Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


PAUL THE PRIME EVANGELIST OF THE EARLY CHURCH EXPLOITED CREDULITY
 
Paul, according to Christianity, was the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus to put his conviction that he saw this risen Jesus into writing and he wrote near enough to the event. These things would make him the only one that deserves a hearing if it were not for some other facts. He claimed to be a very bad man even when he was writing and still he said we should believe him. Anybody who expects that can hardly be trusted.
 
Besides the truth is that Paul didnít see or say he investigated the empty tomb of Jesus. He just saw visions of Jesus. We have no first hand evidence that the visions said they were of Jesus. Christianity admits that visions alone prove nothing because it rejects the reliability of most apparition stories.
 
There are no first-hand accounts of the resurrection at all.

Paul knew that prayer is communication with God. Yet he said that when you speak in tongues your spirit is praying but your mind is not (1 Corinthians 14).

Paul believed that the gift of tongues was for converting unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22). How stupid does he think we are? Babbling nonsense will convert nobody. He realised that himself for he said so then what did he say they were signs for? Probably because practicing the gift was useful for tricking the mind and programming it to believe in Paulís version of Jesus.

If God really spoke through the prophets of Corinth, Paul would not have needed to lay down rules for order (v14). He thought that God was well-organised when he declared that God doesnít confuse. Paulís thinking is incoherent and childish or he wanted ours to be.
 
Paul claimed that muttering gibberish was a miraculous sign from God! He was a complete nutcase if he really believed that.

He was approved by his version of the Church, the largest group in early Christianity, which shows that it was composed of fools.

Paul knew that people who did not believe in free will or who held that sin is hard to commit because there are so few sins could hardly or rarely be sinners yet he said they were (Romans 3).

He accused human beings of being totally sinful and depraved (Romans 3). Obviously, the nearest he could get to learning this would be from observing himself. A creature as vile as that has no business asking people to trust him and his gospel.

Paul stated that when he sins at times it is sin that does it not him (Romans 7:20). What kind of thinking is that?

In Romans 14, Paul hypocritically forbade eating certain foods when it offends other Christians who do not know that God lets his people eat whatever they like. Yet he held that it is wrong to commit certain acts even if not doing them scandalises others like adultery or theft or homosexuality. He wanted people to be gullible.

Paul said that Jesus must have risen from the dead for if he has not then the dead will not rise and our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15). That logic would tell you that a person who tells you they are right for they would be wrong if they were not is right.

The mind boggles regarding how a man could have nothing on his conscience and still be a sinner (1 Corinthians 4:4). Paul either had little sense or he knew his listeners had none!

These are the anti-intellectual hints. But Paul went straight for the jugular and forbade thinking when it was not his thinking.

Paul sees symbolism in a Genesis story (Galatians 4:21-31) that is not in the original. The Church says he was not claiming that it was in it but that he could see a parable for what he wanted to say in it. That is a lie for all he had to do was just say what he wanted to say without the fancy interpretation. It would have been handier and he never gave any hint that the Church was right. This proved that when he said in the book of Acts that he never undermined the Law of Moses he was lying for this allegorical interpretation indicates that he wanted it to be possible to make it mean whatever you like.

Paul declared that our faith must not depend on philosophy or wisdom but on Godís power (1 Corinthians 1,2). He commanded blind faith. The Church says he is only against false wisdom. But he said that the death of Jesus proved that the wisdom of the world which says that the Son of God could not save by dying on the cross is wrong and we cannot make sense of the death of Jesus. He is saying that when reason contradicts God, reason must be ignored. To say that God must guide your reason is the same as forbidding reason to speak clearly because the pope tells you that God will guide you to believe that contraception is bad and evangelicals say that God will guide you to believe the opposite!

Paul wrote that all the virtue in the world is useless without love. In other words, you start off with love before you think about virtue. Yet in Colossians which is from him or an adherent of his says that that you start off with patience, compassion and forgiving and you wrap these up in love to complete them (3:14). Love is patience and compassion and forgiving for heavenís sake!

