Paul vs. Jesus (and James)

…or, Why today’s conservative “Christians” are so unchristian…

In the early decades following Jesus’ death, his followers remained a small, local sect. They retained their Jewish identify and, in fact, only Jews could be baptized as new followers, as “Christians.”

Although this nascent Christian movement was clearly a faction of Judaism, many Jews felt threatened by their challenges to the established orthodoxy and the many radical new doctrines that were taught. And this resulted in much persecution of Christians by some (but by no means all, nor even a majority) of the Jews.

One of the early persecutors was named Saul of Tarsus. He had the rare status of being both a Jew (the people conquered by the Romans) as well as being a Roman citizen. It is lost to history how he obtained such status; it is speculated that perhaps his father had saved the life of a Roman leader and was thus rewarded, or in some other way gained favor. In any case, as an orthodox Jew he was loyal to the traditional teachings, and as a Roman citizen of means he had the freedom (and documents) and the means to travel anywhere throughout the Roman Empire.

Subsequently, Saul claimed to have had a dramatic vision on the road to Damascus and claims to have miraculously converted to this new cult he had been persecuting, in which it was Saul who held the coats of those who stoned the martyred apostle Stephen (Acts 7:58; 22:20). To signify his new life, he renamed himself from “Saul” to “Paul.” Because of his education and status, Paul was very impressive to most of the founding Christians who were mostly uneducated fishermen and shepherds, such as Peter and John, who are described in Acts 4:13 as being “unlearned and ignorant” (King James), which was written by gospel-writer Luke, a presumably-educated physician. (A couple of notable exceptions are James, the brother of Jesus, and Matthew, the Publican. In addition to being educated, these are two of the New Testament writers who had lived closest to Jesus during his actual lifetime and ministry.)

Through the centuries, Paul has enjoyed widespread, uncritical adulation by those whose views are shaped by listening to others instead of thinking for themselves. In contrast, many independent-minded analyses of how Paul deals with Jesus’ teachings are much more ready to find fault with Paul. One of the most famous critcisms comes from Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a letter to William Short dated April 13, 1820, and repeated in a letter to James Smith dated December 8, 1822, that “Paul was … the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.” George Bernard Shaw, the English playwright, is widely quoted as having said: “…it would have been a better world if Paul had never been born.”

Despite his education and eloquence, which come through so clearly in his extensive writings (more prolific than any other Bible writer and fully one third of the New Testament), Paul manages to completely contradict and undermine the teachings he claims to have become converted to and becomes more a renegade than an “apostle.”

Why is it that Paul’s many letters (epistles) so consistently and repeatedly contradict and undermine the teachings attributed to Jesus? Perhaps this admitted persecutor of Christians found a more effective way to subvert the followers of Jesus. Perhaps he infiltrated their ranks and taught a doctrine that opposed Jesus, replacing Jesus’ selfless teaching of universal compassionate action with a selfish teaching of desire to gain a “free gift” of salvation based only on faith and completely devoid of any behavioral requirement or obedience to law, thus distracting us from the selfless teachings of Jesus.

It is impossible for us to look into the mind of a man long dead and determine his motives conclusively. Was he a sincere and loyal convert who simply misunderstood the teachings of his new master, or did he have a more sinister intent to subert and undermine the teachings of him who he claimed to be the messianic savior? We’ll never know. What we can say with certainty, however, is that after examining the legacy of writing he left — more than any other writer in the Bible — that for whatever reason, intentional or a great historical misunderstanding, the message he left opposed and undermined that of the titular messiah (Jesus the “Christ”) to whom he claimed obeisance. The evidence becomes apparent when we compare the words of Paul side by side with those attributed to Jesus (who left no writings of his own) and to the other followers closest to Jesus, such as his brother James.

Let’s examine the record:

Faith vs. Works

On the critical religious matter of just what it takes to attain salvation, what Jesus teaches is very different than what is written in the words of the renegade “apostle” Paul.

While Paul teaches a salvation based solely on faith and not one’s deeds, Jesus reportedly teaches the opposte: that behavioral requirements (works/ deeds), rooted in an internal change of spiritual growth within the person (not external or apart from the person, though the gift of teaching and techniques to achieve this personal change are a gift of grace not earned or deserved by us, but requiring actions [deeds] to implement), are integral to salvation. While perhaps it is not possible for us to “earn” the “free gift” that Jesus did give — a teaching of the universal compassionate love by which the evil within us can be transformed into a more holy kindness of love — Jesus clearly includes a behavioral component to his requirements for “salvation.” While he does not say that this satisfies any “debt,” he still requires it; perhaps he is demanding merely a small partial “payment” as a gesture of “good faith.” (In fact, James suggests this by his comments in James 2:26, that we demonstrate our faith — if it is genuine — by our deeds.)

Some will say that puny mortals can never perform enough good behavior to “earn” or “merit” salvation based on the value of their deeds — that the attempts at human righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Aside from the fact that this simply contradicts Jesus, the point is not whether or not our puny mortal attempts at righteousness have intrinsic value or not. Just as a child may offer its parents an awkwardly-drawn piece of art, which likely holds little real artistic merit (in terms of art critics it might be as “filthy rags”), still the parents sincerely and genuinely cherish such efforts. It may not “merit” winning any serious art award and may be able to “earn” very little, but loving parents accept it for its true and lasting value.

Why would a loving god, as a more perfect spiritual father, not be able to give even greater acceptance, even of “filthy rags,” if sincerely offered as the best effort … especially if he has said that he would do so? To argue against that is to join Paul in contradicting the teachings of Jesus.

In his first public teaching (the Sermon on the Mount) Jesus introduces a bold new concept, not only that we should love friends and neighbors, but our enemies as well.

When asked by a lawyer what the most important commandment in the law was, Jesus answered (as reported in Matt 22:36-40 and Luke 10:25-37) with references from the Old Testament, that the greatest law was to love god (see Deut 6:5) and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself (see Lev 19:18). In the Luke text, the lawyer specifically asks what is necessary for eternal life (verse 25) and after Jesus references the two great commandments, he says “This do and you will live” (verse 28) — showing clearly that salvation is related to works/deeds/ actions, however important faith might be to motivating such behavior. Note further, that in the Luke version, this was illustrated by an example, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was used to define “neighbor” very broadly, to include enemies. The Samaritan is the one who exemplifies this broad definition, and who provides the example of one who is saved by their compassionate actions toward their enemy. Yet the Samaritan is not even a believer, not one having “faith” and not one who has accepted Jesus as savior, yet this is who Jesus chooses as the example of one who gains eternal life, which is what the lawyer specifically asked.

Another time during his ministry, Jesus taught that the people who would go to heaven (be saved) must be as little children (Matt 18:4-5; 19:14; Mark 9:36-37; 10:14-15; Luke 18:15-17), while Paul wrote that maturity demands us to forsake the things of childhood (I Cor 13:11). Thus, while Jesus teaches us that the kingdom of heaven will be filled with those who lived their lives in active compassion and childlike innocence, Paul envisions a heaven of crusty, serious “mature” grouches who merely have to profess “acceptance” of Jesus without ever actually performing a single kind, compassionate, cheerful or childishly playful deed.

