Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Paul the Liar... Or At the Very Least, Paul: The First Documented Case of Alzheimers...

UPDATED:

Okay, okay, I know: a strong claim to make. But have you ever noticed how many Christians, fundie and otherwise, look to this man more than even the supposed words of Christ in the bible? Most sermons, most admonishments, most "lessons" pounded from the pulpit are from this very man's letters.

Of course, there are, to begin with, a few, shall we say, "suspect," things about Paul one ought to consider. Such as, for one, his "instantaneous" conversion.

Act 9:1-9
  1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
  2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
  3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
  4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
  5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
  7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
  8. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.
  9. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

HE FELL OFF HIS ASS AND HAD A CONCUSSION, PEOPLE. Well, okay, let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment. He truly converted, was blind for three days, and some dude named Ananias was "called" by the lord to go to Saul/Paul, heal his blindness from beholding the glory of God, and then Saul/Paul would begin preaching in the name of God. Fuzzy-warm, yes? Happily ever after...

But no! So here's where the lie comes in from Paul's own words. Read the following three passages carefully:

Acts 9:19-29: "And when he (Paul) had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."

Acts 26:19-21: "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me."

Galatians 1:15-23: "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed."
Are we paying attention? Let's look at what we have here from Paul's own mouth. In Acts, Paul has his "vision." He then "Straightway" begins preaching in Damascus, amazing the people and basically "wowing" them. He supposedly "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." And then "many days later," a bunch of Jews plotted to kill him so he ran away to Jerusalem. He hook sup with Barnabas, and he in turn takes him to meet the apostles, who were afraid of him because he used to be Saul the persecutor and killer of followers of Christ. After some talk, they accept him as the real deal, and then they all go on a revival tour all over Jerusalem. Got it? That's Acts.

Then there's Galatians. Paul saw his "vision." And that's the only thing that remains true to the account in Acts. Paul "immediately" he did NOT associate with "flesh and blood" (i.e., people), nor did he go to Jerusalem to see the apostles. After his apparent conversion, he takes a few years to travel to Arabia then back to Damascus. He doesn't even mention preaching in either of these places. After at least three years, he finally makes his way to Jerusalem for the first time and meets only Peter and James; no mention of any other apostles (which you would think would be an important point, being a convert and former persecutor of Christians and all). He stays with them for fifteen days but, once again, he mentions no preaching campaign with the apostles, with some of them, or alone. None. He has never even been here before in the past, nor has he performed a preaching campaign here, since he is unknown to them, and they have "heard only" by way of gossip and rumor of his claimed conversion. He even claims, "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." So, if he isn't lying now, then he lied before about meeting all of the disciples, am I right? Or, wait, what if he's lying about not lying? Umm, wait, which part is true again?

Now there are some that claim that Luke wrote the book of Acts. So what if he did? Then is Luke a liar? In which case, should we believe Luke or Paul, neither of which were an actual disciple of Christ?

Either way, this spells a MAJOR biblical problem for all you "innerrant" scripture people. Prove me wrong. I double-dog dare you.

The Update:

Tom recently took some umbrage as to my supposed lack of detailing historical evidence of this supposed inconsistency with Paul's whereabouts, so, in the interest of keeping up-to-speed, here are a few things I will clarify due to his correct pointing out of some things:
  1. What is a double-dog dare? This is a dare beyond your usual dare. A double-dog dare usually signifies that you are so confident in your premise or truth that it takes someone with great cajones and great conviction to even attempt to disprove your point and/or stance.
  2. I do not believe the bible is innerrant. That's fine, but the point of the post was toward those who do hold to such a stance (such as Adam and Green). When it comes down to it, yes, there are some time differences between the actual writings of the two letters, some authorship issues that will never be clarified, and the whole "whisper-down-the-alley" effect of personal accounts being told by persons removed from the historical context in question. All of that is moot, though, when held in the view of "inerrancy." To be "innerrant" or "devoid or errors," there should in fact be no inconsistencies or half-truths or contradictory passages. My lack of pointing out historical facts and figures which would have clarified to non-inerrant position holders would have been nice, but not important considering the target audience (which almost truly none exist in this forum but a select few) for which the point of the post was intended.
  3. First things first: It is silly to expect the bible to be written in such a precision as today's books are written. First of all, it was written by probably hundreds of different men over a span of probably 5000 years (give or take a couple of hundred or so) and completed just under 2000 years ago. Think about that. True. No argument form me, actually. But we are talking about two specific passages which aren't separated by hundreds of years, but from (perhaps) two authors who were each others "contemporaries," and probably knew of each other, and maybe even met once or twice toward the end of each others' lives (if we assume Luke and Paul as the actual authors). They may not have, but they were close enough to each others historical time line that it is possible. For two such differing accounts in such a brief period of time amounts to one of two things:
    1. One of them was lying for purposes of either self-protection or mass deception
    2. One of them was flat-out wrong
    And either way, you still have a great contradiction to the target audiences perceptions for which they can not take up the double-dig dare except to hide themselves from the truths presented which refute their "inerrant" stance.
  4. And BTW, Paul was writing these letters to individual people in individual small churches in individual circumstances. He probably would not want these specific letters to be universally applied, and he certainly had no idea that they would be canonized and thus scrutinized to death for thousands of years, else he probably would've been much more careful with what he said and how he said it! Irrelevant. It's a fucking three year difference of Paul's conversion. Even if Paul was speaking to separate church entities (which he was), it doesn't explain why he would "forget" or even "change" the story of his blessed salvation unless he were lying or had something to hide.
  5. But I thought you knew more about it than what you have shown in your most recent post. And like I said, I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I might know more than the average person, but I am far from an expert. I just wish you'd put all that investigation and research you put into your fundie diatribes and perhaps incorporate them into your bible diatribes. You really do such a good job with them, exposing their hypocrisies and such. Thanks, I try. The post, while it could have had all of the historical facts presented, was not pertinent. But in the interests of all my readers, I will try to present a more inclusive and all-around coherent world-view for anyone who might be reading, as opposed to hitting a narrow target in the future.


And Darkmind? As much as I would like to not take fundies so seriously, they fuck up my life too much to not do so. Before you know it, they'll be fucking with everybody's if they have their way. Of course, I'm also very tired right now--who ever decided a work day should start at fuckin' 8 a.m.? I'm off for caffeine...

29 comments:

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DaBich said...

You're right...there are many contradictions!

Steve said...

If you had actually studied the Bible, you would know that the word used in the Hewbrew for "Hate" means to "like less than" or "show less favor to". The word "hate" this these passages does not carry same meaning as the english word "hate" that we use.
Of course since we're all delusional, I wouldn't expect you to have enough respect for Christians to bother trying to understand the Bible. It's easier for you closet libs to just attack and then run away.
Anyway, Good Luck and when, after we die, it turns out that the Christians were right and you were wrong, we're the ones who are going to be in a happy place, while all the rest of y'all are going to be very unhappy for a very long time.

Jason Hughes said...

First off, Steve, let me commend you on the "love of Christ" you have exhibited in your post. You go above and beyond the call of duty, obviously.

Where in the hell was I talking about hate? Did you even read thepost? I'm taking about a biblical contradiction here--you kow, Paul's supposed whereabouts after his "miracolous" conversion?

If you can't bother to read this post, it bothers me greatly to think of how you must read your holy book.

P.S.--If you are in heaven, and you end up being right, I will more than gladly spend eternity in hell away from you. Cheers, and good luck with the rapture--something tells me you'll need it.

Steve said...

My comment was actually in response to the comment by Darkmind where he quoted Psalm 5:5 and then added his own idea of what it meant. This was incorrect and I felt it needed to be corrected. As for the post, I was not commenting on it at this time.
But it is your blog, and I respect that fact and I respect your views.
Good Luck and God Bless!!

FCSuper said...

