( for or for )
"Bad News Paul"
feature the good news of Jesus
for all kinds of needy people,
Paul's epistles contain
a lot of bad news for the "have nots",
i.e. Jews, slaves, women, the poor and
gays; but good news for some in power.
See Part Two for the attacks of "St. Paul" |
on Jews, gays, and the poor;
Part Three : Conservative faith
is actually "Paulianity", not Christianity.
Wasn't Paul of Tarsus
As we show in great depth at our LiberalvsConservative.Org 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.
|"God's Word" was used to |
enslave millions in America's "Bible belt" :
"Let the gentleman go to revelation to learn the decree of God, let him go to the Bible. I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to (the book of) Revelation. Slavery existed then in the earliest ages and among the chosen people of God; and in revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testaments, in the prophecies, psalms, and (especially) the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized and sanctioned everywhere."
President of the Confederate States of America
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Frederick Douglass was an extraordinary man, who not only managed to throw off the shackles of slavery but went far beyond the conventional wisdom of his enslavers. In his autobiography, he contrasted the Christianity that characterised America's Southern "Bible Belt", and the Christianity of Christ :
" I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation.
What I have said respecting and
against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the
slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible
reference to Christianity proper; for, between the
Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I
recognize the widest, possible difference–so wide, that
to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity
to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the
friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the
other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity
of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding,
women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical
Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but
the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land
Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers,
the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.
. . . I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cow skin (whip) during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions (of slaves) of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale (moral) pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families, – sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers, leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! all for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other–devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise."
" I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes–a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slave holders find the strongest protection. Where I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me... I... hate the corrupt, slave holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land."
– Frederick Douglass (After the Escape)
"As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property."
and Exodus 21:20, which adds:
"When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property."
So-called "Christian Conservatives" who desperately need some of the Bible's least important verses to hound homosexuals these days, are the worthy descendants of their predecessors, who used the Bible in the very same way to promote and defend slavery for hundreds of years. As Dr. Terrry Matthews explains so well in http://WhatWouldJesusThink.info/slavery&southernchurches.html, "The South felt it necessary to defend the Bible as inerrant truth, with no mixture of error because Southerners came to believe that anything that threatened to undermine the authority of scripture also undermined one of their best defenses of slavery.
One of the Southern "theologians", Robert Lewis Dabney, clearly described the deliberate nature of this strategy when he wrote in 1851: "Here is our policy then . . . to push the Bible argument continually, to drive Abolitionism to the wall, to compel it to assume an anti-Christian position." Like other Southerners, he felt that if the abolitionists could be made out to be attacking God's Word as well as slavery, their influence among the public could be limited. Another leading Southerner, James Henley Thornwell, went so far as to say that calling Slavery sinful was to reject the Bible in favor of a rationalistic mode of thought. And some Southern religious leaders who went so far as to attack the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Bill of Rights, as having sprung from the same infidel philosophy which bred abolitionism.
While conservative Southern Christians used the worst parts of the bible to justify human slavery, liberal Northern Christians used the best parts of the bible to fight for the abolition of slavery. They focused on the spirit and teachings of Jesus, and believed that the Golden Rule had superseded the ethic of the Old Testament. They saw scripture as a progressive revelation, and therefore gave greater weight to the New Testament teaching concerning the law of love.
On the other hand was the South, with its claim that slavery was divinely ordained. Here are some examples of the use that Southern clergy made of scriptural texts to prove their point, and to even insist that those who differed from them were denying the truthfulness of "God's Word" :
The Alabama Conference of the Methodist Church proclaimed in January, 1861: "African slavery is a wise, humane and righteous institution approved by God. "
The General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church boasted in 1864: "We have no hesitation in affirming that it is the peculiar mission of the southern church to conserve the institution of slavery and to make it a blessing to both master and slave." In an 1862 sermon at Savannah, GA, Episcopalian Bishop Elliott actually condemned opposition to slavery as "presumptuous interference with the will and ways of God."
On the other side, the abolitionist leader, William Lloyd Garrison said at the time, "It [slavery] has exercised absolute mastery over (a large part of) the American Church. With the Bible in their hands, her priesthood have attempted to prove that slavery came down from God out of heaven. They have become slaveholders and dealers in human flesh."
And the one time slave, Frederick Douglass, mourned "We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babies sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen, all for the glory of God and the good of souls. The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand.”
There is no merit to the Christian-conservative argument that most people in Paul's time viewed the enslavement of other human beings as normal.
Historians are now revealing that at the very time that Paul was publishing his epistles, the very pious Essenes, who were also known as the "Nazarenes" (perhaps because of a connection with Jesus of Nazareth), were dead-set against the practice of slavery. We weren't aware of these people until the discovery of many writings of theirs that became famous as "the Dead Sea Scrolls" in the late 20th century.
Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of the Essenes, wrote about them : "Least of all were any slaves to be found among them, for they saw in slavery a violation of the law of nature which made all people free."
George Lincoln Rockwell (March 9, 1918 – August 25, 1967) was the very racist founder of the American Nazi Party and a major figure in the National Socialist movement in post-war America and his beliefs and writings are still influential among White Nationalists and National Socialists today. In the wikipedia entry on him this interesting statement appears in the middle of the section on his ideological development : "In his later years, he would equate himself with Saint Paul and promoted Christian Identity, a racist sect, hoping to obtain conservative Christian support."
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. "
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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. Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” 2 But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 This I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. 9 But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. 10 To the married I give this command — not I but the Lord — that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say — I and not the Lord — that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife. (Since you didn't follow his advice to avoid marriage, now you deserve to suffer. )
"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."
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:
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!
"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."
"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 conditions he requires before recommending assistance 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)
"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 I 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."
"Christians" who have a dim view of sexuality, women and marriage owe that view to Paul of Tarsus, rather than to Jesus of Nazareth, 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,' [ I 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/ - no longer online - ]
There was an early Christian book called "The Acts of Paul and Thecla" in which Paul promoted total chastity as the only path to Heaven!
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 Rev. Lee Grady published a book called "Ten-Lies-Church-Tells-Women", I don't know if he dealt with the contrast between Paul & Jesus, honestly. I hope that someone who has read the book will inform me. [ See
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!
" Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning."
Unless the victims of these crimes had the foresight to have several witnesses on hand to observe the perpetration of the crimes against them, Jehovah's Witness say that God's Word proclaims that they are out of luck!!! See the very informative video :
See Part Two for the attacks of "St. Paul" |
on Jews, gays and the poor;
There is much more
where this came from at