In his last public teaching, Matt. 25:31-45, Jesus describes the final judgment as being based solely on behavioral responses to internalized compassion. And Jesus makes it very clear that those who do express universal compassion in behavioral action will be saved, and those who do not will not be saved. Period. There is no other qualification.

As noted earlier, in my separate article elsewhere on this site (which can be found at: Mother Teresa  juxtaposed these two messages (the “great commandments” and that what we do to “the least of these” is done to God) to postulate that our actions toward “the least of these” are actually done unto god, which she took very literally, and asserted that we fulfill the first commandment by obedience to the second — which motivated her to give up a well-to-do life in Albania, and search to find whoever was the ultimate “least of these” in the world, which she found first on the streets of Calcutta, India, and later in missions throughout the world.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, a German Jew who survived the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning of rare but remarkable examples of men in the concentration camps who, dying of hunger, still gave comfort, along with their last crusts of bread, to their fellow sufferers to alleviate their suffering. Even torture and extreme deprivation could not cause them to abandon their deeply-felt compassion.

[For those seeking to emulate this kind of high-level compassion in their own lives, the best non-theocentric (which can therefore be appreciated both believers and non-believers alike) I have found for teaching HOW TO cultivate this degree of compassion — to love enemies, turn the other cheek and incorporate a cheerful kind of compassion even under conditions of extreme adversity — and incorporate it even with difficult people (without getting taken advantage of), and integrate these cherished values with our personal goals and desires and the practical, everyday needs of our daily lives, is the book Extro•Dynamics, by Douglas Dunn. See the website at:]

But those prisoners described by Frankl were Jewish. They haven’t confessed Jesus as their savior. Paul would consign them to hell (eternal torture — “fireboarding”? — worse than the universally condemned cruelty of waterboarding at Guantánamo Bay or Abu Ghraib) for even the slightest infraction) while Jesus would embrace them and count them among His sheep. The same thing also applies to the many Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Pagans who express deep compassion in their lives who Jesus’ teaching welcomes into Eternal Glory, but who Paul consigns to eternal flames of Hell.  Paul subverts Jesus’ joyful teaching of love and compassion and replaces it with a vision of eternal harshness and cruelty.

And, speaking of hell, we need to consider the very concept of “hell” — of eternal flames burning the flesh painfully but never consuming it, just burning painfully forever, never ever allowing the victim to be put out of his misery. Civilized societies around the world condemn torture even for the most heinous acts. To believe that a loving, compassionate god would consign people to the eternal torture of hell just because, without having been exposed to any direct evidence, and perhaps absent even the opportunity to have heard of him, they did not believe in him during this mortal lifetime. Try to imagine the sweetest, kindest, most loving and most Christ-like person you know. Do you think they rise to the level of God’s own compassion? Do you think, just maybe, God is even more compassionate and loving? Can you envision this sweet, loving person being the one to pour fuel over the body of another conscious human person, and then lighting the match and personally igniting the painful flames of torture? And then letting it run on? Forever? Do you really believe a “loving” deity could do this?

And for what heinous crime? Murder? Torture? Rape? Kidnapping? All of the above? No. It is merely because someone simply didn’t “believe.” Didn’t join the team. Even if they lived in deepest Africa hundreds of years before Jesus was born and never even had a chance to hear about him. This is a demand for pure primitive tribal affinity; nothing more, nothing less.

Please understand why I cannot believe in the silly nonsense of such a primitive, barbaric little deity fashioned by the primitive, tribalistic barbaric savages who invented him in their image.

Another issue must be considered when contemplating a theology of salvation based solely on belief in Jesus as the Savior and nothing else. Belief requires exposure; one cannot believe in something that one has never been exposed to. So what about those who were supposedly created by a God who is both just and merciful, but lived in a time or place when there would be absolutely no possible chance of ever being exposed to Jesus? Imagine an innocent child born in India, China or Africa 800 years before Jesus was born (or even 800 years afterward, for that matter). There would be absolutely no chance this child could ever be exposed to the opportunity of believing in Jesus or accepting him as personal savior. Again, Paul’s theology consigns such innocent children to hell, while (as noted previously) Jesus taught that of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4-5; 19:14; Mark 9:36-37; 10:14-15; Luke 18:15-17), while (as noted previously) Jesus taught that of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4-5; 19:14; Mark 9:36-37; 10:14-15; Luke 18:15-17). Is Paul’s doctrine of salvation only by faith, and consigning all others to eternal damnation, from the God of justice or mercy?

Even in John 3, the discourse to Nicodemus on salvation as a gift of grace, Jesus includes specific behavioral requirements (John 3:19-21). In any case, while some writings (other than Paul) may occasionally discuss faith as a separate topic (as with honesty, courage, etc.), no one (except Paul) ever states that salvation can occur with any of these virtues apart from works/deeds actions. This does not mean that, in teaching us the behavior of salvation that Jesus did not thus give us a free gift far beyond what we could ever earn, a gift of grace, but it does not mean that it was given entirely apart from specified behavioral conditions, as Paul says.

Occasionally, someone will bring up the case of the thief being crucified alongside Jesus, and note that Jesus said to him in Luke 23:43, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The claim is that Jesus granted salvation solely on his profession of support for the dying Jesus. However, we do not know what past aspects of character or behavior Jesus took into consideration that preceded the cross. Perhaps if one is hanging on a cross, the utterance of a word of encouragement to one in similar straits — truly humbled to the status of “least of these” — might be the most you can do. But again, we don’t know why the thief was on the cross. Perhaps he had gotten caught stealing a loaf of bread from a Roman Centurion who had taken it from an impoverished widow, and the “thief” was trying to return it to its rightful owner. The text does not say, so I draw no conclusions, as are those who are quick to jump to conclusions about details not in the passage.

In any case, even if one accepted such an interpretation, it would simply be yet another Bible contradiction in addition to those already provided, since it directly opposes those verses I have cited in which Jesus clearly states that salvation is based on universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds, but without mentioning faith or belief at all.

All of the gospels are replete with statements of behavioral obligation that never once make any statement remotely similar to Paul that the faith and grace that engender salvation occur “apart from” obedience, works or deeds.

Paul vs. James

Paul teaches that the gift of salvation through grace occurs apart from any behavioral requirement: Romans 3:28: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Paul reiterates this position in: Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5 — the first Bible writer to make the claim that salvation occurs apart from actions, which Paul repeatedly emphasizes.

Paul is specifically rebutted by the later writing of James (brother of Jesus) who offers one of the most striking and dramatic direct contradictions, in James 2:24, choosing vocabulary and syntax that specifically contradicts Paul’s wording in Romans 3:28 in both content and construction:

Here are the two passages, shown in various translations:

Romans 3:28 (Paul)

KJV: a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

RSV: a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Today’s English Version: a person is put right with god only through faith, and not by doing what the Law commands.

NIV: a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

James 2:24 (James’ rebuttal)

KJV: by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

RSV: a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Today’s English Version: it is by his actions that a person is put right with god, and not by his faith alone.

