief which endeavored to unite all men, but at the expense of sound reason and common sense.

Paul’s ConversionThere is possibly a historical kernel to the story related in the Acts (vii. 58-ix. 1-31, xxii. 3-21, xxvi. 10-19), that, while on the road to Damascus, commissioned with the task of exterminating the Christian movement antagonistic to the Temple and the Law (ib. vi. 13), Paul had a vision in which Jesus appeared to him, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (comp. I Sam. xxvi. 18); that in consequence of this vision he became, with the aid of Ananais, one of the Christian seers, “a chosen vessel unto me [Christ], to bear my name before the Gentiles.” According to the Acts (vii. 58; ix. 2; xxii. 5; xxv. 1, 10-12), Paul was a young man charged by the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem with the execution of Stephen and the seizure of the disciples of Jesus. The statement, however (ib. xxii. 8-9), that, being a zealous observer of the law of the Fathers, “he persecuted the Church unto death,” could have been made only at a time when it was no longer known what a wide difference existed between the Sadducean high priests and elders, who had a vital interest in quelling the Christian movement, and the Pharisees, who had no reason for condemning to death either Jesusor Stephen. In fact, it is derived from the Epistle to the Galatians (i. 13-14), the spuriousness of which has been shown by Bruno Baur, Steck, and most convincingly by Friedrich Maehliss (“Die Unechtheit des Galaterbriefs,” 1891). The same is the case with Phil. iii. 5. Acts xxii. 17-18 speaks of another vision which Paul had while in the Temple, in which Jesus told him to depart from Jerusalem and go with his gospel to the Gentiles. Evidently Paul entertained long before his vision those notions of the Son of God which he afterward expressed; but the identification of his Gnostic Christ with the crucified Jesus of the church he had formerly antagonized was possibly the result of a mental paroxysm experienced in the form of visions.

Barnabas and Other HellenistsWhether the Hellenists in Jerusalem, at the head of whom stood Stephen, Philip, and others named in Acts vii. 1-5, exerted an influence upon Paul, can not be ascertained: that Barnabas, who was a native of Cyprus, did, may be assumed with certainty. He was Paul’s older companion, apparently of a more imposing stature (Acts xiv. 12); and, according to ib. ix. 27, he introduced Paul to the apostles and induced him (xi. 25) to cooperate with him in the church of Antioch. The two traveled together as collectors of charity for the poor of the Jerusalem church (ib. xi. 30, xv. 2; see Apostle), and as preachers of the gospel (ib. xiii. 3, 7, 13, 14, 43, 46, 50; xiv. 14, 20; xv. 2, 12, 22, 35), Paul soon becoming the more powerful preacher. Finally, on account of dissensions, probably of a far more serious nature than stated either in Acts xv. 36-39 or Gal. ii. 13, they separated. That both Paul and Barnabas held views different from those of the other apostles may be learned from I Cor. ix. 6. Paul’s relation to Apollos also was apparently that of a younger colaborer to an older and more learned one (I Cor. i. 10, iii. 5-23, xvi. 12).

His Missionary TravelsAccording to Acts xiii., xiv., xvii-xviii. (see Jew. Encyc. ix. 252-254, s.v. New Testament), Paul began working along the traditional Jewish line of proselytizing in the various synagogues where the proselytes of the gate and the Jews met; and only because he failed to win the Jews to his views, encountering strong opposition and persecution from them, did he turn to the Gentile world after he had agreed at a convention with the apostles at Jerusalem to admit the Gentiles into the Church only as proselytes of the gate, that is, after their acceptance of the Noachian laws (Acts xv. 1-31). This presentation of Paul’s work is, however, incompatible with the attitude toward the Jews and the Law taken by him in the Epistles. Nor can any historical value be attached to the statement in Gal. ii. 1-10 that, by an agreement with the seeming pillars of the Church, the work was divided between Peter and Paul, the “gospel of circumcision” being committed to the one, and the “gospel of uncircumcision” to the other; as the bitter and often ferocious attacks against both the Jews and the apostles of the Judæo-Christian Church (in Phil. iii. 2 he calls them “dogs”) would then have been uncalled for and unpardonable. In reality Paul had little more than the name of apostle in common with the actual disciples of Jesus. His field of work was chiefly, if not exclusively, among the Gentiles; he looked for a virgin soil wherein to sow the seeds of the gospel; and he succeeded in establishing throughout Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor churches in which there were “neither Jews nor Gentiles,” but Christians who addressed each other as “brethren” or “saints.” Regarding his great missionary journeys as described in the Acts after older documents, see Jew. Encyc. l.c. pp. 252-254. As to the chronology, much reliance can not be placed either on Gal. i. 17-ii. 3 or on the Acts with its contradictory statements.
From II Cor. xi. 24-32 (comp. ib. vi. 4; I Cor. iv. 11) it may be learned that his missionary work was beset with uncommon hardships. He labored hard day and night as a tent-maker for a livelihood (Acts xviii. 3; I Thess ii. 9; II Thess, iii. 8; I Cor. iv. 12, ix. 6-18). He says (II Cor. ix.) that more frequently than any other apostle he was imprisoned, punished with stripes, and in peril of death on land and sea; five times he received the thirtynine stripes in the synagogue, obviously for some public transgression of the Law (Deut. xxv. 3); three times was he beaten with rods, probably by the city magistrates (comp. Acts xvi. 22); once he was stoned by the people; and thrice he suffered shipwreck, being in the water a night and a day. In Damascus he was imprisoned by King Aretas at the instigation, not of the Jews, as is stated by modern historians, but of the Jerusalem authorities; and he escaped through being let down in a basket from a window (II Cor. xi. 24-32; comp. Acts xxvii. 41). He was besides this constantly troubled with his disease, which often made him “groan” for deliverance (I Thess. ii. 2, 19-iii. 1; II Cor. i. 8-10, iv. 7-v. 5, xii. 7; Gal. iv. 14).

In GreeceCorinth and Ephesus, the two great centers of commerce, with their strangely mixed and turbulent as well as immoral population, offered to Paul a large field for his missionary work; and, because the Jews there were few and had little influence, he had free scope and ample opportunity to build up a church according to his plans. He was greatly aided therein by the Roman protection which he enjoyed (Acts xviii. 12-17, xix. 35-40). Yet as long as the church at Jerusalem was in his way he found little comfort and satisfaction in his achievements, though he proudly recounted the successes which marked his journeys throughout the lands. It was to Rome that his efforts gravitated. Not Athens, whose wisdom he decried as “folly” (I Cor. i. 17-24), but Rome’s imperial city, whose administrative system he had learned to admire, attracted and fascinated his mind by its world-wide horizon and power. Consciously or unconsciously, he worked for a church with its world-center in Rome instead of in Jerusalem. A prisoner in the years 61-63 (Phil. i. 7, 16), and probably also a martyr at Rome, he laid the foundation of the world-dominion of pagan Christianity. (For futher biographical details, which form the subject of much dispute among Christians, but are of no special interest for Jewish readers, see the article “Paul” in Hauck,”Real-Encyc.,” in Hastings, “Dict. Bible,” and similar works.)

Paul’s Church versus the SynagogueIn order to understand fully the organization and scope of the Church as mapped out by Paul in his Epistles, a comparison thereof with the organization and the work of the Synagogue, including the Essene community, seems quite proper. Each Jewish community when organized as a congregation possessed in, or together with, its synagogue an institution (1) for common worship, (2) for the instruction of young and old in the Torah, and (3) for systematic charity and benevolence. This threefold work was as a rule placed in charge of men of high social standing, prominent both in learning and in piety. The degree of knowledge and of scrupulousness in the observance of the Torah determined the rank of the members of the Synagogue. Among the members of the Essene brotherhood every-day life with its common meals came under special rules of sanctity, as did their prayers and their charities as well as their visits to the sick, the Holy Spirit being especially invoked by them as a divine factor, preparing them also for the Messianic kingdom of which they lived in expectation (see Essenes). The Christian Church, in adopting the name and form of the Essene Church (Εκκλησία; see Congregation), lent to both the bath (see Baptism) and the communion meals (see Agape) a new character.

Influence of the Greek MysteriesPaul, the Hellenist, however, knowingly or unknowingly, seems to have taken the heathen cult associations as his pattern while introducing new features into the Church (see Anrich, “Das Antike Mysterienwesen in Seinem Einfluss auf das Christenthum,” 1894; Wobbermin, “Religionsgeschichtliche Studien zur Frage der Beeinflussung des Urchristenthums Durch das Antike Mysterienwesen,” 1896, p. 153; Hatch, “Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church,” 1890, pp. 281-296; Cumont, “Die Mysterien des Mithra, Deutsch von Gehrich,” 1903, pp. 101, 118-119; Anz, “Ursprung des Gnosticismus,” 1897, pp. 98-107; Reizenstein and Kabisch, l.c.). To him baptism is no longer a symbolic rite suggestive of purification or regeneration, as in Jewish and Judæo-Christian circles (see Baptism), but a mystic rite by which the person that enters the water and emerges again undergoes an actual transformation, dying with Christ to the world of flesh and sin, and rising with him to the world of the spirit, the new life of the resurrection (Rom. vi. 1-10).
Still more is the partaking of the bread and the wine of the communion meal, the so-called “Lord’s Supper,” rendered the means of a mystic union with Christ, “a participation in his blood and body,” exactly as was the Mithraic meal a real participation in the blood and body of Mithra (see Cumont, l.c.). To Paul, the Holy Spirit itself is not an ethical but a magic power that works sanctification and salvation. It is a mystic substance permeating the Church as a dynamic force, rendering all the members saints, and pouring forth its graces in the various gifts, such as those of prophesying, speaking in tongues, and interpreting voices, and others displayed in teaching and in the administration of charity and similar Church functions (Rom. xii. 4-8; I Cor. xii., xiv.; see Kabisch, l.c. pp. 261-281). The Church forms “the body of Christ” not in a figurative sense, but through the same mystic actuality as that by which the participants of heathen cults become, through their mysteries or sacraments, parts of their deities. Such is the expressed view of Paul when he contrasts the “table of Christ” with the “table of the demons” (I Cor. x. 20-21). While Paul borrows from the Jewish propaganda literature, especially the Sibyllines, the idea of the divine wrath striking especially those that commit the capital sins of idolatry and incest (fornication) and acts of violence or fraudulence (Rom. i. 18-32; I Thess. iv. 5), and while he accordingly wishes the heathen to turn from their idols to God, with desire of being saved by His son (I Thess. i. 9-10), his Church has by no means the moral perfection of the human race for its aim and end, as has Judaism. Salvation alone, that is, redemption from a world of perdition and sin, the attainment of a life of incorruption, is the object; yet this is the privilege only of those chosen and predestined “to be conformed to the image of His [God’s] son” (Rom. viii. 28-30). It is accordingly not personal merit nor the greater moral effort that secures salvation, but some arbitrary act of divine grace which justifies one class of men and condemns the other (ib. ix.). It is not righteousness, nor even faith—in the Jewish sense of perfect trust in the all-loving and all-forgiving God and Father—which leads to salvation, but faith in the atoning power of Christ’s death, which in some mystic or judicial manner justifies the undeserving (Rom. iii. 22, iv., v.; comp. Faith; for the mystic conception of faith, πίστις, in Hellenism alongside of gnosis, see Reizenstein, l.c. pp. 158-159).

The Mystery of the CrossHeathen as is the conception of a church securing a mystic union with the Deity by means of sacramental rites, equally pagan is Paul’s conception of the crucifixion of Jesus. While he accepts the Judæo-Christian view of the atoning power of the death of Jesus as the suffering Messiah (Rom. iii. 25, viii. 3), the crucifixion of Jesus as the son of God assumes for him at the very beginning the character of a mystery revealed to him, “a stumbling-block to the Jews and folly to the Greeks” (I Cor. i. 23-ii. 2, ii. 7-10). It is to him a cosmic act by which God becomes reconciled to Himself. God sent “his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh” in order to have His wrath appeased by his death. “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up,” so that by his blood all men might be saved (Rom. v. 8; viii. 3, 32). To a Jewish mind trained by rabbinical acumen this is not pure monotheistic, but mythological, thinking. Paul’s “Son of God” is, far more than the Logos of Philo, an infringement of the absolute unity of God. While the predicate “God” applied to him in Titus ii. 13 may be put to the account of Paul’s school rather than to his own, throughout all the Epistles a share in the divinity is ascribed to Jesus in such a manner as to detract from the glory of God. He is, or is expected to be, called upon as”the Lord” (I Cor. i. 2; Rom. x. 13; Phil. ii. 10-11). Only the pagan idea of the “man-God” or “the second God,” the world’s artificer, and “son of God” (in Plato, in the Hermes-Tot literature as shown by Reizenstein, l.c.), or the idea of a king of light descending to Hades, as in the Mandæan-Babylonian literature (Brandt, “Die Mandäische Religion,” 1889, pp. 151-156), could have suggested to Paul the conception of a God who surrenders the riches of divinity and descends to the poverty of earthly life in order to become a savior of the human race (I Cor. xv. 28, with ref. to Ps. viii. 6-7; Phil. ii. 6-10). Only from Alexandrian Gnosticism, or, as Reizenstein (l.c. pp. 25-26; comp. pp. 278, 285) convincingly shows, only from pagan pantheism, could he have derived the idea of the “pleroma,” “the fulness” of the Godhead dwelling in Christ as the head of all principality and power, as him who is before all things and in whom all things consist (Col. i. 15-19, ii. 9).

Paul’s Opposition to the LawPaul’s attitude toward the Law was by no means hostile from the beginning or on principle, as the interpolated Epistle to the Romans and the spurious one to the Galatians represent it. Neither is it the legalistic (nomistic) character of Pharisaic Judaism which he militates against, as Jesus in the Gospels is represented as doing; nor was he prompted by the desire to discriminate between the ceremonial and the moral laws in order to accentuate the spiritual side of religion. Still less was he prompted by that allegorizing method of which Philo (“De Migratione Abrahami,” § 16) speaks as having led many to the disregard of certain ceremonial laws, such as circumcision (M. Friedländer, “Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Christenthums,” pp. 149, 163, Vienna, 1894). All such interpretations fail to account for Paul’s denunciation of all law, moral as well as ceremonial, as an intrinsic evil (Hausrath, “Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte,” 2d ed., iii. 14). According to his arguments (Rom. iii. 20, iv. 15, vii-viii.), it is the Law that begets sin and works wrath, because without the Law there is no transgression. “I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (ib. vii. 7). He has no faith in the moral power of man: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (ib. vii. 18). What he is aiming at is that state in which the sinfulness of the flesh is entirely overcome by the spirit of Christ who is “the end of the Law” (ib. x. 4), because he is the beginning of the resurrection. For Paul, to be a member of the Church meant to be above the Law, and to serve in the newness of the spirit under a higher law (ib. vii. 4-6, 25). For in Christ, that is, by the acceptance of the belief that with him the world of resurrection has begun, man has become “a new creature: the old things are passed away . . . all things have become new” (II Cor. v. 17). For Paul, the world is doomed: it is flesh beset by sin and altogether of the evil one; hence home, family life, worldly wisdom, all earthly enjoyment are of no account, as they belong to a world which passes away (I Cor. vii. 31). Having at first only the heathen in view, Paul claims the members of the Church for Christ; hence their bodies must be consecrated to him and not given to fornication (ib. vi. 15). In fact, they ought to live in celibacy; and only on account of Satan’s temptation to lust are they allowed to marry (ib. vi. 18-vii. 8). As regards eating and drinking, especially of offerings to idols, which were prohibited to the proselyte of the gate by the early Christians as well as by the Jews (comp. Acts xv. 29), Paul takes the singular position that the Gnostics, those who possess the higher knowledge (“gnosis”; I Cor. viii. 1, xiii. 2, xiv. 6; II Cor. iv. 6; comp. Reizenstein, l.c. p. 158), are “the strong ones” who care not for clean and unclean things and similar ritualistic distinctions (Rom. xiv. 1-23; I Cor. viii. 1-13). Only those that are “weak in faith” do care; and their scruples should be heeded by the others. The Gnostic principle enunciated by Porphyrius (“De Abstinentia,” i. 42), “Food that enters the body can as little defile free man as any impurity cast into the sea can contaminate the ocean, the deep fountain of purity” (comp. Matt. xv. 11), has in Paul’s system an eschatological character: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. xiv. 17; comp. Ber. 17a; Jew. Encyc, v. 218, s.v. Eschatology). As he stated in I Cor. ix. 20-22: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
The original attitude of Paul to the Law was accordingly not that of opposition as represented in Romans and especially in Galatians, but that of a claimed transcendency. He desired “the strong ones” to do without the Law as “schoolmaster” (Gal. iii. 24). The Law made men servants: Christ rendered them “sons of God.” That is, their nature was transformed into an angelic, if not altogether divine, one (Rom. viii. 14-29; I Cor. vi. 1-3).

Law for the ProselyteOnly in admitting the heathen into his church did he follow the traditional Jewish practise of emphasizing at the initiation of proselytes “the law of God,” consisting in “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” taken from Lev. xix. 18 (Rom. xiii. 8-10 contains no allusion to Jesus’ teaching). Also in the mode of preparing the proselyte—by specifying to him the mandatory and prohibitive commandments in the form of a catalogue of virtues or duties and a catalogue of sins, making him promise to practise the former, and, in the form of a “widdui” (confession of sins), to avoid the latter—Paul and his school followed, in common with all the other apostles, the traditional custom, as may be learned from I Thess. iv. 1-10; Col. iii. 5-14; Rom. i: 29 (comp. J. Rendel Harris, “The Teaching of the Apostles,” 1887, pp. 82-84; Gal. v. 13-23, copied from Rom. l.c.; so also Eph. ii.-vi.; I Peter ii-iii.; I John iii.-iv.; Heb. xiii.; see Seeberg, “Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit,” 1903, pp. 9-22, and Didache). A comparison of the “Didascalia”with Paul’s various admonitions in the Epistles likewise shows how much he was indebted to Essene teachings (See Jew. Encyc. iv. 588-590, s.v. Didascalia, where it is shown in a number of instances that the priority rests with the Jewish “Didascalia” and not, as is generally believed, with Paul). Also “turning from darkness to light” (I Thess. v. 4-9; Rom. xiii. 12; Eph. v. 7-11; and elsewhere) is an expression borrowed from Jewish usage in regard to proselytes who “come over from the falsehood of idolatry to the truth of monotheism” (see Philo, “De Monarchia.” i. 7; idem, “De Pœnitentia,” §§ 1-2; comp. “Epistle of Barnabas,” xix. 1-xx. 1). It is rather difficult to reconcile these moral injunctions with the Pauline notion that, since law begets sin, there should be no law ruling the members of the Church. It appears, however, that Paul used frequently the Gnostic term τέλειος= “perfect,” “mature” (I Thess. v. 4, 10; Phil. iii. 12, 15; I Cor. ii. 6, xiii. 12 et seq., xiv. 20; Eph. iv. 13; Col. i. 28). This term, taken from Grecian mysteries (see Light-foot, “Epistles to the Colossians,” ad loc.), and used also in Wisdom iv. 13, ix. 6, suggested an asceticism which in some circles of saints led to the unsexing of man for the sake of fleeing from lust (Wisdom iii. 13-14; Philo, “De Eo Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiatur,” § 48; Matt. xix. 12; see Conybeare, l.c. p. 24). For Paul, then, the Christian’s aim was to be mature and ready for the day when all would be “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” and be with Him forever (I Thess. iv. 16-17). To be with Christ, “in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead,” is to become so “complete” as to be above the rule of heavenly bodies, above the “tradition of men,” above statutes regarding circumcision, meat and drink, holy days, new moon, and Sabbath, all of which are but “a shadow of the things to come”; it is to be dead to the world and all things of the earth, to mortify the members of the flesh, to “put off the old man” with his deeds and passions, and put on the new man who is ever renewed for the highest knowledge of God (gnosis), so that there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Col. ii. 9-iii. 11; comp. I Cor. v. 7: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump”).

Conflict with Judaism and the LawFar then from making antagonism to the Law the starting-point of his apostolic activity, as under the influence of the Epistle to the Romans is assumed by almost all Christian theologians, except the so-called Dutch school of critics (see Cheyne and Black, “Encyc. Bibl.” s.v. “Paul and Romans, Epistle to the”), there is intrinsic evidence that Paul’s hostile attitude to both the Law and the Jews was the result of his conflicts with the latter and with the other apostles. There is no bitter hostility or antagonism to the Law noticeable in I Thessalonians (ii. 14b-16 is a late interpolation referring to the destruction of the Temple), Colossians, I Corinthians (xv. 56 is obviously interpolated), or II Corinthians (where iii. 6-iv. 4, on closer analysis, also proves to be a late addition disturbing the context); and so little opposition to the Law does Paul show in those epistles first addressed to the Gentiles, that in I Cor. xiv. 21 he quotes as the “law”—that is, Torah in the sense of Revelation—a passage from Isa. xxviii. 11; whereas he avoids the term “law” (νόμος) elsewhere, declaring all statutes to be worthless human teaching (Col. ii. 22).

