Paul vs Everybody

http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/about/paulvsall.html 

Why Christian Fundamentalists
& many other Conservatives
prefer Paul's Teaching
to Jesus Christ's

        Paul of Tarsus was so ambitious and so energetic that had he been a business man he could have been the Bill Gates of his day.  Although Jesus could have chosen to include Paul among the twelve men who would carry forth his work after his passing, he didn't. And what happened as soon as Jesus left the scene?  If we are to believe Paul, Jesus appears to have discovered this huge mistake of his and made up for it by selecting Paul after all! And not just to be one of the twelve, but to be the one apostle who would write more, travel more, and work harder than all twelve of the original apostles put together.  Although it's been assumed for centuries that the Matthew and John who wrote Gospels were the original apostles of those names. But the Gospels don't make such claims, and considering the facts that these were very common Jewish names, that these writings didn't appear for many years beyond the normal life span that people lived in those days, it is very unlikely that the apostles of those names wrote the gospels attribtued to them.  
        Yet, we know that Paul's epistles were making the rounds of the churches dozens of years before any of the four gospels appeared.  While the twelve apostles maintained the one original Christian community in Jerusalem, Paul was busy establishing churches throughout the Roman empire, all of which went on long after the Roman army destroyed the Jewish capital just 36 years after Jesus left the scene and dispersed the original community of Jewish followers that Jesus had established in Jerusalem.  Athough Paul only claimed for himself the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles", once the original community of Christ's followers who were all Jews was dispersed, who knows what became of the eleven apostles whom Jesus had left in charge of his work. There is more than enough evidence to support the view that the "Christianity" that we have inherited is the legacy, not of Jesus of Nazareth, but of Paul of Tarsus.
          Although they may not recognize it, Conservatives are much more enthused about the teaching of Paul than that of Jesus.  Just listen to them, or look at what they write.  Most of the time, when they mention Jesus' name, it isn't to promote his teaching about himself, but to promote Paul's teaching about Christ.  Here is a perfect example of :how "Christian Conservatives" view their identity as "Christians" , not by what Jesus taught, but by the teaching of Paul.
        Unlike Jesus of Nazareth, however, who was a Liberal who built up the weak and the poor, while tearing down the mighty, Paul of Tarsus was a Conservative who did a great deal of putting down the weak: women, slaves, Jews, homosexuals and the poor, while empowering those in power, as I will spell out in Paul's own words below.  Paul has proven himself the dream theologian of Conservatives, who for centuries has provided them any number of bible passages to help white, European, male, prosperous, heterosexual "Christians" keep the rest of mankind under their feet.
        To any Conservative Christians who may be upset with what I say on this page, may I remind you of Paul's words to the Galatians (4-16) : "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"
        As we show in great depth at our LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/Liberals site, the real essence of Conservatism, is the persuasion that some people are entitled to have advantages or privileges giving them social standing above people of color, or Jews, or women, or homosexuals, or the poor, and they can and should do whatever it takes to protect, i.e. "conserve" and promote those advantages against the efforts of those who would "liberate" themselves (or others) from their disadvantages.
        So-called "Conservative Christians" have never been able to find much in Jesus' teaching to support their conservatism. But they hit the biblical jackpot in support of their views in the teaching of Paul of Tarsus.

By giving his blessing to slavery,
Paul has helped white European Conservatives
keep other races "in their place" :

{ Titus 2:9-10 }
        "Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior."

( Ephesians 6: 5-8 }
        "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free."

( 1 Cor. 7: 21--24 }
        "Were you a slave when called?  Do not be concerned about it.  Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever.  For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.  In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God."

( 1 Tim. 6:1-5 }
        "Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed.  Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved.  Teach and urge these duties.
        Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words.  From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth."

Conservatives have found in Paul,
some of their best material
for putting down and oppressing Women:

{ 1 Cor.14: 34--35 }
        "Women should be silent in the churches.  For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says.  If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home.  For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."

(1 Tim. 2: 9-15 }
        "Women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.  Let a woman learn in silence with full submission.  I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty."

( Titus 2: 3--5 }
       "Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited."

( 1 Corinthians 11:14-16 }
        "For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man.  Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man.  Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.  For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.  .  .  Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?.  Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?  For her hair is given to her for a covering.  But if anyone is disposed to be contentious -- we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God."

