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Speculation Isn't Good Enough For Scholars

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Posted by Harvey on April 17, 2001 20:46:49 UTC

John,

I think speculation is a great tool to fuel imagination and sometimes even direct our efforts toward more productive ends. However, when speculation is confused with scholarly work, then it becomes a distraction.

Your reading into so much of the words of Paul that it is perhaps difficult to see the full degree that speculation can taint your objectiveness. Personally, I don't know if Paul was gay. Maybe he attended gay parades and marched on all the roads that led to Rome dressed as Cleopatra, I have no idea. The important issue is that unless there is very strong evidence to suggest it (I mean hard physical evidence), there is no reason to jump to that conclusion. From what I can tell of Paul he was sickened by his past deed of persecuting Christians, and not living up to his belief in a pure God and pure life giving God.

One of the strongest attractions of Christianity is this appeal of being saved by this pure being that loves you regardless of your actions. This is one of the factors that makes the hero myth such a strong and continually active myth in cultures. Christianity, through the words of Paul, have brought that to one of its highest points by saying that God loves us so much that he even allowed his son to die for us - and, worse, our evil deeds is what killed him. Now, maybe that's ridiculous in our age of quantum electrodynamics and zero point energy, but that's what this religion (and specifically Paul) was focused. If there is some underlying sexual situation for Paul (whether it by homosexuality, masturbation, S&M, etc.) is not going to be clear from his writings as we currently have them on record. If that were the case, then we might as well start believing in alien abductions, big foot, and every other pseudoscience that has possibly more evidence for such endless speculations.

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