Antinomianism and Jew-HatredHis antinomian theology is chiefly set forth in the Epistle to the Romans, many parts of which, however, are the product of the second-century Church with its fierce hatred of the Jew, e.g., such passages as ii. 21-24, charging the Jews with theft, adultery, sacrilege, and blasphemy, or ix. 22 and xi. 28 (comp. iii. 2). The underlying motive of Paul—the tearing down of the partition-wall between Jew and Gentile—is best expressed in Eph. ii. 14-22, where it is declared that the latter are no longer “gerim” and “toshabim” (A. V. “strangers” and “foreigners”), but “fellow citizens with the saints” of the Church and fully equal members “of the household of God.” In order to accomplish his purpose, he argues that just as little as the heathen escapes the wrath of God, owing to the horrible sins he is urged to commit by his clinging to his idols, so little can the Jew escape by his Law, because “the law worketh sin and wrath” (Rom. iv. 15). Instead, indeed, of removing the germ of death brought into the world by Adam, the Law was given only to increase sin and to make all the greater the need of divine mercy which was to come through Christ, the new Adam (ib. v. 15-20). By further twisting the Biblical words taken from Gen. xv. 6, which he interprets as signifying that Abraham’s faith became a saving power to him, and from Gen. xvii. 5, which he takes as signifying that Abraham was to be the father of the Gentiles instead of nations, he argues that the saving grace of God lies in faith (that is, blind belief) and not in the works of the Law. And so he declares faith in Jesus’ atoning death to be the means of justification and salvation, and not the Law, which demands servitude, whereas the spirit of Christ makes men children of God (Rom. iv.-viii.). The Pauline Jew-hatred was ever more intensified (see ib. ix.-xi., and comp. ix. 31)—which is clear evidence of a later origin—and culminates in Gal. iii., where, besides the repetition of the argument from Gen. xv. 6 and xvii. 5, the Law is declared, with reference to Deut. xxviii. 26 and Hab. ii. 4 (comp. Rom. i. 17), to be a curse from which the crucified Christ—himself “a curse” according to the Law (Deut. xxi. 23; probably an argument taken up from controversies with the Jews)—was to redeem the believer. Another sophistic argument against the Law, furnished in Gal. iii. 19-24, and often repeated in the second century (Heb. ii. 2; Acts vii. 38, 53; Aristides, “Apologia,” xiv. 4), is that the Law was received by Moses as mediator from the angels—a quaint notion based upon Deut. xxxiii. 2, LXX.; comp. Josephus, “Ant.” xv. 5, § 3—and that it is not the law of God, which is a life-giving law of righteousness. Furthermore the laws of the Jews and the idolatrous practises of the heathen are placed equally low as mere servitude of” the weak and beggarly elements” (=”planets”; Gal. iv. 8-11), whereas those that have put on Christ by baptism have risen above alldistinctions of race, of class, and of sex, and have become children of God and heirs of Abraham (ib. iii. 26-29; what is meant by the words” There shall be neither male nor female” in verse 28 may be learned from Gal. v. 12, where eunuchism is advised; see B. Weiss’s note ad loc.).

The Old Testament and the NewThe Pauline school writing under Paul’s name, but scarcely Paul himself, worked out the theory, based upon Jer. xxxi. 30-31, that the Church of Christ represents the new covenant (see Covenant; New Testament) in place of the old (Rom. xi. 27; Gal. iv. 24; Heb. viii. 6-13, ix. 15-x. 17; and, following these passages, I Cor. xi. 23-28). Similarly the interpolator of II Cor. iii. 6-iv. 4, in connection with ib. iii. 3, contrasts the Old Testament with the New: the former by the letter of the Law offering but damnation and death because “the veil of Moses” is upon it, preventing God’s glory from being seen; the latter being the life-giving spirit offering righteousness, that is, justification, and the light of the knowledge (gnosis) of the glory of God as reflected in the face of Jesus Christ. It is superfluous to state that this Gnostic conception of the spirit has nothing to do with the sound religious principle often quoted from I Cor. iii. 6: “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The privilege of seeing God’s glory as Moses did face to face through a bright mirror held out in I Cor. xiii. 12 (comp. Suk. 45b; Lev. R. i. 14) to the saints in the future is claimed in II Cor. iii. 18 and iv. 4 as a power in the actual possession of the Christian believer. The highest hope of man is regarded as realized by the writer, who looks forward to the heavenly habitation as a release from the earthly tabernacle (II Cor. v. 1-8).

Spurious Writings Ascribed to PaulThis unhealthy view of life maintained by Paul and his immediate followers was, however, changed by the Church the moment her organization extended over the world. Some epistles were written in the name of Paul with the view of establishing more friendly relations to society and government than Paul and the early Christians had maintained. While Paul warns his church-members not to bring matters of dispute before “the unjust,” by which term he means the Gentiles (I Cor. vi. 1; comp. Jew. Encyc. iv. 590), these very heathen powers of Rome are elsewhere praised as the ministers of God and His avengers of wrong (Rom. xiii. 1-7); and while in I Cor. xi. 5 women are permitted to prophesy and to pray aloud in the church provided they have their heads covered, a later chapter, obviously interpolated, states, “Let your women keep silence in the churches” (ib. xiv. 34). So celibacy (ib. vii. 1-8) is declared to be the preferable state, and marriage is allowed only for the sake of preventing fornication (Eph. v. 21-33), while, on the other hand, elsewhere marriage is enjoined and declared to be a mystery or sacrament symbolizing the relation of the Church as the bride to Christ as the bridegroom (see Bride).
A still greater change in the attitude toward the Law may be noticed in the so-called pastoral epistles. Here the Law is declared to be good as a preventive of wrong-doing (I Tim. i. 8-10), marriage is enjoined, and woman’s salvation is declared to consist only in the performance of her maternal duty (ib. ii. 12, 15), while asceticism and celibacy are condemned (ib. iv. 3). So all social relations are regulated in a worldly spirit, and are no longer treated, as in Paul’s genuine epistles, in the spirit of otherworldliness (ib. ii.-vi.; II Tim. ii. 4-6; Titus. ii.-iii.; comp. Didascalia). Whether in collecting alms for the poor of the church on Sundays (I Cor. xvi. 2) Paul instituted a custom or simply followed one of the early Christians is not clear; from the “We” source in Acts xx. 7 it appears, however, that the church-members used to assemble for their communion meal in memory of the risen Christ, the Lord’s Supper, on the first day of the week—probably because they held the light created on that day to symbolize the light of the Savior that had risen for them (see the literature in Schürer,” Die Siebentägige Woche,” in “Zeitschrift für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft,” 1905, pp. 1-2). Little value can be attached to the story in Acts xviii. 18 that Paul brought a Nazarite sacrifice in the Temple, since for him the blood of Christ was the only sacrifice to be recognized. Only at a later time, when Pauline and Judean Christianity were merged, was account again taken, contrary to the Pauline system, of the Mosaic law regarding sacrifice and the priesthood; and so the Epistle to the Hebrews was written with the view of representing Jesus as “the high priest after the order of Melchizedek” who atoned for the sins of the world by his own blood (Heb. iv. 14-v. 10, vii.-xiii.). However, the name of Paul, connected with the epistle by Church tradition, was not attached to it in writing, as was the case with the other epistles.

Paul and PaulinismHow far, after a careful analysis discriminating between what is genuine in Paul’s writings and what is spurious and interpolated, he may yet be regarded as “the great religious genius” or the “great organizer” of the Christian Church, can not be a matter for discussion here. Still the credit belongs to him of having brought the teachings of the monotheistic truth and the ethics of Judaism, however mixed up with heathen Gnosticism and asceticism, home to the pagan world in a form which appealed most forcibly to an age eager for a God in human shape and for some means of atonement in the midst of a general consciousness of sin and moral corruption. Different from Simon Magus, his contemporary, with whom he was at times maliciously identified by his opponents, and in whose Gnostic system sensuousness and profanity predominated, Paul with his austerity made Jewish holiness his watch word; and he aimed after all, like any other Jew, at the establishment of the kingdom of God, to whom also his Christ subordinated himself, delivering up the kingdom to the Father when his task of redemption was complete, in order that God might be all in all (I Cor. xv. 28). He was an instrument in the hand of Divine Providence to win the heathen nations for Israel’s God of righteousness.

His System of Faith
On the other hand, he construed a system of faithwhich was at the very outset most radically in conflict with the spirit of Judaism:

(1) He substituted for the natural, childlike faith of man in God as the ever-present Helper in all trouble, such as the Old Testament represents it everywhere, a blind, artificial faith prescribed and imposed from without and which is accounted as a meritorious act.

(2) He robbed human life of its healthy impulses, the human soul of its faith in its own regenerating powers, of its belief in its own self and in its inherent tendencies to goodness, by declaring Sin to be, from the days of Adam, the all-conquering power of evil ingrained in the flesh, working everlasting doom; the deadly exhalation of Satan, the prince of this world, from whose grasp only Jesus, the resurrected Christ, the prince of the other world, was able to save man.

(3) In endeavoring to liberate man from the yoke of the Law, he was led to substitute for the views and hopes maintained by the apocalyptic writers the Christian dogma with its terrors of damnation and hell for the unbeliever, holding out no hope whatsoever for those who would not accept his Christ as savior, and finding the human race divided between the saved and the lost (Rom. ii. 12; I Cor. i. 18; II Cor. ii. 15, iv. 3; II Thess. ii. 10).

(4) In declaring the Law to be the begetter of sin and damnation and in putting grace or faith in its place, he ignored the great truth that duty, the divine “command,” alone renders life holy; that upon the law of right-cousness all ethics, individual or social, rest.

(5) In condemning, furthermore, all human wisdom, reason, and common sense as “folly,” and in appealing only to faith and vision, he opened wide the door to all kinds of mysticism and superstition.

(6) Moreover, in place of the love greatly extolled in the panegyric in I Cor. xiii.—a chapter which strangely interrupts the connection between ch. xii. and xiv.—Paul instilled into the Church, by his words of condemnation of the Jews as “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction” (Rom. ix. 22; II Cor. iii. 9, iv. 3), the venom of hatred which rendered the earth unbearable for God’s priest-people. Probably Paul is not responsible for these outbursts of fanaticism; but Paulinism is. It finally led to that systematic defamation and profanation of the Old Testament and its God by Marcion and his followers which ended in a Gnosticism so depraved and so shocking as to bring about a reaction in the Church in favor of the Old Testament against the Pauline antinomianism. Protestantism revived Pauline views and notions; and with these a biased opinion of Judaism and its Law took possession of Christian writers, and prevails even to the present (comp., e.g., Weber, “Jüdische Theologie,” 1897, where Judaism is presented throughout simply as “Nomismus”; Schürer’s description of the life of the Jew “under the law” in his “Gesch.” 3d ed., ii. 464-496; Bousset, “Religion des Judenthums in Neu-Testamentlichen Zeitalter,” 1903, p. 107; and the more popular works by Harnack and others; and see also Schechter in “J. Q. R.” iii. 754-766; Abrahams, “Prof. Schürer on Life Under the Jewish Law,” ib. xi. 626; and Schreiner, “Die Jüngsten Urtheile über das Judenthum,” 1902, pp. 26-34).
For other Pauline doctrines see Atonement; Body in Jewish Theology; Faith; Sin, Original.

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Paul of Tarsus & his Theology opposed to Jesus Chrsit

“Paul’s words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul- a vast difference.Bishop John S. Spong (Episcopal Bishop of Newark)
(Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, p. 104, Harper San Francisco, 1991)
    “Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.”  

 Thomas Jefferson

Early Christians: 

After ascent of Jesus Christ, the original followers of Jesus Christ continued to live as Jews and practiced what Jesus had taught them. It did not occur to any of them that they could ever be regarded as followers of a new religion.  They were devout and practicing Jews and they were distinguished from their neighbors, only by their faith in the message of Jesus.   In the beginning they did not organize themselves as a separate sect and did not have a synagogue of their own.   There was nothing in the message of Jesus, as understood by them, to necessitate a break with Judaism.
However, they incurred the enmity of the vested interests among the Jewish higher echelon. The conflict between the Jews and the followers of Jesus was started by the Jews because they felt that they [named as Christians much later] would undermine their “authority”. The gulf progressively began to widen. During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E, they left the city; and refused to take part in the Bar Coachaba rebellion in 132 C.E. These two events brought to the surface the difference between the followers of Jesus Christ and the Jews.

Question of Origin of Jesus & Nature:

The question of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which later became so important, was not raised among these early disciples. The belief that Jesus was a man super-naturally endowed by God was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic even than of the Jews.

Impale’ment of New Disciple Paul:

With the conversion of Paul (4–64 C.E) a new period opened in Christian Theology. Paul a Jew and an inhabitant of Tarsus, had spent a long time in Rome, he was a Roman citizen. He realized the strong hold which the Roman religion had on the masses. The intellectuals were under the influence of Plato and Aristotle. Paul seems to have felt that it would not be possible to convert the masses in the Roman Empire without making mutual adjustments. But his practical wisdom was not acceptable to those who had seen and heard Jesus. However, in spite of their difference, they decided to work together for the common cause.
The theory of redemption was the brain child of Paul, a belief entirely unknown to the disciples of Jesus. Paul’s theory involved the deification of Jesus. The Pauline period in the history of the Christian Church saw a change of scene and principles. In place of the disciples, who had sat at the feet of Jesus, a new figure, who had not known Jesus, had come to the forefront. In place of Palestine, the Roman Empire became the scene of Christian activity. Instead of being a mere sect of Judaism, Christianity not only became independent of Judaism but also became independent of Jesus himself.
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) presented a spiritual message and main ideas concerning human conduct. Christian theology, however, was shaped principally by the work of Paul who added new doctrines and the worship of Jesus Christ to the spiritual message of Jesus. Paul became the foremost proselytizer of the new religion of Christianity. His influence on Christian theology proved to be the most permanent and far-reaching of all Christian writers and thinkers. As a young man, he went to Jerusalem to study under Rabbi Gamaliel, an eminent Jewish teacher. Though Paul was in Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus, it is doubtful whether the two men ever met.
After Jesus, the early Christians were regarded as heretics and suffered persecution. For a while, Paul (Saul) himself participated in this persecution (Acts:7:58). However, during a journey to Damascus (37 C.E) he claimed that Jesus spoke to him in a ‘vision’,  [as did David Koresh and Jim Jones] so he was converted to the new faith. It was the turning point of his life. The one-time opponent of Christianity became the most vigorous and influential proponent of the new religion.
In 40 A D, he went to Jerusalem, but the disciples were afraid of him. It was Barnabas, one of the earliest disciples of Jesus Christ, who introduced him to them, and convinced them to accept him as a Christian, even though reluctantly. After some time he had again to flee from Jerusalem to Tarsus to save his life. Barnabas was sent by the apostles on a special and important mission to Antioch. Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus so that he might help him in his mission at Antioch; and both of them worked there for a whole year. All this time Saul (Paul) was subordinate to Barnabas.
During the first missionary journey (45 C.E to 49 C.E) Barnabas was the leader of the mission. It was indeed the missionary journey of Barnabas which is erroneously ascribed to Paul. Paul was planning to bypass all the disciples and even his benefactor, Barnabas, and to gain pre-eminence for himself. He wanted to be second to none. 

Paul under Satanic influence:

According to 2 Corinthians 12:6-9, Paul, in the Bible says:
“But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:6-9
”According to ‘Saint’ Paul, God sent a Messenger of Satan to teach him the reality of grace. If it is a Messenger from God,why then, does Paul call it a Messenger of Satan?
Since it is from God, shouldn’t it be a Messenger of God? Since Paul calls Messengers sent by Christ to teach him grace, Satan, and since Paul is tormented and Christ is unwilling to remove the ‘Messenger of Satan’, then we must conclude that Paul was a man possessed by some demon.
Devil tempted Adam, Eve got them out of gardens of bliss , tempted Jesus Christ but was rebuked:
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[Matthew 4:10]
The disappointed Satan later got Paul in vision [as did David Koresh and Jim Jones] and possessed him. The dubious VISION of Paul and conversion story  is exposed due to conflicting account at Act, chapters 9,22 & 26.

Journal of Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry:

Research Article: St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy. D Landsborough
Abstract: Evidence is offered to suggest a neurological origin for Paul’s ecstatic visions. Paul’s physical state at the time of his conversion is discussed and related to these ecstatic experiences. It is postulated that both were manifestations of temporal lobe epilepsy. <>

    Paul converted by epileptic fit, suggests BBC:

    A documentary about St Paul has infuriated Christians by suggesting that the apostle’s conversion on the road to Damascus may have been caused by an epileptic fit or a freak lightning bolt. In one of the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Paul was transformed from a zealous persecutor of Christianity into one of its most powerful advocates after being struck down by a blinding light. The documentary, presented by Jonathan Edwards, the athlete and evangelical. It challenges the belief that Paul’s conversion was caused by divine intervention by quoting scientists who link religious experience with epilepsy. It suggests that the Paul’s reference to an ailment which he described as “a thorn in the flesh, which acts as Satan’s messenger to beat me, and keep me from being proud” could be the condition.
    Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, the neuroscientist who delivered this year’s Reith lectures, told the programme that patients who suffered seizures often had intense mystical experiences like Paul’s.
    An even more bizarre theory, suggested by Dr John Derr, an American earthquake expert, is that Paul could have been struck by a bolt of electro-magnetic energy, similar to ball lightning, released by an earthquake.
    The programme quotes scientists saying that such an event could have triggered what Paul would believe to be a mystical experience, as well as leaving him blind for several days. Paul’s conversion is thought to have occurred around AD 35, and his apostolic journeys took place from AD 47 until he was arrested in Jerusalem in AD 58. According to tradition he was beheaded in Rome.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1427916/St-Paul-converted-by-epileptic-fit-suggests-BBC.html

    Then the influence of Messenger of Satan, resulted in such doctrines which Jesus Chrsit never preached, he said:
    Matthew 7:21-26:
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Master, Master ‘ [Greek:kurios, master, as a respectful title, Lord, sir] will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will tell me in that day, ‘Master, master didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.”
    “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” [Matthew 13:15]
    “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” [Matthew 7:26]
    “And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘And in vain they pay reverence [Greek sebomai sebomai, revere, worship, adore] to me as they teach doctrines of commandments of the sons of men.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”  [Mark 7:6-10]
    “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”[2 Corinthians 11:4]
    These arguments should silence the missionary and create awareness in their hearts to follow true teachings of Jesus Christ not of the Paul.

    Council of Jerusalem (50C.E):

    It was experienced by the preachers that the gentiles were reluctant to convert, because some ignorant people had advocated that to attain salvation it is obligatory that in addition to believing in Jesus Christ they have to also adhere to all the rites and customs of Law of Moses like circumcision in accord with Genesis 17:14, a law from God which, according to Genesis 17:13-19, God said would be everlasting) thus Luke wrote: “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, saying, Except you be circumcised after the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”(Acts;15:1).
    However, circumcision was considered repulsive during the period of Hellenization of the Eastern Mediterranean. So if the potential convert is asked to believe in the basic doctrines without precondition of circumcision it does not imply that the custom of circumcision is cancelled for all but a minor evil is accepted to save the gentiles from disbelief. This compromise technique was adopted by the disciples to facilitate the conversion of gentiles. A delegation, comprising Paul and Barnabas, was appointed to confer with the elders of the church in Jerusalem on this issue.

    Relaxation of Law to Facilitate Gentiles Conversion-Not Permanent Abrogation:

    In the conference of the Christian Apostles held in Jerusalem around 50 C.E, the ensuing apostolic conference (Acts;15:2-35), led by the apostle Peter and James, were persuaded to relax the adherence of Law for the Gentile Christians.  After debate, it was decreed that Gentile Christians did not have to observe the Mosaic Law of the Jews. The general intention of disciples is evident from the speech delivered by Peter: “Now therefore why test God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”(Acts;15:10-11). [If Peter’s aim was to totally cancel the Law for the gentiles, then it would also been cancelled for the Jewish Christians, because Peter considers the Law as burden for the gentiles as well as the for themselves (Jews)]
    It may be kept in view that the purpose of the Council of Jerusalem was not to determine whether the Law of Torah is obligatory for the gentiles or not? The in-depth analysis indicates that as far as the viability of the Law of Torah is concerned the disciples had no doubt in their mind, they all agreed to the obligation to adhere to these laws: The issue was only to relax them for the gentiles to facilitate their conversion. For this reason while describing those who wanted the gentiles to adhere to the Law, Luke wrote: “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”(Acts;15:5). In response James decreed: “Therefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them, who from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from defilements of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”(Acts;15:19-21). Hence the general letter written by this Council to the gentiles states: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That you abstain from anything offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Farewell.”(Acts;15:28-29)
    It is amply clear from above that the disciples of Jesus Christ did not intend to cancel or abrogate the Law of Torah altogether but compromised on its application for gentiles (Not Jewish Christians) temporarily to facilitate easy conversion of gentiles from paganism to the new faith. However when Barnabas and Paul reached Antioch, Paul took undue advantage of the Decree of the Jerusalem Council and started preaching that the Law of Torah has been abrogated completely: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”(Galatians;2:19) and later: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”(Romans;7:6).