( 1 Corinthians 7: 29--40 }
        But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin.  Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.  I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none,  and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions,  and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it.  For the present form of this world is passing away.  I want you to be free from anxieties.  The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife,  and his interests are divided.  And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.  I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.  If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancee, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin.  Let them marry.  But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancee, he will do well.  So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.  A wife is bound as long as her husband lives.  But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is.  And I think that I too have the Spirit of God."

(I Timothy 5: 3-12)
        "Honor widows who are really widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they (these children) should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God's sight. The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints' feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge."
        Here's how leading spokesmen for "Compassionate Conservatism" capitalizes on this Pauline text:

        "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."
- Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-08-92   and

        "This passage is especially striking because Paul is talking about the class of suffering people who are nearest and dearest to God -- and look at the precautions he (God or Paul ?) takes when recommending even aid to widows within the church: first, family responsibility; second, help only to over-60s; third, help only to those well-known for good deeds. From all this we learn much about the particular problem of helping widows in the church, but we should also draw a logical conclusion: How much more so should we be careful before putting others on the list? And how careful should we be in making up a list of those to be aided by government? Other parts of the New Testament similarly show that God is not obligated to help even widows, when ungodly belief and behavior has come to dominate a culture." (p. 265, "The Tragedy of American Compassion (1992)", by Marvin Olasky)
and this Conservative spokesman got the message:
        "Woman's world is her husband, her family, her children and her home. We do not find it right when she presses into the world of men."  Adolph Hitler [quoted in Lucy Komisar, The New Feminism]
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do,
because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
Susan B. Anthony
        "Christians" who have a dim view of sexuality, women and marriage owe that view to Paul of Tarsus, rather than to Jesus of Nazarus, for ...

      "Paul had mounted a vigorous defense of celibacy or remaining unmarried. Although he does not require it of his followers, he asserts that he lives the single non-sexual life and he strongly recommends it as the most practical as well as the most spiritually devoted lifestyle. He writes, in this regard, 'I wish that all were as I myself am,' (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). . . one can conclude that if Paul had known Jesus to have been single or unmarried, living a celibate life, he would have mentioned it prominently. In fact it would have been one of his main points. It would have been irresistible. He mounts every possible defense of celibacy, but in the end is only able to appeal to his own example. Imagine how much more rigorously he could have argued had he been able to say, "follow me here, as I follow Christ." In this particular case I think his silence is "deafening." As with Cephas (Peter), the other apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, he knows that having a wife as a companion is the norm and pattern in the group. Paul must have known that Jesus was married," [ http://jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/05/01/was-jesus-married/ ]

        Fr. Harry Coverston, an Episcopal priest friend of mine, relates interesting experience :

        "My favorite memory of this verse occurred my first Sunday in Berkeley. I attended the local Episcopal parish next to the campus. A woman read both the Hebrew Scripture and Epistle lessons. The first lesson ended with the customary, 'The word of the Lord' to which Episcopalians heartily respond 'Thanks be to God!'
        The Epistle contained the verses of 1 Cor.14: 34--35 (see above). One could observe the woman lector become increasingly incensed as she read the passage. At the end of the passage, there was a long pause after which the woman shook her head and gave the alternative acclamation, 'Here ends the lesson,' an acclamation to which there is no liturgical response. It was quite comical. I stifled a giggle but what happened next completely surprised me. The parish burst out in applause. In a subtle way, the woman lector had made a theological commentary on the lessons and the crowd roared its approval. Now, one doesn't see that in your average Sunday liturgy."
        On the September 12, 2006 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation, Michael Savage had this to say about women:
        " Weren't we told before Barbara Boxer became a U.S. senator, before Dianne Feinstein became a U.S. senator, before Hillary Clinton became a U.S. senator, that when women became senators, we'd have a kinder, gentler Senate, a more compassionate Senate? Well, I think the results are quite clear. The Senate is not kinder and gentler or more compassionate. In fact, it's more vicious and more histrionic than ever, specifically because women have been injected into the Senate."
        While Paul reflected the male chauvinism of his world, see the refreshingly liberal view of women that Jesus expressed in his words and his deeds.  Sadly, in too many Christian homes and communities, Paul's view has prevailed over Jesus' view!

Conservatives have found in Paul,
some of their best material
for putting down and oppressing Homosexuals:

        [Scholars don't all agree that all of the following passages really have to do with homosexuality as we understand it today. But I am quoting them all here because most conservatives use these passages for the purpose of condemning homosexuals.]

