Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


PaulS last won the day on September 7

PaulS had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

113 SAGE

About PaulS

  • Rank
    Alternate Administrator & Site Sponsor
  • Birthday 08/20/1968

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Mandurah Western Australia

Recent Profile Visitors

752 profile views
  1. Gay Marriage - Australia says YES

    Our Parliament voted to pass gay marriage laws last night. Now the law is formally enacted this Saturday which then allows same sex couples to immediately lodge a 'Notice of Intended Marriage', which is a required 1-month notice period here for all marriages. Fantastic stuff Australia!
  2. Was Paul gay?

    You are entitled to your opinion Burl, but to call any discussion on biblical interpretation about Paul being gay as absurd and intellectually null, is frankly, absurd and intellectually null. It is disingenuous in the least to pretend that hard evidence to the contrary exists. Perhaps Paul wasn't gay, but even you would have to admit that Spong makes a case (the strength for which is judged to varying degrees). Just as I do not think it is absurd or intellectually null to discuss the potential for alien abductions or the yowie (even though I am reasonably confident the evidence doesn't support either), there is genuine reason to consider Paul being a repressed gay man if one takes the effort to look at him that way instead of blocking it out as though it is a complete impossibility. Why that should be so outrageous to anyone is beyond me. Paul may also well have led the choir, again - not beyond the realms of possibility (although maybe unlikely) but one should feel free to discuss those things without being belittled.
  3. Was Paul gay?

    It's far from ignorant Burl and there is merit to the discussion, even f you don't see that. Much biblical scholarship comes from speculation in the first instance, which leads to probing and eventually sometimes, a better understanding. However the information I raise about Paul has in fact been raised by biblical scholars and theologians such as Spong.. Maybe he's wrong, but he makes more of an argument for Paul being gay than you do for him not being gay. But of course, you don't make any assumptions about Paul's sexuality (other than it's ignorant to propose he may have been gay).
  4. Was Paul gay?

    I find it of some interest but admit it can really only be speculation. However, imagine if it could be substantiated that Pay was gay - what that could mean to millions and millions of Christians who currently hold and quote Paul's writings as confirmation God considers homosexuality an abomination! It might not be an issue for you but there are certainly millions of gay people persecuted because of how many interpret Paul's writings (and other biblical passages). Open discussion and further learnings may eventually swing that tide (one can only hope).
  5. Was Paul gay?

    No. just making the point that of the 'most accurate' Gospel, we have only just over 1/2 of it available some 150 years after the original. I'm sure you've read or heard of speculation about Jesus maybe supporting reincarnation, maybe having a relationship with Mary M, maybe he had gay tendencies? All I am saying is that it is all speculation because we cannot say what the original said. The snakehandlers exists and I've read other pieces about them. A fringe group for sure but one that takes it direction from what modern scholarship identified as the false ending to Mark. A group easily misled by somebody proclaiming this to be the true word of God and no doubt true to the original. As for Irenaeus again - we have no idea what version of Mark he was looking at and I'm not sure how you can call it a relatively complete version when the oldest version we have of Mark is some time after Irenaeus and is far from complete (8 chapters only). I too would be interested to understand what Ehrmann means by 'relatively complete' because as far as I'm aware, we only have Irenaeus quoting some of Mark in his writings and no document of Mark per se. But be clear - I am not making any choices without evidence - I am merely pointing out what the actual evidence truly is. I most definitely agree it is man's take on God throughout the bible. And i completely recognise that my experience with Christianity growing up has it sticking in my craw when people teach the accuracy of the bible (but I think I'm going over old ground). Yes, I was police and although I grew up conservative, that isn't my life today (or so I think). I think I lean more right than left but I don't think I'm a conservative (pro-choice, pro-euthanasia, against the death penalty, pro-gay rights, believe in climate change ). My family are conservative which is why they won't discuss these matters but I see little of them really. My friends simply have no interest in this because they have never been associated with Christianity much and frankly couldn't care less about the bible (my wife included). We will, and all power to them if that is what they chose to believe, it's just that evidence is not in their favour.
  6. Was Paul gay?

    Well I can't speak for all Protestants but our faction was of the fundamental variety (I think we've discussed this before) where the bible is literally THE word of God, doubting it is heresy, and challenging it in any way, shape or form is the devil at work putting doubt in your mind. So I think I am, in a way, protective of people who don't actually understand the truth about the veracity of these documents yet get told they are 100% accurate to the originals. I think it's great that you have a more 'relaxed' way of looking at the bible (as one should IMO) but clearly there are those who don't and who will belittle and scoff at others as being 'unknowledgable'. So maybe I am a little sensitive about the issue, but I think it's an important one that Christians would benefit from being reminded of - we can assume all we want but the reality is that much of the New Testament, in it's original form, is unavailable to us (currently).
  7. Was Paul gay?