    Barnabas & Paul-Split on Doctrinal Differences:

    Obviously acceptance of self made doctrines by Paul, implied total deviation from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who had said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”(Matthew;5:17). Hence Peter and Barnabas opposed Paul, which has been mentioned by Paul: “But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. For before certain men came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision. And the other Jews joined likewise with him; so that Barnabas also was carried away with their hypocrisy.”(Galatians;2:11-13).
    After this incidence Barnabas separated himself fro Paul: “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days later Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being commended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”(Acts;15:35-41).
    There was strong opposition by the disciples (Peter and Barnabas,) to the new doctrines being preached by Paul contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. This resulted in to rebellion by the Galatians against Paul. Then Paul wrote 2nd letter to Galatians, in which he instead of claiming support of Disciples, opposed them and tried to prove that he did not need to learn from Disciples as he was getting direct revelations (Glatinas:1:11-12).
    After this rift, there was a parting of the ways. In the Acts, Barnabas disappears after the rift, because the recording of the Acts of the Apostles was done by the followers of Paul. Pauline Christians grew in number and strength because Paul had compromised with Roman beliefs and legends. A stage was later reached when kings were used as pawns to further the ends of the Church. However Barnabas was able to record the original teachings of Jesus Christ which remains available to the truth seekers even now despite all the malicious efforts to obliterate them. Commandment of Jesus about Barnabas is: “If he (Barnabas) comes un to you, receive him”(Clossians;4:10)
    In the ‘Opening’ of “The Gospel of Jesus” Barnabas clarifies the doctrinal differences as reason of his split with Paul:
    “True Gospel of Jesus, called Christ, a new prophet sent by God to the world: according to the description of Barnabas his apostle: Barnabas, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene, called Christ, to all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation. Dearly beloved the great and wonderful God hath during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ in great mercy of teaching and miracles, by reason whereof many, being deceived of Satan, under presence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrine, calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision ordained of God for ever, and permitting every unclean meat: among whom also Paul hath been deceived, whereof I speak not without grief; for which cause I am writing that truth which I have seen and heard, in the intercourse that I have had with Jesus, in order that ye may be saved, and not be deceived of Satan and perish in the judgment of God. Therefore beware of every one that preacheth unto you new doctrine contrary to that which I write, that ye may be saved eternally. The great God be with you and guard you from Satan and from every evil. Amen.”
    Paul arrived in Jerusalem on his fifth and final visit to Jerusalem [Acts 21:17] in 57 with a collection of money for the community there. Acts reports that he was warmly received. But Acts goes on to recount how Paul was warned by James and the elders that he was gaining a reputation for being against the Law, “teaching all the Jews living among the gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs”.[Acts 21:21] Paul underwent a purification ritual in order to give the Jews no grounds to bring accusations against him for not following their law. Paul caused a stir when he appeared at the Temple, and he escaped being killed by the crowd by voluntarily being taken into Roman custody. When a plot to kill Paul on his way to an appearance before the Jews was discovered, he was transported by night to Caesarea. He was held as a prisoner there for two years, until a new governor reopened his case in 59. When the governor suggested that he be sent back to Jerusalem for further trial, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen to “appeal unto Caesar”.
    Acts 21:17-36
    When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
    20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
    26The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.
    Paul Arrested
    27When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” 29(They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.)
    30The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
    33The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. 35When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Get rid of him!”

     


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    Christianity Betrayed by Paul

    One of Paul’s followers (Demetrius) left Paul and sided with the Original Apostles and their followers. Paul admits that Demetrius was one of his followers and that he deserted Paul (2Tim 4:9-16). Paul’s friend Luke tries to put a favorable spin to the story (Acts 19:23-29), but John defends Demetrius against Luke’s attack (3 John 9-12).

    Adding weight to this argument, is the story of Barnabas. Barnabas was the one who first introduced Paul to the Original Apostles, and he accompanied Paul on Paul’s first missionary journey. Barnabas was also one of the many of Paul’s followers who (according to Paul’s own words) eventually had a parting of the ways with their former leader:

        “No one stood by me when I defended myself; all deserted me.”
        (2 Tim 4:16)

    The situation with Barnabas is very similar to that of Demetrius, and is even more convincing. Once again we have Paul admit that one of his followers has left him. Once again we find Luke attempting a feat of “damage control” and attempting to reframe the story in a more positive light for his friend Paul. In this case, however, we do not have to use a third party to infer that the follower who is deserting Paul is going over to the side of the Original Apostles and their followers (the Ebionites). Here, this fact is attested to by none other than Paul himself!

    First, let us look at the highly imaginative presentation of the split between Paul and Barnabas as brought to us by Paul’s constant defender, Luke:

    “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit our brothers in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting along.’ Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them at Pamphylia. There was a sharp argument, and they separated:”(Acts 15:36-39)

    A sharp argument and separation over whether or not to take Barnabas’ nephew with them on a journey? This would seem to indicate a rather weak bond between Paul and Barnabas. Their history together, however, seems to argue against this assumption:

    The friendship of Paul and Barnabas was formed right from the start, with Barnabas being the first (and perhaps the only) person to support Paul when Paul initially met with the Original Apostles.

        “Saul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples. But they would not believe that he was a disciple, and they were all afraid of him. Then Barnabas came to his help and took him to the apostles. He explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had spoken to him. He also told them how boldly Saul had preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus. And so Saul stayed in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 9:26-28)

    Even before their first journey, Paul and Barnabas worked together “for a whole year.”

        “Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he took him to Antioch, and for a whole year the two met with the people of the church and taught a large group.”(Acts 11:25-26)

    According to Luke, Paul and Barnabas were placed together not only by their own choice, but by the decree of the Holy Spirit.

        “In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.’” (Acts 13:1-2)

    Paul and Barnabas travelled extensively and underwent many hardships together.

        “Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus…..they arrived at Salamis…..went all the way across the island of Paphos…..came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia…..arrived in Antioch in Pisidia…..went on to Iconium…..fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory…..then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia…..They came to Pamphylia. There they preached the message in Perga and then went back to Attalia, and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commanded to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.” (Acts 13 & 14)

    After all of the time and travails that are shared by Paul and Barnabas, they have a violent argument and part company forever—if we believe the presentation in Acts—over an event that is given the following coverage by Luke in Acts:

        “Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem.”(Acts 13:13)

    According to the account found in Acts, we are to believe that two men who shared a common bond of faith and friendship; shared travels and travails; and who were placed together for a shared role by the Holy Spirit, argued and separated forever over the fact that Barnabas’ nephew “went back to Jerusalem.” Here we are to believe that Paul is of such a mind as to throw away a friendship such as the one between Barnabas and himself rather than to allow Barnabas the privilege of having his nephew accompany them on a second journey. Not exactly a sterling view of Paul as presented by his friend Luke, but Luke evidently felt that it was better than the alternative of letting Paul’s own version of the split stand as it was presented in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

        “But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him in public, because he was clearly wrong. Before some men who had been sent by James arrived there, Peter had been eating with the Gentile brothers. But after these men arrived, he drew back and would not eat with the Gentiles, because he was afraid of those who were in favor of circumcising them. The other Jewish brothers also started acting like cowards along with Peter: AND EVEN BARNABAS WAS SWEPT ALONG BY THEIR COWARDLY ACTION.” (Gal 2:11-13)

    Here we see what was actually the reason for the split between Paul and Barnabas. We may not ever know the true story of the confrontation between Paul and the Original Apostles (Peter and James and their followers [the Ebionites]). We hear Paul’s side here in Galatians, we hear Peter condemning Paul’s version. Regardless of the actual details of the confrontation, we find Barnabas siding with Peter and the Original Apostles against Paul. A much more likely cause for the split between the two former friends than the unconvincing excuse utilized by Luke in Acts.

    So, once again, we find evidence that when confronted by the reasoning of those who had actually travelled with and learned from Jesus during his ministry, many of Paul’s followers recognized the truth of the teaching of these eye-witnesses and turned away from Paul and his mistaken version of the religion of Jesus. Had Jerusalem not fallen in 70 AD, and had the Ebionites not been scattered and deprived of a home base from which to battle the apostate views of Paul, we might well have seen the religion of Jesus passed on by those to whom he had delivered his teaching. Alas, Jerusalem did fall, and Paul’s distorted view was allowed to go on unchallenged by those who best knew Jesus and his wishes. What a different world it might have been without this cruel twist of fate.
    Source: http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com

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    Pauline Theology – 3 Main Conflicts with that of Jesus
    One may wonder what, from the New Testament, separates two groups, Trinitarians from Unitarians by such a vast expanse of understanding.  No doubt the key difference which divides Trinitarians from Unitarians, and Christians from Muslims, is Pauline theology.  For centuries the argument has been put forth that Trinitarian Christians largely follow Pauline theology more than that of Jesus.  This charge is difficult to deny, for Jesus taught the Law of the Old Testament, whereas Paul preached mysteries of faith, in denial of the Law which the prophets had suffered and struggled to convey.  In disrespect to thousands of years of revelation conveyed through a long chain of esteemed prophets, and contrary to the teachings of the rabbi Jesus himself, Paul focused not on the life and teachings of Jesus, but upon his death.
    The three main points where Pauline theology conflicts with that of Jesus are critical — elements so crucial that deviation from the truth threatens a person’s salvation.  In order of importance they rank:

    1)    The divinity of Jesus alleged by Pauline theology versus the oneness of God taught by Christ Jesus;

    2)    Justification by faith, as proposed by Paul, versus Old Testament law, as endorsed by Christ Jesus;

    3)    Jesus having been a universal prophet, as per Paul, versus an ethnic prophet, as per the teachings of Christ Jesus.

    Christ Jesus was one more prophet in the long line of prophets sent to guide the astray Israelites.  As Christ Jesus so clearly affirmed, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  (Matthew 15:24)  When Jesus sent the disciples out in the path of God, he instructed them in such a manner as to leave no uncertainty in this regard, for he told them, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  (Matthew 10:5-6)  Throughout his ministry, Jesus was never recorded as having converted a single Gentile, and in fact is recorded as having initially rebuked a Gentile for seeking his favors, likening her to a dog (Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:25-30).  One wonders, what does that mean now, for those who have taken Jesus to be their ‘personal savior’ and presume to speak in his name?

      Interestingly enough, these three points constitute the greatest doctrinal differences separating Christianity not only from Judaism, but also from Islam.  Running a theological finger down the backbone of revealed monotheism, Trinitarian Christianity seems to stand out of joint.

    To address the first of these points, Jesus is recorded as having taught the oneness of God, as in Mark 12:29:

    “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  Jesus reportedly continued with “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” finishing with emphasis upon the initial claim, “This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30).  Not only did Jesus stress importance by sandwiching his statement between the repeated and emphatic “This is the first commandment,” but the importance of this teaching is equally stressed in Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27, and further complemented by the first commandment as recorded in Exodus 20:3 — “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Jesus conveyed the above teaching from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (as acknowledged in all reputable Biblical commentaries), yet Pauline theology somehow arrived at concepts which have been extrapolated to support what is now known as the Trinity.  One wonders how.  Jesus referred to the Old Testament — what did the Pauline theologians refer to?  Significantly absent from the above teaching of Jesus is the association of himself with God.  There never was a better time or place, throughout the New Testament, for Jesus to have claimed partnership in divinity, were it true.  But he didn’t.  He didn’t say, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one — but it’s not quite that simple, so let me explain…” [By Dr.Lawrence Brorwn: http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/564/ ]

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    Views of scholars and statesmen on Paul & His Theology:

    Lehmann put it:

    “The only thing which Paul considers important is the Jew Jesus’ death, which destroyed all hopes of liberation by a Messiah.  He makes the victorious Christ out of the failed Jewish Messiah, the living out of the dead, the son of God out of the son of man.”

    More than a few scholars consider Paul the main corrupter of Apostolic Christianity and of the teachings of Jesus:

    “What Paul proclaimed as ‘Christianity’ was sheer heresy which could not be based on the Jewish or Essene faith, or on the teaching of Rabbi Jesus.  But, as Schonfield says, ‘The Pauline heresy became the foundation of Christian orthodoxy and the legitimate church was disowned as heretical.’”

    Lehmann continues:

    “Paul did something that Rabbi Jesus never did and refused to do.  He extended God’s promise of salvation to the Gentiles; he abolished the law of Moses, and he prevented direct access to God by introducing an intermediary.”

    Others elevate Paul to sainthood.  Joel Carmichael, who commented as follows, very clearly is not one of them:

    “We are a universe away from Jesus.  If Jesus came “only to fulfill” the Law and the Prophets; If he thought that “not an iota, not a dot” would “pass from the Law,” that the cardinal commandment was “Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is one,” and that “no one was good but God”….What would he have thought of Paul’s handiwork!  Paul’s triumph meant the final obliteration of the historic Jesus; he comes to us embalmed in Christianity like a fly in amber.”

    Many authors have pointed out the disparity in the teachings of Paul and Jesus; the best of them have avoided opinionated commentary and concentrated on simply exposing the elements of difference.  Dr. Wrede comments:

    “In Paul the central point is a divine act, in history but transcending history, or a complex of such acts, which impart to all mankind a ready-made salvation.  Whoever believes in these divine acts – the incarnation, death, and resurrection of a celestial being, receives salvation.

    “And this, which to Paul is the sum of religion – the skeleton of the fabric of his piety, without which it would collapse – can this be a continuation or a remoulding of the gospel of Jesus?  Where, in all this, is that gospel to be found, which Paul is said to have understood?

    “Of that which is to Paul all and everything, how much does Jesus know?  Nothing whatever.”

    And Dr. Johannes Weiss contributes:

    “Hence the faith in Christ as held by the primitive churches and by Paul was something new in comparison with the preaching of Jesus; it was a new type of religion.”

    Carl Sagan (Scientist; Author)


        “My long-time view about Christianity is that it represents an amalgam of two seemingly immiscible parts–the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul. Thomas Jefferson attempted to excise the Pauline parts of the New Testament. There wasn’t much left when he was done, but it was an inspiring document.” (Letter to Ken Schei [author of Christianity Betrayed and An Atheists for Jesus])


    Thomas Jefferson

        “Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.”


    Albert Schweitzer

        “Where possible Paul avoids quoting the teaching of Jesus, in fact even mentioning it. If we had to rely on Paul, we should not know that Jesus taught in parables, had delivered the sermon on the mount, and had taught His disciples the ‘Our Father.’ Even where they are specially relevant, Paul passes over the words of the Lord.”


    Wil Durant (Philospher)

        “Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ.”

        “Fundamentalism is the triumph of Paul over Christ.”


    Walter Kaufmann (Professor of Philosophy, Princeton)

        “Paul substituted faith in Christ for the Christlike life.”


    George Bernard Shaw

        “No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.”


    Thomas Hardy

        “The new testament was less a Christiad than a Pauliad.”


    Hyam Maccoby (Talmudic Scholar)

        “As we have seen, the purposes of the book of Acts is to minimize the conflict between Paul and the leaders of the Jerusalem Church, James and Peter. Peter and Paul, in later Christian tradition, became twin saints, brothers in faith, and the idea that they were historically bitter opponents standing for irreconcilable religious standpoints would have been repudiated with horror. The work of the author of Acts was well done; he rescued Christianity from the imputation of being the individual creation of Paul, and instead gave it a respectable pedigree, as a doctrine with the authority of the so-called Jerusalem Church, conceived as continuous in spirit with the Pauline Gentile Church of Rome. Yet, for all his efforts, the truth of the matter is not hard to recover, if we examine the New Testament evidence with an eye to tell-tale inconsistencies and confusions, rather than with the determination to gloss over and harmonize all difficulties in the interests of an orthodox interpretation.” (The Mythmaker, p. 139, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1986)


    Jeremy Bentham (English Philosopher)

        “If Christianity needed an Anti-Christ, they needed look no farther than Paul.” (Paraphrased. Looking for a copy of “Not Paul, but Jesus” in order to retrieve the exact quote.)


    Carl Jung (Psychologist)

        “Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in.” (U.S. News and World Report, April 22, 1991, p. 55)


    Bishop John S. Spong (Episcopal Bishop of Newark)

        “Paul’s words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul- a vast difference.” (Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, p. 104, Harper San Francisco, 1991)

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    More from: http://callingchristians.com/paul

    Related:

    Jesuism & Pauline Christianity


    Jesuism (Jesusism or Jesuanism) is the philosophy or teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and adherence to those teachings. Jesuism is distinct from and sometimes opposed to mainstream Christianity. In particular, the term is often contrasted with the theology attributed to Paul of Tarsus and modern Church dogma. Jesuism is not opposed to the Christian Bible or Church doctrine, but rather it does not affirm their authority over theteachings of Jesus. As a philosophy, Owen Flanagan characterized Jesusism asnaturalistic and rationalist, rejecting the conflict between faith and science. Though not specifically associated with Jesuism, the red letter Bibles are one method of studying the teachings of Jesus.
    Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writingsOrthodoxChristianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others, as detailed below, perceive in Paul’s writings, teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of JamesOpponents of the same era include the Ebionites and NazarenesJewish Christianswho rejected Paul for straying from Second Temple JudaismReference is made to the large number of non-canonical texts, some of which have been discovered during the last 100 years, which show the many movements and strands of thought emanating from Jesus’ life and teaching or which may be contemporary with them, some of which can be contrasted with Paul’s thought.
    Christian anarchists, such as Leo Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, believe Paul distorted Jesus’ teachings. Tolstoy claims Paul was instrumental in the church’s “deviation” from Jesus’ teaching and practices, whilst Hennacy believed “Paul spoiled the message of Christ.” According to Tom O’Golo, the Ebionites believed Paul was a false prophet whose task was not to convert Romans to Christians but Christians to Romans. Irenaeusbishop of Lyon, wrote in the latter half of the 2nd century that the Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate from the law, using only a version of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, known as the Gospel of the Ebionites.
    Tom O’Golo postulates several key elements were added by Paul to Christian theology that weren’t evident in Jesuism. These included:
    1. Original sin
    2. Making Jews the villains
    3. Making Jesus divine
    4. Transubstantiation of bread and wine into actual flesh and blood
    5. Jesus’ death being seen as atonement for human sin
    6. Making Jesus the Messiah
    7. Shifting the emphasis from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom
    8. Enlarging the chosen people to include anyone who accepted Jesus as Saviour
    9. Making salvation a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the demands of the Torah
    10. Establishing a hierarchy (literally a holy order) to create and control a Church and more importantly to create and control the beliefs of its membership.
    Christianity of today is not the old original Christianity. It is not Jesusism, for it is not the religion which Jesus preached. Is it not time to make Christianity the religion which He personally preached and which He personally practiced?”[ Harvard theologian Bouck White, in 1911, also defined “Jesusism” as “the religion which Jesus preached”. Lord Ernest Hamilton in 1912 wrote that “Jesuism” was simply to love one another and love God. The philosophy of Jesusism was described in the book The Naked Truth of Jesusism from Oriental Manuscripts, penned by theologian Lyman Fairbanks George in 1914, as follows:
    1. It is to restore Jesus’ sayings to their original purity.
    2. It is to eradicate from the Gospels the interpolations of the Middle Ages.
    3. It is to relate the misconceptions revealed by recent archaeological research.
    4. It is to present Jesus from an economic viewpoint.
    5. It is to break through the spell spectral of Cosmic Credulity.
    6. It is to toll the knell of schism through Jesusism.

    Society of Jesus

    Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope. Jesuists, members of the Society of Jesus is a Christian male religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits and are also known colloquially as “God’s Marines”, these being references to founderIgnatius of Loyola‘s military background and members’ willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and live in extreme conditions. The society is engaged inevangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue. Following conntroversies are debated:

    Power-seeking

    The Monita Secreta (Secret Instructions of the Jesuits), published in 1612 and in 1614, in Kraków, is alternately alleged to have been written either by Claudio Acquaviva, the fifth general of the society, or written by Jerome Zahorowski. The purported Secret Instructions of the Jesuits are the methods to be adopted by the Jesuits for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the Society and for the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the book is a forgery, fabricated to ascribe a sinister reputation to Society of Jesus.

    Political intrigue

    In England, Henry Garnet, one of the leading English Jesuits, was hanged for misprision of treason, because of his knowledge of the Gunpowder Plot (1605). The Plot was the attempted assassination of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack, by exploding the Houses of Parliament. Another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond, managed to escape arrest for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

    Casuistic justification

    Jesuits have been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for unjustifiable actions. (cf. formulary controversy and Lettres Provinciales, by Blaise Pascal). Hence, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the English language, records “equivocating” as a secondary denotation of the word “Jesuit”. Contemporary critics of the Society of Jesus include Jack ChickAvro Manhattan,Alberto Rivera, and Malachi Martin, author of The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church(1987).

    Anti-Semitism

    Although in the first 30 years of the existence of the Society of Jesus there were many Jesuit conversos (Catholic-convert Jews), an anti-converso faction led to the Decree de genere (1593) which proclaimed that either Jewish or Muslim ancestry, no matter how distant, was an insurmountable impediment for admission to the Society of Jesus. The 16th-century Decree de genere remained in exclusive force until the 20th century, when it was repealed in 1946.