Paul claimed to be an apostle equal to the twelve apostles and gave no evidence whatsoever for this authority. Not everybody agreed that Paul really was an apostle (1 Corinthians 9:2,3). To these he replied that his success as a missionary was the proof that he really was an apostle in the eyes of God. Some defence! Joseph Smith did better and he was a phoney. Paul was obviously desperate when he used that ridiculous argument and desperation like that shows that he did not care if he was an apostle or not but wanted everyone to think he was one. No evidence is ever given that the other apostles who would naturally have the right to officially declare if anybody was an apostle declared him one. Luke said Paul was an apostle but Luke on his own cannot be proved to be divinely inspired so we can drop him and he was Paul-centred when it would have made more sense for him to dwell more on the original twelve apostles in his writings. Paul often boasted that he was equal to the other apostles and then he got embarrassed and sought to soften this bragging with a declaration that he was very humble. Saying you are very humble is a form of boasting and the most manipulative form there is! To believe in Paulís writings as a part of scripture is to defy the rule that at least two trustworthy witnesses should be carefully cross-examined and pass the questioning before their claim can be accepted.

This manís miracle and religious experience stories are unreliable. Some witness to the resurrection! If Jesus had to depend on him to spread Christianity over the empire then Jesus was a fraud for God would not have picked a man that people could not reasonably rely on as a teacher. How do we know it was not the Devil that appeared at Damascus? The Devil would appear exactly as Jesus and teach only holy things if it meant driving an evil man to become a false apostle and lead the Church astray. Satan needs to be subtle.
 
PAUL SAYS AUTHORITY NOT VISIONS OR EVIDENCE COUNTS
 
Paul was no use as a witness for his extreme arrogance and bias was evident when he declared in Galatians that even if he himself changed his gospel, gospel means good news, and even if an angel from Heaven came with any different doctrine that both should be held to be accursed and unworthy of being listened to. Galatians 1:8, 9: ďBut even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to and different from that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment). As we said before, so I now say again, If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received from us, let him be accursedĒ Amplified Bible. In other words, nobodyís visions were any good unless they supported what he was saying. Christians say he was being hypothetical but people would have seen visions of angels contradicting Paul for he complained about rivals having visions so that is out. He was saying that even if God sent an angel to contradict Paul, God should be ignored. This is clear evidence of insanity and dishonesty. The fact that Paul admitted that his gospel is full of mystery, seeming contradictions, makes the whole thing worse for it puts a curse on anybody who has visions in aid of a more coherent looking gospel. He condemns rival gospels, remember these are gospels, they offer a message of hope and comfort so Paul was condemning all religious consolation and comfort that didnít fit his vision of what a gospel should be. If a gospel failed to offer hope it would get no followers.
 
Paul wrote that some were going over from his gospel to a different and even an opposed gospel (Galatians 1:6) but there canít be any other gospel (1:7) and they are distorting the gospel of Christ (1:7). So what many of them were doing was just disagreeing with parts of the gospel. He says his gospel is the gospel of Christ. This letter opposes any attempt to undermine the idea that salvation is by faith alone without good works. This is what it means primarily by the gospel of Christ. But the gospel Jesus never taught that doctrine so he is another Jesus from that of the early Church. Paul is dogmatic on this point, deny that Jesus has done it all and say he has done most of it or nearly all of it so you need to do some good works to be saved and what you have is not a gospel. Then any alteration means a gospel is not good news though it says it is, it leads to eternal damnation. This epistle proves that Protestants who believe Paulís gospel cannot consort with the Roman Catholic Church which adds good works and sacraments to faith as a condition of salvation. Get it wrong on justification you end up unsaved and damned which is why he tolerates no dissent at all.
 
He said anybody who teaches anything different from his gospel is to be condemned, he did not say those who were doing the misleading which would leave room for having pity instead of wrath towards the preacher who was misled but not willingly misleading people. The Vatican II Catholicism which teaches this distinction then is heretical and is the basis for its dropping the appellation heretics for modern Protestants. Paulís bigotry is a sign of being on unsure ground, he acted sure but he wasnít but whatever was going to happen he was going to focus on acquiring power for himself and rank as the best apostle of Jesus. He was going to scare people into agreeing with his gospel because there was no evidence to help. There was no real Jesus who did real miracles and all he had was an apparition that claimed to be of a man who died on a cross for sins and rose again.
 
Paul and his preachers had been saying that even an angel altering the gospel should be accursed for a long time for he says ďWeĒ and they must have been saying the same thing themselves when he was so sure they were with him on this one. That means he knew what people would think of it, he knew how nasty and arrogant and bigoted it sounded for he would have been told often enough. Paul and his evangelists were evil men who practiced a form of religion but inwardly denied its power the thing they accused their rivals of doing. Paul said the Galatians were told it before so his Church made a point of declaring that even God himself should be ignored if he taught anything that didnít fit the gospel. He was saying that no matter what evidence you got that the gospel was wrong you should ignore it. He says later on that this gospel is the one taught by the Jerusalem apostles as well. So they all agreed then that evidence didnít matter, but agreeing with their interpretation did. Is this the kind of cooking pot you would see a true gospel story of Jesusí life incubating in? Could the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John be anything other than clever lies when a Church like that wrote them? Could any of the witnesses of the risen Jesus really be relied on when evidence meant nothing to them but believing a message just because they wanted to believe it did? The early Church was a hotbed of authoritarianism by the apostles and fanaticism in the converts. The gospel Jesus however says that man was not made for the Sabbath and that leaders should really be slaves and what has the Jesus of Paulís Church in common with this one? One of them is a fabrication if not both.
 