NIV: a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Clearly, James seems to be saying exactly the opposite of what Paul says. The key words here, in both passages, are justified (or, in Today’s English, “put right with God”), works/deeds/actions (or, in NIV, “observing the law”), and faith (same in all versions of both passages). Not only does James echo the same words, in the same parallel structure, but he even cites exactly the same example and scriptural reference! The passage from Paul comes near the end of the third chapter of Romans; immediately after that, opening up the fourth chapter, Paul cites the example of Abraham, and quotes from Genesis 15:6, and says it was Abrham’s faith, not his works, that justified him (Romans 4:1-3). In James 2:21-24 (the same passage noted above), Paul’s very example and scriptural reference are used against him, but with the opposite (and contradictory) conclusion, that Abraham was justified by the combination of faith with works. James’ use of the same examples, quotes from the same Old Testament verse (Gen. 15:6) using the same words, and parallel structure clearly suggest that this was an intentional reply/rebuttal to Paul.

Examining the original texts: If anyone wants to suggest that, perhaps, the two passages have different root words in the original texts that just happened to pick up similar English equivalents by all these translators, then maybe we should look at the Greek source texts.

The same Greek word dikaioo is used by both Paul AND James for the term justification (or “put right with God”) in both passages. While the Today’s English Version does use a different term in their English translation, at least they apply it consistently in both Romans and James.

The same Greek word ergon is used by both Paul and James for the term variously translated as works, deeds, actions or “doing.” While English translators haven’t agreed on the best term, both Paul and James were talking about the same thing. And, with the exception of the NIV, the translators of each version at least are consistent in their own usages between Paul and James. I wonder, however, about the objectivity of the NIV — one of the most popular texts among conservative Christians — in choosing to change the wording used between Paul and James in a way that subtly changes the connotation of Paul to be less in contradiction to James.

The same Greek word pistis is used by both Paul and James for the word that all versions of both passages translated as “faith.” James is clearly rebutting Paul’s scandalous undermining of Jesus’ teachings.

Differences? Some have tried to explain these differences by saying that Paul and James had different meanings for their words “justification,” “faith” and “works/deeds.” Yet the simple fact remains they used the same words, in the same order and same context, even illustrated with the same example of Abraham and Isaac and the same scriptural citation from Genesis 15:6 (in reference to content; chapter and verse divisions had not yet been compiled).

On several occasions, attention has been called to one difference in the wording of Paul and James. While they use the same words, in the same context and the same order, when talking about the “works/deeds” Paul adds the phrase “of the law” while James does not. Some have argued that this means Paul is talking about something different. Not so.

Paul’s use of that phrase is a restrictive modifying clause to limit the scope of his reference. By omitting it, James at the very least accepts everything in Paul’s more restrictive context, broadened to include additional contexts. But earlier in the same chapter (James 2), just before the verse in question and his reference to Paul’s example of Abraham and Isaac, James discusses behavior (2:8-13) in very specific in terms of deeds of the Law. Aside from the possibility of simply broadening the more narrow focus of Paul, what seems more likely in context is that James does not need to say “of the law” since he has already made it clear a few verses before that he is talking about “deeds of the law.”

In fact, the only credible scenario is that James is clearly rebutting Paul’s scandalous undermining of Jesus’ teachings.

Paul is not only rebutted by James in the examples above, but also admits having some problems getting along with Peter, admitting in Galatians 2:11: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

In stark contrast to Paul’s teaching of salvation by faith apart from behavioral manifestations, Jesus (Matt. 7:21-27), states unequivocally that the mere profession of accepting him is not enough, but that such a profession must be backed up by deeds. Jesus teaches a salvation of universal compassionate love expressed in action. It is the centerpiece of everything he taught. And Jesus himself consistently expressed love and closeness to sinners, lepers, tax collectors and other outcasts, while saving his rare words of harshness and anger for the Pharisees and Sadducees — the pompous, self-righteous elite of the established religious orthodoxy.

But what about when Paul also writes of compassion? Yes, it is true that there are a number of passages from Paul in praise of universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds and, of course, these do not contradict Jesus.  In particular, I Corinthians 13 is one of the most inspirational passages on charitable compassionate (agape) love in all of literature. I have quoted it often, and have cited it to show that, while Paul contradicts Jesus repeatedly, and on key points of doctrine such as how people come to eternal salvation, he does not always contradict Jesus on everything, and it has never been my position that he did.

Jesus and Paul agreed on quite a few things: the sun rises in the east; breathing air is good for humans, and compassionate love expressed in deeds is good.

But here is the contradictory difference on that last one, which is especially amplified by Jesus’ brother James’ stunningly direct rebuttal against Paul in James chapter 2:

Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).

Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).

The Law of Moses

Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who always upheld the Law of Moses. In his first public teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, he made it very clear in Matt. 5:18-19: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (“jot or tittle” in modern translations is “not one iota nor one dot”.) Have heaven and earth passed away? Have all the prophecies, including those of the last days, been fulfilled?

Even some of the occasions when Jesus seems to add to the Law or teach in new and different ways, he goes to great lengths to show that it is based on the Law. For example, when this rabbi asked by a “lawyer” (one versed in the Law of Moses) what was the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus turns the question back to him and asks what is in the Law, and from that extrapolates his great commandments to Love God (from Deut 6:5) and Love Neighbor as Self (from Lev. 19:18) which was clearly the centerpiece of his ministry and his doctrine of active love and compassion for all.

Paul, on the other hand, wants to throw out the Law of Moses! Romans 3:19-21: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” [Emphasis added]

And even more explicitly, Paul states in Romans 6:14, that “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Additionally, when Paul denounces the need for compassionate actions, or which Jesus and others spoke so much, in Romans 3:27-28 and Galatians 2:16, he also specifically mentions which works: that obedience to the Law is what is not required, contrary to Jesus’ statements.

Other Problems with Paul

Manner of Worship: Jesus and Paul left contradictory legacies as to the manner in which worship should be conducted.

Jesus preached as an itinerant wanderer, informally to locals he encountered in his travels. Usually these were small groups, though he did encounter the occasional large crowd. Jesus always prayed privately, and taught his followers to do the same. In fact, he specifically prohibited public prayer and public displays of worship (Matt. 6:1-18). In fact, in verses 5 and 6, Jesus explicitly states, “when thou prayest, thou shalt not…” do so publicly in the synagouges or on the street corners. The fact that he belabored this point so thoroughly in his Sermon on the Mount, his first and greatest public teaching, almost suggest a premonition that others would follow to undermine and contradict him. Jesus did not organize any great church. He led a small, itinerant band of traveling wanderers from town to town. The closest he came to establishing any kind of authority was in Matt. 16:18, when he designated an itinerant fisherman named Simon to become “Peter” the “rock” upon which his church would be founded.

Paul, in contrast, organized a great system of churches. The story of Acts is the story of Paul traveling throughout the known world, establishing great churches. His epistles, which comprise the greatest single portion of the New Testament, about a third of it, were written to maintain administrative control of this great ecclesiastical network and to standardize its doctrines, not based on the teachings of Jesus, but on his own contradictory theology.

As with so many other issues, today’s modern evangelical Christians fight for their right to expropriate public facilities for their worship and offer great churches with elaborate public worship rituals, once again coming down on the side of Paul and repudiating the simple teachings of the founder they accept, once again, in name only.