    Theological rebellion

    Within the Roman Catholic Church, there has existed a sometimes tense relationship between Jesuits and the Vatican due to questioning of official Church teaching and papal directives, such as those on abortion, birth controlwomen deacons, homosexuality, and liberation theology. Usually this theological free thinking is academically oriented, being prevalent at the university level. From this standpoint, the function of this debate is less to challenge the magisterium than illustrate the church’s ability to compromise in a pluralist society based on shared values which do not always align with religious teachings. The previous two Popes have appointed Jesuits to powerful positions in the Church; John Paul II appointed Roberto Tucci, S.J., to the College of Cardinals, after serving as the chief organizer of papal trips and public events. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed 10 Jesuit Cardinals to notable jobs. Benedict XVI appointed Jesuits to notable positions in his curia, such as Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J. as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Rev.Federico Lombardi, S.J., Vatican Press Secretary. Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope.

    References:

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    Innocence of Christians

    This video is in response to the blasphemous Anti Islam video by shameless ignorant bigot claiming to be Coptic Christian. No true follower of Jesus Christ could contradict teachings of Christ. This is not hate video, it is based on historic facts and Bibical quotations. Not anti Christianity or Christians, but to promote Peace.

    https://www.facebook.com/v/505095522852930

    Share this link or Click here to watch at full screen, new tab: www.facebook.com/v/505095522852930

    Let’s Know this man: Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] Views of Non Muslim Scholars: https://www.facebook.com/v/480920318603784

      A PRGMATIC RESPONSE- VIDEO:  
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    Link:  www.facebook.com/v/505095522852930 Read more about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), slanders against him and rebuttals:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Christians claim to be innocent and blame others especially Muslims  for extremism, violence and terrorism. They cannot deny the history which vindicates their claims. Thousands of people have died in the name of Christ, Christianity and Catholicism. Listed below are only events that solely occurred on command of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. 

     Ancient Pagans

    • As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
    • Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
    • Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
    • Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.” [DA468]
    • Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. [DA468]
    • Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
      According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”
    • In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
    • In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]
    • The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
      [DO19-25]

     Mission

    • Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]
    • Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
    • Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered. [DO235]
    • 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. [DO30]
    • 16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
      Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]

     Crusades (1095-1291)

    • First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
    • Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
    • 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
    • Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
    • after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
      Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy’s] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
    • Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine “the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians” said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
    • Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
      (In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”)
    • The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79]
    • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”. One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
    • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. [WW45]
    • Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
    • Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]
      Note: All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.

     Heretics

    • Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]
    • Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]
    • Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. [DO29]
      The Albigensians…viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
      Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (greatest single pre-nazi mass murderer) in 1209. Bezirs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbours and friends) 20,000-70,000. [WW179-181]
    • Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed. [WW181]
    • subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated. [WW183]
    • After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324. [WW183]
    • Estimated one million victims (cathar heresy alone), [WW183]
    • Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).
    • Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada alone allegedly responsible for 10,220 burnings. [DO28]
    • John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. [LI475-522]
    • University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna. [DO59]
    • Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.

     Witches

    • from the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.
    • in the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged. [WV]

     Religious Wars

    • Spanish Inquisition against Muslims and Jews sanctioned by Roman Catholic clergy. 

      15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]

    • 1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
    • 1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
    • 1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
    • 17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river […but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [… and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.” [SH191]
    • 17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.” [SH191]
    • 17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]

     Jews

    • Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.
    • In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
    • 17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
    • The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
    • First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
    • Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
    • Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
    • Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
    • 1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
    • 1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
    • 1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
    • 1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
    • 1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
    • 1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
    • 1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
    • 1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]
    • 1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]
    (I feel sick …) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.

     Native Peoples

    • Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
    • Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, “ought to be good servants … [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion.” [SH200]
      While Columbus described the Indians as “idolators” and “slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order,” his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as “beasts” because “they eat when they are hungry,” and made love “openly whenever they feel like it.” [SH204-205]
    • On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:
    I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.” [SH66]
    • Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.” [SH235]
    • In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” [SH109,238]
    • On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]
    • The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.
    • As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.” [SH69]
    • The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]
    • What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
      “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” [SH72]
      Or, on another occasion:
      “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” [SH83]
    • The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”. [SH72-73] “In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.” [SH75]
    • “And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.” [SH75]
    • Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
    • “When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.” [SH95]
    Of course no different were the founders of what today is the US of Amerikkka.
    • Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. Warfare among (north American) Indians was rather harmless, in comparison to European standards, and was meant to avenge insults rather than conquer land. In the words of some of the pilgrim fathers: “Their Warres are farre less bloudy…”, so that there usually was “no great slawter of nether side”. Indeed, “they might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.” What is more, the Indians usually spared women and children. [SH111]
    • In the spring of 1612 some English colonists found life among the (generally friendly and generous) natives attractive enough to leave Jamestown – “being idell … did runne away unto the Indyans,” – to live among them (that probably solved a sex problem).
      “Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed: ‘Some he apointed (sic) to be hanged Some burned Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some shott to deathe’.” [SH105] Of course these elegant measures were restricted for fellow englishmen: “This was the treatment for those who wished to act like Indians. For those who had no choice in the matter, because they were the native people of Virginia” methods were different: “when an Indian was accused by an Englishman of stealing a cup and failing to return it, the English response was to attack the natives in force, burning the entire community” down. [SH105]
    • On the territory that is now Massachusetts the founding fathers of the colonies were committing genocide, in what has become known as the “Peqout War”. The killers were New England Puritan Christians, refugees from persecution in their own home country England.
    • When however, a dead colonist was found, apparently killed by Narragansett Indians, the Puritan colonists wanted revenge. Despite the Indian chief’s pledge they attacked.
      Somehow they seem to have lost the idea of what they were after, because when they were greeted by Pequot Indians (long-time foes of the Narragansetts) the troops nevertheless made war on the Pequots and burned their villages.
      The puritan commander-in-charge John Mason after one massacre wrote: “And indeed such a dreadful Terror did the Almighty let fall upon their Spirits, that they would fly from us and run into the very Flames, where many of them perished … God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies”: men, women, children. [SH113-114]
    • So “the Lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance”. [SH111].
    • Because of his readers’ assumed knowledge of Deuteronomy, there was no need for Mason to quote the words that immediately follow:
      “Thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…” (Deut 20)
    • Mason’s comrade Underhill recalled how “great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of the young soldiers” yet reassured his readers that “sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents”. [SH114]
    • Other Indians were killed in successful plots of poisoning. The colonists even had dogs especially trained to kill Indians and to devour children from their mothers breasts, in the colonists’ own words: “blood Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seaze them.” (This was inspired by spanish methods of the time)
      In this way they continued until the extermination of the Pequots was near. [SH107-119]
    • The surviving handful of Indians “were parceled out to live in servitude. John Endicott and his pastor wrote to the governor asking for ‘a share’ of the captives, specifically ‘a young woman or girle and a boy if you thinke good’.” [SH115]
    • Other tribes were to follow the same path.
    • Comment the Christian exterminators: “God’s Will, which will at last give us cause to say: How Great is His Goodness! and How Great is his Beauty!”
      “Thus doth the Lord Jesus make them to bow before him, and to lick the Dust!” [TA]
    • Like today, lying was OK to Christians then. “Peace treaties were signed with every intention to violate them: when the Indians ‘grow secure uppon (sic) the treatie’, advised the Council of State in Virginia, ‘we shall have the better Advantage both to surprise them, & cutt downe theire Corne’.” [SH106]
    • In 1624 sixty heavily armed Englishmen cut down 800 defenseless Indian men, women and children. [SH107]
    • In a single massacre in “King Philip’s War” of 1675 and 1676 some “600 Indians were destroyed. A delighted Cotton Mather, revered pastor of the Second Church in Boston, later referred to the slaughter as a ‘barbeque’.” [SH115]
    • To summarize: Before the arrival of the English, the western Abenaki people in New Hampshire and Vermont had numbered 12,000. Less than half a century later about 250 remained alive – a destruction rate of 98%. The Pocumtuck people had numbered more than 18,000, fifty years later they were down to 920 – 95% destroyed. The Quiripi-Unquachog people had numbered about 30,000, fifty years later they were down to 1500 – 95% destroyed. The Massachusetts people had numbered at least 44,000, fifty years later barely 6000 were alive – 81% destroyed. [SH118] These are only a few examples of the multitude of tribes living before Christian colonists set their foot on the New World. All this was before the smallpox epidemics of 1677 and 1678 had occurred. And the carnage was not over then.
    • All the above was only the beginning of the European colonization, it was before the frontier age actually had begun.
    • A total of maybe more than 150 million Indians (of both Americas) were destroyed in the period of 1500 to 1900, as an average two thirds by smallpox and other epidemics, that leaves some 50 million killed directly by violence, bad treatment and slavery.
    • In many countries, such as Brazil, and Guatemala, this continues even today.

    More Glorious events in US history

    • Reverend Solomon Stoddard, one of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, in “1703 formally proposed to the Massachusetts Governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs ‘to hunt Indians as they do bears’.” [SH241]
    • Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 11/29/1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church (“I long to be wading in gore”) had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs’ waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.
      From an eye-witness account: “There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick; she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed …” [SH131]
      More gory details.
    • By the 1860s, “in Hawai’i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands’ native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to ‘the amputation of diseased members of the body’.” [SH244]

     20th Century Church Atrocities

    • Catholic extermination camps
      Surpisingly few know that Nazi extermination camps in World War II were by no means the only ones in Europe at the time. In the years 1942-1943 also in Croatia existed numerous extermination camps, run by Catholic Ustasha under their dictator Ante Paveli, a practising Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!

      In these camps – the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar – orthodox-Christian serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 600,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi “Sicherheitsdient der SS”, watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them. [MV]
    • Catholic terror in Vietnam
      In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters – the Viet Minh – had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anticommunist propaganda campaigns many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman, the Vatican’s spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam “Soldiers of Christ”, a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem was made president of South Vietnam. [MW16ff]

      Diem saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.

      The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diem promulgated a presidential order which read:
      • “Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp.
    Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in “detention camps.” Out of protest dozens of buddhist teachers – male and female – and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. (Note that Buddhists burned themselves: in comparison Christians tend to burn others). Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into no-nonsense death camps. It is estimated that during this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 24,000 were wounded – mostly in street riots – 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to concentration or detention camps. [MW76-89].

    To support this kind of government in the next decade thousands of American GI’s lost their life….
    • Rwanda Massacres
      In 1994 in the small african country of Rwanda in just a few months several hundred thousand civilians were butchered, apparently a conflict of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.
    For quite some time I heard only rumours about Catholic clergy actively involved in the 1994 Rwanda massacres. Odd denials of involvement were printed in Catholic church journals, before even anybody had openly accused members of the church.
    Then, 10/10/96, in the newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany – a station not at all critical to Christianity – the following was stated:
    “Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees – women, children, old – being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.

    According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.
    In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on fire and burn their victims alive…” [S2]
    • The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, refers to the July 1995 killing, during the Bosnian War, of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The mass murder was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. 2005 Release of Scorpions massacre video The video footage (starting about 2hr 35 min. into the proceedings) shows an Orthodox priest blessing several members of a Serbian unit known as the “Scorpions”.
    • After 911 USA attacked Iraq, Afghanistan and murdered hundreds of innocent Muslim civilians, women and children on the pretext of War on Terror. 

    As can be seen from these events, to Christianity the Dark Ages never come to an end….

    References:

    [DA]
    K.Deschner, Abermals krhte der Hahn, Stuttgart 1962.
    [DO]
    K.Deschner, Opus Diaboli, Reinbek 1987.
    [EC]
    P.W.Edbury, Crusade and Settlement, Cardiff Univ. Press 1985.
    [EJ]
    S.Eidelberg, The Jews and the Crusaders, Madison 1977.
    [LI]
    H.C.Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, New York 1961.
    [MM]
    M.Margolis, A.Marx, A History of the Jewish People.
    [MV]
    A.Manhattan, The Vatican’s Holocaust, Springfield 1986.
    See also V.Dedijer, The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Buffalo NY, 1992.
    [NC]
    J.T.Noonan, Contraception: A History of its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Cambridge/Mass., 1992.
    [S2]
    Newscast of S2 Aktuell, Germany, 10/10/96, 12:00.
    [SH]
    D.Stannard, American Holocaust, Oxford University Press 1992.
    [SP]
    German news magazine Der Spiegel, no.49, 12/2/1996.
    [TA]  A True Account of the Most Considerable Occurrences that have Hapned in the Warre Between the English and the Indians in New England, London 1676.
    [TG]
    F.Turner, Beyond Geography, New York 1980.
    [WW]
    H.Wollschlger: Die bewaffneten Wallfahrten gen Jerusalem, Zrich 1973.
    (This is in german and what is worse, it is out of print. But it is the best I ever read about crusades and includes a full list of original medieval Christian chroniclers’ writings).
    [WV]
    Estimates on the number of executed witches:
    • N.Cohn, Europe’s Inner Demons: An Enquiry Inspired by the Great Witch Hunt, Frogmore 1976, 253.
    • R.H.Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, New York 1959, 180.
    • J.B.Russell, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, Ithaca/NY 1972, 39.
    • H.Zwetsloot, Friedrich Spee und die Hexenprozesse, Trier 1954, 56.

    This page 1996 by kelsos. So there. (Reprinted with permission from author.)

    Connclusion

    We now come to the last, but certainly not least, question to be answered; which is, what do we really know of the man Jesus of Nazareth? How much of the Gospel narratives can we rely upon as fact?

