Jump to content

Craig V.

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Craig V.

  1. Have ANY of your beliefs ever changed?

    Wow, thormas, your degree and all that exposure to differences, what an experience. I went thru the "Baptist Holy War" at SBTS, all the faculty got purged over three years by the Fundamentalists. It sounds like you have had your share of upheaval and disappointment in the faith too. Thank you for sharing with me. I am hoping that I am not too naive, but again I have been very impressed with what I have come across so far. The Jesuits have an enormous retreat facility here in Wernersville, PA (visible from the parking lot of my St Johns UCC Church), and I have been looking at their website to join in on some of the educational conferences and presentations they provide. Again, thank you, and if you do come across anything of interest, I welcome it: craigv@comcast.net Yeah, Ross Douthat (NYT) and Steve Bannon (!!) have been on the warpath! Thanks, Craig
  2. Have ANY of your beliefs ever changed?

    Thormas, given your remarks about your Catholic background: What, if any, difference do you feel about Pope Francis and the Jesuits? I realize that the Jesuits are only one of 30 or so Catholic orders, so they still must exist with the legacy of Augustine and asceticism et al, and it seems as if Pope Francis is constantly under siege. As a Protestant, I knew about some of the Jesuit legacy of arduous devotion to so many diverse human beings, achieved across continents and across centuries. Of contributions to education, arts, and science. (Educating Voltaire, Castro, Hitchcock, and Joyce). But during his visit to the US, Pope Francis really impressed me, which lead me to the Jesuit Values, which impressed me even more. (St Ignatius devoted relatively sparse text in his "Exercises" to “sensuality and carnal austerity” . . . but when it comes to my own big sin (I am overweight and used food to medicate emotions) there is a lengthy 552-word section which addresses “Rules to Put Oneself in Order As to Eating” Ahhh ha.) The Jesuits appear to prove that the teachings of Jesus are sustainable and workable. The Jesuits appear to prove that religion is not doomed to gravitate into becoming an organ of power and fear, of “sex police” or holier-than-thou Wesleyan Puritan enforcers of dignity. To anyone, Protestant or Catholic, the Jesuit legacy suggests that a better faith and richer life awaits those willing to scrutinize ascetic “Christian” orthodoxy. I feel affection for Pope Francis. Same, in following Fr. James Martin, SJ. Do you think my viewpoints about the Jesuits are naive? I would appreciate your Catholic or ex-Catholic perspective if you have the time. Thanks, Craig
  3. Have ANY of your beliefs ever changed?

    Hello PaulS, thank you for the topic and invite, quite on my own mind. I believe you saw and commented on an earlier thread where I referred to my experience. The convergence of the Jesuit Values, humanist UUA principles, and any good categorization of the 37 parables of Jesus and Sermon on the Mount. A real trinity to live by. But what has been my most radical experience is the result of my disability three years back. I essentially have been on sabbatical. And the resulting writing project that is the product and result (deferred from my SBTS experience when a professor made the case that Paul's "thorn in the flesh", his "messenger of Satan" was homophobia . . . . . . has lead me to unexpected, nearly inconceivable findings: that "Apostle" Paul was a fraud, a canard. The case, the proof of that, is unassailable. Weblink below. I know that seems inconceivable, but it is 100% solid. Spooky. And the reaction among my clergy friends and a seminary professor has been wildly unpredictable and goes right to your topic. Neuroscientist Dr. Kathleen Taylor explains how this can happen. Beliefs involve connections between neurons, our “cognitive web” or “cogweb”. Usually, our perceptions are “subservient to reality”. But our deepest intangible value-laden beliefs, foundational references, can “filter incoming stimuli or distort the cognitive landscape, a warping effect", what she terms "a black hole”. The more visceral emotional potency of Paul’s writings (ie. his emphasis on “human depravity”) produced strong and deep “cognitive webs”, gnarled and tangled with Augustine's “Original Sin” which influenced our upbringing, in ways that Jesus’ teachings did not. It matters less that there is reduced guilt and shame today, rather it is why some beliefs go unexamined and did not get the academic scrutiny deserved. Paul seemed sacrosanct. The title of Dr. Taylor’s book quoted is “Brainwashing, the Science of Thought Contol”. I did not expect that among some clergy who I had regarded as brave , progressive, and cerebral, they would run away in fear --- literally in one case, my pastor back at Calvary UCC who avoided me for an entire summer. In the case of another (D.Div.) though she agreed and sent me more material to support it, it was evident she was flummoxed by it, then lost her job (her parish). Based upon her reaction and advice, I then read four books, including Taylor's, that dealt with religion and neuroscience, and added text that goes beyond the proof of facts and truth, that helps to deal with cognitive disruption. Paul, hopefully you and your other readers have indeed changed beliefs as you expect. And that we are eager to keep scrutinizing faith and knowledge. But the bigger or more radical the belief change, the more that Dr. Taylor's concepts dealing with cognitive disruption and anxiety (not intelligence or education) will become the main factor. Thank you, Craig https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/vPpSZWMNfwFfEASy5leE1Y1zIuD2qMHnQIMCaP5ukGx?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy --------------------
  4. Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian

    Yes, Romansh --- Indeed I have a post-progressive view (I think my 80-pg renunciation of Paul and Pauline Christianity would earn me the heretics' fire a few years ago) and yes, I believe in the service clubs. I was president of my Key Club (Kiwanis for young men) and in Kiwanis. Was moderator of a weekly Sunday radio program on current events, sponsored by Kiwanis, for years in the LA area. But as was said above, too often we have "thrown out the baby with the bathwater when disavowing religion" there is something special about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or even the Mormon Beehive (noting the horrible drawbacks in other aspects, which I mentioned, and got me excommunicated). There has always been something special to me about the parables. Not just in terms of the content, but in the style of teaching. The parables stimulate the neocortex (heart, empathy, compassion) with appeal to reason (justice, fairness) and do exactly that so distinctively. A wonderful change from religiosity. The Nicene Creed focused on Paul’s Religion, while it skips Jesus' most remarkable and gifted achievement: Which is, that Jesus perceived that traditional religion of asceticism and astringency was not righteous or productive. To maximize perpetuity of control, it enshrined myth and denied life. Jesus reversed that. In the Sermon on the Mount he takes the Torah and infuses it with reason, caring, desire, and love. His revelation is of holiness which is not based on fear or contempt and goes even beyond the equity and justice of the Psalms . . . to a morality driven by empathy and compassion. Think how radical that was to perceive, the contrast to heartless conformity and restriction. A catharsis and revelation that Jesus, himself, must have felt excited about. Jesus introduces us (our Judeo-Christian tradition, I do not know enough outside of Western tradition) to the authentic Supreme Being. His therapeutic wisdom, not blood, is the real agent of redemption. Miracles, healings, even the resurrection are not denied but tend to distract. The a-priori value in what Jesus taught, standing alone, becomes even more clear and compelling, to set us free from selfishness and greed, to radically advance human community. The Jesuit legacy reflects this. Thank you, and to PaulS too, for your comments. Thanks, Craig
  5. Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian

    Hello Romansh, I agree or sympathize with much of what you are saying. My concern is not so much the 8-points definition, which you are reconciling to. None of us have proof of the divinity aspects, or what degree divinity applies. For me, the exciting concept is convergence between the Six Jesuit Values, the UUA Seven Principles (unitarian universalists, ie humanists), and any well-done categorization of the 37 parables of Jesus and Sermon on the Mount. There is convergence which I refer to as "the real Trinity". The positive value of those principles does NOT require metaphysical connotations in Jesus, though it does not deny it either (frankly, debating/guessing is of less interest to me). Actually, I believe the UUA Principles are the finest extract of Jesus' moral teachings that can be found --- far better than my UCC creeds. And only 12% of UUA members consider themselves Christians, or believers is some degree of divinity of Jesus. So that coincides with some of your rationale as well . . . what's sacred or not. As some might know based on my earliest post, I believe "Apostle" Paul was a fraud, a canard. "Romans" is the 90-proof vodka that dominates "Christianity", the Gospels only the chaser or mixer in Paul's cocktail. And I believe the fraud evokes Matthew 7:13-23, that nearly all believers would be misled to doctrines which grew "thorns and thistles" (ie Calvinist indignation, elitism, intolerance). That passage also says Jesus ultimately returns., and on that day "Then I will declare to them, I never knew you, go away from me, you evildoers". As Gomer Pyle said, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise". The point is, Jesus disowned what would become of the church in his name. It would be easy for me to give up on Christianity, except for my prior life as a Mormon and Southern Baptist, where I experienced the radiance of brotherly love and service in the Beehive. Qualities which also apply to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I believe that type of community, or agape, is the life of the era of the Didache, of the early communal church . . . and it is what maximizes what we as human beings were designed for. That does not depend upon belief or creeds or communion. While the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith turned out to be a charlatan, and there is that toxic Mormon sexuality so well dramatized in "Angels in America", I still retain much enthusiasm for the Beehive (where most of my family remains). Frankly, the UCC where I find myself now, is so atrophied and anemic that while it tries to be progressive, it is unsatisfying. It straddles both Paul and Jesus, afraid to alienate anyone. Yet back at the UUA, shucks, you hear more about Native American Totems, or Paul Bunyan, than you do Jesus. Still in terms of some creed or list, as you are reconciling to, I like how the UUA and Jesuits both parallel the teachings of Jesus, with or without the "Sacred" or "Divine". And one of the Jesuit values is about allowing for a wide diversity of faith and belief traditions. Thank you, Craig
  6. Ecumentalism