Dealing with sinners: Jesus ministered to the sinners, with no reluctance to engage adulterers, prostitutes, publicans, tax collectors, lepers, or any other “unclean” person (the whole need not a physician; a church is a hospital for sinners rather than a showcase for saints). This, of course, completely devastates the argument that god cannot be in the presence of sin by anyone who believes Jesus was god. Paul contradicts Jesus in 1Cor 5:11: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

Feeding the poor: Jesus taught in Matt 25:31-46 that our final salvation and judgment would be based in large part on our willingness to feed the poor. Jesus further emphasizes the importance of feeding the poor, apart from salvation issues, repeatedly throughout his ministry (Matt 19:21; Matt: 25:31-46; Matt 26:9; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22; John 12:6). Jesus never, not once, imposes any qualification or conditional limitation on this requirement. Paul contradicts this: 2Thess 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Does this mean that if poor people are unemployed, we should turn them away from any charity?

Slavery: When the Southerners in our country sought to defend slavery, they called upon Paul to back them up, citing Ephesians 6:5 and Titus 2:9-10, in which Paul exhorts slaves to obey their masters, yet Paul never even once condemned this evil that was so widely practiced in his time. Here, Paul again contradicts Jesus, who exalted the “least of these” (Matt 25:31-46) and elevated the servants above masters (Matt 20:27 and 23:11; and Mark 9:35 & 10:44).

Equality for Women: Paul was very anti-woman. He ordered that they not be allowed to speak in the churches (1Cor 14:34-45) and that they stay home and take care of the kids (1Timothy 5:14), and that wives should be submissive to the mastery of their husbands (Ephesians 2:12; 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18-19).

This, of course, is in direct opposition to Jesus, who elevated women — even women of lowly status such as prostitutes, Samaritans (woman by the well), and everyday women such as Mary and Martha — to a degree unprecedented for that time. Note that in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus even chastises Martha for accepting a traditional woman’s role, while he praises her sister Mary for choosing the “better part” of more active participation. This was obviously recognized by the women of that time, as Luke 8:2-3 lists the names of a number of prominent women of means who provided economic support for Jesus’ ministry.

Homosexuals: The only passage in the New Testament offered as evidence against equal rights for homosexuals is from Paul (Romans 1:24-27). Jesus himself never uttered a single word against ` relationships and, given his affinity for sinners, lepers, tax collectors, and other outcasts (the “least of these”), it is likely that in our modern times it would be Jesus who would be embracing the homosexuals rejected by those who claim to be his followers. Just as it was Paul’s words that were held up in the mid-1800’s to justify slavery, so Paul’s words today are still used to persecute others.

There has been a popular piece that has been circulated among many Christian churches and publications, using a description of Paul and his background (without identifying him) on a résumé applying for a position as a pastor and ask if you would hire him. After turning him down, the punch line is that, just knowing data and not identity, you have just rejected the Apostle Paul. The message is supposed to be about judging others but, there is another message: knowing what we do know about Paul, many Christians are inclined to find him rather unsavory. Those who claim to take upon them the name of Jesus should carefully examine Paul’s undermining of Jesus’ message and his many contradictions of Jesus and the other apostles, as well as the plain nonsense of his bloody atonement theory of human sacrifice, and then decide if they want to be Christians or Paulians.

Punishment for Adam’s sin

Paul is the one who introduces the concept of original sin and the “inheritance” of sin, in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Why are we, in any way whatsoever, held “responsible” for the sins of Adam and Eve? How can a person be “guilty” of something they didn’t do, which in fact was done thousands of years before they were even conceived? How can there be an “inherited” moral flaw. Morality is a matter of “right and wrong,” not a physical, tangible object. In any case, how can you be responsible for something you had nothing to do with?

If my father and mother do something wrong, why do I get punished for that? What do their wrongs have to do with my sins? Talk about unfair!

I cannot imagine that a god could be called “just” who allows people to be punished for something they have no control over: the way they were born; i.e., the way god created them. Is sin a matter of moral character, or a birth defect? Should babies born with birth defects be punished? Should we require abortions for fetuses born deformed?

It is interesting to note that while Paul invents a theology of atonement based on the offering of Jesus as a human sacrifice for sin, Jesus explicitly rejects this doctrine. The gospel according to Matthew twice, in Matt 9:13 and Matt 12:7, states that Jesus said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (KJV). More modern translations, such as the RSV and NIV, update the archaic meaning of the word “will” and translate Jesus’ statements in both verses as: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (emphasis added). This could not be a more explicit rejection of Paul’s later teaching.

Why Do People Follow Paul?

I have been asked occasionally why I believe so many people are willing to follow Paul. My thoughts boil down to basically two reasons:

1. It is the easy way. Jesus requires you to actually transform your character and put it into action. Paul says, “Just have faith and believe” and you get a free gift, without ever having to actually DO anything — something for nothing; the easy way out; the lazy man’s way to salvation; the free ride.

2. As has been noted previously, Paul was wealthy, educated, and had the rare status of being both a Jew and a Roman citizen, affording him both the means and papers with which to travel. He was able to travel widely, throughout the entire Roman empire, converting gullible victims by the thousands, giving him extraordinary power, and all of them had their interpretation of what Jesus taught coming by way of Paul’s version, so it gained traction early.

The doctrine of salvation by atonement through the bloody human sacrifice of a sinless substitute originates from Paul. It is fundamentally contradictory to the key principles taught by Jesus and his brother, James, yet it has become the core principle upon which evangelical Christian theology is founded. This doctrine has its own logical flaws and errors and merits further in-depth analysis and scrutiny, in the next article…

Important notice:

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Paul contradicted Jesus on many key points

Paul contradicted Jesus on many key points


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About Danizier

Be wise. Be wild. Care for others. Love your neighbor as yourself. The mysteries of the universe are not beyond your grasp.

Posted on April 22, 2011, in Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 367 Comments.

  1. I showed a Christian biblical proof that Faith is the way to heaven is false but they ignored all that and continue to believe salvation is through believing in Jesus as savior.

  2. I apologize for the misspellings and typos in my previous post. I didn’t edit it carefully enough.

  3. I sense in your writing a deep frustration and pain. In you”About” section you state “But if I were to have an “epiphany,” come back to the faith, and offer responses to all the points I have raised, my god! What a welcome I would get! What an audience for books, speaking engagements, the return of the prodigal son, the one who can answer the critics…. you name it! It would be a pretty sweet life!”

    I will take you at your word and offer a possible solution to your delimmas. However, if understood it will likely raise a different series of questions. We do “see through a glass darkly”.

    I read you wonderings about why Jesus and Paul taught such different things. It is an honest observation it deserves and rational answer.

    First, I would note that I start with the belief that “all scripture is inspired”. I do not see the words of Paul as the words of a man without authority from God to speak. I believe Paul only spoke what he was given to speak from Jesus Himself. Therefore, the question is not really why did Paul teach differently from Jesus, but why did Jesus give Paul a different message that he gave to Peter and the other Apostles.

    The short answer lies in the rebuke that Stephen spoke to the leaders of Israel in Acts 7 and their reaction to his rebuke as he was emboldened by the Holy Spirit.

    The stoning of Stephen was Israel final act of rejection of God and His plan for their nation. According to prophesy this rebellion would be answered by God with judgement and God would openly and finally defeat His enemies. HOWEVER, God had kept to Himself and unrevealed response to their rebellion. GRACE!! Grace exhibited through a person that epitomized the rejection of the promised Messiah, SAUL.