It appears that early Christian congretions where worshippers without temples. They practiced in similar fashion to the more well funded religions that had temples, but instead of temples, they had relics, like letters written from Paul. Once Christanity became more well funded, they started building their own temples around these relics. Those relics had many sources, most dubious. It's unlikely that Paul wrote all of his letters now in the bible.

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I guess a blog is not the place to worry about style but for note Jason’s argument is great and convincing, even if I only partially agree.

Darkmind has a very week argument. He posits things without evidence and what little evidence he uses he does not back up even if it may be true and his sources are other blogs. Hmmm.

Darkmind - try this.

Argument evidence corroboration conclusion.

And the last comment;

"And I would like to apologise to Jason and the others for getting verbally medieval up in here, but I feel that Steve tried to punk me out and NOBODY punks Darkmind...NOBODY!!! BWA HA HA HA!!!!"

To a large number of thinking people as soon as you became abusive to Steve, (who really did not support his case well either because he did not say where he found the translational evidence he mentions), you were "punked out"

So if I had to grade the comments it would be

Jason A+
Steve C
Darkmind F

Darkmind if you must debate, and think you win, use your mind, dark as it may be, before during and while you post. There is evidence you have a decent intellect you just aren’t using it effectively.

Consider yourself punked out by Steve.

Jason Hughes said...

A+, huh? I think you give me too much credit, and maybe not enough behind the other two... :D

And you don't think Steve's superior attitude regarding the fate of unbelievers as equal to, maybe even more hateful, than Darkminds use of the word fuck? To tell someone they're going to spend eternity in hell because they are right, even if the person hearing these words doesn't believe them for an iota of a second, seems to me to be more--what's the word, hateful?--than simply telling someone to fuck off, but perhaps that's because I ascribe no power to words in the "offensive" sense of the word, but the intent behind them, in which case I would give both a B+, at least, for passion of beliefs...

I just love it when people start talking, even if it does degrade the civility a bit...

BTW, do I get a gold star, then? I mean, with an A+ and all...

Anonymous said...

Argument:
The bible is full of contradictions.

Evidence:
See the first comment. Also, you may simply type in "biblical paradoxes" or "biblical contradictions" into your favorite search engine. You can find lots of them.

Corroboration:
Um...Its written in the bible. And not some hacker-prone internet bible, but the real life printed one your are obviously holding in your hand. Your bible may not have the same wording, as there are about 50 different english versions of the bible (further proof of the argument) but I suppose the jist of the phrases are there.

Conclusion:
Fuck you too, Anonymous.

As a side note, is it just me...or does anyone else get the feeling that 'anonymous' is Steve? Just a thought. I mean, I can post as anonymous too. It makes it seem like someone else is agreeing with me!

Anonymous said...

You're right anonymous number 2. I agree with you also. But don't you think that Darkmind went a little overboard with childish comments? I mean "punked me out". Please, we are all grown ups here! When you become abusive during a debate, the only thing you hurt is your arguement. But even though he was being nasty, Darkmind brings up a valid point. I actually have two different versions of the bible in my house and they ARE worded differently. I can see how someone might get confused.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys! Jason, cool post, man. I was raised in a strict Christian household and I am a strong beleiver in the teachings of Christ. But I have noticed some discrepencies myself. There are several verses that just don't add up. I am not going to let it hurt my faith though. While I don't agree with Darkmind's spiritual choices or his argument, he does seem to still understand what it means to be a good Christian. But Darkmind, it is a little insulting to be called 'delusional'.

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve said...

I never post anything "Anonymous". Not sure who the other person is.
But thanks for thinking of me all the same.
God Bless y'all.

Bill said...

Hey Steve If Darkmind is right you have a self image problem, you gave yourself a C. (-:

Jason Hughes said...

Oy, so many anonymous posts! Who's who?!?!

Well, to all you wonderful folk of such varied opinion, named and unnamed, thanks for your comments and thoughts...

BTW, I'm still waiting for my gold star...

DaBich said...