    This place is evoking less my seminary classroom with spirited, but respectful even loving debate. And more the "Lord of the Flies" or some sort of Man-Cave rivalry. The classroom was at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary . . . .and ground-zero of the "Baptist Holy War" during the Fundamentalist takeover. Yet I do not remember ANY insults, not one, from my time there. Despite the faculty purge, and student sit-ins, and protests. Civility never disappeared. David, I am sorry you have received the majority of the insults. On the other hand, you have said some provocative things to them too, a normal human reaction to the jaundice that got pitched your way. Your ideas have merit and I am looking forward to finishing your 24-pager today. Some of the advice offered to pare down some of the elaboration, I think is constructive and would serve your intent. I would have suggested it as well . . . .but not in the manner nor degree of this insensitive WWF brouhaha. Thanks. Peace. Have a good Sunday. I had to skip church, 8 inches of snow. Dogs were happy about that. .
  7. Ecumentalism

    Thanks! I read and know the OT well. But I believe that Jesus INTRODUCES us to the Authentic Supreme Being . . . for the unassailable rationale above. I try to keep this to myself at church, and don't want to offend anyone here, but it was my endorsement of the beginning of the John Moriarty video that David posted.
  8. Ecumentalism

    Hi David, I will have to watch more later, I got only to the "Walk Naked to Tara" illustration, the video is over an hour so I saved it. (I am too overweight for that advice!!) But so far, I agree. Here is my take on the value of our Old Testament: some of that tradition was edifying, some morally implausible. Too often a tyrant-god emerged, capricious and vindictive (the “meat coming out of their nostrils” bully of Numbers 11), a flash-angry martinet telling Moses or Joshua to “show no mercy” or “leave none breathing” in their conquests. Those San Bernardino mujahedeen, husband Syed Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik “feared Allah” and conformed to piety with such superior devotion that their six-month old daughter becoming an orphan was part of their plan. Since the Old Testament describes our shared Abrahamic deity as a barbarian who seethes about slack commitment and commands genocide and slaughter of infidels, he has to be impressed with Syed and Tashfeen. Ugghhh. It is criminal to attribute much of the OT to God! It has nonsense fit for the “Trump University School of Theology” . . . myth as repugnant as Ezekiel’s special barley cakes [Ezekiel 4:12]. Thank you, Peace, Craig
  9. Ecumentalism

    Thormas, I am guessing that David is pleading for more tolerance about his writing style, and yes, It is starkly elaborate if not too obtuse for this lamentable Twitter/Facebook age.. David, I opened up your email and am half-way thru the 24-page work you sent me, thank you. I had so much junk from my denomination this week, that I did not notice it until yesterday. I think the analogy I would make, rather than to LGBTQ tolerance, is that you stylistically evoke the Gospel of John, as opposed to that of the synoptic gospels. I had seminary teachers that were rather dismissive of John, being written much later than the synoptics, and it was already somewhat compromised due to that lateness, and John seems obtuse in parts, but there is beauty and mystery too. You are a student of other faith movements, and looking for an approach to connect in those directions, and sometimes ambiguity serves a good purpose in that. Especially since God and much of what we discuss here is bound . . . in reality . . . thankfully . . . to be much more Unfathomable than we can possibly expect by our relatively primitive tangible conceptualizations and traditions..
  10. Shades of Grey