    This Grace that was bestowed on undeserving Saul, also Paul, did not undo, cancel or nulify any of God’s previous promises to Israel. They will all be faithfully be fulfilled when He returns. But this period of Grace has delayed the fulfilling of those promises.

    I you have heard similar explanations for the apparent contradictions between Jesus, the twelve Apostles and Paul and rejected them, I have nothing more to offer. If you have not considered this proposal before I offer it as a possible solution. (However, I know that it will also raise other questions?) I short, the stoning a Stephen is a pivotal point in the unveiling of God’s plan and purposes and it has been woefully overlooked.

    Blessings in His Holy Name!

    • As noted in the article, this is a moderated blog and I seriously considered not approving this comment and sending you a private e-mail to explain the reason, but I decided to respond to your comments. (Note: those making comments are required to provide a valid e-mail, but these are never shared with anyone or made public in any way, and are only used [and very rarely] to provide private feedback to participants).

      This article is not about me. It is about the numerous direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James). Chapter and verse references, as well as citations to other qualified sources, are provided in support of each claim. The reason I was inclined not to approve this comment is that you do not actually address one single substantive (and substantiated) point in this article. Just stating that you disagree with me and that you find Paul to represent authority from god (with no basis for either disputing the material I have provided or supporting your opinions which seem to be backed up by nothing but feelings) is not a response to this article and, as I note elsewhere in these comments, I do insist that the comments in response to each article be responsive to that article.

      No, instead of responding to what is in the article, you want to try to make it personal, about me. Oh, I must have gotten my feelings hurt, or something like that, because you simply can’t imagine someone actually evaluating the evidence, weighing the facts, and coming to a conclusion that is out of step with your unsubstantiated feelings. In reality, as I note in my “about” section elsewhere on this site which describes my personal background and perspective, I was actually very comfortable in my erstwhile Christian upbringing, and coming to grips with conclusions that undermined every part of my personal, family and social life, was difficult and traumatic. Since you refer to that page, it is obvious you have seen it. THAT page is about me, my background and perspective. If you wish to respond at a personal level, that is the place to do it.

      Further, your comments about all scripture being inspired are more appropriate to my article explaining why the Bible is the work of fallible humans, not divine guidance, as it is filled with hundreds of direct internal contradictions that are provided, along with commands by god to commit vicious atrocities, factual errors not known to the primitive bronze age tribal society whence it originates as well as numerous specific, direct failed prophecies where an event was predicted to have occurred within a specific time period and the period elapsed without the prophecy being fulfilled. All are backed up by specific chapter and verse references. If you wish to respond to those specifics, not just emotional protests, then please direct your comments to the comments section for that article, at:

      Trying to make THIS article about me, when there is another one specifically for that purpose, will not be accepted, and any further comments in that regard will not be approved for public display. You are welcome to respond to personal observations on the “about” page, points about Bible inerrancy on the Bible page, or other subjects on the relevant pages. This comments section is only for comments germane to the examples I have provided of direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (with James).

    • The problem is the premise you start with “all scripture is inspired” I suppose you are quoting 2 Tim 3:16 Here the text can only apply to the Old Testament because as it was the only scripture available at the time. The New Testament had not been canonized and some of the books of the New Testament had not been writen. Therefore you cannot use “All scripture is inspired” to valadate your conclusions. Clearly the New Testement is not “Inspired”

      • You have entirely misunderstood my statements. I do not start with the premise that “all scripture is inspired,” I note it is a premise that others hold but which I find absurd.

        For an in-depth look at my views on the Bible, including its many direct internal contradictions, factual errors and atrocities supposedly commanded by god, please see my separate article on that subject elsewhere on this site, at:

        The article fully addresses 2 Timothy 3:16, including a much more in-depth presentation of the point you make about Paul not referring to his own writings for the reason you cite as well as the fact that Paul elsewhere explicitly acknowledges the imperfections of his own writings.

        • My comment was for DWB, I commented in the wrong spot. It is in reference to the post above DWB who stated that the premise.

          I fully agree with you on almost all of your points referring to scripture. I appreciate your candor and will be reading your writings to their full extent.

          Sorry for the misunderstanding.

        • If you roll the cursor over the top right corner of each comment, an option to “reply” shows up. Hit that button and you can reply to the specific comment rather than appearing as a separate new comment.

  4. You have written an impressive article and I basically agree with it. Perhaps you may like to check out my blog entitled “Why Paul Should Not Have Changed the Message of Jesus” at It is a short article which culminates in what I consider the most important reason why Paul should not have changed the message of Jesus, which is as follows:

    Not only does Paul’s doctrine change the message of Jesus, it actually hampers the path of salvation that Jesus is teaching us to follow. For how are we to transform our mind to one that truly loves our neighbor, while having to also accept that our neighbor is going to hell merely for a difference in beliefs? If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, it would be like having to accept that we ourselves are going to be tormented eternally. This is the most important reason why Paul should not have changed the message of Jesus.

  5. This is the problem with “scripture.” Paul’s writings were the earliest writings on the topic. How do we know the later writings (the synoptic gospels, etc.) were not written as a counterweight to Paul’s teachings? Why do we say Paul contradicts … when it clearly is the Gospels doing the contradicting? (I am no fan of Paul’s, I actually think the whole topic farcical, but I am intrigued with the way people think about these things.)

    • Steve — I don’t dispute your facts about the chronology of scripture. But the supposedly “Christian” faith is supposedly centered around Jesus and, no matter who wrote first, the chronology of the events they are supposedly writing about has Jesus appearing first and providing the core teachings of ethics and doctrine on which the faith is supposed to be based. So Jesus comes first and has primacy as to the centrality of the role.

      The point is that, regardless of when the accounts were written, that there are contradictions between Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James, who clearly writes after Paul). And since Jesus is supposed to have come first, and has the primary role, we say that Paul is contradicting the namesake he claims to be advocating on behalf of.

    • In contradicting Paul, the gospel’s central purpose is to present an authoritative biographical account of the life and teachings of Jesus. The gospels were based on multiply attested written or oral records of Christ’s mission. Paul’s version is based on his own subjective voices and visions.
      But Paul’s offer of a “free gift” of salvation was a much easier sell than the Judaic demand for justice and compassion that the gospels proclaim and thus his version prevailed.

      • The issue is much more complicated than that. Jewish-Christianity was always inherently anti-Judaic in nature.

        • Broad statements not based on anything in the article and not providing any basis for the claims made are not relevant. Jewish-Christianity was not always anti-Judaic in nature since Jesus and his earliest followers were not only Jews but, prior to Paul, required conversion to Judaism as a pre-requirement for becoming a Christian.

      • Wholeheartedly agree ..much cheaper too!

    • The four Gospels never contradicts the Old Testment, but Paul´s teachings do it very often.

  6. paul was decieved by satan….of satan had a book its 2 main doctrines would have been 1 god is not one 2 good deeds are like filthy rags…..these were the main doctrines of paul….be aware oy vey

    • Satan is a mythical creature invented by the Sumerians and Babylons. The concept of Satan was completely unknown to the Hebrews prior to their Babylonian captivity.

      There is no mention of Satan (or any kind of devil) whatsoever in any of the books of the Old Testament prior to the Babylonian captivity, where the Hebrews learned the new and exotic mythology from their conquerors.