Whatever the truth is, the Church and Paul put the focus on apostolic authority, not on evidence and not on visions. In other words, they wanted people to believe in Jesus NOT because they saw him but because they said he rose and had the authority from him to say it. This is totally irrational, manipulative and dishonest. Their game was to climb the ladder and be above other people. Authority not revelation is the real focus with revelation just being a decoy and a bait to get this authority respected. To believe in their visions is simply blasphemy.
 
ďNow to Him Who is able to strengthen you in the faith which is in accordance with my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation (the unveiling) of the mystery of the plan of redemption which was kept in silence and secret for long ages, But is now disclosed and through the prophetic Scriptures is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, [to win them] to obedience to the faithĒ (Romans 16:25,26). Amplified Bible.
 
Notice that Paul wants them to strengthen their faith by going to the Old Testament prophecies. This then was considered the best way to see the evidence not listening to accounts of apparitions of Jesus or looking for miracles he did or even pondering Jesusí teaching. This is irreconcilable with the gospel portrait of a Jesus who wants to be known by himself. It is irreconcilable with the idea of a Jesus who lived recently and who was known as a man. It also shows that if it could be proved that the prophecies didnít say those things then the apostles thought it right to say they were deluded in their apparitions. It is important to know as well that it was hard for the people he was writing to, for them to research the scriptures. Checking out Jesus through investigators would have been tons easier. When an experienced teacher like Paul still directs them to do what is so hard when there should be easier ways if Jesus really did what the gospels said he did it is clear that it was the only way.
 
Also he speaks of the mystery of redemption as a secret. Something you donít tell is not necessarily a secret. A secret is what you work at keeping hidden. Paul means it was kept hidden. Also Jesus didnít redeem till he was crucified and raised. So you may say the redemption wasnít finished until he rose again. Itís not much of a redemption from sin and death that just wipes the slate clean which is why Paul wrote that Jesus rose again for us to make us holy just as he died for us to make us clean (Romans 6:8;7:4;5:10). God kept the secret until the redemption for when people were saved and had their sins taken away they had light from God. Paul speaks of this light in several places. Not only does it incline believers who are truly converted to do good but to see it and understand God and Godís scriptures for the Holy Spirit dwells in them. The secret then was not revealed during the life of Christ but at his resurrection appearances. Some converted then and got the Holy Spirit and began to see Jesus in the Old Testament and see what must have happened to him.
 
Paul said that the mystery of how Christ redeemed us was never known before but was revealed by divine command through the prophecies of scripture in Paulís time. The Christians always claimed that Jesus and how he saved us by his cross and resurrection were predicted by the Old Testament writings. They say that Paul doesnít say that Jesus and the plan were revealed only through the prophecies. But it is possible he meant that all the same. Paul said that it was his gospel that was revealed through these writings and predictions ending the silence and the secrecy of the plan. So the plan was not revealed by apparitions of Jesus or by Jesus himself for that would mean they showed what the plan was not the scriptures. Remember the plan was showed by the scriptures. What Jesus did was prove and reveal what the scriptures meant so that the plan became plainly seen from the scriptures.
 
The alleged resurrection apparitions may have helped people see the plan in scripture but what is important is what scripture says. This seems to be telling us that the foundation of the religion was what the religion thought it read in scripture not apparitions or a Jesus. If Jesus was known as a man Paul would not have written this way. If Jesus was known only as an apparition that needed to be checked out by scripture that would be different. But the picture we get from all this is that the existence of Jesus and his death and resurrection were worked out from scripture FIRST and then the apparitions took place not as evidence but as confirmation or a complement to scripture.
 
The purpose of the visions was to draw attention not to themselves but to the scriptures. They had the same role as private revelations have in Roman Catholicism. For example, if Jesus appears today he is not giving new revelation but simply helping the Church focus on revelation already given.
 
There is no historical evidence for Jesus. There were only attempts to fabricate such evidence when the Church became established.