    My own upbringing would indeed seem pathological. My Mormon mother caused a scene in a theater when I was ten years old, yelling out disgust about Jack Lemmon's "Under the Yum Yum Tree" All the other patrons applauded and laughed as we left the auditorium. I was a Mormon missionary. Later, l I read too many history books about Joseph Smith and became a Southern Baptist. Later I went to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. and then due to the Baptist Holy War, and faculty purge, a professor's influence took me to the UUA (Unitarian Universalitsts). Here and now in the USA, the grey zone seems to be reducing radically, the black and white polarization due to Donald Trump. My UCC pastor and friends send out so many posts on Facebook that express outrage. Sometimes I would like to hit the "like" button but I do not, because then all my prior Southern Baptist and Mormon friends would be offended if they get notified.
  11. Over the last week a new page was added, the section titled "Aargh!! What's that Sizzling Buzz inside my Head?" This blends in some more of the cognitive neuroscience involved in changing very deep and visceral beliefs, into this topic. It is a new page 28. My D.Div. friend I had mentioned was supportive and sent me back more material to add to it. Her feelings of being perplexed were that none of these considerations were adequately covered in seminary, which is exactly what I felt as well. It seems strange and jarring, one feels queasy until there is enough time and substantiation, for the cognitive (beliefs) to adjust. Anyone wanting to see that dialog, contact me at my email address on page two of the manuscript. Every once in awhile a topic comes along, where it is worth setting aside the defense of the "man cave" to consider. This is the case here. Thank you for your interest! Craig https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/vPpSZWMNfwFfEASy5leE1Y1zIuD2qMHnQIMCaP5ukGx?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy --------------------
  12. Learning how each of the gospels was assembled, about the Q-source, et al was fascinating. As was, which of the Epistles is authentic to Paul, and which were written by others, and why. My education fortified my belief. Yes, there is variation in the authority of our scriptures. But neither Progressives or Evangelicals, nor “inerrantists” or liberals, nor my seminary or yours, speak about the gigantic issue within our scriptures: that the writings of Paul utterly contradict the teachings of Jesus. Everything we have been taught about “Christianity”, every book published, every sermon we have heard . . . has skirted this issue. There is academic consensus that Paul shows little unity with what Jesus taught. But there is no scholarship which effectively evaluates those differences, measures the significance of contradiction, nor any analysis about its plausibility or credibility. Any eighth grader (okay, make that one on the honor roll) can take a summary of what Jesus taught and line it up with Paul’s differences, and see that instead of one religion .. . . we have two religions, going in two very different directions. How can this be? Such dichotomy? Why is there no academic scrutiny of Paul, to Jesus? Could there really be a gaping, inconceivable surprise in our tradition? Yikes, there is. That’s spooky. The explanation is rational and in harmony with the TCPC 8 points. But it is radical and amazing, for church-goers or not, impacting nearly everything in our lives. And for those with real faith in Jesus Christ it heralds the fulfillment of something big and imminent. Download the pdf file at the weblink below . . . and have yourself an experience you will never forget. https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/vPpSZWMNfwFfEASy5leE1Y1zIuD2qMHnQIMCaP5ukGx?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy --------------------
  13. Dear Readers: This matter impacts deep lifelong beliefs across our cognitive landscape. It is disruptive. It is not like reading an article in the New York Times. Or a seminary dissertation on a narrower subject. More about cognitive disruption is in the appendix, pg 102, from neuroscientist Dr. Kathleen Taylor. The truth and facts are proven easily in just a few pages, for those unencumbered by Western tradition. The length, the 80 pages, is to help the rest of us get through it responsibly. Is that really worth your effort and interest? The cognitive mayhem? Perhaps only for a minority. The best approach: try out the first 14 pages. That takes about 35 minutes to download (via Amazon cloud) and read. On page 14 the reader is asked to take stock of their anxiety level and stop reading if they feel uneasy. Take that seriously. Dr. Taylor would agree. So would one, befuddled D.Div. friend of mine. This is not the standard narrative. The conclusion correlates to Matthew 7: 13-23 which justifies this exhilarating, life-changing experience. Thank you for your interest. That's All, Folks!! https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/vPpSZWMNfwFfEASy5leE1Y1zIuD2qMHnQIMCaP5ukGx?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy --------------------