{ 1 Corinthians 6:9--10 }
        "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?   Do not be deceived!  Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers -- none of these will inherit the kingdom of God."

( 1 Timothy 1: 8--11 }
        "Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately.  This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me."

(Romans 1:18 thru 2:3 }
         "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those (non-believers) who by their wickedness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.  So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
        For this reason (and as punishment earned) God gave them up to degrading passions.  Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another.  Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done.  They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice.  Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  They know God's decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die--yet they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.
        Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.  You say, "We know that God's judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth."  Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?"
        It's amazing how this man can blast the hell out of all kinds of people and end one of the worst diatribes that be imagined with such a conclusion!

Conservatives have found in Paul,
some of their best material
for promoting contempt for
and oppressing Jews  (& other non-Christians):

{ In Romans 11: 5-11, Paul wrote : }
        "So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.  What then?  Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.  The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, 'God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.'  And David says, 'Let . . . their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and keep their backs forever bent.'  So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall?  By no means!  But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous."
        13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers."
{In Galatians 3:21-4:12 Paul wrote :}
        "if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law.  But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
        As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted. Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are."

{ In I Thessalonians, Ch. 2, 14--16, Paul wrote : }
        "For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.  Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last."
        To see the truth on this matter, according to the Gospels, read www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/about/whokilledchrist.html.


        According to Luke 9:49- 50, Jesus also wasn't big on imposing religious discipline on others (another example of his liberalism) :
        When John told Jesus, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  Jesus replied, "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."

Paul has helped Conservatives put down the unfortunate :
        ( to be fair to Paul, it may not have been his intention to address the words below to people who cannot find work, for whatever reason, or who find it unjust to be forced to "work for peanuts", which is simply one small step above slavery,  but Conservatives often use Paul's words as though the reasons people may not be profitably employed does not matter. }

        { II Thessalonians 3: 6--12 : }   " Now here is a command, dear brothers, given in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by his authority: Stay away from any Christian who spends his days in laziness and does not follow the ideal of hard work we set up for you.  For you well know that you ought to follow our example: you never saw us loafing; we never accepted food from anyone without buying it; we worked hard day and night for the money we needed to live on, in order that we would not be a burden to any of you.  It wasn't that we didn't have the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to show you firsthand how you should work for your living.  Even while we were still there with you, we gave you this rule: "He who does not work shall not eat."  Yet we hear that some of you are living in laziness, refusing to work, and wasting your time in gossiping.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we appeal to such people -- we command them -- to quiet down, get to work, and earn their own living."
        In the view of many Jewish scholars, Paul of Tarsus is much more responsible for the antagonism they have experienced from "Christians" over the centuries than is Jesus of Nazareth.
        One little book. "The Mythmaker" by the Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, I found to be thoroughly enlightening. He led me to the conclusion that it takes a Jew to really understand and explain the "New Testament" to Christians.
        He made it clear, for example, that Jesus could hardly have had a hard time with the "Pharisees" of his time, as he himself was a typical Pharisee, i.e. a "free-thinking", liberal, scholar. The type of religious people he would have had difficulty with would have been the natural rivals of such scholars, the Jewish priesthood, who were charged, not with study or teaching, but with ceremonial tasks at the temple and civic responsibilities within the Jewish community, including law enforcement and judicial matters.
        Maccoby calls Paul "The Mythmaker" because, much of what Paul wrote doesn't stand up to close and careful scrutiny.
        He shows, for example, how Paul and his friends used their connections to make the Jews and the Pharisees look bad in his own works, in the Acts of the Apostles and even in the Gosples, but that in fact it was the priesthood that employed Paul to persecute Jesus' followers not the pharisees, and far from Paul being the Pharisee that he claimed to be, he had more likely been a rival of the Pharisees.

Just because someone claims to speak
for Jesus Christ isn't proof that he does so.
        If he wanted to teach what Paul claims to be teaching "by his authority", Jesus could have done so.  But he never did.  Instead, he taught something quite different, at least in this instance recorded by Luke, Ch. 10: 39--42

        "Now as they went on their way, he (Jesus) entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying.  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?  Tell her then to help me.'  But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;  there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.' "
        Paul of Tarsus was indeed a "workaholic".  He travelled, preached and wrote so much more than all the other "apostles" that the movement that Jesus had personally trained the original twelve to carry on was swamped by the ideas that Paul claimed to have received in private revelations from "the Lord".