Just had to say....this closing comment of yours just caught my eye:
"who ever decided a work day should start at fuckin' 8 a.m.? I'm off for caffeine..."
LMAO, I'm AT the office at 6:30 am every weekday ;) \
Just call me insane...or delusional :X

Jason Hughes said...

6:30!!!!!! Oh good god, I wouldn't survive! I'd need a caffiene IV drip! LOL!

cs said...

"Are we paying attention?"

Yep.

"Let's look at what we have here from Paul's own mouth. In Acts, Paul has his "vision." He then "Straightway" begins preaching in Damascus, amazing the people and basically "wowing" them. He supposedly "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." And then "many days later," a bunch of Jews plotted to kill him so he ran away to Jerusalem. He hook sup with Barnabas, and he in turn takes him to meet the apostles, who were afraid of him because he used to be Saul the persecutor and killer of followers of Christ. After some talk, they accept him as the real deal, and then they all go on a revival tour all over Jerusalem. Got it? That's Acts."

No where does it say they all went on a revival tour. It mentions Peter and Paul preaching the gospel but that doesn't mean they all were there.

"Then there's Galatians. Paul saw his "vision." And that's the only thing that remains true to the account in Acts."
I see a few more things that are true to the Acts account. For starters he went to Damascus in Acts, he went to Damascus in the letter. After many days he went to Jerusalem. In the letter after 3 years he went to Jerusalem, I may be wrong but wouldn't three years be “many days”?

"Paul "immediately" he did NOT associate with "flesh and blood" (i.e., people), nor did he go to Jerusalem to see the apostles."

Paul “immediately” responded to the call of God when he was struck down by light. I think the word you are looking for is “conferred” NOT associated. Let me quote it so you see it, “...immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” (Gal 1:16) The word conferred means consult. He didn't consult anyone else about it. It was Jesus who met him on the road and it was he who called him why would you need to ask someone if it was Jesus who called you when you know it was him?

"After his apparent conversion, he takes a few years to travel to Arabia then back to Damascus. He doesn't even mention preaching in either of these places."

It didn't say he spent years in Arabia. He simply states that after his conversion he didn't go to Jerusalem first, but he went into Arabia. Now, let me ask you a question. How many times is the word Arabia mentioned in the New Testament, King James Version? Well let me answer it, 2 times, both in the book of Galatians. Now what would be in Arabia that is so important to a man who just had his world turned upside down. Everything he believed about being in the most strict Jewish sect had changed. He was so passionate about his Jewish faith that he was killing followers of Christ. So what was in Arabia, Gal 4:25, mount Sinai where Moses met with God and many other men of God. Have you ever visited a “special” place when your life dramatically changed? Well most likely Saul visited this mountain because God just called him in a powerfully dramatic way.

"After at least three years, he finally makes his way to Jerusalem for the first time and meets only Peter and James; no mention of any other apostles (which you would think would be an important point, being a convert and former persecutor of Christians and all)."

He goes to Jerusalem to save his life. They were going to kill him in Damascus.

Not an important point at all. Have you ever visited a group of people say your first day on the job and you only know the ones that are in charge. Well Peter was the one Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom to. James was the brother of Jesus, I'd say he would be prominent. When you address another group you usually just mention the ones in charge and leave the rest in the crowd. However, Paul stats he only saw Peter and James, “...but other of the apostles saw I none..” Well in the Acts account “...he attempted to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.” Only after Barnabas stepped in did Peter and James meet with him, no doubt the rest were still very skeptical of Paul's conversion. So it appears Peter and James were probably the only two who would meet with him but he was only there 15 days. No doubt things could have happened to cause them not to get together more often, oh, things like... more attempts on their lives maybe?

"He stays with them for fifteen days but, once again, he mentions no preaching campaign with the apostles, with some of them, or alone. None. He has never even been here before in the past, nor has he performed a preaching campaign here, since he is unknown to them, and they have "heard only" by way of gossip and rumor of his claimed conversion. He even claims, "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." So, if he isn't lying now, then he lied before about meeting all of the disciples, am I right? Or, wait, what if he's lying about not lying? Umm, wait, which part is true again?"

