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Craig V.

OMG: What Your Seminary Education Covered Up

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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

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6 hours ago, Craig V. said:

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.  

Well, there must be some scholarly works out there since you are able to raise this question.

There are a number of books, by scholars, on Paul and they all seem to treat this subject. As a matter of fact, it has often been addressed by the question, 'did Paul create Christianity?' Check Amazon for Borg/Crosson, Ehrman, Dunn, Gerd Ludemann, NT Wright (available early 2018) and Paula Fredriksen (out late 2017) 

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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.

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I've saved the pdf but not sure when I will get to it in my reading list.  Probably March at the earliest.

In the meantime, would you please post an outline or abstract?  

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42 minutes ago, Craig V. said:

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.

You asked, "Why is there no academic scrutiny of Paul, to Jesus?"

Simply, there is and these (see above) are (just some of the) authors who have done this.  What is the conclusion (can't download your link) and who specifically doesn't reach this conclusion (assuming it is a valid one to reach)?

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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

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1 hour ago, Craig V. said:

 

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]

At first glance you have selected Borg out of all the others presented. 

I thank you for the summary and will read it over a glass of red.

Edited by thormas

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Interesting to not that Ehrman on his blog today is dealing with this subject.

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Who wrote the article you summarized. 

Edited by thormas

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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.

 

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I assumed there was an author for the download and the summation you gave. No? Burl asked for a summary, you gave it: who are you summarizing? Is it one or multiple authors? And, simply who are they? 

 

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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

Edited by Craig V.
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I thought that might be the case on authorship. And while I appreciate the warning  - that your insights could be 'shocking,' even too much for the 'tradition bound' believer, and actually leave some feeling queasy (really?) - you must know you are writing on a Progressive Christian site that has many participants who question traditional theism, who have the requisite fortitude for exploring many areas of traditional Christianity and whose discussions/topics, having gone far beyond traditional beliefs and formulations, might be 'shocking' or incredibly offensive to other, including more conservative, Christians. So, simply there is no need for any warning, although it was nicely melodramatic. If you have read a number of the threads on this site you should know we don't always agree but I don't believe anyone has ever warned the others that they might be shocked and unable to hear what another has to say. 

Your 'warnings' also serve to set up a situation whereby any who (might) disagree with you are too 'tradition bound' to be able to handle your 'insights' successfully. But I have seen this movie when someone says that others just 'can't handle the truth." Yet it turned out to only be a truth, not The Truth. But you don't leave it there: you actually bring in a neuroscientist to inform all they might have 'cobweb' that “filter(s) incoming stimuli....distort(s) the cognitive landscape..." and sends us careening into a black hole that prevents us from hearing your truth? 

I don't know you, you are new to the site (BTW, welcome) but I prefer to not download something from someone I know nothing about - at this time, thus the request for a summary and citation of the author(s). No one on this thread is in 'fear and trembling' so you don't have to set conditions for why people might disagree with you that thereby insulate you from such possible disagreement, just, in the words of the aforementioned movie, "show us the money" and let us decide if we buy what you are selling.

So, let's start anew. I will read your summary but I don't have the time to read 80 pages - like many here I already have a number of books I'm reading, others set to go and still others pre-ordered (specifically new books by Spong, Ehrman {who is most definitely not tradition bound) and Wright). I would also like to know who you have read on Paul and, while appreciating your privacy, what are your credentials? You don't have to hold a PhD but, since you have suggested some authority, expertise, or extraordinary new insight on Paul, I for one would like to know something of your background and reading. Many of us have shared some pieces of similar information with others on this site already. 

Just as an aside, I would like to know how you balance your 'beliefs' with normal church which has to have some/many (?) tradition bound worshippers.

 

Thanks,

thor

 

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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.

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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

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1 hour ago, Craig V. said:

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.

I am interested in the major thought and the summary simply not 80 pages at this time. And yet no summary of your background here. I believe Spong on Paul's homosexuality (which was discussed here a few months ago) is an interesting opinion but it is just that. Also the 'mess' might have been avoided if Origin's view won out over Augustine's - but it's never too late.

And, again with the warning? Really?

As for "truths and facts easily proven in just a few pages" - I'm sure that will be met with the appropriate response from a number of the contributors on this site :+}. 

I feel like with all continued warnings and now befuddled Doctors of Divinity , we have entered another movie genre: the scary, horror flick. Will there be ambulances standing by? OMG, horror movies indeedI: with Matthew, there is now destruction and evildoers. However, your use of the text sounds like an interpretation 'bound by tradition.'  Incoming, cogweb alert!

I suggest the emphasis in the Matthew text is not information about God but living the the will of God, which is quite simply to love.

Edited by thormas

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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

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