    Jesus of Nazareth is so enveloped in the mists of the past, and his history so obscured by legend, that it may be compared to footprints in the sand. We know some one has been there, but as to what manner of man he may have been, we certainly know little as fact. The Gospels, the only records we have of him,[508:1] have been proven, over and over again, unhistorical and legendary; to state anything as positive about the man is nothing more nor less than assumption; we can therefore conjecture only. Liberal writers philosophize and wax eloquent to little purpose, when, after demolishing the historical accuracy of the New Testament, they end their task by eulogizing the man Jesus, claiming for him the highest praise, and asserting that he was the best and grandest of our race;[508:2] but this manner of reasoning (undoubtedly consoling to many) facts do not warrant. We may consistently revere his name, and place it in the long list of the great and noble, the reformers and religious teachers of the past, all of whom have done their part in bringing about the freedom we now enjoy, but to go beyond this, is, to our thinking, unwarranted.
    If the life of Jesus of Nazareth, as related in the books of the New Testament, be in part the story of a man who really lived and suffered, that story has been so interwoven with images borrowed from myths of a bygone age, as to conceal forever any fragments of history which may lie beneath them. Gautama Buddha was undoubtedly an historical personage, yet the Sun-god myth has been added to his history to such an extent that we really know nothing positive about him. Alexander the Great was an historical personage, yet his history is one mass of legends. So it is with Julius Cesar, Cyrus, King of Persia, and scores of others. “The story of Cyrus’ perils in infancy belongs to solar mythology as much as the stories of the magic slipper, of Charlemagne and Barbarossa. His grandfather, Astyages, is purely a mythical creation, his name being identical with that of the night demon, Azidahaka, who appears in the Shah-Nameh as the biting serpent.”
    The actual Jesus is inaccessible to scientific research. His image cannot be recovered. He left no memorial in writing of himself; his followers were illiterate; the mind of his age was confused. Paul received only traditions of him, how definite we have no means of knowing, apparently not significant enough to be treasured, nor consistent enough to oppose a barrier to his own speculations. As M. Renan says: “The Christ who communicates private revelations to him is a phantom of his own making;” “it is himself he listens to, while fancying that he hears Jesus.”[509:1]
    In studying the writings of the early advocates of Christianity, and Fathers of the Christian Church, where we would naturally look for the language that would indicate the real occurrence of the facts of the Gospel—if real occurrences they had ever been—we not only find no such language, but everywhere find every sort of sophistical ambages, ramblings from the subject, and evasions of the very business before them, as if on purpose to balk our research, and insult our skepticism. If we travel to the very sepulchre of Christ Jesus, it is only to discover that he was never there: history seeks evidence of his existence as a man, but finds no more trace of it than of the shadow that flits across the wall. “The Star of Bethlehem” shone not upon her path, and the order of the universe was suspended without her observation.
    She asks, with the Magi of the East, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” and, like them, finds no solution of her inquiry, but the guidance that guides as well to one place as another; descriptions that apply to Æsculapius, Buddha and Crishna, as well as to Jesus; prophecies, without evidence that they were ever prophesied; miracles, which those who are said to have seen, are said also to have denied seeing; narratives without authorities, facts without dates, and records without names. In vain do the so-called disciples of Jesus point to the passages in Josephus and Tacitus;[510:1] in vain do they point to the spot on which he was crucified; to the fragments of the true cross, or the nails with which he was pierced, and to the tomb in which he was laid. Others have done as much for scores of mythological personages who never lived in the flesh. Did not Damus, the beloved disciple of Apollonius of Tyana, while on his way to India, see, on Mt. Caucasus, the identical chains with which Prometheus had been bound to the rocks? Did not the Scythians[510:2] say that Hercules had visited their country? and did they not show the print of his foot upon a rock to substantiate their story?[510:3] Was not his tomb to be seen at Cadiz, where his bones were shown?[510:4] Was not the tomb of Bacchus to be seen in Greece?[510:5] Was not the tomb of Apollo to be seen at Delphi?[510:6] Was not the tomb of Achilles to be seen at Dodona, where Alexander the Great honored it by placing a crown upon it?[510:7] Was not the tomb of Æsculapius to be seen in Arcadia, in a grove consecrated to him, near the river Lusius?[510:8] Was not the tomb of Deucalion—he who was saved from the Deluge—long pointed out near the sanctuary of Olympian Jove, in Athens?[510:9] Was not the tomb of Osiris to be seen in Egypt, where, at stated seasons, the priests went in solemn procession, and covered it with flowers?[510:10] Was not the tomb of Jonah—he who was “swallowed up by a big fish”—to be seen at Nebi-Yunus, near Mosul?[510:11] Are not the tombs of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, Abraham, and other Old Testament characters, to be seen even at the present day?[510:12] And did not the Emperor Constantine dedicate a beautiful church over the tomb of St. George, the warrior saint?[510:13] Of what value, then, is such evidence of the existence of such an individual as Jesus of Nazareth? The fact is, “the records of his life are so very scanty, and these have been so shaped and colored and modified by the hands of ignorance and superstition and party prejudice and ecclesiastical purpose, that it is hard to be sure of the original outlines.”
    In the first two centuries the professors of Christianity were divided into many sects, but these might be all resolved into two divisions—one consisting of Nazarenes, Ebionites, and orthodox; the other of Gnostics, under which all the remaining sects arranged themselves. The former are supposed to have believed in Jesus crucified, in the common, literal acceptation of the term; the latter—believers in the Christ as an Æon—though they admitted the crucifixion, considered it to have been in some mystic way—perhaps what might be called spiritualiter, as it is called in the Revelation: but notwithstanding the different opinions they held, they all denied that the Christ did really die, in the literal acceptation of the term, on the cross.[511:1] The Gnostic, or Oriental, Christians undoubtedly took their doctrine from the Indian crucifixion[511:2] (of which we have treated in Chapters XX. and XXXIX.), as well as many other tenets with which we have found the Christian Church deeply tainted. They held that:
    “To deliver the soul, a captive in darkness, the ‘Prince of Light,’ the ‘Genius of the Sun,’ charged with the redemption of the intellectual world, of which the Sun is the type, manifested itself among men; that the light appeared in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not; that, in fact, light could not unite with darkness; it put on only the appearance of the human body; that at the crucifixion Christ Jesus only appeared to suffer. His person having disappeared, the bystanders saw in his place a cross of light, over which a celestial voice proclaimed these words; ‘The Cross of Light is called Logos, Christos, the Gate, the Joy.'”
    Several of the texts of the Gospel histories were quoted with great plausibility by the Gnostics in support of their doctrine. The story of Jesus passing through the midst of the Jews when they were about to cast him headlong from the brow of a hill (Luke iv. 29, 30), and when they were going to stone him (John iii. 59; x. 31, 39), were examples not easily refuted.
    The Manichean Christian Bishop Faustus expresses himself in the following manner:
    “Do you receive the gospel? (ask ye). Undoubtedly I do! Why then, you also admit that Christ was born? Not so; for it by no means follows that in believing the gospel, I should therefore believe that Christ was born! Do you then think that he was of the Virgin Mary? Manes hath said, ‘Far be it that I should ever own that Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . . . .'” etc.[512:1]
    Tertullian’s manner of reasoning on the evidences of Christianity is also in the same vein, as we saw in our last chapter.[512:2]
    Mr. King, speaking of the Gnostic Christians, says:
    “Their chief doctrines had been held for centuries before (their time) in many of the cities in Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as Mystæ, upon the establishment of direct intercourse with India, under the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies. The college of Essenes and Megabyzæ at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curets of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”[512:3]
    These early Christian Mystics are alluded to in several instances in the New Testament. For example:
    “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.”[512:4] “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”[512:5]
    This is language that could not have been used, if the reality of Christ Jesus’ existence as a man could not have been denied, or, it would certainly seem, if the apostle himself had been able to give any evidence whatever of the claim.
    The quarrels on this subject lasted for a long time among the early Christians. Hermas, speaking of this, says to the brethren:
    “Take heed, my children, that your dissensions deprive you not of your lives. How will ye instruct the elect of God, when ye yourselves want correction? Wherefore admonish one another, and be at peace among yourselves; that I, standing before your father, may give an account of you unto the Lord.”[512:6]
    Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Smyrnæans, says:[512:7]
    “Only in the name of Jesus Christ, I undergo all, to suffer together with him; he who was made a perfect man strengthening me. Whom some, not knowing, do deny; or rather have been denied by him, being the advocates of death, rather than of the truth. Whom neither the prophecies, nor the law of Moses, have persuaded; nor the Gospel itself even to this day, nor the sufferings of any one of us. For they think also the same thing of us; for what does a man profit me, if he shall praise me, and blaspheme my Lord; not confessing that he was truly made man?”
    In his Epistle to the Philadelphians he says:[513:1]
    “I have heard of some who say, unless I find it written in the originals, I will not believe it to be written in the Gospel. And when I said, It is written, they answered what lay before them in their corrupted copies.”
    Polycarp, in his Epistle to the Philippians, says:[513:2]
    “Whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, he is Antichrist: and whosoever does not confess his sufferings upon the cross, is from the devil. And whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts; and says that there shall neither be any resurrection, nor judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.”
    Ignatius says to the Magnesians:[513:3]
    “Be not deceived with strange doctrines; nor with old fables which are unprofitable. For if we still continue to live according to the Jewish law, we do confess ourselves not to have received grace. For even the most holy prophets lived according to Jesus Christ. . . . Wherefore if they who were brought up in these ancient laws came nevertheless to the newness of hope; no longer observing Sabbaths, but keeping the Lord’s Day, in which also our life is sprung up by him, and through his death, whom yet some deny. By which mystery we have been brought to believe, and therefore wait that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only master. . . . . These things, my beloved, I write unto you, not that I know of any among you that be under this error; but as one of the least among you, I am desirous to forewarn you that ye fall not into the snares of vain doctrine.”
    After reading this we can say with the writer of Timothy,[513:4] “Without controversy, great is the MYSTERY of godliness.”
    Beside those who denied that Christ Jesus had ever been manifest in the flesh, there were others who denied that he had been crucified.[513:5] This is seen from the words of Justin Martyr, in his Apology for the Christian Religion, written A. D. 141, where he says:
    “As to the objection to our Jesus’s being crucified, I say, suffering was common to all the Sons of Jove.”[513:6]
    This is as much as to say: “You Pagans claim that your incarnate gods and Saviours suffered and died, then why should not we claim the same for our Saviour?”
    The Koran, referring to the Jews, says:
    “They have not believed in Jesus, and have spoken against Mary a grievous calumny, and have said: ‘Verily we have slain Christ Jesus, the son of Mary’ (the apostle of God). Yet they slew him not, neither crucified him, but he was represented by one in his likeness. And verily they who disagreed concerning him were in a doubt as to this matter, and had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertain opinion.”[514:1]
    This passage alone, from the Mohammedan Bible, is sufficient to show, if other evidence were wanting, that the early Christians “disagreed concerning him,” and that “they had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertain opinion.”
    In the books which are now called Apocryphal, but which were the most quoted, and of equal authority with the others, and which were voted not the word of God—for obvious reasons—and were therefore cast out of the canon, we find many allusions to the strife among the early Christians. For instance; in the “First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,”[514:2] we read as follows:
    “Wherefore are there strifes, and anger, and divisions, and schisms, and wars, among us? . . . Why do we rend and tear in pieces the members of Christ, and raise seditions against our own body? and are come to such a height of madness, as to forget that we are members one of another.”
    In his Epistle to the Trallians, Ignatius says:[514:3]
    “I exhort you, or rather not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, that ye use none but Christian nourishment; abstaining from pasture which is of another kind. I mean Heresy. For they that are heretics, confound together the doctrine of Jesus Christ with their own poison; whilst they seem worthy of belief. . . . Stop your ears, therefore, as often as any one shall speak contrary to Jesus Christ, who was of the race of David, of the Virgin Mary. Who was truly born, and did eat and drink; was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; was truly crucified and dead; both those in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, being spectators of it. . . . But if, as some who are atheists, that is to say, infidels, pretend, that he only seemed to suffer, why then am I bound? Why do I desire to fight with beasts? Therefore do I die in vain.”
    We find St. Paul, the very first Apostle of the Gentiles, expressly avowing that he was made a minister of the gospel, which had already been preached to every creature under heaven,[514:4] and preaching a God manifest in the flesh, who had been believed on in the world,[514:5] therefore, before the commencement of his ministry; and who could not have been the man of Nazareth, who had certainly not been preached, at that time, nor generally believed on in the world, till ages after that time.[514:6] We find also that:
    1. This Paul owns himself a deacon, the lowest ecclesiastical grade of the Therapeutan church.
    2. The Gospel of which these Epistles speak, had been extensively preached and fully established before the time of Jesus, by the Therapeuts or Essenes, who believed in the doctrine of the Angel-Messiah, the Æon from heaven.[515:1]
    Leo the Great, so-called (A. D. 440-461), writes thus:
    “Let those who with impious murmurings find fault with the Divine dispensations, and who complain about the lateness of our Lord’s nativity, cease from their grievances, as if what was carried out in later ages of the world, had not been impending in time past. . . .
    “What the Apostles preached, the prophets (in Israel) had announced before, and what has always been (universally) believed, cannot be said to have been fulfilled too late. By this delay of his work of salvation, the wisdom and love of God have only made us more fitted for his call; so that, what had been announced before by many Signs and Words and Mysteries during so many centuries, should not be doubtful or uncertain in the days of the gospel. . . God has not provided for the interests of men by a new council or by a late compassion; but he had instituted from the beginning for all men, one and the same path of salvation.”[515:2]
    This is equivalent to saying that, “God, in his ‘late compassion,’ has sent his Son, Christ Jesus, to save us, therefore do not complain or ‘murmur’ about ‘the lateness of his coming,’ for the Lord has already provided for those who preceded us; he has given them ‘the same path of salvation’ by sending to them, as he has sent to us, a Redeemer and a Saviour.”
    Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Typho,[515:3] makes a similar confession (as we have already seen in our last chapter), wherein he says that there exists not a people, civilized or semi-civilized, who have not offered up prayers in the name of a crucified Saviour to the Father and Creator of all things.
    Add to this medley the fact that St. Irenæus (A. D. 192), one of the most celebrated, most respected, and most quoted of the early Christian Fathers, tells us on the authority of his master, Polycarp, who had it from St. John himself, and from all the old people of Asia, that Jesus was not crucified at the time stated in the Gospels, but that he lived to be nearly fifty years old. The passage which, most fortunately, has escaped the destroyers of all such evidence, is to be found in Irenæus’ second book against heresies,[515:4] of which the following is a portion:
    “As the chief part of thirty years belongs to youth, and every one will confess him to be such till the fortieth year: but from the fortieth year to the fiftieth he declines into old age, which our Lord (Jesus) having attained he taught us the Gospel, and all the elders who, in Asia, assembled with John, the disciple of the Lord, testify; and as John himself had taught them. And he (John?) remained with them till the time of Trajan. And some of them saw not only John but other Apostles, and heard the same thing from them, and bear the same testimony to this revelation.”
    The escape of this passage from the destroyers can be accounted for only in the same way as the passage of Minucius Felix (quoted in Chapter XX.) concerning the Pagans worshiping a crucifix. These two passages escaped from among, probably, hundreds destroyed, of which we know nothing, under the decrees of the emperors, yet remaining, by which they were ordered to be destroyed.
    In John viii. 56, Jesus is made to say to the Jews: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad.” Then said the Jews unto him: “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?”
    If Jesus was then but about thirty years of age, the Jews would evidently have said: “thou art not yet forty years old,” and would not have been likely to say: “thou art not yet fifty years old,” unless he was past forty.
    There was a tradition current among the early Christians, that Annas was high-priest when Jesus was crucified. This is evident from the Acts.[516:1] Now, Annas, or Ananias, was not high-priest until about the year 48 a. d.;[516:2] therefore, if Jesus was crucified at that time he must have been about fifty years of age;[516:3] but, as we remarked elsewhere, there exists, outside of the New Testament, no evidence whatever, in book, inscription, or monument, that Jesus of Nazareth was either scourged or crucified under Pontius Pilate. Josephus, Tacitus, Plinius, Philo, nor any of their contemporaries, ever refer to the fact of this crucifixion, or express any belief thereon.[516:4] In the Talmud—the book containing Jewish traditions—Jesus is not referred to as the “crucified one,” but as the “hanged one,”[516:5] while elsewhere it is narrated he was stoned to death; so that it is evident they were ignorant of the manner of death which he suffered.[516:6]
    In Sanhedr. 43 a, Jesus it said to have had five disciples, among whom were Mattheaus and Thaddeus. He is called “That Man,” “The Nazarine,” “The Fool,” and “The Hung.” Thus Aben Ezra says that Constantine put on his labarum “a figure of the hung;” and, according to R. Bechai, the Christians were called “Worshipers of the Hung.”
    Little is said about Jesus in the Talmud, except that he was a scholar of Joshua Ben Perachiah (who lived a century before the time assigned by the Christians for the birth of Jesus), accompanied him into Egypt, there learned magic, and was a seducer of the people, and was finally put to death by being stoned, and then hung as a blasphemer.
    “The conclusion is, that no clearly defined traces of the personal Jesus remain on the surface, or beneath the surface, of Christendom. The silence of Josephus and other secular historians may be accounted for without falling back on a theory of hostility or contempt.[517:1] The Christ-idea cannot be spared from Christian development, but the personal Jesus, in some measure, can be.”
    “The person of Jesus, though it may have been immense, is indistinct. That a great character was there may be conceded; but precisely wherein the character was great, is left to our conjecture. Of the eminent persons who have swayed the spiritual destinies of mankind, none has more completely disappeared from the critical view. The ideal image which Christians have, for nearly two thousand years, worshiped under the name of Jesus, has no authentic, distinctly visible, counterpart in history.”
    “His followers have gone on with the process of idealization, placing him higher and higher; making his personal existence more and more essential; insisting more and more urgently on the necessity of private intercourse with him; letting the Father subside into the background, as an ‘effluence,’ and the Holy Ghost lapse from individual identity into impersonal influence, in order that he might be all in all as Regenerator and Saviour. From age to age the personal Jesus has been made the object of an extreme adoration, till now faith in the living Christ is the heart of the Gospel; philosophy, science, culture, humanity are thrust resolutely aside, and the great teachers of the age are extinguished in order that his light may shine.” But, as Mr. Frothingham remarks, in “The Cradle of the Christ”: “In the order of experience, historical and biographical truth is discovered by stripping off layer after layer of exaggeration, and going back to the statements of contemporaries. As a rule, figures are reduced, not enlarged, by criticism. The influence of admiration is recognized as distorting and falsifying, while exalting. The process of legend-making begins immediately, goes on rapidly and with accelerating speed, and must be liberally allowed for by the seeker after truth. In scores of instances the historical individual turns out to be very much smaller than he was painted by his terrified or loving worshipers. In no single case has it been established that he was greater, or as great. It is, no doubt, conceivable that such a case should occur, but it never has occurred, in known instances, and cannot be presumed to have occurred in any particular instance. The presumptions are against the correctness of the glorified image. The disposition to exaggerate is so much stronger than the disposition to underrate, that even really great men are placed higher than they belong oftener than lower. The historical method works backwards. Knowledge shrinks the man.”[518:1]
    As we are allowed to conjecture as to what is true in the Gospel history, we shall now do so.
    The death of Herod, which occurred a few years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus, was followed by frightful social and political convulsions in Judea. For two or three years all the elements of disorder were abroad. Between pretenders to the vacant throne of Herod, and aspirants to the Messianic throne of David, Judea was torn and devastated. Revolt assumed the wildest form, the higher enthusiasm of faith yielded to the lower fury of fanaticism; the celestial visions of a kingdom of heaven were completely banished by the smoke and flame of political hate. Claimant after claimant of the dangerous supremacy of the Messiah appeared, pitched a camp in the wilderness, raised the banner, gathered a force, was attacked, defeated, banished or crucified; but the frenzy did not abate.
    The popular aspect of the Messianic hope was political, not religious or moral. The name Messiah was synonymous with King of the Jews; it suggested political designs and aspirations. The assumption of that character by any individual drew on him the vigilance of the police.

    That Jesus of Nazareth assumed the character of “Messiah,” as did many before and after him, and that his crucifixion[520:1] was simply an act of the law on political grounds, just as it was in the case of other so-called Messiahs, we believe to be the truth of the matter.[520:2] “He is represented as being a native of Galilee, the insurgent district of the country; nurtured, if not born, in Nazareth, one of its chief cities; reared as a youth amid traditions of patriotic devotion, and amid scenes associated with heroic dreams and endeavors. The Galileans were restless, excitable people, beyond the reach of conventionalities, remote from the centre of power, ecclesiastical and secular, simple in their lives, bold of speech, independent in thought, thoroughgoing in the sort of radicalism that is common among people who live ‘out of the world,’ who have leisure to discuss the exciting topics of the day, but too little knowledge, culture, or sense of social responsibility to discuss them soundly. Their mental discontent and moral intractability were proverbial. They were belligerents. The Romans had more trouble with them than with the natives of any other province. The Messiahs all started out from Galilee, and never failed to collect followers round their standard. The Galileans, more than others, lived in the anticipation of the Deliverer. The reference of the Messiah to Galilee is therefore already an indication of the character he is to assume.”

    To show the state the country must have been in at that time, we will quote an incident or two from Josephus.

    A religious enthusiast called the Samaritans together upon Mount Gerizim, and assured them that he would work a miracle. “So they came thither armed, and thought the discourse of the man probable; and as they abode at a certain village, which was called Tirathaba, they got the rest together of them, and desired to go up the mountain in a great multitude together: but Pilate prevented their going up, by seizing upon the roads by a great band of horsemen and footmen, who fell upon those who were gotten together in the village; and when it came to an action, some of them they slew, and others of them they put to flight, and took a great many alive, the principal of whom, and also the most potent of those that fled away, Pilate ordered to be slain.”[521:1]