Why does he have to mention preaching? Was he supposed to tell all about each sermon and each attempt on his life?
He was not an unknown figure. He was a feared man. He had been a killer of the followers of Christ. So his reputation spread far.
Now you can take this for what it is worth but there were more than just the 12 disciples. The word disciple at the very basics means follower or learner. He was with disciples at Damascus but it doesn't mean the hand picked disciples that walked with Jesus personally.

"Now there are some that claim that Luke wrote the book of Acts. So what if he did? Then is Luke a liar? In which case, should we believe Luke or Paul, neither of which were an actual disciple of Christ?"

It doesn't appear that any lies were told. Nothing contradicting here. Besides the scriptures were written for seekers only. If you are only looking for holes in the argument then you can find little things that appear to be holes, but they are not.

Jason Hughes said...

CS, welcome to the blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, but I have to respectfully disagree, and it comes down to two very specific parts of the passages above:

Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Straightaway, or right away! He couldn't help himself! After a few days of this, he fled because his life was in danger and went with good ol' Barney to meet the disciples...

Then, in the other passage, it says, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

IMMEDIATELY DID NOT CONFER WITH FLESH AND BLOOD. The exact opposite of the account in Romans. Then he says he DID NOT meet with any apostles except Peter and James, and that he lies not. But in Romans, he clearly said he met the apostles with Barny, not he met Peter with Barny...

And then there's the three year's in Galations when he says he went to Arabia & Damascus... which would imply that the "did not confer with flesh and blood" true, and not the "straightway preached" model of his story... and only after THREE YEARS did he go to meet with Peter...

How do you not see the conflicting gap in the tales?

And just so you feel a bit better, "revival tour" was a slightly sarcastic restatement of the testimony in Romans... You'll note that sprinled throughout all my posts...

And the whole "seeker" thing? Of course any one who believes hard enough will overlook discrepencies... that what makes for a good follower: someone who won't question the details...

Thanks for stopping by!

cs said...

Thanks for welcoming me Jason. In the letter Paul wrote to the Galatian church he was not giving a history lesson. He was establishing his authority to preach the gospel. Listen to what he says, “Gal 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He continued by giving his early years as how he profited in the Jew's religion. Then he says something that other prophets have said, “Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,” He was appealing to his call so that the people could not speak against his doctrine. He didn't confer with flesh and blood because it was God who called him. He didn't consult the disciples at Damascus about anything. God caught his attention and it was God that gave him the revelation of the good news.

Before I address any further issues let me make a few more corrections to your argument. We are not talking about the book of Romans. We are talking about the books of Acts and Galatians. Also in your original post you said, "Paul "immediately" he did NOT associate with "flesh and blood" (i.e., people), nor did he go to Jerusalem to see the apostles." Again, he never says the word “associates”. Also you didn't admit to more similarities between Acts and the Galatians account.

Now to your two issues with the story.
1) Acts 9:19-20 Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

After being with the disciples at Damascus “certain days” then did he straightaway or immediately begin to preach. The “certain days” could have been the trip to Arabia. Since he didn't say a specific amount of time or a date then were is the problem? It could have been that after being with the disciples for “certain days” then he immediately preached and then traveled to Arabia. Still no contradicting statements.

You said, “Straightaway, or right away! He couldn't help himself! After a few days of this, he fled because his life was in danger and went with good ol' Barney to meet the disciples...”

I am not sure where you get “few days” from. Traditionally the word few means three. The scriptures never state that he was with anyone for a “few days”. It says in Acts 9:19 “...certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.” and then says in Acts 9:22 “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:” If you are going to make an argument you should use the exact words from your choice of translations. It fits perfectly with the Galatians letter of three years. Since in Acts “certain days” and “many days” could be an undetermined amount of days most likely 3 years.