        Some of Paul's writings have even made it easier for tyrants to conserve their power to control and oppress everyone :
        Christian Conservatives claim to believe that all of Scripture is equally inspired by God.  That would apply especially to their favorite Bible author, Paul, who gave the following perfectly clear instructions, regarding obedience to one's political leaders (no matter how evil they may be), in his
Letter to the Romans 13:1-7

        "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Do you wish to have no fear of the authority?  Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God's servant for your good.  But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
        For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, busy with this very thing.  Pay to all what is due them--taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. "
        Anybody who really believes that this passage is inspired and inerrant would have to defend "the divine right" of tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Castro, Milosovich, Saddam Hussein and all the other monsters to stay in power for as long as God allows. Far from allowing anyone to try to remove such rulers, this "Word of God" compels "Christians" to respect and obey such rulers : "there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. . .  Therefore, whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed."  Paul doesn't allow for the slightest bit of "interpretation".  He drives home his point over and over again, that we should treat any and all rulers as God's very own appointees to whatever office they hold, be it governor, king, emperor, president, prime minister, secretary general, or Führer. No "if's", "and's" or "but's" !
        "The doctrine of the divine right of kings, came to dominate mediæval concepts of kingship, claiming biblical authority (Epistle to the Romans, chapter 13)".   [ from http://www.answers.com/topic/ roman-catholicism-s-links-with-political-authorities ] .

        Rather than supporting their oppressed subjects, Christian churches have a long record of supporting the arbitrary and dictatorial rulers of those subjects, so long as they in turn were supported by those rulers.  The rare exception, as in the case of the Soviet Union, is when those dictators opposed the power of the church itself.
        In World War II, the Christian churches of Germany had no problem applying this teaching of Paul's to the Nazi dictators - who were clearly evil, but pretended at least to be on the side of Christianity -. Yet, because the Soviet Union made no pretenses about being Christian, the Church didn't entertain for a minute that "those authorities that exist (in Communist countries) have been instituted by God."

        There are many wonderful, perhaps even "inspired", passages in Paul.  On balance, it may even be possible to defend Paul, by quoting other passages which he wrote.  But the fact remains that his writings contain many passages that have provided and continue to provide biblical justification for some of the worst of Conservative bigotries.  And bigots don't look for the total picture.  They take what suits their evil purposes wherever they can find it, even when the context shows that they are misinterpreting a quotation.  Knowing that, how can anyone imagine that God would allow his name to be attached to the treasure trove of bigotry found in the writings of Paul of Tarsus?
        Conservatives aspire to both money and power.  They love to control as much as possible of the behavior of others, though desiring as much freedom as possible for themselves.  Even when Conservatives don't have power over others themselves, they like others being controlled.  They like "law and order", which rarely means control of the powerful few for the benefit of the many, but rather control of the masses, BY the powerful few.  Paul provides Conservatives with ways to think of themselves as morally superior to everybody else, thereby giving them at least "spiritual" superiority (and some sort of authority) over others.  For many Conservatives, it doesn't seem enough for them to feel morally superior to others. Such people can really relate to Paul, because he enables them to feel great rather than guilty about being just like the Pharisee whom Jesus contrasted to the "Publican" or "tax-collector":

{ Luke 18: 9--14 : }
        "Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt :
        "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.'
        But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
        I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
        While Jesus warned his followers not to be like the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not a sinner like the miserable "publican", Paul has provided his followers over the centuries with plenty of examples and teaching to be expert Pharisees, such as:

( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 :}
        " Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived!  Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers -- none of these will inherit the kingdom of God."

        Far from encouraging the male chauvinism of the times and of middle eastern culture, Jesus demonstrated a remarkable respect for women.  He seemed to go out of his way to interact with women, and especially with women of ill repute or of other cultures.  Click here to see ALL of the instances of the word "woman" in the Gospels.  Here are the two most noteworthy of those passages:

{ Luke 7: 36-47 }
        One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table.  And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.  She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair.  Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.
        Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him--that she is a sinner."  Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher," he replied, "Speak."
        "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them.  Now which of them will love him more?"
        Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt." And Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly."  Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.  But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
        When pious Religious Leaders demanded that Jesus follow the Bible's teaching and impose the death sentence on the woman "caught in the very act of adultery," instead of condemning the adulteress, Jesus condemned her CONSERVATIVE prosecutors!

