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Posted by Harvey on October 21, 2002 17:13:02 UTC

You said to Aaron:

"It is clear that Paul profoundly distorted christianity and made it acceptable to the powerful rather than the meek. He transformed the church into a means to control the meek. Paul's letters in the New Testament are the earliest writings in the New Testament. The other books like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written long after Paul's Letters, and those books reflect Paul's thinking to a significant extent. However, those books hopefully give accurate quotes of the teaching of Jesus. From these quotes we can easily see that Paul distorted Christianity. You do not attend the church of Jesus. You attend the church of Paul. My view is that as Saul, he could not defeat christianity. So he switched sides and made it into a religion of his liking."

From my perspective Paul was one of the great apostles of Christianity. It is doubtful that Christianity would have survived without Paul. From what we can tell, the Christian religion spread like wildfire all over Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, etc. Likewise, the wide interpretations of Christianity were also spreading. Paul was instrumental in unifying the movement and, as you suggest, he defined Christianity beyond its Jewish roots. Jesus moved from the 'Messiah' to the 'Savior' under Pauline theology. This message did appeal to converts and it is the reason that Christianity was able to launch itself. It is also the reason that early Christians were willing to die for the Cross knowing that Jesus was their savior.

Without this transition, it is likely the movement would have halted once the Messiah didn't return. Originally it was thought by early Christians that the end was upon them, and that the Messiah would soon return. In fact, Mark (possibly the first Gospel written) is much more concentrating on Jesus as the Messiah soon to return. The last Gospel considered to be written is John. This book is much more theological about the saving nature of Christ, and it appears to me that Pauline theology was critical for this perspective.

Also, I don't know what writings of Paul that you have the most problem. When I read Paul I read one of the great writers of a major religion. What letters or which sections of Pauline theology do you consider to be a tainting of the original Christian message?

Warm regards, Harv

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