  14. Yeah, I agree. I suppose those advertisements for Bishop Shelby Spong's new book (published by affiliates of this site) would say the same. My background is included in the first 14 pages, and I am not at all offended, thormas, if you are not interested. On breaking tradition, sometimes less extended education is handy. I have pre-ordered Spong's book, regret his stroke, and will miss his influence in the future. By the way, Spong's rationale on Paul's homophobia gets the full treatment in my work . . . and if you think about it, that powerful "thorn in the flesh" is conceivably what has caused this entire mess, Original Sin, Human Depravity, et al.
  15. Hi, thormas. I am the author of the download, the essay. That will be more evident for those who download it and look at it. So my summary to Burl, were highlights of my own manuscript, as he requested. But to repeat, for such a topic, so deep and embedded in our tradition and beliefs, a nearly inconceivable surprise, it is shocking. Thus my priority is to ensure no believer reads it if they are too bound by tradition to handle it successfully. I want it to be faith promoting. I am very active at church. It has boosted my own faith and made me feel much more optimistic. But if one feels queasy already, based on what appeared earlier above, thanks for checking it, but please leave this topic and don't worry about it further. Even if you do download it, there is a point on page 14, where the reader is asked to take stock of their anxiety level, and stop reading if they feel uneasy. It is AFTER that point that the evidence will really disturb those who are not up to it. So, perhaps that is the best idea: download it and read thru page 14 and see how you feel?? Or leave now if you feel it would only be troubling, or are not interested. Because for something this radical, this mind-blowing . . . . to digest this examination requires one to read and then time to think about the entire, 80-page case. Thank you, good night! Off to (conventional, normal) church tomorrow, Craig
  16. Thanks for your interest, everyone. You need a chance to read thru it and think about it. Trust me, I have been thru this, excerpts will only create anxiety. Sorry about the length, but we need to consider this topic from several angles. We are dealing with hundreds of years of a grand delusion. Every part of you will feel that this is alien and strange, even though ditching Paul is a cause for jubilation, and Matt 7:13-23 foretells our situation. (thormas, which article? let me know the page. but I will retire for the night). Thank you.
  17. thromas, you mention Marcus Borg. Borg notes conventional wisdom is so profusely ensconced, that it imposes its own reality. Indeed, Borg and John Dominic Crossan co-authored a book about Paul noting that Paul is both “appealing and appalling” before they affirm 100% support and turn the work into an apologetic to try and soothe concerns about what’s appalling! [pg. 85] If anyone has problems downloading via the link, contact me at craigv1953@gmail.com and give me your email address, and I can email you the 8,960 KB document. It is not brief, because the reader or believer needs substantiation from several angles in order to feel confident dealing with the topic, the reasons to scrutinize Paul’s credibility and authenticity. There are illustrations, satire, and colorful terminology in it. Burl, you asked for a summation. Here we go: Your reaction to this “examination” is unpredictable. It depends upon how deep and fixed your beliefs are about tradition, which can impede what we perceive and evaluate in scripture. Neither spirituality, intelligence, or education can compare to the power of belief, of conventional wisdom and tradition we inherit and are taught. Gerd Ludemann refers to it “subconsciously lodged in the mind of scholars”. Paul’s apparent contradictions to Jesus and much other incongruity survived . . . impervious to reformations, centuries of free-thinkers, and even the most conscientious academic scrutiny. Neuroscientist Dr. Kathleen Taylor explains how this could happen. Beliefs involve connections between neurons, our “cognitive web” or “cogweb”. Usually, our perceptions are “subservient to reality”. But in ambiguous value-laden beliefs as religion, strong cogwebs can “filter incoming stimuli or distort the cognitive landscape, a warping effect . . . a black hole”. The more visceral emotional potency of Paul’s writings (ie. his emphasis on “human depravity”) produced stronger and deeper “cognitive webs” in ways that Jesus’ teachings did not. That history became our inherited tradition. It matters less that there is reduced guilt and shame today, rather that this accounts for why Paul went unexamined and did not get the academic scrutiny deserved. Most clergy still are immersed in tradition; that and holy ritual still evokes the visceral (dignity). But academics still have a duty to examine even accepted tradition, to avoid those “black holes”! Among the topics explored which we generally do not hear about: - Neither Paul, nor tradition, explains how a “different gospel” is justified, nor why the teachings of Jesus Christ could so quickly and radically become