      That talking snake in the magic garden? It is not Satan. It is a serpent. Just a serpent. No mention of any devil or Satan or anything remotely similar to that until much later, applied retroactively, in later books of the Bible written after the Babylonian captivity.

      Paul was not deceived by Satan, a mythical, nonexistent being.

      He was not deceived.
      He was the deceiver.

  7. Reblogged this on randomthoughts and commented:
    As a student of human nature i have always wondered how people could call them selves Christians and look away when confronted with the inhumanities of our world. Ebola crisis in Africa, genocide in Africa, starving children around the world and death by execution just to name a few.

  8. This is a wonderful article with many revolutionary concepts for Christians (and others) to contemplate and research.
    It is useful to understand that the writings of Paul must be understood, not as words to be idolized as “the holy, inerrant word of God”, but as important writings of one of the early church leaders. It IS good to understand that his writings can be criticized and debated, in light of the more important words of Christ and the gospels.
    After all, Paul never understood that he was writing ‘the Bible’ at all. He was writing letters to various groups and individuals, in which he openly states that some of it is only his opinion, and is NOT meant to be taken as words from God. He did claim that his prophetic utterances were the “word of the Lord”, but this wasn’t meant to mean that all of his writings were to be ‘cannonized’ into a bible. The church existed for hundreds of years without an official canon of writings at all, and over a thousand years without any mass-printings of a ‘Bible’. He also spoke of others in the church who could speak being guided by the Holy Spirit, and the office of the prophets was established by Paul as an ongoing thing, with no discontinuation of divine guidance to be made after the bible was complete, as is taught by the modern protestant church.
    However, I think it’s important that we don’t go so far as to view Paul as some sort of charlatan, or false prophet, nor as a corrupter of the teachings of Christ. He was simply a man who was inspired by God, as an apostle; but nevertheless he was imperfect, as are all men, and subject to make mistakes and mis-statements. But if Paul was completely wrong, and not to be trusted, we are all on shaky ground, by claiming to be Christians, or in thinking that we can be “saved” at all, in any sense of the word.
    I would go as far as to say that some of Paul’s writings were influenced by the culture of his day, to the point of being incorrect, and wrongheaded, particularly in reference to women and toward homosexuality. But in spite of that,I believe that many of his writings were important revelatory teachings that form the basis of a strong Faith. And we mustn’t throw the good out with the bad, or somewhat flawed writings.
    Also, I think it helps to know that God never ceased in his communications with His apostles, prophets, pastors, and with all of those who have His Spirit. The Christian Faith has been growing in understanding all along, and should continue to grow and to evolve, and to learn continually into the future.
    Thomas Ashes

    • theodore kumlander

      The church existed for hundreds of years without an official canon of writings at all, and over a thousand years without any mass-printings of a ‘Bible’. It seems to me that after the mass printing of the Bible Christianity slowly became industrialized to the point where in America Salvation and the ticket to heaven is 3 easy steps . 1. accept Jesus as your lord and savior, 2. give money to the church, and burp up a lot of Christian values talk. Without any deeper understanding of spiritual beliefs.

    • paul was beheaded in rome at age of 48 he was thus not under protection of god he was who jesus called a ‘false prophet’…..adam god is one do good deeds noah gos is one do good deeds abraham god is one do goog deeds moses god is one do good deeds authentic jesus god is one do good deeds….paul god is 3 in 1 deeds unnecessary…muhammad god is one do good deeds…..the odd man out is paul…oy vey

      • Sam — Agreed that Paul is the odd man out from Jesus and Abraham/Moses. I will also agree that Muhammad has much in common with Abraham and Moses (Moses being the vessel that brings forward the legend of Abraham).

        This forum is a discussion of Paul and Jesus, as I have repeatedly explained, not Muhammad. But I will indulge your intrusion just briefly enough to note that your attempt to link Jesus, Abraham/Moses and Muhammad is flawed.

        The reality is more of a triangle than a teeter-totter. On one corner is Abraham/Moses, along with Muhammad who sought a return to the harsh and cruel origins of the religion — the purveyors of a harsh, legalistic vision of an angry, misogynistic, hostile and invisibly impotent sky god. On another corner is Paul, with his bizarre attempt to cobble together an Abrahamic rewrite of Jesus and, by including no role whatsoever for good deeds as part of the mechanism of salvation, doesn’t get on board with either Jesus or Abraham/Moses/Muhammad. On a third corner, alone, all by himself, stands Jesus — who, despite his lip service protestations of affinity to the Law of Moses and the Abrahamic sky god, completely rewrites the law and the deity into one of love, compassion-driven good deeds and makes it the absolute cornerstone — the most foundational, central principle — on which salvation is based.

        Yes, I fully understand that there are verses in the Qur’an that encourage mercy, compassion, kindness, forgiveness and of almsgiving to those less fortunate. [See Sûrah 2:263; 3:134; 4:36, 114; and 16:90 and others.] But even Paul wrote I Corinthians 13 on love, and stated in Galatioans 5:14 that “Love your neighbor” is the whole of the Law of Moses. And, in fact, the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” originates from the Law of Moses, in Leviticus 19:18.

        So in this regard, actually, Paul is more aligned with Moses and his Law. And Muhammad fits in there nicely. Yes, they all think love and compassion are nice. The huge difference, that sets Jesus apart from all of them, is that Jesus didn’t just say it was a good thing, or that it was nice, but Jesus made it the absolute centerpiece, the crux on which the entirety of salvation is based.

        In contrast, there is nothing in the Law of Moses or the Qur’an that says that compassion alone, by itself, with no other qualification, will save you. Paul explicitly says that compassionate deeds are not the basis of salvation and specifically describes a different, contradictory basis which sets him alone, all by himself, in asserting that, while deeds demonstrate faith, the deeds, whether of the Law or based on compassion, have no direct relevance as the actual mechanisms of salvation.

        That said, again, this forum is about Paul and Jesus. It is not about Muhammad. It is also not about Abraham or Moses, but since both Jesus and Paul knew of them and make reference to them, often in conjunction with their contradictory interpretations, they have some relevance. Neither Jesus nor Paul had any knowledge of Muhammad, who lived some 600 years later and has more in common with Abraham and Moses than with Jesus or Paul, and so he is completely irrelevant here. Any efforts to transform this forum from the topic at hand a discussion of the Qur’an or Islam, will not be permitted, though you are welcome to create your own blog site to pursue that topic.

        • theodore kumlander

          that was wonderfully explained I read it twice. I have always been puzzled about the relationship between Abraham Moses and Jesus and where Muhammad fit in. thank you.

        • jesus of the buybull abrogated his peaceful verses of love and forgiveness with later verses of hate and violence luke 19 27 ‘jesus said bring those who deny me before me and kill them’..;if your child disobeys kill them’…’i come with the sword not peace’….revelations ‘jesus will return to kill all those who deny him’…far from being god jusus of buybull was a narcissist violent man

        • Sam — I make no claim that Jesus is either divine or perfect (or even a prophet [or is that “profit”?]). I will admit that I like the philosophy of Jesus, when taken as a whole (and realizing that fallible humans, or those who claim to write about them have their bad moments or contradict themselves), better than the angry tirades of Abraham, Moses, Paul or others who came later and tried to return the religion back to its unfortunate earlier, angrier origins.