    I'm not sure what the issue is with any differences of upbringing (but yes, I was brought up as a 'proper' christian and not one of those misguided Catholics who worshipped false gods (the Pope and Mary) - yes, we were taught that!). I too am intrigued by biblical scholarship but it doesn't rule my life. But where all of this conversation generated from was you asking me to clarify what I meant about the oldest copies we have of NT writings being potentially inaccurate. I think I have demonstrated (certainly for Mark) that we can't say much about the original other than supposition. The 8 chapters we do have some 150 years after the original may be incorrect and the balance of the 'original' dates some 300 years after the original was written, so who can say how accurate it is. That is my only point. Enjoy it for what it is - certainly. Quote it verbatim as an exact copy of the original and we have an issue.
  8. Was Paul gay?

    I don't think the missing Markan chapters is a theory, Thormas. This is what I can find quickly to hand from a blog of Ehrmann's: "In the debate I pointed out that our earliest copy of the Gospel of Mark was P45 (called this because it is the 45th Papyrus [hence “P”] manuscript to be catalogued), which dates to around the year 200 CE – i.e., 140 years after Mark was first written. That’s our earliest copy. Between the original of Mark and our earliest copy there were something like fourteen decades of copying, and recopying, and recopying of Mark. Year after year it was copied. And the copies were being changed at every point. And then later copies were copies of the earlier changed copies. Then those earlier changed copies were lost; as were the copies based on them; and the copies based on them. Until our earliest surviving copy, P45 – which itself is not a complete copy of Mark, but highly fragmentary. Our first complete copy of Mark dates to around the year 360 – nearly three hundred years (count them 300 years) after the “original” of Mark. For Pentecostal snake handling sects, see these two references: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_handling https://storycorps.org/listen/they-shall-take-up-serpents/ I certainly don't see the glass as half empty - I simply like to keep it real and not be influenced about how I 'think' it should be. There is some consistency in Jesus' message, but then again there are huge gaps, like half of Mark missing between our earliest 'copy' (200-250CE) and the next available 'copy' 350CE. If you want to think that we can be comfortable thinking the c200CE version of Mark is consistent with the original, even though we have nothing to show us what the original was, that's a choice, not evidence. But it simply cannot be regarded as evidence and/or beyond reproach. And I think you would have to acknowledge, that with the tradition of Christians interpreting the bible and stating what God 'really' means, even small subtle changes can impact on what is taught and believed. As for Irenaeus, who knows what version of Mark he was reading. Was it complete? Was it missing 7 chapters? Had it been copied correctly in the +100 years since it had been written? Maybe it used to talk about snake handling! We should not that just because a manuscript is th eoldest, that does not prove it is a correct copy. I accept Wkipedia is not biblical scholarship (but I don't have a lot to hand), however it would seem that Irenaeus was no less human than the rest of us: "Irenaeus argued that since he could trace his authority to Christ and the Gnostics could not, his interpretation of Scripture was correct.[35] He also used "the Rule of Faith",[36] a "proto-creed" with similarities to the Apostles' Creed, as a hermeneutical key to argue that his interpretation of Scripture was correct.[37] Before Irenaeus, Christians differed as to which gospel they preferred. The Christians of Asia Minor preferred the Gospel of John. The Gospel of Matthew was the most popular overall.[38] Irenaeus asserted that four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were canonical scripture.[39] Thus Irenaeus provides the earliest witness to the assertion of the four canonical Gospels, possibly in reaction to Marcion's edited version of the Gospel of Luke, which Marcion asserted was the one and only true gospel.[7][25] I wonder where we might be today if somebody else's argument had won out over Irenaeus'? What if earlier Christians meant a more relaxed view of 'scripture' than some Christians take today. It is completely fair enough that you don't lock yourself to the Christian take on God. I don't either. I think people are free to take and leave whatever the want about Jesus (within historical reason) and I do not subscribe to any theory of some divine being sitting behind the curtain waiting for us to get it right, or wrong. So when i discuss these matters it is simply based on fact, and not personal opinion or interpretation. I ask questions which we don't seem to have answers. I challenge people who say "God means this when he says that in the bible" because I don't think we can know for sure what was meant at the time of writing, often, or even if it was written by who the author pretends to be. Now if you want to speculate what something means to you or what you think it may mean, that is a different story, and I genuinely enjoying discussing why one thinks like that and why I might have the same or different opinion. Maybe it's my police experience from decades ago but I see 'evidence' as being of two calibres - 1) beyond all reasonable doubt, and 2)on the balance of probabilities. Both are different, but I see much of Christianity sitting in the latter category, whereas some Christians are rude, arrogant and know it all when they put everything from the Bible in the first category (I am not referring to you). So I enjoy the discussion. I gotta say, apart from participating here, I don't discuss these matters anywhere else because zero/nil/zilch of my circle of friends and family care to discuss these matters. So I enjoy any debate and/or sharing here. I just find it hard being told something is what it is not. Again, I don't think you're preaching that, but others do of course.
  9. Was Paul gay?