2) You said, Galatians 1:16-17“IMMEDIATELY DID NOT CONFER WITH FLESH AND BLOOD. The exact opposite of the account in Romans. Then he says he DID NOT meet with any apostles except Peter and James, and that he lies not. But in Romans, he clearly said he met the apostles with Barny, not he met Peter with Barny...”

Nothing like this in the book of Romans. So, Galatians it is. Like I explained in my first post this isn't an issue. How could it be?
There isn't anything EXACT opposites. I know you understand opposites. If in the Acts account it said that he consulted with the disciples then you could say that Galatians said the EXACT opposite. BUT Acts never brings up who or if Paul consulted with anyone. Why? Well probably because the writer was not Paul and couldn't speak about an intimate matter of consulting someone. MEETING someone and CONSULTING with them are two very different things, wouldn't you agree? Only Paul would know if and who he consulted. Like I explained in the beginning Paul was confirming his call to the Galatian church, so they could not point to someone above him without pointing to God.

Now about “Then he says he DID NOT meet with any apostles except Peter and James, and that he lies not. But in Romans, he clearly said he met the apostles with Barny, not he met Peter with Barny...”

What makes a plural form of anything? More than one, right? So Peter and James would be considered plural, right? So in Acts (not Romans) when he said he met the apostles and in Galatians he said he met Peter and James then where is the problem? Peter and James are apostles is that right? I'm having an issue with seeing a contradiction.
You are making claims that are not in the text. He never said he DID NOT MEET but he said other apostles he didn't see except Peter and James. Why are you adding things to it?

In my first post I stated, “Only after Barnabas stepped in did Peter and James meet with him, no doubt the rest were still very skeptical of Paul's conversion.” I never said he only met Peter with Barnabas. Why are you making an argument like I said that? He met Peter and James with Barnabas but only after Barnabas made a convincing case. Do you think all the original disciples would gather together and meet with a previous persecutor. Who was to say Paul wasn't just setting a trap to wipe them all out? More than likely tho they were all out of town doing missionary work or something similar. Peter and James may have been the only two in town. In the first century they went out by two so it would be logical to say Peter and James may have been a team that was establishing a church in Jerusalem.

Now to the liar part. That is insulting to the first century believers. Not only insulting to the first century believers but also to the writers of Acts and the letters. To suggest they were liars, that is absurd. Look at Paul and his background. He was part of the strictest of Jewish sects, lies are not tolerated in the Jewish religion if he was a liar then he wouldn't just lie overnight he would have lied before. If he was a liar it would seem logical to conclude that he would give himself much more credit and polish his own career. If he was a liar why on earth did he become a follower of Christ? Liars are usually cowards but in those days followers of Christ were being killed. If he was a liar then he died as a martyr for nothing and every follower of Christ who died as a martyr and believed Paul, then they were deceived and therefore makes Paul one of the greatest liars of history. If he was a liar then why can't modern theologians and others find any lies? Umm.. maybe because he wasn't a liar, follow me?
How do you not see that no “gaps” exist?
The whole revival tour was understood to be sarcastic I was only pointing out that it wasn't a traveling gang of all the apostles.
Being a seeker means you ask questions and search for an answer, a truth seeker. The beauty is in the details and God shines there. A seeker of truth is someone who searches for the truth. It does not appear you are searching for the truth because you have made many mistakes, misquotes, and have misunderstood the contexts and the purpose of the writings. If Paul or the writer of Acts have made the mistakes you've made in your argument then we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Thanks again for the interesting dialog.

Jason Hughes said...

Well, that's what I get for writing in a hurry, I suppose, the whole "Romans/Galatians" thing...

But back to the crux of the matter:

I'm willing to concede the apostles and how many and who and what--you're right: I was reading "12" when there was no number; it just said "apostles."