          But if Jesus contradicts himself, or sometimes fails to live up to his own professed standard, I don’t have a problem with that. No one is perfect, and Jesus may have been wise, but he was just a man. My point is not to excuse Jesus’ occasional imperfections, at least as recorded in the legends handed down to us, but to point out to those who claim him to be perfect, inerrant, the Son of God, or that the Bible is the Word of an inerrant, infallible deity that both Jesus and their Bible have many, many imperfections.

          Nor do I defend the Bible. I have an entire separate article about the many direct internal contradictions, factual errors, failed prophecies and commands to commit atrocities in the Bible. The Bible is filled with many quaint myths and legends, which can occasionally serve as metaphoric fables or morality tales, but is no more factually true than the myths and legends of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Mayans or Incas.

        • Sam clearly has his own agenda. His supposed quotes of Jesus from the “buybull” showing him to have been a “narcissist violent man” are either simply false (non-existent), taken out of context, or misunderstood. Jesus preached brotherly love and non-violence to the very end of his human existence.

        • there are multiple verses in bible of jesus violent hateful nature john 8 36 44 ‘jesus calls jews children of the devil’..’calls for razing of the temple in the near future’ ‘says directly he came with sword not with peace’….says directly ‘if you have3 no sword go buy one’ trying to form a militia….’chased out the rabbis from temple with a whip made of chord’….hardly a divine sinless deity worthy of worship…thanx

        • Sam, I have already acknowledged your point. I agree that there is much evidence in the Bible account, however accurate it is or isn’t, of moral inconsistencies between what Jesus taught about salvation and other things he said and did.

          Again, your point is utterly irrelevant. Jesus was a human — a fallible mortal — not a god. He and the Bible are fallible and imperfect. His own inconsistencies and inadequacies are irrelevant to the FACT that the Bible record, such as it is, makes very clear that at every point in his ministry, from the beginning to the middle to the end to when he was specifically asked what the basis of salvation was, he made it clear that it was based on universal compassionate love expressed in deeds. His own imperfections in living up to that standard are completely irrelevant to the fact that it is what the standard was.

          You have made your point, as irrelevant as it is, and you will not be permitted to continue to turn this forum into your personal diatribe against Jesus as being imperfect, since I have always acknowledged that point. If you wish to pursue that point, do so on a blog that claims Jesus to be divine, perfect, a deity, or whatever, but this is not that site.

        • Lip service protestations? When’s the last time you prayed? Fasted? Gave alms? Refrained from eating unclean foods? You just spent an entire article referring to the divine figure Jesus worshipped as “abba” as the “Abrahamic sky God”. That is hypocrisy of the highest order. The beauty of Jesus’ teaching is that he abolished the barbaric and often violent ritualism of Pharisaical Judaism, as well as contemporary Catholicism and Islam that destroyed, and continue to destroy, monotheism. It is not that he abolished the law; something that he, by your definition, preached strict observance to, and something that you, judging by your comments, blatantly disregard as fantasy.

          Sam: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Paul said that. He never once mentioned something akin to third century trinitarianism. Paul preached unity, same as Jesus. The fact that Muhammad permitted anything even remotely akin to violence, even in self-defense, puts him in conflict with Jesus who, despite the nonsense verses you’ve posted, was consistently and explicitly against violence of any kind for any reason. Stop bringing Muhammad into this when that isn’t what the article is about.

        • Hank — please stick to the content of actual issues addressed in this article and refrain making judgments about alms, charities or personal habits of people you do not know. The article is not about me; it is about Paul, Jesus and James and their contradictory teachings. While I prefer to avoid standing on the street corners making noise or calling attention to good works in a public way, I will just say that while I had plenty of prayer and fasting back in the days I professed to be a Christian, my activities for non-profits, for the poor and for the disadvantaged have been far more extensive since leaving the church than when I was in it. That said, I will not go into detail or entertain the subject further. Stick to substance and not personalities if you wish to see your contents approved for public display.

          That said, for those progressive Christians, and there are many, who sincerely seek to follow Jesus’ commands to feed the hungry, minister to those sick and in prison, welcome the stranger and care for the least among us rather than following Paul’s contradictory pronouncements of salvation by faith without deeds, my comments are not directed at them. They are directed at the conservative Christians who give hollow lip services and hallelujahs and “praise the lords” while eschewing the teachings attributed to Jesus about salvation by good works as chronicled with the extensive chapter and verse references provided in this article.

        • Loving your neighbor as yourself isn’t even the first thing Jesus said. The first and greatest commandment is, according to Jesus, to love the Abrahamic sky daddy with all your heart, soul and mind; something you seem to miss in your assertions, all of which undermine the ACTUAL essence of what Jesus preached. All the good works in the world will not save you if you don’t love God, not just vice versa. The first commandment is slightly more important, but the two are indivisible. You’re just as bad as the Christians you criticize who don’t give to and love the poor: a lip servicee in the most painfully obvious sense.

        • Please read the article more carefully if you are going to pretend to respond to its contents. Nothing in the article says that “love your neighbor” (from the Old Testament) was Jesus’ first teaching. It does make general references to love of enemies and turning the other cheek which go back to the Sermon on the Mount, chronologically the first major discourse of public teaching. It further notes exactly what the first and second “great commandments” are and cites their Old Testament origins with chapter and verse references.

          But, borrowing on a clever concept promulgated by Mother Teresa, who notes that we do not show love of god by saying “praise the lord” or “hallelujah” but rather in how we treat the poor, the sick, the stranger and the least ones, who are the manifestations of god to us “in his distressing disguise,” thus fulfilling the first great commandment in the second. This was clearly explained in the article. I’m sorry you were not able to grasp it. I thought it was rather clearly presented.

        • I am not talking about Jesus’s teachings chronologically. I am talking about what Jesus referred to as the “first and greatest commandment”: to love the God of Abraham with all your heart, soul and mind. Good and loving works (he’s referring to works of the LAW, by the way) are indivisible from this, not more or less important. They complement one another. Good and loving works must be accompanied by a belief in and love for God, because they are manifestations of that love.

          Sorry, but the theological acrobatics of Mother Teresa, basically an atheist, do not overrule centuries of unanimous biblical scholarship. You cannot claim to be following Jesus more faithfully than lip-service “Christians” if you mock and deny the God that Jesus worshiped, and said was necessary for salvation. Belief in his God is the fundamental basis of his faith and teachings. Period.

        • Seriously? Mother Teresa is “basically an atheist”? While she is certainly more of a moral activist than one who is considered a deep-thinking intellectual theologian, her credentials as a believer (sure, like many, she has candidly expressed how she had to wrestle with, and overcome, moments of questioning) are hardly something that can be equated with being “basically an atheist” and to do so belittles and diminishes only your own moral credibility as you resort to personal attacks and a bizarre level of character assassination.

          Sure, there are valid objections to Mother Teresa. I am not a Catholic, and never have been, and you can see my views on Catholicism in my article on that faith.

          There is much valid criticism on how her opposition to birth control and women’s reproductive choice is counterproductive to her war on poverty, but her moral integrity in dedicating her entire life to service of the least among us can hardly be questioned.