{ John 8: 2--11 }
        "Early in the morning he came again to the temple.  All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?"  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him."
          What an amazing chapter this is.  It's packed full of worthwhile lessons:
          First, if there's one behavior that Jesus couldn't abide, it was sinners playing down their own sins while playing up someone else's.  In this instance, the sin of one party (the adulteress)  was being used by a second party (the even more sinful religious right hypocrites),  to bring harm on a guilt-free third party (Jesus himself).  
        Then, there's a point so obvious that Jesus may not have felt it even necessary to emphasize.  But, as the father of seven daughters, I wish Jesus had asked these sanctimonious male accusers explicitly, "Was this woman alone at the time of this adultery?"
        And finally, there's the magnificent way in which Jesus turns the table on the hypocrites doing the accusing, and puts the judges themselves on trial :

        "Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."   And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, sir."   And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."
        Now "Liberals Like Christ " invite you to study in their own words the tremendous contrast that exists between the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth (and James) versus that of Paul of Tarsus regarding the crucial matter of Salvation "by Faith alone" or "Grace" vs. "by Faith shown in Works".
        Paul is the typical Conservative.  While striving for as freedom as they can get for themselves, they strive for as much control over others as he can get.  And even when they aren't the ones exercising that control themselves, they like others being controlled by traditions, rules, regulations and laws anyway, especially when those rules don't affect them.  e.g. the treatment of African Americans, women, children, gays, immigrants, those convicted of crimes whether justly or not, and those even suspected of criminal behavior, except when they are very Conservative, well-to-do white heterosexuals. They like "law and order"-- which inevitably means control over the many who are weak, not over the few who are strong.

Paul himself had reservations about his teaching.  In I Corinthians, Ch. 7:24--27, he wrote:

        " In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.  Now concerning virgins,
I have no command of the Lord, but I give my own opinion
as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.  I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.  Are you bound to a wife?  Do not seek to be free.  Are you free from a wife?  Do not seek a wife."         If your parents were Christians, aren't you glad they didn't follow Paul's teaching on this score?  you wouldn't be here, if they had.  Doesn't it make you wonder how much else of Paul's teaching didn't come from the Lord?
        Here is another excellent site expressing serious problems with Paul of Tarsus:
Paul vs. Jesus by Davis Danizier
        As I was creating a new page to address the contrast between Jesus' directions to the original 12 apostles to avoid all titles of honor, and the practice of the Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox hierarchies of our day, it struck me how Paul was used to justify the setting aside of Jesus' clear teaching.  See www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/callnomanfather.html.
But didn't Peter teach the same thing as Paul ?
        Many of Paul's defenders imagine that Peter's first epistle proves that Peter and Paul were very much in agreement.  After all, isn't is Peter who wrote

        1 Peter 2: 13-3:5 "For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme,  or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.  For it is God's will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish.  As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.  Honor everyone.  Love the family of believers.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.  Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh.  For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.  If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that?  But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval.  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.  "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."  When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
        3:1 Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands, so that, even if some of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives' conduct,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God's sight.  It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands."
        There's a very good reason why these words sound so "Pauline". You see, I Peter wasn't written by St. Peter at all, but by a Pauline Christian some 40 years or more long after the deaths of both Peter and Paul. So it would be more accurate to attribute the words of the so-called "First Epistle of Peter" to Paul rather than Peter.

        One of the reasons that Paul is so difficult to understand is that some of his teaching can't be reconciled with his own teaching, let alone that of James and Jesus.  It's hard to imagine that the angry, judgmental author of all of the passages which we quoted above is the very same man who penned the famous passages below:
Galatians, 3: 28
        "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus"
and { Corinthians 13 : 1--13
        
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. . .  faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
        And here is Paul's rather Liberal approach to the observance of holy days, such as the weekly sabbath, and dietary laws as spelled out in the "Word of God" :
Romans 14:4 to 15;7
        "Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own Lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
. . .10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God." So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
15 If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval.
19 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat;
21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble.
22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve.
23 But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."
15:1 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.
3 For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus,
6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God."
        Bible scholars do indeed believe that there were several different authors of the Letters traditionally attribute to "Paul of Tarsus".

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