    Not long before this Pilate pillaged the temple treasury, and used the “sacred money” to bring a current of water to Jerusalem. The Jews were displeased with this, “and many ten thousands of the people got together and made a clamor against him. Some of them used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habits, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bade the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them with much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.”[522:1]
    It was such deeds as these, inflicted upon the Jews by their oppressors, that made them think of the promised Messiah who was to deliver them from bondage, and which made many zealous fanatics imagine themselves to be “He who should come.”[522:2]
    There is reason to believe, as we have said, that Jesus of Nazareth assumed the title of “Messiah.” His age was throbbing and bursting with suppressed energy. The pressure of the Roman Empire was required to keep it down. “The Messianic hope had such vitality that it condensed into moments the moral result of ages. The common people were watching to see the heavens open, interpreted peals of thunder as angel voices, and saw divine potents in the flight of birds. Mothers dreamed their boys would be Messiah. The wildest preacher drew a crowd. The heart of the nation swelled big with the conviction that the hour of destiny was about to strike, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The crown was ready for any kingly head that might assume it.”[522:3]
    The actions of this man, throughout his public career, we believe to be those of a zealot whose zeal overrode considerations of wisdom; in fact, a Galilean fanatic. Pilate condemns him reluctantly, feeling that he is a harmless visionary, but is obliged to condemn him as one of the many who persistently claimed to be the “Messiah,” or “King of the Jews,” an enemy of Cæsar, an instrument against the empire, a pretender to the throne, a bold inciter to rebellion. The death he undergoes is the death of the traitor and mutineer,[522:4] the death that was inflicted on many such claimants, the death that would have been decreed to Judas the Galilean,[522:5] had he been captured, and that was inflicted on thousands of his deluded followers. It was the Romans, then, who crucified the man Jesus, and not the Jews.
    “In the Roman law the State is the main object, for which the individual must live and die, with or against his will. In Jewish law, the person is made the main object, for which the State must live and die; because the fundamental idea of the Roman law is power, and the fundamental idea of Jewish law is justice.”[523:1] Therefore Caiaphas and his conspirators did not act from the Jewish standpoint. They represented Rome, her principles, interest, and barbarous caprices.[523:2] Not one point in the whole trial agrees with Jewish laws and custom.[523:3] It is impossible to save it; it must be given up as a transparent and unskilled invention of a Gentile Christian, who knew nothing of Jewish law and custom, and was ignorant of the state of civilization in Palestine, in the time of Jesus.
    Jesus had been proclaimed the “Messiah,” the “Ruler of the Jews,” and the restorer of the kingdom of heaven. No Roman ear could understand these pretensions, otherwise than in their rebellious sense. That Pontius Pilate certainly understood under the title, “Messiah,” the king (the political chief of the nation), is evident from the subscription of the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” which he did not remove in spite of all protestations of the Jews. There is only one point in which the four Gospels agree, and that is, that early in the morning Jesus was delivered over to the Roman governor, Pilate; that he was accused of high-treason against Rome—having been proclaimed King of the Jews—and that in consequence thereof he was condemned first to be scourged, and then to be crucified; all of which was done in hot haste. In all other points the narratives of the Evangelists differ widely, and so essentially that one story cannot be made of the four accounts; nor can any particular points stand the test of historical criticism, and vindicate its substantiality as a fact.
    The Jews could not have crucified Jesus, according to their laws, if they had inflicted on him the highest penalty of the law, since crucifixion was exclusively Roman.[524:1] If the priests, elders, Pharisees, Jews, or all of them wanted Jesus out of the way so badly, why did they not have him quietly put to death while he was in their power, and done at once. The writer of the fourth Gospel seems to have understood this difficulty, and informs us that they could not kill him, because he had prophesied what death he should die; so he could die no other. It was dire necessity, that the heathen symbol of life and immortality—the cross[524:2]—should be brought to honor among the early Christians, and Jesus had to die on the cross (the Roman Gibbet), according to John[524:3] simply because it was so prophesied. The fact is, the crucifixion story, like the symbol of the crucifix itself, came from abroad.[524:4] It was told with the avowed intention of exonerating the Romans, and criminating the Jews, so they make the Roman governor take water, “and wash his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” To be sure of their case, they make the Jews say: “His blood be on us, and on our children.”[524:5]
    “Another fact is this. Just at the period of time when misfortune and ruination befell the Jews most severely, in the first post-apostolic generation, the Christians were most active in making proselytes among Gentiles. To have then preached that a crucified Jewish Rabbi of Galilee was their Saviour, would have sounded supremely ridiculous to those heathens. To have added thereto, that the said Rabbi was crucified by command of a Roman Governor, because he had been proclaimed ‘King of the Jews,’ would have been fatal to the whole scheme. In the opinion of the vulgar heathen, where the Roman Governor and Jewish Rabbi came in conflict, the former must unquestionably be right, and the latter decidedly wrong. To have preached a Saviour who was justly condemned to die the death of a slave and villain, would certainly have proved fatal to the whole enterprise. Therefore it was necessary to exonerate Pilate and the Romans, and to throw the whole burden upon the Jews, in order to establish the innocence and martyrdom of Jesus in the heathen mind.”
    That the crucifixion story, as related in the synoptic Gospels, was written abroad, and not in the Hebrew, or in the dialect spoken by the Hebrews of Palestine, is evident from the following particular points, noticed by Dr. Isaac M. Wise, a learned Hebrew scholar:
    The Mark and Matthew narrators call the place of crucifixion “Golgotha,” to which the Mark narrator adds, “which is, being interpreted, the place of skulls.” The Matthew narrator adds the same interpretation, which the John narrator copies without the word “Golgotha,” and adds, it was a place near Jerusalem. The Luke narrator calls the place of crucifixion “Calvary,” which is the Latin Calvaria, viz., “the place of bare skulls.” Therefore the name does not refer to the form of the hill, but to the bare skulls upon it.[525:1] Now “there is no such word as Golgotha anywhere in Jewish literature, and there is no such place mentioned anywhere near Jerusalem or in Palestine by any writer; and, in fact, there was no such place; there could have been none near Jerusalem. The Jews buried their dead carefully. Also the executed convict had to be buried before night. No bare skulls, bleaching in the sun, could be found in Palestine, especially not near Jerusalem. It was law, that a bare skull, the bare spinal column, and also the imperfect skeleton of any human being, make man unclean by contact, and also by having either in the house. Man, thus made unclean, could not eat of any sacrificial meal, or of the sacred tithe, before he had gone through the ceremonies of purification; and whatever he touched was also unclean (Maimonides, Hil. Tumath Meth., iii. 1). Any impartial reader can see that the object of this law was to prevent the barbarous practice of heathens of having human skulls and skeletons lie about exposed to the decomposing influences of the atmosphere, as the Romans did in Palestine after the fall of Bethar, when for a long time they would give no permission to bury the dead patriots. This law was certainly enforced most rigidly in the vicinity of Jerusalem, of which they maintained “Jerusalem is more holy than all other cities surrounded with walls,” so that it was not permitted to keep a dead body over night in the city, or to transport through it human bones. Jerusalem was the place of the sacrificial meals and the consumption of the sacred tithe, which was considered very holy (Maimonides, Hil. Beth Habchirah, vii. 14); there, and in the surroundings, skulls and skeletons were certainly never seen on the surface of the earth, and consequently there was no place called “Golgotha,” and there was no such word in the Hebrew dialect. It is a word coined by the Mark narrator to translate the Latin term “Calvaria,” which, together with the crucifixion story, came from Rome. But after the Syrian word was made, nobody understood it, and the Mark narrator was obliged to expound it.”[526:1]
    In the face of the arguments produced, the crucifixion story, as related in the Gospels, cannot be upheld as an historical fact. There exists, certainly, no rational ground whatever for the belief that the affair took place in the manner the Evangelists describe it. All that can be saved of the whole story is, that after Jesus had answered the first question before Pilate, viz., “Art thou the King of the Jews?” which it is natural to suppose he was asked, and also this can be supposed only, he was given over to the Roman soldiers to be disposed of as soon as possible, before his admirers and followers could come to his rescue, or any demonstration in his favor be made. He was captured in the night, as quietly as possible, and guarded in some place, probably in the high-priest’s court, completely secluded from the eyes of the populace; and early in the morning he was brought before Pilate as cautiously and quietly as it could be done, and at his command, disposed of by the soldiers as quickly as practicable, and in a manner not known to the mass of the people. All this was done, most likely, while the multitude worshiped on Mount Moriah, and nobody had an intimation of the tragical end of the Man of Nazareth.
    The bitter cry of Jesus, as he hung on the tree, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” disclosed the hope of deliverance that till the last moment sustained his heart, and betrayed the anguish felt when the hope was blighted; the sneers and hooting of the Roman soldiers expressed their conviction that he had pretended to be what he was not.
    The miracles ascribed to him, and the moral precepts put into his mouth, in after years, are what might be expected; history was simply repeating itself; the same thing had been done for others. “The preacher of the Mount, the prophet of the Beatitudes, does but repeat, with persuasive lips, what the law-givers of his race proclaimed in mighty tones of command.”[527:1]
    The martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth has been gratefully acknowledged by his disciples, whose lives he saved by the sacrifice of his own, and by their friends, who would have fallen by the score had he not prevented the rebellion ripe at Jerusalem.[527:2] Posterity, infatuated with Pagan apotheoses, made of that simple martyrdom an interesting legend, colored with the myths of resurrection and ascension to that very heaven which the telescope has put out of man’s way. It is a novel myth, made to suit the gross conceptions of ex-heathens. Modern theology, understanding well enough that the myth cannot be saved, seeks refuge in the greatness and self-denial of the man who died for an idea, as though Jesus had been the only man who had died for an idea. Thousands, tens of thousands of Jews, Christians, Mohammedans and Heathens, have died for ideas, and some of them were very foolish. But Jesus did not die for an idea. He never advanced anything new, that we know of, to die for. He was not accused of saying or teaching anything original. Nobody has ever been able to discover anything new and original in the Gospels. He evidently died to save the lives of his friends, and this is much more meritorious than if he had died for a questionable idea. But then the whole fabric of vicarious atonement is demolished, and modern theology cannot get over the absurdity that the Almighty Lord of the Universe, the infinite and eternal cause of all causes, had to kill some innocent person in order to be reconciled to the human race. However abstractly they speculate and subtilize, there is always an undigested bone of man-god, god-man, and vicarious atonement in the theological stomach. Therefore theology appears so ridiculous in the eyes of modern philosophy. The theological speculation cannot go far enough to hold pace with modern astronomy. However nicely the idea may be dressed, the great God of the immense universe looks too small upon the cross of Calvary; and the human family is too large, has too numerous virtues and vices, to be perfectly represented by, and dependent on, one Rabbi of Galilee. Speculate as they may, one way or another, they must connect the Eternal and the fate of the human family with the person and fate of Jesus. That is the very thing which deprives Jesus of his crown of martyrdom, and brings religion in perpetual conflict with philosophy. It was not the religious idea which was crucified in Jesus and resurrected with him, as with all its martyrs; although his belief in immortality may have strengthened him in the agony of death. It was the idea of duty to his disciples and friends which led him to the realms of death. This deserves admiration, but no more. It demonstrates the nobility of human nature, but proves nothing in regard to providence, or the providential scheme of government.
    The Christian story, as the Gospels narrate it, cannot stand the test of criticism. You approach it critically and it falls. Dogmatic Christology built upon it, has, therefore, a very frail foundation. Most so-called lives of Christ, or biographies of Jesus, are works of fiction, erected by imagination on the shifting foundation of meagre and unreliable records. There are very few passages in the Gospels which can stand the rigid application of honest criticism. In modern science and philosophy, orthodox Christology is out of the question.
    “This ‘sacred tradition’ has in itself a glorious vitality, which Christians may unblameably entitle immortal. But it certainly will not lose in beauty, grandeur, or truth, if all the details concerning Jesus which are current in the Gospels, and all the mythology of his person, be forgotten or discredited. Christianity will remain without Christ.
    “This formula has in it nothing paradoxical. Rightly interpreted, it simply means: All that is best in Judæo-Christian sentiment, moral or spiritual, will survive, without Rabbinical fancies, cultured by perverse logic; without huge piles of fable built upon them: without the Oriental Satan, a formidable rival to the throne of God; without the Pagan invention of Hell and Devils.”
    In modern criticism, the Gospel sources become so utterly worthless and unreliable, that it takes more than ordinary faith to believe a large portion thereof to be true. The Eucharist was not established by Jesus, and cannot be called a sacrament. The trials of Jesus are positively not true: they are pure inventions.[528:1] The crucifixion story, as narrated, is certainly not true, and it is extremely difficult to save the bare fact that Jesus was crucified. What can the critic do with books in which a few facts must be ingeniously guessed from under the mountain of ghost stories,[528:2] childish miracles,[529:1] and dogmatic tendencies?[529:2] It is absurd to expect of him to regard them as sources of religious instruction, in preference to any other mythologies and legends. That is the point at which modern critics have arrived, therefore, the Gospels have become books for the museum and archæologist, for students of mythology and ancient literature.
    The spirit of dogmatic Christology hovers still over a portion of civilized society, in antic organizations, disciplines, and hereditary forms of faith and worship; in science and philosophy, in the realm of criticism, its day is past. The universal, religious, and ethical element of Christianity has no connection whatever with Jesus or his apostles, with the Gospel, or the Gospel story; it exists independent of any person or story. Therefore it needs neither the Gospel story nor its heroes. If we profit by the example, by the teachings, or the discoveries of men of past ages, to these men we are indebted, and are in duty bound to acknowledge our indebtedness; but why should we give to one individual, Jesus of Nazareth, the credit of it all? It is true, that by selecting from the Gospels whatever portions one may choose, a common practice among Christian writers, a noble and grand character may be depicted, but who was the original of this character? We may find the same individual outside of the Gospels, and before the time of Jesus. The moral precepts of the Gospels, also, were in existence before the Gospels themselves were in existence.[529:3] Why, then, extol the hero of the Gospels, and forget all others?
    As it was at the end of Roman Paganism, so is it now: the masses are deceived and fooled, or do it for themselves, and persons of vivacious fantasies prefer the masquerade of delusion, to the simple sublimity of naked but majestic truth. The decline of the church as a political power proves beyond a doubt the decline of Christian faith. The conflicts of Church and State all over the European continent, and the hostility between intelligence and dogmatic Christianity, demonstrates the death of Christology in the consciousness of modern culture. It is useless to shut our eyes to these facts. Like rabbinical Judaism, dogmatic Christianity was the product of ages without typography, telescopes, microscopes, telegraphs, and power of steam. “These right arms of intelligence have fought the titanic battles, conquered and demolished the ancient castles, and remove now the débris, preparing the ground upon which there shall be the gorgeous temple of humanity, one universal republic, one universal religion of intelligence, and one great universal brotherhood. This is the new covenant, the gospel of humanity and reason.”
    “——Hoaryheaded selfishness has felt
    Its death-blow, and is tottering to the grave:
    A brighter morn awaits the human day;
    War with its million horrors, and fierce hell,
    Shall live but in the memory of time,
    Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
    Look back, and shudder at his younger years.”

    FOOTNOTES:

    [508:1]“For knowledge of the man Jesus, of his idea and his aims, and of the outward form of his career, the New Testament is our only hope. If this hope fails, the pillared firmament of his starry fame is rottenness; the base of Christianity, so far as it was personal and individual, is built on stubble.” (John W. Chadwick.)
    [508:2]M. Renan, after declaring Jesus to be a “fanatic,” and admitting that, “his friends thought him, at moments, beside himself;” and that, “his enemies declared him possessed by a devil,” says: “The man here delineated merits a place at the summit of human grandeur.” “This is the Supreme man, a sublime personage;” “to call him divine is no exaggeration.” Other liberal writers have written in the same strain.
    [509:1]“The Christ of Paul was not a person, but an idea; he took no pains to learn the facts about the individual Jesus. He actually boasted that the Apostles had taught him nothing. His Christ was an ideal conception, evolved from his own feeling and imagination, and taking on new powers and attributes from year to year to suit each new emergency.” (John W. Chadwick.)
    [510:1]This subject is considered in Appendix D.
    [510:2]Scythia was a name employed in ancient times, to denote a vast, indefinite, and almost unknown territory north and east of the Black Sea, the Caspian, and the Sea of Aral.
    [510:3]See Herodotus, book 4, ch. 82.
    [510:4]See Dupuis, p. 264.
    [510:5]See Knight’s Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 96, and Mysteries of Adoni, p. 90.
    [510:6]See Dupuis, p. 264.
    [510:7]See Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. i. p. 7.
    [510:8]See Ibid. vol. i. p. 27.
    [510:9]Ibid.
    [510:10]Ibid. vol. i. p. 2, and Bonwick, p. 155.
    [510:11]See Chambers, art. “Jonah.”
    [510:12]See Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 152, and Goldzhier, p. 280.
    [510:13]See Curious Myths, p. 264.
    [511:1]“Whilst, in one part of the Christian world, the chief objects of interest were the human nature and human life of Jesus, in another part of the Christian world the views taken of his person because so idealistic, that his humanity was reduced to a phantom without reality. The various Gnostic systems generally agreed in saying that the Christ was an Æon, the redeemer of the spirits of men, and that he had little or no contact with their corporeal nature.” (A. Réville: Hist. of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus.)
    [511:2]Epiphanius says that there were TWENTY heresies before Christ, and there can be no doubt that there is much truth in the observation, for most of the rites and doctrines of the Christians of all sects existed before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.
    [512:1]“Accipis avengelium? et maxime. Proinde ergo et natum accipis Christum. Non ita est. Neque enim sequitur ut si evangelium accipio, idcirco et natum accipiam Christum. Ergo non putas cum ex Maria Virgine esse? Manes dixit, Absit ut Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum per naturalia pudenda mulieris de scendisse confitear.” (Lardner’s Works, vol. iv. p. 20.)
    [512:2]“I maintain,” says he, “that the Son of God was born: why am I not ashamed of maintaining such a thing? Why! because it is itself a shameful thing—I maintain that the Son of God died: well, that is wholly credible because it is monstrously absurd. I maintain that after having been buried, he rose again: and that I take to be absolutely true, because it was manifestly impossible.”
    [512:3]King’s Gnostics, p. 1.
    [512:4]I. John, iv. 2, 3.
    [512:5]II. John, 7.
    [512:6]1st Book Hermas: Apoc., ch. iii.
    [512:7]Chapter II.
    [513:1]Chapter II.
    [513:2]Chapter III.
    [513:3]Chapter III.
    [513:4]I. Timothy, iii. 16.
    [513:5]Irenæus, speaking of them, says: “They hold that men ought not to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of man,and was supposed to be crucified, and was called Jesus.” (See Lardner: vol. viii. p. 353.) They could not conceive of “the first-begotten Son of God” being put to death on a cross, and suffering like an ordinary being, so they thought Simon of Cyrene must have been substituted for him, as the ram was substituted in the place of Isaac. (See Ibid. p. 857.)
    [513:6]Apol. 1, ch. xxi.
    [514:1]Koran, ch. iv.
    [514:2]Chapter XX.
    [514:3]Chapter II.
    [514:4]Col. i. 23.
    [514:5]I. Timothy, iii. 16.
    [514:6]The authenticity of these Epistles has been freely questioned, even by the most conservative critics.
    [515:1]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, and Chapter XXXVII., this work.
    [515:2]Quoted by Max Müller: The Science of Relig., p. 228.
    [515:3]Ch. cxvii.
    [515:4]Ch. xxii.
    [516:1]Ch. iv. 5.
    [516:2]Josephus: Antiq., b. xx. ch. v. 2.
    [516:3]It is true there was another Annas high-priest at Jerusalem, but this was when Gratus was procurator of Judea, some twelve or fifteen years before Pontius Pilate held the same office. (See Josephus: Antiq., book xviii. ch. ii. 3.)
    [516:4]See Appendix D.
    [516:5]See the Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 100.
    [516:6]According to Dio Cassius, Plutarch, Strabo and others, there existed, in the time of Herod, among the Roman Syrian heathens, a wide-spread and deep sympathy for a “Crucified King of the Jews.” This was the youngest son of Aristobul, the heroic Maccabee. In the year 43 B. C., we find this young man—Antigonus—in Palestine claiming the crown, his cause having been declared just by Julius Cæsar. Allied with the Parthians, he maintained himself in his royal position for six years against Herod and Mark Antony. At last, after a heroic life and reign, he fell in the hands of this Roman. “Antony now gave the kingdom to a certain Herod, and, having stretched Antigonus on a cross and scourged him, a thing never done before to any other king by the Romans, he put him to death.” (Dio Cassius, book xlix. p. 405.)
    The fact that all prominent historians of those days mention this extraordinary occurrence, and the manner they did it, show that it was considered one of Mark Antony’s worst crimes: and that the sympathy with the “Crucified King” was wide-spread and profound. (See The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 106.)
    Some writers think that there is a connection between this and the Gospel story; that they, in a certain measure, put Jesus in the place of Antigonus, just as they put Herod in the place of Kansa. (See Chapter XVIII.)
    [517:1]Canon Farrar thinks that Josephus’ silence on the subject of Jesus and Christianity, was as deliberate as it was dishonest. (See his Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 63.)
    [518:1]Many examples might be cited to confirm this view, but the case of Joseph Smith, in our own time and country, will suffice.
    The Mormons regard him very much as Christians regard Jesus; as the Mohammedans do Mohammed; or as the Buddhists do Buddha. A coarse sort of religious feeling and fervor appears to have been in Smith’s nature. He seems, from all accounts, to have been cracked on theology, as so many zealots have been, and cracked to such an extent that his early acquaintances regarded him as a downright fanatic.
    The common view that he was an impostor is not sustained by what is known of him. He was, in all probability, of unbalanced mind, a monomaniac, as most prophets have been; but there is no reason to think that he did not believe in himself, and substantially in what he taught. He has declared that, when he was about fifteen, he began to reflect on the importance of being prepared for a future state. He went from one church to another without finding anything to satisfy the hunger of his soul, consequently, he retired into himself; he sought solitude; he spent hours and days in meditation and prayer, after the true manner of all accredited saints, and was soon repaid by the visits of angels. One of these came to him when he was but eighteen years old, and the house in which he was seemed filled with consuming fire. The presence—he styles it a personage—had a pace like lightning, and proclaimed himself to be an angel of the Lord. He vouchsafed to Smith a vast deal of highly important information of a celestial order. He told him that his (Smith’s) prayers had been heard, and his sins forgiven; that the covenant which the Almighty had made with the old Jews was to be fulfilled; that the introductory work for the second coming of Christ was now to begin; that the hour for the preaching of the gospel in its purity to all peoples was at hand, and that Smith was to be an instrument in the hands of God, to further the divine purpose in the new dispensation. The celestial stranger also furnished him with a sketch of the origin, progress, laws and civilization of the American aboriginals, and declared that the blessing of heaven had finally been withdrawn from them. To Smith was communicated the momentous circumstance that certain plates containing an abridgment of the records of the aboriginals and ancient prophets, who had lived on this continent, were hidden in a hill near Palmyra. The prophet was counseled to go there and look at them, and did so. Not being holy enough to possess them as yet, he passed some months in spiritual probation, after which the records were put into his keeping. These had been prepared, it is claimed, by a prophet called Mormon, who had been ordained by God for the purpose, and to conceal them until he should produce them for the benefit of the faithful, and unite them with the Bible for the achievement of his will. They form the celebrated Book of Mormon—whence the name Mormon—and are esteemed by the Latter-Day Saints as of equal authority with the Old and New Testaments, and as an indispensable supplement thereto, because they include God’s disclosures to the Mormon world. These precious records were sealed up and deposited A. D. 420 in the place where Smith had viewed them by the direction of the angel.
    The records were, it is held, in the reformed Egyptian tongue, and Smith translated them through the inspiration of the angel, and one Oliver Cowdrey wrote down the translation as reported by the God-possessed Joseph. This translation was published in 1830, and its divine origin was attested by a dozen persons—all relatives and friends of Smith. Only these have ever pretended to see the original plates, which have already become traditional. The plates have been frequently called for by skeptics, but all in vain. Naturally, warm controversy arose concerning the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and disbelievers have asserted that they have indubitable evidence that it is, with the exception of various unlettered interpolations, principally borrowed from a queer, rhapsodical romance written by an eccentric ex-clergyman named Solomon Spalding.
    Smith and his disciples were ridiculed and socially persecuted; but they seemed to be ardently earnest, and continued to preach their creed, which was to the effect that the millennium was at hand; that our aboriginals were to be converted, and that the New Jerusalem—the last residence and home of the saints—was to be near the centre of this continent. The Vermont prophet, later on, was repeatedly mobbed, even shot at. His narrow escapes were construed as interpositions of divine providence, but he displayed perfect coolness and intrepidity through all his trials. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was first established in the spring of 1830 at Manchester, N. Y.; but it awoke such fierce opposition, particularly from the orthodox, many of them preachers, that Smith and his associates deemed it prudent to move farther west. They established themselves at Kirtland, O., and won there many converts. Hostility to them still continued, and grew so fierce that the body transferred itself to Missouri, and next to Illinois, settling in the latter state near the village of Commerce, which was renamed Nauvoo.
    The Governor and Legislature of Illinois favored the Mormons, but the anti-Mormons made war on them in every way, and the custom of “sealing wives,” which is yet mysterious to the Gentiles, caused serious outbreaks, and resulted in the incarceration of the prophet and his brother Hiram at Carthage. Fearing that the two might be released by the authorities, a band of ruffians broke into the jail, in the summer of 1844, and murdered them in cold blood. This was most fortunate for the memory of Smith and for his doctrines. It placed him in the light of a holy martyr, and lent to them a dignity and vitality they had never before enjoyed.
    [520:1]When we speak of Jesus being crucified, we do not intend to convey the idea that he was put to death on a cross of the form adopted by Christians. This cross was the symbol of life and immortality among our heathen ancestors (see Chapter XXXIII.), and in adopting Pagan religious symbols, and baptizing them anew, the Christians took this along with others. The crucifixion was not a symbol of the earliestchurch; no trace of it can be found in the Catacombs. Some of the earliest that did appear, however, are similar to figures No. 42 and No. 43, above, which represent two of the modes in which the Romans crucified their slaves and criminals. (See Chapter XX., on the Crucifixion of Jesus.)
    [520:2]According to the Matthew and Mark narrators, Jesus’ head was anointed while sitting at table in the house of Simon the leper. Now, this practice was common among the kings of Israel. It was the sign and symbol of royalty. The word “Messiah” signifies the “Anointed One,” and none of the kings of Israel were styled the Messiah unless anointed. (See The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 42.)
    [521:1]Josephus: Antiquities, book xviii. ch. iv. 1.
    [522:1]Josephus: Antiquities, book xviii. chap. iii. 2.
    [522:2]“From the death of Herod, 4 B. C., to the death of Bar-Cochba, 132 A. D., no less than fifty different enthusiasts set up as the Messiah, and obtained more or less following.” (John W. Chadwick.)
    [522:3]“There was, at this time, a prevalent expectation that some remarkable personage was about to appear in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. This personage, they supposed, would be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that he would deliver them from Roman bondage.” (Albert Barnes: Notes, vol. i. p. 7.)
    “The central and dominant characteristic of the teaching of the Rabbis, was the certain advent of a great national Deliverer—theMessiah. . . . The national mind had become so inflammable, by constant brooding on this one theme, that any bold spirit rising in revolt against the Roman power, could find an army of fierce disciples who trusted that it should be he who would redeem Israel.” (Geikie: The Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 79.)
    [522:4]“The penalty of crucifixion, according to Roman law and custom, was inflicted on slaves, and in the provinces on rebels only.” (The Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 96.)
    [522:5]Judas, the Gaulonite or Galilean, as Josephus calls him, declared, when Cyrenius came to tax the Jewish people, that “this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery,” and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty. He therefore prevailed upon his countrymen to revolt. (See Josephus: Antiq., b. xviii. ch. i. 1, and Wars of the Jews, b. ii. ch. viii. 1.)
    [523:1]The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 30.
    [523:2]“That the High Council did accuse Jesus, I suppose no one will doubt; and since they could neither wish or expect the Roman Governor to make himself judge of their sacred law, it becomes certain that their accusation was purely political, and took such a form as this: ‘He has accepted tumultuous shouts that he is the legitimate and predicted King of Israel, and in this character has ridden into Jerusalem with the forms of state understood to be royal and sacred; with what purpose, we ask, if not to overturn our institutions, and your dominion?’ If Jesus spoke, at the crisis which Matthew represents, the virulent speech attributed to him (Matt. xxiii.), we may well believe that this gave a new incentive to the rulers; for it is such as no government in Europe would overlook or forgive: but they are not likely to have expected Pilate to care for any conduct which might be called an ecclesiastical broil. The assumption of royalty was clearly the point of their attack. Even the mildest man among them may have thought his conduct dangerous and needing repression.” (Francis W. Newman, “What is Christianity without Christ?”)
    According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was completely innocent of the charge which has sometimes been brought against him, that he wished to be considered as a God come down to earth. His enemies certainly would not have failed to make such a pretension the basis and the continual theme of their accusations, if it had been possible to do so. The two grounds upon which he was brought before the Sanhedrim were, first, the bold words he was supposed to have spoken about the temple; and, secondly and chiefly, the fact that he claimed to be the Messiah, i. e., “The King of the Jews.” (Albert Réville: “The Doctrine of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus,” p. 7.)
    [523:3]See The Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 30.
    [524:1]See note 4, p. 522.
    [524:2]See Matt. xx. 19.
    [524:3]John xviii. 31, 32.
    [524:4]That is, the crucifixion story as related in the Gospels. See note 1, p. 520.
    [524:5]Matthew xxvii. 24, 25.
    [525:1]Commentators, in endeavoring to get over this difficulty, say that, “it may come from the look or form of the spot itself, bald, round, and skull-like, and therefore a mound or hillock,” but, if it means “the place of bare skulls,” no such construction as the above can be put to the word.
    [526:1]The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 109-111.
    [527:1]O. B. Frothingham: The Cradle of the Christ, p. 11.
    The reader is referred to “Judaism: Its Doctrines and Precepts,” by Dr. Isaac M. Wise. Printed at the office of the “American Israelite,” Cincinnati, Ohio.
    [527:2]If Jesus, instead of giving himself up quietly, had resisted against being arrested, there certainly would have been bloodshed, as there was on many other similar occasions.
    [528:1]If what is recorded In the Gospels on the subject was true, no historian of that day could fail to have noticed it, but instead of this there isnothing.
    [528:2]See Matthew, xxvii. 51-53.
    [529:1]See Matt. xiv. 15-22: Mark, iv. 1-3, and xi. 14; and Luke, vii. 26-37.
    [529:2]See Mark, xvi. 16.
    [529:3]This fact has at last been admitted by the most orthodox among the Christians. The Rev. George Matheson, D. D., Minister of the Parish of Innellan, and a member of the Scotch Kirk, speaking of the precept uttered by Confucius, five hundred years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth (“Whatsoever ye would not that others should do unto you, do not ye unto them”), says: “That Confucius is the author of this precept is undisputed, and therefore it is indisputable that Christianity has incorporated an article of Chinese morality. It has appeared to some as if this were to the disparagement of Christianity—as if the originality of its Divine Founder were impaired by consenting to borrow a precept from a heathen source. But in what sense does Christianity set up the claim of moral originality? When we speak of the religion of Christ as having introduced into the world a purer life and a surer guide to conduct, what do we mean? Do we mean to suggest that Christianity has, for the first time, revealed to the world the existence of a set of self-sacrificing precepts—that here, for the first time, man has learned that he ought to be meek, merciful, humble, forgiving, sorrowful for sin, peaceable, and pure in heart? The proof of such a statement would destroy Christianity itself, for an absolute original code of preceptswould be equivalent to a foreign language. The glory of Christian morality is that it is NOT ORIGINAL—that its words appeal to something which already exists within the human heart, and on that account have a meaning to the human ear: no new revelation can be made except through the medium of an old one. When we attribute originality to the ethics of the Gospel, we do so on the ground, not that it has given new precepts, but that it has given us a new impulse to obey the moral instincts of the soul. Christianity itself claims on the field of morals this originality, and this alone—’A new commandment give I unto you, that you love one another.” (St. Giles Lectures, Second Series: The Faiths of the World. Religion of China, by the Rev. George Matheson, D. D., Minister of the Parish of Innellan. Wm. Blackwood & Sons: Edinburgh, 1882.)
    Extract from “BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885/31885-h/31885-h.htm#Page_36