contradicted. The differences are not really about circumcision or Torah, Jews or Gentiles. The REAL differences are about “human depravity” and carnal evil which Billy Graham thundered about from his podium . . . traced to “Romans”. - Paul evidently concealed his revealed gospel from Jerusalem, even from Barnabas. - Paul deceives about the independent authority he claimed from Jerusalem. (Galatians) - Romans’/Barth proves sexuality phobia afflicted Paul. Bishop Spong argues it was homophobia (pg 22). Either way, it was the catalyst for Augustine’s “Original Sin”. - The contention and estrangement, even condemnation and satire, the hostility between Paul and the Jerusalem apostles is not really or sufficiently explained. - Appeals to Glory: Paul’s elitism and indignation repudiated the egalitarian love and inclusiveness of Jesus for all. The catalyst for “Calvinism” and “thorns and thistles”. Such discussion is startling for most church-going readers. So there is point on page 14, where the reader is asked to take stock of their anxiety level, and stop reading if they feel uneasy. The essay then gets into more provocative matters, devoting five pages to a discussion of Romans chapters six thru eight, and Karl Barth’s commentary. It continues with a six page section on why the Epistles should be scrutinized, based on evidence from within which normally is not brought out to our attention. Jesus was NOT a zealot or ascetic [James Carroll, pg 12]. The Jerusalem apostles continued to reflect this Jesus in their early community. Per the Didache: “we thank thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus”. The term “love” or “loving” appears more than twice as often as “sin”. The “Post-Easter Jesus” they experienced did not change this. Would this same “Post-Easter” Jesus then appear to an ascetic Pharisee, revealing “a different gospel” where one must “crucify passions and desires”, and “put to death the deeds of the body” or die? Would this same “Post-Easter” omniscient Jesus endorse the Breast Ripper and Pear of Anguish that would become used in his name? Is this conceivable? OR instead is “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” . . . and the dogmatic power of tradition and conformity blinds “all but a few” from recognizing the fulfillment of Matthew 7: 13-23? The essay then explores [6 pages] the concepts behind the ascetic “God of Wrath” tradition, including Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” sermon. This is contrasted with a new-paradigm outline of Jesus and his teachings, contrasted to the asceticism of John the Baptist and Paul. There is a discussion [7 pages] of Paul’s appeals to promises of glory and exaltation and vigilance to shun the impure, with a statistical review of Bible Belt states proving beliefs of sexual fear, shame, and piety are futility, and instead of glory, are pathways to distortion and suffering. A high correlation coefficient of 75.7% on sex offenders, for example, but there is much more, including higher porn usage, in the metrics. There is then what I call “The REAL Trinity”: a five page outline of 1) the Parables and Sermon on the Mount categorization and topics of Jesus’ teachings compared with the 2) Jesuit Values, and 3) Seven Principles of the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association, humanists) in order to demonstrate the fascinating and encouraging parity between these three sets of beliefs; without influence of Paul. There is a six page section on comparing that to Paul’s doctrines, and the Calvinism which it inspired. That is followed by a four page “Thorns and Thistles” section with extended discussion of Matthew 7:13-23, because this is the criteria that Jesus left us to consider, in testing for the truth, and recognizing his prophecy that the vast majority would be misled by imposters, that only a few would find the truth. This is followed by a four page section which deals with the legacy of the Jesuits. The Jesuits do not repudiate Paul, being only one of 30 Catholic orders, but they radically focus on Jesus. The Jesuits prove that the teachings of Jesus are sustainable and workable. The Jesuits prove that religion is not doomed to gravitate into becoming an organ of power and fear, of “sex police” or holier-than-thou enforcers of dignity. To anyone, Protestant or Catholic, the Jesuit legacy assures us that a better faith and richer life awaits those willing to scrutinize their “Christian” orthodoxy. There is a “Day of Reckoning” section starting on page 70 with charts showing the collapse of mainstream denominations, with a review of a recent New York Times commentary on principles needed to save the church. To contrast with that, there is a three-page section on the recent “Benedict Option” book and the “Nashville Statement”, which shows the recent (and surprising) changes that Evangelicals are trying to implement. Then, the conclusion . . . Like Barnabas who worked with him and vouched for him, now we must part company with Paul. Paul represented a religion that was completely different, and in most beliefs contradictory, to that of Jesus. A contradiction so severe that Paul’s claims of revelation are incredible, he