The Christian Faith, The Teaching Of Paul.

Apart from Paul teaching a very different theology from the Jesus of the Gospels. It is interesting to note that he recomended celibacy (1 Cor 7:1,7,8,25-26,29,32,38) because he believed the end was imminent - 1 Cor 7:29,31. The very fact that the first Christians believed that the end of the world was imminent over 1900 years ago shows the validity of their teachings. The nearness of the end of the world is stated elsewhere, eg. Heb 1:2, 10:37, James 5:7-9, 1 John 2:18,28, 3:2. The author of Revelation makes it clear he thought all the things of which he wrote (eg. the end of the world) were imminent, eg. 1:1,3, 3:11, 22:7,12,20. NB. Encouraging lifelong celibacy is echoed by Jesus (Matt 19:12) and in Rev 14:3-4, although virtually all present-day Christians conveniently ignore this.

Paul's teachings about women are distasteful to say the least, eg. they were to obey their husband and were creately solely for man - 1 Cor 11:3,7,8,9, women were to keep quiet and subordinate and if they needed to know anything they should ask their husbands - 1 Cor 14:33-35, wives should be subject to their husband's rule as he is their head - Eph 5:22-24, women are to keep silent and not have authority over men. Mankind's separation from God and the misery that has followed this was all caused through the first woman being tricked - 1 Tim 2:11-15, women were to be 'trained' to be domesticated and submissive to their husbands - Titus 2:4ff. The author of 1 Peter also stated that wives were to submit to their husbands - 1 Peter 3:l.

ACCURACY.

There are actually numerous fictional stories in the Gospels, (ie. stories of occurrences that defy historical possibility), eg. the Jews going to Pilate on their sabbath day - something quite impossible (Matthew 28:62). Note how Matthew (26:l7-l9), Mark (l4:l2-l6) and Luke (23:8-l3) say that it was the Passover (this was eaten on the evening of l4 Nisan) that Jesus ate at the last supper. However in John, after the meal, after the arrest, after the trial before the Sanhedrin, the Passover still had not started (John l8:28) and even after his appearance before Pilate the next day, the Passover still had not begun - John l9:l4. This was deliberately done by John's author to have Jesus executed at the same time that the Passover lambs were slaughtered (the day before the Passover) to fit the idea in John l:29,36 that Jesus was a sacrificial lamb. (NB. Lambs were NOT offered up as sacrifices for sin; only rams and goats were - yet another error by the N.T authors).

If the Gospel writers could juggle things around so easily, how can their accounts be reliable ? Each Gospel either contains det- ails known to be incorrect (eg. that Herod was a king - Mark 6:l4 when in fact he was only a petty tetrach - this is corrected in Matt and Luke), or they contradict one another. How can they be reliable historical documents ? For example, the Synoptics have Jesus clearing the Temple at the end of his ministry (Mark ll:l5-l7 and par.), but John has this at the very beginning (2:l3-16). John has Jesus travelling back and forth between Galilee and Jerusalem, but the synoptics have him in Galilee and making the one journey south to Jerusalem ending in his execution. It is clear that the Gospels have no basis in factual history, and are the creations of those who wrote them.

SALVATION.

Whilst there are Biblical texts that say one has to be a Christian to be 'saved' and furthermore only a small number of people will be 'saved', eg. Matt 22:l4, Luke 13:24, there are texts that refer to Jesus taking away everybody's sins - not just Christians, eg. John l:29, and that Jesus will save the whole world, eg. John 4:42, l John 4:l4. It is also said that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation (eg. Acts 2:21, l6:30,31, Romans l0:9), but in contrast, there are texts that say a person's lifestyle and (good) works will save them and it is on how a person lives that they will be judged/rewarded, eg. Psalm 62:l2, Proverbs 24:l2, Matthew 7:21, l9:l6,l7, l6:27, Luke l4:l3,l4, John 5:29, Acts l0:35, 1 Cor 3:8, 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Peter 1:17, James 1:27, Rev 20:12,13.

NB. The original meaning of "sin" was a negative event. In Hebrew, the commonest word for sin is 'hattat' or 'het' - derived from the root meaning 'to miss', ie. it was falling below an expected standard, or failing to do something, ie. like missing the target; in fact the verb appears in the Old Testament with this original meaning, eg. Job 5:24, Proverbs 8:35f. However, Christians teach that sin is active rebellion against God, a positive action that separates man from God - but if a Christian, justified by faith, Jesus 'takes their sin away'; according to the meaning of the word 'sin' - in its original con- text, it is nothing of the sort. Sin is not something a person does, but rather, the reverse.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY

The first two centuries of Christian history demonstrate the type of person responsible for establishing the church. The ultra-conservative 4th cent church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who was only keen to portray the church in a good light, had to admit that Papias (bishop of Hierapolis ca. l30 AD) was a "man of exceeedingly small intelligence" (H.E. III.39.13) and yet it is from this man that the church derived most of its information about two of the Gospels that were accepted into the canon.

Another example of historical inaccuracy is the story of the number of early Christians martyred; Gibbon ('Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', chapters l5-l6) has unquestionably shown that these figures have been exaggerated out of all proportion and the numbers involved were considerably less. In fact, even the stories about the persecution of Christians appear to be embellishments to the point of fraud, eg. the supposed persecution of Christians by Nero is yet another example of this; whilst Christians claim that a considerable number of Christians were martyred by Nero, this is based on Tacitus who refers to this (50 or so years afterwards), but the first clear mention of this by a Christian was by Melito of Sardis in ca. l70 AD.

If it had been such a widespread terrible persecution, Christian writers would have surely made specific mention of it earlier than l70 AD. It is highly improbable that there would have been that many Christians living in Rome in Nero's time anyway so early on. Tacitus only mentions it, apparently embellishing the story, because he wanted to paint a bad as possible picture of Nero. It appears the famous persecution by Nero of Roman Christians was sporadic, localised and very short lived, but blown out of all proportion by later Christians.

N.T WRITINGS.

There is also the question of the writings in the New Testament canon which were not accepted/used by the early Christians (James, Hebrews, Revelation) but are now accepted, and that Christians reject the writings the early Christians did accept and used (eg. Hermas, Barnabas, the Didache). This in itself shows the church is not interested in sustaining the 'original faith' and has chosen the writings that suits its own teachings. This is all apart from the fact that the church did not even agree to the 27 writings now in the N.T. until Athanasius' Easter Letter of 367 AD, but even then, the dispute continued right on to the 9th century. For example, Jude in the N.T - supposedly written by Jesus' brother - uses quotations from two O.T books not accepted by Christians as being inspired ! Any examination of any of the lists from the 2nd cent (Muratorian) to the 4th cent (eg. Athanasius' letter) shows what a real muddle the church was in when it tried to decide what writings would be allowed into the canon. Obviously the church only accepted the writings that did not conflict with its own teachings, so in reality the Bible is a man-made book, ie. its contents were chosen by erring humans, some of which were hardly honourable, or very orthodox (eg. Athanasius taught an almost-docetic view of Christ). However, for some strange reason, Christians, ignorant of their own history, seem to think the apostles all met up one day in the the 1st century, collected the 27 N.T writings together and said, "This is the New Testament !". There could be nothing further from the truth.



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