Now, as to the time-frame:

In Acts: Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

In Galatians: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

I'm not buying that "certain days" could mean three years; It still doesn't reconcile the misssing time, especially when you look at these two passages in particular. Are you saying you believe it took them three years to cook up a plan to kill Paul in Damascus before he finally went to meet the apostles? In which case, if it had indeed taken three years before he finally went to see the apostles, are you saying three years wouldn't have been ong enough to convince them he was the genuine article, and were still afraid of him? And none of the twelve had ever ventured to Damascus to see who this Paul was and what he was preaching? I find it also hard to believe that word wouldn't have traveled to them about him in three years... but that's just me, I suppose... :D

Maybe "liar" was too strong a word, as we might be dealing with two differing authors of the accounts, but as I noted earlier, they (if meaning Luke as writer of Acts and Paul, of course, Galatians), would still have known of each other and most likely been contemporaries, and a three-year gap is a huge thing. Of course, I'm willing to agree to disagree, but I just think this isn't something as easily explained away as the whole "law" conundrum from more recently.


Thank you, too, for an interesting discussion. Hope to have many more in the future.

cs said...

"Are you saying you believe it took them three years to cook up a plan to kill Paul in Damascus before he finally went to meet the apostles?"

Very well could. It is silent and does not give a clue to when the Jews began to seek Paul's life. When he began his preaching he blew them away, “wowed” them I think you said. I personally feel that he was seeing wonderful growth and was convincing many Jews and the Jewish leadership in that area was losing a following, well then they began to want to kill him.

Word most likely did travel. It may be that one or more apostles from Jerusalem had visited Damascus before because converts were there. Converts that knew Peter and the boys. Paul went to Jerusalem to save his life and to meet with Peter. All the other disciples were still worried that Paul wasn't the real deal. In those days travel wasn't a car trip, communication wasn't by email or cell. It may had taken a year for word to make it back to Jerusalem. We weren't there. Your questions are valid but they do not point out a contradiction, it only shows that we were not there to know every detail of the account.

My issue is your bases of arguing was not right because an exact opposite can't be found. Acts and Galatians are not polar opposites in the description. They both follow a very similar description. They both are told with two different goals in mind. Acts was a dynamic history of the early church while Galatians, a letter to the church of Galatia establishing Paul's authority.

I'll be checking in to read more and possibly engage in further interesting discussions. Thanks.

cs said...

I forgot to say that, "certain days" and "many days", are not an area of argument. Just like the apostles, more than one day is plural. There isn't a gap. Maybe I am misunderstanding you but a gap would be a huge area where nothing covers. For example, if my wife asks, "What time did you get home from work?" And I reply, "5pm". She wouldn't see any gap, unless, she asks; "What time did you get off of work?" To which I replied, "1pm." Now the follow up question would be what took you so long? A gap exists in my example and would leave many questions in my wife's mind as to my whereabouts.

Paul doesn't leave such a doubt. In Galatians he was on his way to Damascus when he was smitten down by Jesus Christ. He went on to Damascus. BTW- he could have been 2 days away from Damascus when it happen. He goes on to Damascus and from there he goes to Arabia and comes back to Damascus where he stays for three years. Until the Jews desire to kill him and he flees to Jerusalem. I am having a hard time seeing a gap that isn't filled with details from Acts? Acts doesn't contradict anything by saying something like, "Paul was in Damascus for 2 years." It just fills in details. The two accounts compliment each other in a wonderful way.

We will have to agree to disagree but in your post you were pretty bold. You even double dog dared (gasp). You may see a gap because you are only doubting "certain days" and "many days" could be three years. However, you can't escape doubting your conclusion. Unless, ofcourse, you want to be intellectually dishonest.

I've been reading other things on your blog and you have a pretty unique way of writing. Lots of funny things.

cs said...

I forgot to say that, "certain days" and "many days", are not an area of argument. Just like the apostles, more than one day is plural. There isn't a gap. Maybe I am misunderstanding you but a gap would be a huge area where nothing covers. For example, if my wife asks, "What time did you get home from work?" And I reply, "5pm". She wouldn't see any gap, unless, she asks; "What time did you get off of work?" To which I replied, "1pm." Now the follow up question would be what took you so long? A gap exists in my example and would leave many questions in my wife's mind as to my whereabouts.