channels believers towards unloving faith and behavior which Jesus would have classified as sinful. It seems impossible that someone who would think and write with such eloquence could be less than trustworthy. He defined our faith, copiously wrapping the name of Jesus Christ into his own ideals, tormented alienation against human nature. The Jerusalem apostles who Paul satirized intervened. But fraud, deviancy, the “thorns and thistles” was foretold. The bottom line is Paul was a clever but deceptive soul whose disgust for the “deeds of the body” knew no bounds, faking an unabashed canard wrapped in Jesus’ name, so beguiling and grandiose that it never got vetted. As bad as that is, it is not as bad as those after him, corrupted by the power in this type of religion. There are five reasons why it is impossible to believe in Paul’s apostleship while following Jesus: 1. Paul taught a deviating plan of salvation based on piety, rivalry, and elitism. The role of Jesus is reduced to The Cross, his teachings trivialized. Paul “makes a mockery of Jesus’ clarion call to service” and love (Lüdemann, pg 88, Matt 25:31-46, etc). · The Elect were predestined to accept Paul’s religion. (Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:4-5*) · “Christ died for us . . . justified by his blood, we are saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:8-9) · “If you (then) confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. (Romans 10:9) · The waters of baptism will then start a bodily transformation to be fulfilled in the resurrection, which Paul considered imminent. Until then, the Eucharist could immunize the worthy from sickness, even death. (1 Corinth 11:30; 15:51-52, 2 Corinth 4:16; 5:16-18. Also appendix pgs 91-94) · Believers therefore should not be experiencing passions or lusts, and with proper diligence can defend “our façade of unimpeachable propriety” and deny the flesh. (Romans 7: 4-6; 12:1-2; Galatians 5:24) · Paul continually appeals to promises of Glory and Exaltation (Romans 8:18; 29-30; 9:22-23) 2. Paul believes in the “God of Wrath” (Rom 1:18, Eph 5:6) and his religion and personal behavior is intolerant and egotistical. Scorn is inflicted upon the Jerusalem apostles and other “meddlers”. LGBT defamation, “cause” and curse which betrays homophobia (Romans 1:24-28, 1 Cor 6:9-18). Transgressors and heretics are to be shunned (Rom 16:17-18, 1 Cor 5:11-13, Eph 5:6-11*) Paul’s hostility and defensiveness is ceaseless. (Gal 2:1-11, 1 Tim 6:3-4*, Philippians 3: 2-3). Arrogant leadership authority where “no one looks down at you”. (Titus 2:15*, 2 Cor 4:3-4, 12:11-12) and Paul says he completes “what was lacking in Jesus’ suffering” (Colossians 1:24*, Philippians 2:17) 3. Paul’s religion is fulfilled in Calvinism, class subjugation, and unjust marginalization for the many: Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority”. (1 Timothy 2: 11-12*, 1 Cor 14:34-35). *[Pseudo-Paul but a key part of our religion / his legacy] Limited Atonement: redeems only the Elect from “Sinful Passions”. (Christ died to rescue Paul from his “wretchedness”, the “sin that dwells in his members”, his “Body of Death” - Rom 7) while most other souls were prechosen for a hopeless life of unbelief, idolatry, unholiness, and “vile affections”? (Rom 1) 4. The prevalence of dread and contempt that Paul continually expresses about human sexuality (Rom 6:12-14, 1 Cor 9:27, 2 Cor 12;21, 1 Thess 4:2-7, 1 Tim 5:11-12, Rom 13:14) and his frustration that baptism has not provided the cleansing transformation he theorized, irresponsibly reduces the gospel to a battle against concupiscence and a legacy of psychological afflictions and abuse. 5. Paul’s emphasis on individualistic sanctification, on resurrection and atonement (Romans 3:23-25, 6:22-23), supplanted the emphasis for compassion and community that Jesus advocated. Our church, our world would be so different. Paul’s reminders about love and charity rings hollow as sanctification is based upon cleanliness of the pious, not engagement with others. Holier-than-thou indignity, shunning and that cringe-inducing intolerance remains in Paul’s core toolbox. The reader is encouraged to download and use the entire document, as substantiation from several angles is needed in order to successfully get thru all of this without anxiety. Belief in orthodoxy is otherwise so strong, that most will try to do cerebral somersaults or other intellectual contortions, or concentrate on minutia, or argue points with me . . . anything other than to realize the fulfillment of Matthew 7:13-23 and that there is no safety in numbers or in conformity. For tuned-in believers, there is instead validity in being among the few. And if one does not believe or one’s faith is numbed, why the hell continue to care about Paul’s “Different Gospel” anyway? https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/vPpSZWMNfwFfEASy5leE1Y1zIuD2qMHnQIMCaP5ukGx?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy --------------------
  18. Thanks, thormas. But none of those authors fully reach the conclusion they point towards, the conclusion advocated in this essay, the substantiation of the biggest canard in history.