    Antiquity of Pagan Religions

    We shall now compare the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism with those of the Christian, so that there may be no doubt as to which is the original, and which the copy. Allusions to this subject have already been made throughout this work, we shall therefore devote as little space to it here as possible.

    In speaking of the sacred literature of India, Prof. Monier Williams says:
    “Sanskrit literature, embracing as it does nearly every branch of knowledge is entirely deficient in one department. It is wholly destitute of trustworthy historical records. Hence, little or nothing is known of the lives of ancient Indian authors, and the dates of their most celebrated works cannot be fixed with certainty. A fair conjecture, however, may be arrived at by comparing the most ancient with the more modern compositions, and estimating the period of time required to effect the changes of structure and idiom observable in the language. In this manner we may be justified in assuming that the hymns of the Veda were probably composed by a succession of poets at different dates between 1500 and 1000 years B. C.”[450:1]
    Prof. Wm. D. Whitney shows the great antiquity of the Vedic hymns from the fact that,
    “The language of the Vedas is an older dialect, varying very considerably, both in its grammatical and lexical character, from the classical Sanscrit.”
    And M. de Coulanges, in his “Ancient City,” says:
    “We learn from the hymns of the Vedas, which are certainly very ancient, and from the laws of Manu,” “what the Aryans of the east thought nearly thirty-five centuries ago.”[450:2]
    That the Vedas are of very high antiquity is unquestionable; but however remote we may place the period when they were written, we must necessarily presuppose that the Hindostanic race had already attained to a comparatively high degree of civilization, otherwise men capable of framing such doctrines could not have been found. Now this state of civilization must necessarily have been preceded by several centuries of barbarism, during which we cannot possibly admit a more refined faith than the popular belief in elementary deities.
    We shall see in our next chapter that these very ancient Vedic hymns contain the origin of the legend of the Virgin-born God and Saviour, the great benefactor of mankind, who is finally put to death, and rises again to life and immortality on the third day.
    The Geetas and Puranas, although of a comparatively modern date, are, as we have already seen, nevertheless composed of matter to be found in the two great epic poems, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which were written many centuries before the time assigned as that of the birth of Christ Jesus.[451:1]
    The Pali sacred books, which contain the legend of the virgin-born God and Saviour—Sommona Cadom—are known to have been in existence 316 B. C.[451:2]
    We have already seen that the religion known as Buddhism, and which corresponds in such a striking manner with Christianity, has now existed for upwards of twenty-four hundred years.[451:3]
    Prof. Rhys Davids says:
    “There is every reason to believe that the Pitakas (the sacred books which contain the legend of ‘The Buddha’), now extant in Ceylon, are substantially identical with the books of the Southern Canon, as settled at the Council of Patna about the year 250 B. C.[451:4] As no works would have been received into the Canon which were not then believed to be very old, the Pitakas may be approximately placed in the fourth century B. C., and parts of them possibly reach back very nearly, if not quite, to the time of Gautama himself.”[451:5]
    The religion of the ancient Persians, which corresponds in so very many respects with that of the Christians, was established by Zoroaster—who was undoubtedly a Brahman[451:6]—and is contained in the Zend-Avesta, their sacred book or Bible. This book is very ancient. Prof. Max Müller speaks of “the sacred book of the Zoroastrians” as being “older in its language than the cuneiform inscriptions of Cyrus (B. C. 560), Darius (B. C. 520), and Xerxes (B. C.485) those ancient Kings of Persia, who knew that they were kings by the grace of Auramazda, and who placed his sacred image high on the mountain-records of Behistun.”[452:1] That ancient book, or its fragments, at least, have survived many dynasties and kingdoms, and is still believed in by a small remnant of the Persian race, now settled at Bombay, and known all over the world by the name of Parsees.[452:2]
    “The Babylonian and Phenician sacred books date back to a fabulous antiquity;”[452:3] and so do the sacred books and religion of Egypt.
    Prof. Mahaffy, in his “Prolegomena to Ancient History,” says:
    “There is indeed hardly a great and fruitful idea in the Jewish or Christian systems which has not its analogy in the Egyptian faith, andall these theological conceptions pervade the oldest religion of Egypt.”[452:4]
    The worship of Osiris, the Lord and Saviour, must have been of extremely ancient date, for he is represented as “Judge of the Dead,” in sculptures contemporary with the building of the Pyramids, centuries before Abraham is said to have been born. Among the many hieroglyphic titles which accompany his figure in those sculptures, and in many other places on the walls of temples and tombs, are, “Lord of Life,” “The Eternal Ruler,” “Manifester of Good,” “Revealer of Truth,” “Full of Goodness and Truth,” etc.
    In speaking of the “Myth of Osiris,” Mr. Bonwick says:
    “This great mystery of the Egyptians demands serious consideration. Its antiquity—its universal hold upon the people for over five thousand years—its identification with the very life of the nation—and its marvellous likeness to the creed of modern date, unite in exciting the greatest interest.”[452:5]
    This myth, and that of Isis and Horus, were known before the Pyramid time.[453:1]
    The worship of the Virgin Mother in Egypt—from which country it was imported into Europe[453:2]—dates back thousands of years B. C. Mr. Bonwick says:
    “In all probability she was worshiped three thousand years before Moses wrote. ‘Isis nursing her child Horus, was represented,’ says Mariette Bey, ‘at least six thousand years ago.’ We read the name of Isis on monuments of the fourth dynasty, and she lost none of her popularity to the close of the empire.”
    “The Egyptian Bible is by far the most ancient of all holy books.” “Plato was told that Egypt possessed hymns dating back ten thousand years before his time.”[453:3]
    Bunsen says:
    “The origin of the ancient prayers and hymns of the ‘Book of the Dead,’ is anterior to Menes; it implies that the system of Osirian worship and mythology was already formed.”[453:4]
    And, says Mr. Bonwick:
    “Besides opinions, we have facts as a basis for arriving at a conclusion, and justifying the assertion of Dr. Birch, that the work dated from a period long anterior to the rise of Ammon worship at Thebes.”[453:5]
    Now, “this most ancient of all holy books,” establishes the fact that a virgin-born and resurrected Saviour was worshiped in Egypt thousands of year before the time of Christ Jesus.
    P. Le Page Renouf says:
    “The earliest monuments which have been discovered present to us the very same fully-developed civilization and the same religionas the later monuments. . . . The gods whose names appear in the oldest tombs were worshiped down to the Christian times. The same kind of priesthoods which are mentioned in the tablets of Canopus and Rosetta in the Ptolemaic period are as ancient as the pyramids, and more ancient than any pyramid of which we know the date.”[453:6]
    In regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. We have just seen that “the development of the One God into a Trinity” pervades the oldest religion of Egypt, and the same may be said of India. Prof. Monier Williams, speaking on this subject, says:
    “It should be observed that the native commentaries on the Veda often allude to thirty-three gods, which number is also mentioned in the Rig-Veda. This is a multiple of three, which is a sacred number constantly appearing in the Hindu religious system. It is probable, indeed, that although the Tri-murti is not named in the Vedic hymns,[454:1] yet the Veda is the real source of this Triad of personifications, afterwards so conspicuous in Hindu mythology. This much, at least, is clear, that the Vedic poets exhibited a tendency to group all the forces and energies of nature under three heads, and the assertion that the number of the gods was thirty-three, amounted to saying that each of the three leading personifications was capable of eleven modifications.”[454:2]
    The great antiquity of the legends referred to in this work is demonstrated in the fact that they were found in a great measure on the continent of America, by the first Europeans who set foot on its soil. Now, how did they get there? Mr. Lundy, in his “Monumental Christianity,” speaking on this subject, says:
    “So great was the resemblance between the two sacraments of the Christian Church (viz., that of Baptism and the Eucharist) and those of the ancient Mexicans; so many other points of similarity, also, in doctrine existed, as to the unity of God, the Triad, the Creation, the Incarnation and Sacrifice, the Resurrection, etc., that Herman Witsius, no mean scholar and thinker, was induced to believe that Christianity had been preached on this continent by some one of the apostles, perhaps St. Thomas, from the fact that he is reported to have carried the Gospel to India and Tartary, whence he came to America.”[454:3]
    Some writers, who do not think that St. Thomas could have gotten to America, believe that St. Patrick, or some other saint, must have, in some unaccountable manner, reached the shores of the Western continent, and preached their doctrine there.[454:4] Others have advocated the devil theory, which is, that the devil, being jealous of the worship of Christ Jesus, set up a religion of his own, and imitated, nearly as possible, the religion of Christ. All of these theories being untenable, we must, in the words of Burnouf, the eminent French Orientalist, “learn one day that all ancient traditions disfigured by emigration and legend,belong to the history of India.”
    That America was inhabited by Asiatic emigrants, and that the American legends are of Asiatic origin, we believe to be indisputable. There is an abundance of proof to this effect.[454:5]
    In contrast to the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism, we have the facts that the Gospels were not written by the persons whose names they bear, that they were written many years after the time these men are said to have lived, and that they are full of interpolations and errors. The first that we know of the four gospels is at the time of Irenæus, who, in the second century, intimates that he had received four gospels, as authentic scriptures. This pious forger was probably the author of the fourth, as we shall presently see.
    Besides these gospels there were many more which were subsequently deemed apocryphal; the narratives related in them of Christ Jesus and his apostles were stamped as forgeries.
    “The Gospel according to Matthew” is believed by the majority of biblical scholars of the present day to be the oldest of the four, and to be made up principally of a pre-existing one, called “The Gospel of the Hebrews.” The principal difference in these two gospels being that “The Gospel of the Hebrews” commenced with giving the genealogy of Jesus from David, through Joseph “according to the flesh.” The story of Jesus being born of a virgin was not to be found there, it being an afterpiece, originating either with the writer of “The Gospel according to Matthew,” or some one after him, and was evidently taken from “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” “The Gospel of the Hebrews“—from which, we have said, the Matthew narrator copied—was an intensely Jewish gospel, and was to be found—in one of its forms—among the Ebionites, who were the narrowest Jewish Christians of the second century. “The Gospel according to Matthew” is, therefore, the most Jewish gospel of the four; in fact, the most Jewish book in the New Testament, excepting, perhaps, theApocalypse and the Epistle of James.
    Some of the more conspicuous Jewish traits, to be found in this gospel, are as follows:
    Jesus is sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The twelve are forbidden to go among the Gentiles or the Samaritans. They are to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The genealogy of Jesus is traced back to Abraham, and there stops.[455:1] The works of the law are frequently insisted on. There is a superstitious regard for the Sabbath, &c.
    There is no evidence of the existence of the Gospel of Matthew,—in its present form—until the year 173, A. D. It is at this time, also, that it is first ascribed to Matthew, by Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis. The original oracles of the Gospel of the Hebrews, however,—which were made use of by the author of our present Gospel of Matthew,—were written, likely enough, not long before the destruction of Jerusalem, but the Gospel itself dates from about A. D. 100.[456:1]
    The Gospel according to Luke” is believed to come next—in chronological order—to that of Matthew, and to have been written some fifteen or twenty years after it. The author was a foreigner, as his writings plainly show that he was far removed from the events which he records.
    In writing his Gospel, the author made use of that of Matthew, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and Marcion’s Gospel. He must have had, also, still other sources, as there are parables peculiar to it, which are not found in them. Among these may be mentioned that of the “Prodigal Son,” and the “Good Samaritan.” Other parables peculiar to it are that of the two debtors; the friend borrowing bread at night; the rich man’s barns; Dives and Lazarus; the lost piece of silver; the unjust steward; the Pharisee and the Publican.
    Several miracles are also peculiar to the Luke narrator’s Gospel, the raising of the widow of Nain’s son being the most remarkable. Perhaps these stories were delivered to him orally, and perhaps he is the author of them,—we shall never know. The foundation of the legends, however, undoubtedly came from the “certain scriptures” of the Essenes in Egypt. The principal object which the writer of this gospel had in view was to reconcile Paulinism and the more Jewish forms of Christianity.[456:2]
    The next in chronological order, according to the same school of critics, is “The Gospel according to Mark.” This gospel is supposed to have been written within ten years of the former, and its author, as of the other two gospels, is unknown. It was probably written at Rome, as the Latinisms of the author’s style, and the apparent motive of his work, strongly suggest that he was a Jewish citizen of the Eternal City. He made use of the Gospel of Matthew as his principal authority, and probably referred to that of Luke, as he has things in common with Luke only.
    The object which the writer had in view, was to have a neutral go-between, a compromise between Matthew as too Petrine (Jewish), and Luke as too Pauline (Gentile). The different aspects of Matthew and Luke were found to be confusing to believers, and provocative of hostile criticism from without; hence the idea of writing a shorter gospel, that should combine the most essential elements of both. Luke was itself a compromise between the opposing Jewish and universal tendencies of early Christianity, but Mark endeavors by avoidance and omission to effect what Luke did more by addition and contrast. Luke proposed to himself to open a door for the admission of Pauline ideas without offending Gentile Christianity; Mark, on the contrary, in a negative spirit, to publish a Gospel which should not hurt the feelings of either party. Hence his avoidance of all those disputed questions which disturbed the church during the first quarter of the second century. The genealogy of Jesus is omitted; this being offensive to Gentile Christians, and even to some of the more liberal Judaizers. The supernatural birth of Jesus is omitted, this being offensive to the Ebonitish (extreme Jewish) and some of the Gnostic Christians. For every Judaizing feature that is sacrificed, a universal one is also sacrificed. Hard words against the Jews are left out, but with equal care, hard words about the Gentiles.[457:1]
    We now come to the fourth, and last gospel, that “according to John,” which was not written until many years after that “according to Matthew.”
    “It is impossible to pass from the Synoptic[457:2] Gospels,” says Canon Westcott, “to the fourth, without feeling that the transition involves the passage from one world of thought to another. No familiarity with the general teachings of the Gospels, no wide conception of the character of the Saviour, is sufficient to destroy the contrast which exists in form and spirit between the earlier and later narratives.”
    The discrepancies between the fourth and the Synoptic Gospels are numerous. If Jesus was the man of Matthew’s Gospel, he was not the mysterious beingof the fourth. If his ministry was only one year long, it was not three. If he made but one journey to Jerusalem, he did not make many. If his method of teaching was that of the Synoptics, it was not that of the fourth Gospel. If he was the Jew of Matthew, he was not the Anti-Jew of John.[457:3]
    Everywhere in John we come upon a more developed stage of Christianity than in the Synoptics. The scene, the atmosphere, is different. In the Synoptics Judaism, the Temple, the Law and the Messianic Kingdom are omnipresent. In John they are remote and vague. In Matthew Jesus is always yearning for his own nation. In John he has no other sentiment for it than hate and scorn. In Matthew the sanction of the Prophets is his great credential. In John his dignity can tolerate no previous approximation.
    “Do we ask,” says Francis Tiffany, “who wrote this wondrous Gospel? Mysterious its origin, as that wind of which its author speaks, which bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof and canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. As with the Great Unknown of the book of Job, the Great Unknown of the later Isaiah, the ages keep his secret. The first absolutely indisputable evidence of the existence of the book dates from the latter half of the second century.
    The first that we know of the fourth Gospel, for certainty, is at the time of Irenæus (A. D. 179).[458:1] We look in vain for an express recognition of the fourcanonical Gospels, or for a distinct mention of any one of them, in the writings of St. Clement (A. D. 96), St. Ignatius (A. D. 107), St. Justin (A. D. 140), or St. Polycarp (A. D. 108). All we can find is incidents from the life of Jesus, sayings, etc.
    That Irenæus is the author of it is very evident. This learned and pious forger says:
    “John, the disciple of the Lord, wrote his Gospel to confute the doctrine lately taught by Cerinthus, and a great while before by those called Nicolaitans, a branch of the Gnostics; and to show that there is one God who made all things by his WORD: and not, as they say, that there is one the Creator, and another the Father of our Lord: and one the Son of the Creator, and another, even the Christ, who descended from above upon the Son of the Creator, and continued impassible, and at length returned to his pleroma or fulness.”[458:2]
    The idea of God having inspired four different men to write a history of the same transactions,—or rather, of many different men having undertaken to write such a history, of whom God inspired four only to write correctly, leaving the others to their own unaided resources, and giving us no test by which to distinguish the inspired from the uninspired—certainly appears self-confuting, and anything but natural.
    The reasons assigned by Irenæus for there being four Gospels are as follows:
    “It is impossible that there could be more or less than four. For there are four climates, and four cardinal winds; but the Gospel is the pillar and foundation of the church, and its breath of life. The church therefore was to have four pillars, blowing immortality from every quarter, and giving life to man.[459:1]
    It was by this Irenæus, with the assistance of Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian, one of the Latin Fathers, that the four Gospels were introduced intogeneral use among the Christians.
    In these four spurious Gospels, and in some which are considered Apocryphal—because the bishops at the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 365) rejected them—we have the only history of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, if all accounts or narratives of Christ Jesus and his Apostles were forgeries, as it is admitted that all theApocryphal ones were, what can the superior character of the received Gospels prove for them, but that they are merely superiorly executed forgeries? The existence of Jesus is implied in the New Testament outside of the Gospels, but hardly an incident of his life is mentioned, hardly a sentence that he spoke has been preserved. Paul, writing from twenty to thirty years after his death, has but a single reference to anything he ever said or did.
    Beside these four Gospels there were, as we said above, many others, for, in the words of Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian:
    “Not long after Christ’s ascension into heaven, several histories of his life and doctrines, full of pious frauds and fabulous wonders, were composed by persons whose intentions, perhaps, were not bad, but whose writings discovered the greatest superstition and ignorance. Nor was this all; productions appeared, which were imposed upon the world by fraudulent men, as the writings of the holy apostles.”[459:2]
    Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking on this subject, says:
    “There never was any period of time in all ecclesiastical history, in which so many rank heresies were publicly professed, nor in which so many spurious books were forged and published by the Christians, under the names of Christ, and the Apostles, and the Apostolic writers, as in those primitive ages. Several of these forged books are frequently cited and applied to the defense of Christianity, by the most eminent fathers of the same ages, as true and genuine pieces.[459:3]
    Archbishop Wake also admits that:
    “It would be useless to insist on all the spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul alone, in the primitive ages of Christianity.”[460:1]
    Some of the “spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul,” may be found to-day in our canonical New Testament, and are believed by many to be the word of God.[460:2]
    The learned Bishop Faustus, in speaking of the authenticity of the New Testament, says:
    “It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with, affixed to their works the names of the apostles, or of such as were supposed to have been their companions, asserting that what they had written themselves, was written according to these persons to whom they ascribed it.”[460:3]
    Again he says:
    “Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord, which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since—as already it has been often proved—these things were not written by Christ, nor his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord, or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they mendaciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them.”[460:4]
    What had been said to have been done in India, was said by these “half-Jews” to have been done in Palestine; the change of names and places, with the mixing up of various sketches of the Egyptian, Persian, Phenician, Greek and Roman mythology, was all that was necessary. They had an abundance of material, and with it they built. The foundation upon which they built was undoubtedly the “Scriptures,” or Diegesis, of the Essenes in Alexandria in Egypt, which fact led Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian—”without whom,” says Tillemont, “we should scarce have had any knowledge of the history of the first ages of Christianity, or of the authors who wrote in that time”—to say that the sacred writings used by this sect were none other than “Our Gospels.”
    We offer below a few of the many proofs showing the Gospels to have been written a long time after the events narrated are said to have occurred, and by persons unacquainted with the country of which they wrote.
    “He (Jesus) came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,” is an assertion made by the Mark narrator (vii. 31), when there were no coasts of Decapolis, nor was the name so much as known before the reign of the emperor Nero.
    Again, “He (Jesus) departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan,” is an assertion made by the Matthew narrator (xix. 1), when the Jordan itself was the eastern boundary of Judea, and there were no coasts of Judea beyond it.
    Again, “But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither, notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee, and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene,” is another assertion made by the Matthew narrator (ii. 22, 23), when—1. It was a son of Herod who reigned in Galilee as well as Judea, so that he could not be more secure in one province than in the other; and when—2. It was impossible for him to have gone from Egypt to Nazareth, without traveling through the whole extent of Archelaus’s kingdom, or making a peregrination through the deserts on the north and east of the Lake Asphaltites, and the country of Moab; and then, either crossing the Jordan into Samaria or the Lake of Gennesareth into Galilee, and from thence going to the city of Nazareth, which is no better geography, than if one should describe a person as turning aside from Cheapside into the parts of Yorkshire; and when—3. There were no prophets whatever who had prophesied that Jesus “should be called a Nazarene.”
    The Matthew narrator (iv. 13) states that “He departed into Galilee, and leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt in Capernaum,” as if he imagined that the city of Nazareth was not as properly in Galilee as Capernaum was; which is much such geographical accuracy, as if one should relate the travels of a hero, who departed into Middlesex, and leaving London, came and dwelt in Lombard street.[461:1]
    There are many other falsehoods in gospel geography beside these, which, it is needless to mention, plainly show that the writers were not the persons they are generally supposed to be.
    Of gospel statistics there are many falsehoods; among them may be mentioned the following:
    “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness,” is an assertion made by the Luke narrator (Luke iii. 2); when all Jews, or persons living among them, must have known that there never was but one high priest at a time, as with ourselves there is but one mayor of a city.
    Again we read (John vii. 52), “Search (the Scriptures) and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet,” when the most distinguished of the Jewish prophets—Nahum and Jonah—were both Galileans.
    See reference in the Epistles to “Saints,” a religious order, owing its origin to the popes. Also, references to the distinct orders of “Bishops,” “Priests,” and “Deacons,” and calls to a monastic life; to fasting, etc., when, the titles of “Bishop,” “Priest,” and “Deacon” were given to the Essenes—whom Eusebius calls Christians—and, as is well known, monasteries were the abode of the Essenes or Therapeuts.
    See the words for “legion,” “aprons,” “handkerchiefs,” “centurion,” etc., in the original, not being Greek, but Latin, written in Greek characters, a practice first to be found in the historian Herodian, in the third century.
    In Matt. xvi. 18, and Matt. xviii. 17, the word “Church” is used, and its papistical and infallible authority referred to as then existing, which is known not to have existed till ages after. And the passage in Matt. xi. 12:—”From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” etc., could not have been written till a very late period.
    Luke ii. 1, shows that the writer (whoever he may have been) lived long after the events related. His dates, about the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and the government of Cyrenius (the only indications of time in the New Testament), are manifestly false. The general ignorance of the four Evangelists, not merely of the geography and statistics of Judea, but even of its language,—their egregious blunders, which no writers who had lived in that age could be conceived of as making,—prove that they were not only no such persons as those who have been willing to be deceived have taken them to be, but that they were not Jews, had never been in Palestine, and neither lived at, or at anywhere near the times to which their narratives seem to refer. The ablest divines at the present day, of all denominations, have yielded as much as this.[463:1]
    The Scriptures were in the hands of the clergy only, and they had every opportunity to insert whatsoever they pleased; thus we find them full of interpolations. Johann Solomo Semler, one of the most influential theologians of the eighteenth century, speaking of this, says:
    “The Christian doctors never brought their sacred books before the common people; although people in general have been wont to think otherwise; during the first ages, they were in the hands of the clergy only.”[463:2]
    Concerning the time when the canon of the New Testament was settled, Mosheim says:
    “The opinions, or rather the conjectures, of the learned concerning the time when the books of the New Testament were collected into one volume; as also about the authors of that collection, are extremely different. This important question is attended with great and almost insuperable difficulties to us in these later times.”[463:3]
    The Rev. B. F. Westcott says:
    “It is impossible to point to any period as marking the date at which our present canon was determined. When it first appears, it is presented not as a novelty, but as an ancient tradition.”[463:4]
    Dr. Lardner says:
    “Even so late as the middle of the sixth century, the canon of the New Testament had not been settled by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged, but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning the genuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical, and to determine according to evidence.”[464:1]
    The learned Michaelis says:
    “No manuscript of the New Testament now extant is prior to the sixth century, and what is to be lamented, various readings which, as appears from the quotations of the Fathers, were in the text of the Greek Testament, are to be found in none of the manuscripts which are at present remaining.”[464:2]
    And Bishop Marsh says:
    “It is a certain fact, that several readings in our common printed text are nothing more than alterations made by Origen, whose authority was so great in the Christian Church (A. D. 230) that emendations which he proposed, though, as he himself acknowledged, they were supported by the evidence of no manuscript, were very generally received.”[464:3]
    In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius gives us a list of what books at that time (A. D. 315) were considered canonical. They are as follows:
    “The four-fold writings of the Evangelists,” “The Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles of Peter,” “after these the first of John, and that of Peter,” “All these are received for undoubted.” “The Revelation of St. John, some disavow.”
    “The books which are gainsaid, though well known unto many, are these: the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, the latter of Peter, the second and third of John, whether they were John the Evangelist, or some other of the same name.”[464:4]
    Though Irenæus, in the second century, is the first who mentions the evangelists, and Origen, in the third century, is the first who gives us a catalogue of the books contained in the New Testament, Mosheim’s admission still stands before us. We have no grounds of assurance that the mere mention of the namesof the evangelists by Irenæus, or the arbitrary drawing up of a particular catalogue by Origen, were of any authority. It is still unknown by whom, or where, orwhen, the canon of the New Testament was settled. But in this absence of positive evidence we have abundance of negative proof. We know when it was notsettled. We know it was not settled in the time of the Emperor Justinian, nor in the time of Cassiodorus; that is, not at any time before the middle of the sixth century, “by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged; but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning thegenuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical.”
    We cannot do better than close this chapter with the words of Prof. Max Müller, who, in speaking of Buddhism, says:
    “We have in the history of Buddhism an excellent opportunity for watching the process by which a canon of sacred books is called into existence. We see here, as elsewhere, that during the life-time of the teacher, no record of events, no sacred code containing the sayings of the Master, was wanted. His presence was enough, and thoughts of the future, and more particularly, of future greatness, seldom entered the minds of those who followed him. It was only after Buddha had left the world to enter into Nirvâna, that his disciples attempted to recall the sayings and doings of their departed friend and master. At that time, everything that seemed to redound to the glory of Buddha, however extraordinary and incredible, was eagerly welcomed, while witnesses who would have ventured to criticise or reject unsupported statements, or to detract in any way from the holy character of Buddha, had no chance of ever being listened to. And when, in spite of all this, differences of opinion arose, they were not brought to the test by a careful weighing of evidence, but the names of ‘unbeliever‘ and ‘heretic‘ were quickly invented in India as elsewhere, and bandied backwards and forwards between contending parties, till at last, when the doctors disagreed, the help of the secular power had to be invoked, and kings and emperors assembled councils for the suppression of schism, for the settlement of an orthodox creed, and for the completion of a sacred canon.”[465:1]
    That which Prof. Müller describes as taking place in the religion of Christ Buddha, is exactly what took place in the religion of Christ Jesus. That the miraculous, and many of the non-miraculous, events related in the Gospels never happened, is demonstrable from the facts which we have seen in this work, that nearly all of these events, had been previously related of the gods and goddesses of heathen nations of antiquity, more especially of the Hindoo SaviourCrishna, and the Buddhist Saviour Buddha, whose religion, with less alterations than time and translations have made in the Jewish Scriptures, may be traced in nearly every dogma and every ceremony of the evangelical mythology.