    I think I'm referring to just about every biblical scholar I've ever read Thormas. As far as what I understand, there is no single, complete book from the NT discovered that pre-dates the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus (both dated around roughly 350CE). Admittedly there are 'fragments' of other manuscripts but I am not aware of any complete originals or 'copies' of originals prior to the above-mentioned. I don't think we need to go into chapter and verse of every piece of biblical scholarship, so I hope it suffices to say that much of what I lean on comes from Bart Erhmann himself, or other scholarly work that he has quoted. I'm not restricted to Erhmann and have read several other scholars concerning different bits and pieces, but I don't keep records so find it a bit hard to recall who said what and when. To say that we have 'relatively complete' copies of the Gospels dating around 200CE is certainly a stretch. The oldest 'fragment' we have of Mark for instance dates c250CE and contains 8 of the 15 chapters attributed to Mark - so nearly half of what is later attributed to the Gospel of Mark is missing until we get to the Codex Sinaiticus. And this is the book that some would regard as the most accurate about Jesus and what he said/did (maybe there's a reason much of it went missing in the early centuries?). It is a similar case for many of the other books - some fair better than others, but there are many books that fair a lot worse. Yes, scribes at the time were copying something (presumably) but they were also altering the texts and adding things they thought needed to be added. I wonder how pentecostal snake handling sects who drank poison felt when they found out that the ending of Mark that they so heavily relied upon was a lie? We only know it was a lie because we found older manuscripts. So essentially, we don't know what we don't know because we don't have the original manuscripts. I am not throwing out the baby with the bathwater but simply saying that evidence is evidence - we can't change the definition - and if the originals don't exist, and there are large gaps between our earliest versions and later ones, then how can one say everything is hunky dory with the later versions. It simply can't be logically concluded. Particularly in light of the evidence we have for tampering with the older version of the manuscripts. Oxams razor - what is more likely - that the texts remain unchanged throughout hundreds of years of translation and copying, even in light of evidence of editing (some instances significant and thousands less so), or at best we say we have what we have and who knows precisely which missing bits from the earliest available manuscripts are 100% correct or not. I agree it is fascinating stuff and often I have imagined being a Bart Erhmann or other who has gone down this career path. And I certainly agree with you that these books are mostly 'faith statements' but as you know yourself, some people holds these words up as the dictated or inspired word of God and we have all seen the damage adhering to the bible word for word has caused throughtout time. That is just why I find it paramount to be honest about what we have and what we don't have.
  10. Was Paul gay?

    I don't quite understand your question Thormas - what manuscripts are you asking me to cite and provide sources for? I am saying that we can't precisely substantiate the original sources of the now canonised works because we simply do not have them. At best, we have copies that date some 200-300 years after the originals. Who knows what changes they could have undergone during that period. People like Irenaeus may well have had a 'standard' they considered appropriate, but who knows how they applied that standard. There were several versions of early Christianity with one eventually winning out above all others, so i don't think it would be unreasonable to think there may have been different translations and copies made as time went on which offered the opportunity for the scribe to alter text, or improve it in their opinion. Of course not having the originals makes it impossible to tell. But we do see signs of tinkering with the writings, such as demonstrated in Mark. That's one particular case but it demonstrates that fiddling with the sources did happen.
  11. Was Paul gay?

    I do think I have read speculation by other scholars, but I cannot recall specifically. Certainly Spong is the main antagonist concerning this view and yes, he can make outlandish claims at times. I think it was Borg (I could be wrong) that said Spong was brilliant at breaking things down from the bible, but not as strong in reassembling them. When I re-read Paul with the lens that Spong suggests, I see what Spong is saying. But could he be wrong? - of course.
  12. Was Paul gay?

    What I mean is that we cannot say that what we read in the earliest available manuscripts (dated circa 300) is identical to what was written, when it was written. I think we can, from a historical context, put things together and determine that such books existed, but are they carbon copies of the original writings? Were paragraphs added or subtracted in between whenever they were written and what we cite today as a genuine copy of the original? For instance, your bible may have a Mark 16:9-20 in it, but now we have older mansucripts, older 'copies' of the original, that don't have that ending. So which 'copy' is correct?
  13. Gay Marriage - Australia says YES

    I'd like to think that wasn't Burl's own thoughts but rather as he says, him reporting on what he sees as a "steady move" in the US towards endorsing paedophilia and bestiality. I don't know myself just how 'steady' such movements are, but I don't live there. Personally, I doubt there are is any genuine progress towards such sick behaviour, but I'm sure the media can always dig up somebody for some sensational headlines. From an Australian context, as you would know Paul, this is a disgusting connection made by anti gay marriage people which has no basis for reality other than perhaps there is some lunatic fringe that does want to abuse children or animals. Thankfully in Australia there is no genuine progression towards ridiculous views like that.
  14. Was Paul gay?

    Possibly, but I think unlikely (for an asexual person he does seem to have a bit to say about sex and sexual relations). But it's not absurd and obviously you make some assumptions to get to that point. All power to you, Burl.
  15. Was Paul gay?

    My response is in light of you calling it 'absurd' that Paul was a repressed gay male. You can't have it both ways - sit on the fence when it suits but belittle another point of view. You obviously are making some assumptions about Paul to say it is absurd that he could have been gay, otherwise it can't be absurd. And Paul may well have been a choir director for all I know. I don't consider that absurd, but I don't read anything that might indicate that, which is a lot less than what I read that indicates his homosexuality. Does it matter - no, but I think it makes for an interesting discussion. I don't need to prove it either way.