Paul doesn't leave such a doubt. In Galatians he was on his way to Damascus when he was smitten down by Jesus Christ. He went on to Damascus. BTW- he could have been 2 days away from Damascus when it happen. He goes on to Damascus and from there he goes to Arabia and comes back to Damascus where he stays for three years. Until the Jews desire to kill him and he flees to Jerusalem. I am having a hard time seeing a gap that isn't filled with details from Acts? Acts doesn't contradict anything by saying something like, "Paul was in Damascus for 2 years." It just fills in details. The two accounts compliment each other in a wonderful way.

We will have to agree to disagree but in your post you were pretty bold. You even double dog dared (gasp). You may see a gap because you are only doubting "certain days" and "many days" could be three years. However, you can't escape doubting your conclusion. Unless, ofcourse, you want to be intellectually dishonest.

I've been reading other things on your blog and you have a pretty unique way of writing. Lots of funny things.

Jason Hughes said...

Well, that's what I get for writing in a hurry, I suppose, the whole "Romans/Galatians" thing...

But back to the crux of the matter:

I'm willing to concede the apostles and how many and who and what--you're right: I was reading "12" when there was no number; it just said "apostles."

Now, as to the time-frame:

In Acts: Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

In Galatians: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

I'm not buying that "certain days" could mean three years; It still doesn't reconcile the misssing time, especially when you look at these two passages in particular. Are you saying you believe it took them three years to cook up a plan to kill Paul in Damascus before he finally went to meet the apostles? In which case, if it had indeed taken three years before he finally went to see the apostles, are you saying three years wouldn't have been ong enough to convince them he was the genuine article, and were still afraid of him? And none of the twelve had ever ventured to Damascus to see who this Paul was and what he was preaching? I find it also hard to believe that word wouldn't have traveled to them about him in three years... but that's just me, I suppose... :D

Maybe "liar" was too strong a word, as we might be dealing with two differing authors of the accounts, but as I noted earlier, they (if meaning Luke as writer of Acts and Paul, of course, Galatians), would still have known of each other and most likely been contemporaries, and a three-year gap is a huge thing. Of course, I'm willing to agree to disagree, but I just think this isn't something as easily explained away as the whole "law" conundrum from more recently.


Thank you, too, for an interesting discussion. Hope to have many more in the future.

Anonymous said...

I guess a blog is not the place to worry about style but for note Jason’s argument is great and convincing, even if I only partially agree.

Darkmind has a very week argument. He posits things without evidence and what little evidence he uses he does not back up even if it may be true and his sources are other blogs. Hmmm.

Darkmind - try this.

Argument evidence corroboration conclusion.

And the last comment;

"And I would like to apologise to Jason and the others for getting verbally medieval up in here, but I feel that Steve tried to punk me out and NOBODY punks Darkmind...NOBODY!!! BWA HA HA HA!!!!"

To a large number of thinking people as soon as you became abusive to Steve, (who really did not support his case well either because he did not say where he found the translational evidence he mentions), you were "punked out"

So if I had to grade the comments it would be

Jason A+
Steve C
Darkmind F

Darkmind if you must debate, and think you win, use your mind, dark as it may be, before during and while you post. There is evidence you have a decent intellect you just aren’t using it effectively.

Consider yourself punked out by Steve.

Steve said...

If you had actually studied the Bible, you would know that the word used in the Hewbrew for "Hate" means to "like less than" or "show less favor to". The word "hate" this these passages does not carry same meaning as the english word "hate" that we use.
Of course since we're all delusional, I wouldn't expect you to have enough respect for Christians to bother trying to understand the Bible. It's easier for you closet libs to just attack and then run away.
Anyway, Good Luck and when, after we die, it turns out that the Christians were right and you were wrong, we're the ones who are going to be in a happy place, while all the rest of y'all are going to be very unhappy for a very long time.

DaBich said...

You're right...there are many contradictions!