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My Distorted View Of Paul.

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on April 17, 2001 19:54:03 UTC


Let me first thank you for your reply. I feel honored when people thoughtfully respond to me. Isn't the world a great place to live!

As a child I was amazed at the willingness of truck drivers to honk their horns when we children would pump our closed hands up and down. I thought as a child "What a nice world this is when people we don't even know will do us these kinds of things for us." Looking back I can see that the drivers could have chosen to see us making an obscene jesture. Are you aware of your own sexuality enough to know what I might be referring to? Becoming a sexual adult changes dramatically the way you see the world. Perhaps that's one reason why I can see sexual problems in Paul that some (especially those with repressed sexuality) don't see.

The scriptures that hinted to me at the homosexuality of Paul and how he saw the Gospel as a way to overcome it are the following:

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Why would he wasn't ashamed? Was there a good reason that others he knew might be ashamed? Maybe the story about His resurrection and atonement sounded farfetched to the rationally-minded? Why was he so devout? Did the gospel give him the willpower to overcome his repressed sexuality?

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Why is Paul so knowledgeable about these things? Is he relating his own problems and solutions?

Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

"Burning in their lust" sounds like someone speaking from experience. Someone ignorant of these feelings would use a less graphic phrase, don't you think? He mentions homosexuality more in his epistles than I think he would if he wasn't homosexual.

I've seen portrayals of "good" religious leaders who complain about sexual wickedness both portrayed by Hollywood movies (they have a reason to defend their sexuality) and from personal testimonials. The way these leaders describe sexual things make me suspect they are or have been as guilty as those they complain about.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The new Christian religion appeared to give Paul what Judaism could not, the power to overcome the homosexuality he felt a need to overcome.

Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

From here on I started to consider translating "lusts" as meaning "homosexual desires" in Paul's mind concerning himself. Perhaps he's encouraging himself as much or more than he's encouraging the Roman saints.

Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Although he talks elsewhere of several different members of the body (none of them sexual) in his analogy of the church, I wonder if he's thinking specifically of his own genitalia.

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Perhaps he's suffering from repressed homosexuality.

Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Although I'm homosexual, I consider it evil. I would like to have sex with men, but I don't. I hate being celebate, but that's what I do.

Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

I think it's right to prohibit homosexuality and be celebate.

Rom 7:22, 23 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

He loves the religious law, but by nature he's homosexual. It's a terrible struggle fighting between his natural desire (in his sexual members) and the law which is in his mind. Men tend to think of their penis as having a "mind of its own".

Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I'm miserable. I can't get rid of my homosexual urges which cause me to transgress the law and become dead spiritually.

Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

If I think about Christ, my penis tends to remain limp. Only focussing on Christ has succeeded in helping me to overcome my sexual urges.

Of course this is speculation, but it would be ironic if it were true that the Christian religion that has repressed sexuality and homosexuality as much as it has was most promoted by a homosexual.

> . . . Paul had specific reasons for not going
> into the life of the historical Jesus. . .

You made some reasonable points here. I would like to know what really happened. Wouldn't you?

>> Rom. 2: 7 For if the truth of God hath more
>> abounded through my lie unto his glory; why
>> yet am I also judged as a sinner?

> This scripture should be Rom. 3:7. In addition,
> it is completely quoted out of context (no
> surprise from the attitude of the writer). Here
> is a better translation (New International
> versus the Old King James written over 5
> centuries ago):

> . . . Someone might argue, 'If my falsehood
> enhances God's truthfulness and so increases
> his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?

Thanks for correcting the reference. It shows you obviously checked my sources. I respect that.

It's only taken out of context if my interpretation is wrong, isn't that right?

Is the New International a new translation or a new interpretation? I can see your new international translators adding words like "someone might argue" that weren't there originally but help to clarify their interpretation of what Paul really meant (or why did the King James translators not include any part of those words?). Of course, Paul couldn't be admitting he lied, could he? The Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons felt like they could change scriptural wording to suit their interpretation as well. What does the Greek or whatever original actually say?

> Reading these verses you'll see that Paul
> wasn't admitting to lying, but was asking
> whether living a false lifestyle was
> contributing to God's saving action in the
> world and therefore a good thing. Obviously
> this has nothing to do with the bizarre
> interpretation fostered by Sheler.

"Bizarre" only because few can see it as being reasonable.

It's funny to me how I can see myself making your same arguments a few years ago.

> This is known as the logical fallacy of
> extended analogy.