    Note.—The Codex Sinaiticus, referred to on the preceding page, (note 2,) was found at the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai, by Tischendorf, in 1859. He supposes that it belongs to the 4th cent.; but Dr. Davidson (in Kitto’s Bib. Ency., Art. MSS.) thinks different. He says: “Probably it is of the 6th cent.,” while he states that the Codex Vaticanus “is believed to belong to the 4th cent.,” and the Codex Alexandrinus to the 5th cent. McClintock & Strong’s Ency. (Art. MSS.,) relying probably on Tischendorf’s conjecture, places the Codex Sinaiticus first. “It is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.,” say they. The Codex Vaticanus is considered the next oldest, and the Codex Alexandrinus is placed third in order, and “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” The writer of the art. N. T. in Smith’s Bib. Dic. says: “The Codex Sinaiticus is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.;” and that the Codex Alexandrinus “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” Thus we see that in determining the dates of the MSS. of the N. T., Christian divines are obliged to resort to conjecture; there being no certainty whatever in the matter. But with all their “suppositions,” “probabilities,” “beliefs” and “conjectures,” we have the words of the learned Michaelis still before us, that: “No MSS. of the N. T. now extant are prior to the sixth cent.” This remark, however, does not cover the Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered since Michaelis wrote his work on the N. T.; but, as we saw above, Dr. Davidson does not agree with Tischendorf in regard to its antiquity, and places it in the 6th cent.
    FOOTNOTES:
    [450:1]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 19. See also, Prof. Max Müller’s Lectures on the Origin of Religion, pp. 145-158, and p. 67, where he speaks of “the Hindus, who, thousands of years ago, had reached in Upanishads the loftiest heights of philosophy.”
    [450:2]The Ancient City, p. 13.
    [451:1]See Monier Williams’ Hinduism, pp. 109, 110, and Indian Wisdom, p. 493.
    [451:2]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 576, for the authority of Prof. Max Müller.
    [451:3]“The religion known as Buddhism—from the title of ‘The Buddha,’ meaning ‘The Wise,’ ‘The Enlightened’—has now existed for 2400 years, and may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world.” (Chambers’s Encyclo.)
    [451:4]This Council was assembled by Asoka in the eighteenth year of his reign. The name of this king is honored wherever the teachings of Buddha have spread, and is reverenced from the Volga to Japan, from Ceylon and Siam to the borders of Mongolia and Siberia. Like his Christian prototype Constantine, he was converted by a miracle. After his conversion, which took place in the tenth year of his reign, he became a very zealous supporter of the new religion. He himself built many monasteries and dagabas, and provided many monks with the necessaries of life; and he encouraged those about his court to do the same. He published edicts throughout his empire, enjoining on all his subjects morality and justice.
    [451:5]Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 10.
    [452:1]Müller: Lectures on the Science of Religion, p. 235.
    [452:2]This small tribe of Persians were driven from their native land by the Mohammedan conquerors under the Khalif Omar, in the seventh century of our era. Adhering to the ancient religion of Persia, which resembles that of the Veda, and bringing with them the records of their faith, the Zend-Avesta of their prophet Zoroaster, they settled down in the neighborhood of Surat, about one thousand one hundred years ago, and became great merchants and shipbuilders. For two or three centuries we know little of their history. Their religion prevented them from making proselytes, and they never multiplied within themselves to any extent, nor did they amalgamate with the Hindoo population, so that even now their number only amounts to about seventy thousand. Nevertheless, from their busy, enterprising habits, in which they emulate Europeans, they form an important section of the population of Bombay and Western India.
    [452:3]Movers: Quoted in Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., p. 261.
    [452:4]Prolegomena, p. 417.
    [452:5]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 162.
    [453:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 163.
    [453:2]Ibid. p. 142, and King’s Gnostics, p. 71.
    [453:3]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, pp. 135, 140, and 143.
    [453:4]Quoted in Ibid. p. 186.
    [453:5]Ibid.
    [453:6]Renouf: Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 81.
    [454:1]That is, the Tri-murti Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, for he tells us that the three gods, Indra, Agni, and Surya, constitute the Vedic chief triad of Gods. (Hinduism, p. 24.) Again he tells us that the idea of a Tri-murti was first dimly shadowed forth in the Rig-Veda, where a triad of principal gods—Agni, Indra and Surya—is recognized. (Ibid. p. 88.) The worship of the three members of the Tri-murti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, is to be found in the period of the epic poems, from 500 to 308 B. C. (Ibid. pp. 109, 110, 115.)
    [454:2]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 25.
    [454:3]Monumental Christianity, p. 890.
    [454:4]See Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi.
    [455:1]The genealogy which traces him back to Adam (Luke iii.) makes his religion not only a Jewish, but a Gentile one. According to this Gospel he is not only a Messiah sent to the Jews, but to all nations, sons of Adam.
    [456:1]See The Bible of To-Day, under “Matthew.”
    [456:2]See Ibid. under “Luke.”
    [457:1]See the Bible of To-Day, under “Mark.”
    [457:2]Synoptics;” the Gospels which contain accounts of the same events—”parallel passages,” as they are called—which can be written side by side, so as to enable us to make a general view or synopsis of all the three, and at the same time compare them with each other. Bishop Marsh says: “The most eminent critics are at present decidedly of opinion that one of the two suppositions must necessarily be adopted, either that the three Evangelists copied from each other, or that all the three drew from a common source, and that the notion of an absolute independence, in respect to the composition of the three first Gospels, is no longer tenable.”
    [457:3]“On opening the New Testament and comparing the impression produced by the Gospel of Matthew or Mark with that by the Gospel of John, the observant eye is at once struck with as salient a contrast as that already indicated on turning from the Macbeth or Othello of Shakespeare to the Comus of Milton or to Spenser’s Faerie Queene.” (Francis Tiffany.)
    “To learn how far we may trust them (the Gospels) we must in the first place compare them with each other. The moment we do so we notice that the fourth stands quite alone, while the first three form a single group, not only following the same general course, but sometimes even showing a verbal agreement which cannot possibly be accidental.” (The Bible for Learners, vol. ii. p. 27.)
    [458:1]“Irenæus is the first person who mentions the four Gospels by name.” (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 328.)
    “Irenæus, in the second century, is the first of the fathers who, though he has nowhere given us a professed catalogue of the books of the New Testament, intimates that he had received four Gospels, as authentic Scriptures, the authors of which he describes.” (Rev. R. Taylor: Syntagma, p. 109.)
    “The authorship of the fourth Gospel has been the subject of much learned and anxious controversy among theologians. The earliest, and only very important external testimony we have is that of Irenæus (A. D. 179.)” (W. R. Grey: The Creed of Christendom, p. 159.)
    [458:2]Against Heresies, bk. ii. ch. xi. sec. 1.
    [459:1]Against Heresies, bk. iii. ch. xi. sec. 8.
    [459:2]Mosheim: vol. i. p. 109.
    [459:3]Middleton’s Works, vol. i. p. 59.
    [460:1]Genuine Epist. Apost. Fathers, p. 98.
    [460:2]See Chadwick’s Bible of To-Day, pp. 191, 192.
    [460:3]“Nec ab ipso scriptum constat, nec ab ejus apostolis sed longo post tempore a quibusdam incerti nominis viris, qui ne sibi non haberetur fides scribentibus quæ nescirent, partim apostolorum, partim eorum qui apostolos secuti viderentur nomina scriptorum suorum frontibus indiderunt, asseverantes secundum eos, se scripsisse quæ scripserunt.” (Faust, lib. 2. Quoted by Rev. R. Taylor: Diegesis, p. 114.)
    [460:4]“Multa enim a majoribus vestris, eloquiis Domini nostri inserta verba sunt; quæ nomine signata ipsius, cum ejus fide non congruant, præsertim, quia, ut jam sæpe probatum a nobis est, nec ab ipso hæc sunt, nec ab ejus apostolis scripta, sed multo post eorum assumptionem, a nescio quibus, et ipsis inter se non concordantibus semi-Judæis, per famas opinionesque comperta sunt; qui tamen omnia eadem in apostolorum Domini conferentes nomina vel eorum qui secuti apostolos viderentur, errores ac mendacia sua secundum eos se scripsisse mentiti sunt.” (Faust.: lib. 88. Quoted in Ibid. p. 66.)
    [461:1]Taylor‘s Diegesis.
    [463:1]Says Prof. Smith upon this point: “All the earliest external evidence points to the conclusion that the synoptic gospels are non-apostolic digests of spoken and written apostolic tradition, and that the arrangement of the earlier material in orderly form took place only gradually and by many essays.”
    Dr. Hooykaas, speaking of the four “Gospels,” and “Acts,” says of them: “Not one of these five books was really written by the person whose name it bears, and they are all of more recent date than the heading would lead us to suppose.”
    “We cannot say that the “Gospels” and book of “Acts” are unauthentic, for not one of them professes to give the name of its author. They appeared anonymously. The titles placed above them in our Bibles owe their origin to a later ecclesiastical tradition which deserves no confidence whatever.” (Bible for Learners, vol. iii. pp. 24, 25.)
    These Gospels “can hardly be said to have had authors at all. They had only editors or compilers. What I mean is, that those who enriched the old Christian literature with these Gospels did not go to work as independent writers and compose their own narratives out of the accounts they had collected, but simply took up the different stories or sets of stories which they found current in the oral tradition or already reduced to writing, adding here and expanding there, and so sent out into the world a very artless kind of composition. These works were then, from time to time, somewhat enriched by introductory matter or interpolations from the hands of later Christians, and perhaps were modified a little here and there. Our first two Gospels appear to have passed through more than one such revision. The third, whose writer says in his preface, that ‘many had undertaken to put together a narrative (Gospel),’ before him, appears to proceed from a single collecting, arranging, and modifying hand.” (Ibid. p. 29.)
    [463:2]“Christiani doctores non in vulgus prodebant libros sacros, licet soleant plerique aliteropinari, erant tantum in manibus clericorum, priora per sæcula.” (Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 48.)
    [463:3]Mosheim: vol. i. pt. 2, ch. ii.
    [463:4]General Survey of the Canon, p. 459.
    [464:1]Credibility of the Gospels.
    [464:2]Marsh’s Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 160. The Sinaitic MS. is believed by Tischendorf to belong to the fourth century.
    [464:3]Ibid. p. 368.
    [464:4]Eusebius: Ecclesiastical Hist. lib. 3, ch. xxii.
    [465:1]The Science of Religion, pp. 30, 31.
    Extract from CHAPTER  XXXVIII THE ANTIQUITY OF PAGAN RELIGIONS, “BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885/31885-h/31885-h.htm#Page_36