(Trying to make Paul H. Dunn's "white" lies an analogy to Apostle Paul's).

Maybe you're right. Religious people don't lie or exaggerate their stories for their religion do they? Godfearing people by definition can't be liars.

>> If Saul / Paul believed Jesus really
>> resurrected, but needed to make up some things
>> to help convince others, maybe he wouldn't
>> think it was so bad. God would justify him, so
>> he thought.

> We can imagine all sorts of things, but it
> seems that the Sheler just has a problem
> accepting that other people are honest until
> proven otherwise.

Do you tend to automatically trust people who believe in a reanimated corpse and the imminent return of the same to the Earth in great power to destroy all wickedness? I tend to consider outrageous claims like this sufficient reason to consider their other statements unreliable.

Theists must be more gullible than atheists are. Utah is one of the most successful scam areas of the U.S. partly because of the tendency of Mormons to readily accept as honest those who claim to be Mormons.

>> Gal 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from
>> heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than
>> that which we have preached unto you, let him
>> be accursed." In other words, the first story
>> holds. It can't be changed. I suppose if even
>> God came down to correct the mistake the
>> saints were supposed to ignore Him.

> It means that once you found truth don't let it
> go. I won't argue that we should question truth
> (as I believe we should), but once we decide
> something is true we shouldn't back down from
> supporting it.

What if Paul or an angel or God comes afterward and tells you what Paul said originally was wrong?

>> 1 Tim 6:20 "O Timothy, keep that which is
>> committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and
>> vain babblings, and oppositions of science
>> falsely so called:" Even if science
>> contradicts you, ignore it. It's not really
>> science, so claimed Paul.

> The statement clearly states science falsely
> called (and I won't even go into the
> translations). If anything, the statement as
> it stated literally supports true science (of
> course translational interpretations remove
> this far from a topic of how to interpret 21st
> century science).

To my Mormon friends, true science doesn't contradict Mormonism, by definition. I can see Catholicism having the same attitude. If science says the world is round and orbits the Sun which contradicts the Bible, then it's not true science, right! This way Mormons can accept DNA research into their ancestors but ignore DNA evidence disproving the Israelite origin of the American Indians as taught by the Book of Mormon.

"Selective science" is all religious people think they need to accept. Do you similarly pick and choose which scientific truths to accept based on how closely it correlates with your religious views rather than how closely it is supported by experimentation?

>> I've come to be especially skeptical when
>> someone emphasizes things like "This is a true
>> story", "I'm not lying", "This isn't a fable".
>> I tend to ask, "Why do you feel the need to
>> emphasize this. Is there an especially good
>> reason you know of that I should be doubting
>> you?"

> This is silly. When something is hard to
> believe because of its surprising conclusions,
> one will often say "this is true, I'm not
> kidding...".

I used to be as unskeptical of stories I was told until I came to conclude that many many stories circulating were exaggerations or outright fabrications. I found that true stories didn't include the "you won't believe this but it's true" preface as often as the exaggerated or fabricated ones did. I found the more educated people who expected to be believed avoided adding these kinds of qualifications.

I've come to conclude that when someone kids someone else with words like "You're ugly" or "you're stupid" and then says "just kidding" what they really mean is "I really think you're ugly or stupid, but I don't want you to react too badly to my words". I have found that what people say in jest is largely how they really feel.

Is there anyone out there with anything to add to this? Do you believe adding these kinds of statements tends to add to or distract from the credibility of a story? Does it affect how likely you are to believe the story? I seem to be thinking now of Richard. My conclusion about what people meant when they said they were "kidding" sounds similar to his kinds of experiences.

>> The apostles may have become martyrs for their
>> belief in the resurrection of Jesus, but may
>> have known that the Gospel accounts were
>> fabrications.

> And the moon may turn purple tomorrow, who
> cares what they knew or didn't know when we
> can't possibly know either way?

I take it you think it's as likely that the moon will turn purple that the Apostles fabricated the life of Christ. Mormons believe you can pray and get an answer to questions like this. Evidently you don't agree. What you really seem to be saying is "you can't possibly prove that the apostles lied so it's ok for me to retain my belief in their words."

Although I appreciate your reply, I don't think your arguments adequately discount the unconventional homosexual speculation about Paul. Of course maybe he wasn't homosexual, perhaps he was a chauvinist repressed heterosexual. If people had accepted his advice to be celebate Christianity probably would have died out after one generation and our "God and Science" debate would not include anything from the New Testament.

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