          And if all you can say is admit that you did not grasp the link between showing love of god (the first commandment, clearly and repeatedly acknowledged as the “first” great commandment) by how we treat the least among us (do you understand that Jesus said that what you do to them is what you do to god, thus fulfilling the first commandment in the second and making them one) then, in your blanket dismissal without addressing the very substantive point makes you look not only morally tiny, but hardly one to criticize the lack of theological depth in anyone else if you can’t even understand (or at least provide a viable criticism of) a very insightful observation.

        • Dave – I never said, nor did I imply, that the basis of me calling her an atheist was her lack of theological prowess. My assertion of what is essentially her atheism was not in any way an attack on her personal character and integrity in an attempt to belittle her. Mother Teresa was undoubtedly a kind-hearted and well-meaning moral activist. This does not change the fact that she was an unbeliever, as displayed by her self-professed years of faithlessness leading up to her passing. Whether the conclusions she draws, or at least your conclusions from them, are as a result of some subconscious unbelievers-bias, or were more directly affected by her desire to justify good works without faith is not a decision I can or will make. Still, the fact of her unbelief, disproportional stress of good works, and apparent lack of belief in justification by true faith (again, whether or not this is her belief, or your expansion on her beliefs to apply to non-Abrahamic faiths is somewhat unclear) display an understanding of justification that is heavily incorrect.

          I grasped the connection between the first and second commandments just fine. As I believe I elaborated upon in my previous comments, Jesus makes a similar, actually *almost* identical connection, but he most certainly does not extend it to refer to the justification of unbelievers. Yes, one’s treatment of the least among us is a representation of how one loves God, but this treatment in no way supersedes an ACTUAL love for God. The two notions are inseparable. Mother Teresa’s observations, or at least the conclusions you are ultimately drawing from them, are clever, but they are certainly not insightful. To place these theological acrobatics above Jesus’s statements is, as stated by another person here, to follow Mother Teresa, and not Jesus, whose explanation very clearly means something different from your/her interpretation of it, despite the fact that it is apparently similar in essence. Reconciling this explanation of these commandments with Jesus’s requires, as you’ve stated previously, a “torture” of the actual nature of what Jesus is very clearly talking about.

          The dismissal of your/Mother Teresa’s claims is by no means an endorsement of lip service and faith without action and good deeds. Regardless of your soteriological view of the correlation between faith and good works, it is undeniably asserted by Jesus regarding self-professed Christians that one can know them “by their fruits”. Again, faith and works are inseparable in practice; both concepts of “one and not the other” are anti-Christian. You cannot claim, as you have repeatedly done above, that one is not justified by faith without deeds (which I agree with), but for some reason claim that the opposite assertion is invalid when it very clearly isn’t. Mother Teresa, much like other Christians, appreciates and acknowledges the necessity of expressing love for God through good works and care for the poor, and in this sense shares the viewpoint of Jesus as reflected in the parable of the good Samaritan. Ultimately though, you/Mother Teresa’s aim(s) to extrapolate this idea by falsely assuming that any good deed, regardless of the theism/atheism of the doer, constitutes an obedience to the first commandment: a fact that, by both reading Jesus’s sermon and applying simple logic, can obviously be considered absurd.

          With regard to the Samaritans, I again would like to make the distinction between “believer” and “orthodox Jew”, and to address your comments about Muslims. I am well aware of the claim to Abrahamic descent made by the Arab Muslims, as well as the pseudo-Biblical and Qur’anic evidence that Muslims often cite to reinforce that claim. Jews have historically and emphatically expressed their understanding that the only fundamental requirement regarding faith is the adherence to strict monotheism. The vast majority of religious Jews absolutely, one-hundred percent agree with the fact that a Gentile Muslim who does good deeds and follows these other laws (though this is really unnecessary to clarify, as most of these laws are covered in the Qur’an/hadith anyway) will be able to attain salvation. Once again, I would like to point out that nowhere in any of Jesus’s parables does he refer positively to anything, be it polytheism or atheism, that isn’t strict monotheism. I would further like to clarify that Jesus only ever blesses and praises Gentiles on the basis of their FAITH in him, and consequently in the Abrahamic deity. Samaritans were most definitely not “unbelievers” in the sense you seem to be referring to. They were a Semitic people, pure monotheists actually closer in origin to “Jews” than Muslims are, who were hated for their difference in worship and the following of slightly different law. They were not polytheists, atheists, or even non-Abrahamic (though this term is of course a later development unknown to the Jews at this time)

        • Again, calling Mother Teresa an atheist is reckless character assassination and is not accurate. Again, I have extensive disagreements with her Catholic theology and many of her views on policies that promote the poverty she seeks to redress, but she is no atheist.

          And please do not misrepresent my statements. I did not say anything about James’ view on requiring affiliation. On the contrary, it was Paul who wanted to remove the long-standing requirement that to become a Christian required that non-Jews must first convert to Judaism and James who was his loudest critic. Some of the specific “good works” James cites in his epistle include references to compliance with the Law of Moses, including circumcision.

          I have read extensively of her writings and I have never found a repudiation of her faith. Yes, she has candidly acknowledged that, like many believers who are honest with themselves, she has wrestled with doubt (and defeated it), but she has never strayed from that faith. Further, one can (like me) stray completely from their faith and reject their earlier religious views completely, including beliefs about god, scripture and all the rest, and still not be an atheist. If you read my treatise on belief in god, at

          you will see that I argue vehemently against most traditional “proofs” for god’s existence, but I leave the question unresolved. I do not conclude, as an atheist does, that “there is no god.” I say, and argue for, the fact that the answer to such a question is, at our current state of knowing, unknowable [responses to this should be addressed on that page; I don’t want to go off on yet another tangent to this page for those who wish to pursue the topic further].

          There are many points on which Mother Teresa can be challenged, and I have strong disagreements with her on many issues. But calling her an atheist belittles only yourself, and discredits both your knowledge of what you spew venom about and your understanding of facts including the definition of atheist.

          Your distinction between what we do to those who Jesus called “the least among us” and “actual” love of god is a distinction made by you, not Jesus. What Jesus said, at least as quoted by Matthew (in Matt 25:31-46) is that “what you did to the least ones you did to ME.” Sure, it is a parable. But Jesus uses it as a vehicle for erasing the distinction made by you, not Jesus, between the First and Second Commandments. And no, the separation of faith from works is not absurd, nor does it contradict Jesus at all. Again, I address this point in the original article and repeatedly in these comments. The Jewish heroes of the Holocaust death camps who sacrificed of themselves even when they had nothing did not have faith in Jesus as Savior. Buddhist and Hindu people often demonstrate more kindness, promotion of peace, and love of humankind than many Christians who profess faith, but they have no faith in Jesus (or event he Abrahamic invisible sky god). And Jesus seems to embrace this. There is no passage (taken as a whole, noting paragraph divisions) in which Jesus himself teaches faith without works (even John 3:16 — read the entire paragraph passage, which I cite in the article). But the passages I cite where Jesus teaches what you have to do to be saved, the Good Samaritan (what do I have to do to be saved) and the final teaching about the Final Judgment (Matt 25:31-46), Jesus answers what you have to do to be saved and, in the entire passage, never once mentions faith. And this makes sense. If you want to claim that non-believers such as polytheists, agnostics or atheists are not capable of true, deep, caring, loving, selfless compassion, then please don’t be surprised when your belief system carries little credibility. Sure, Jesus and James agreed that faith is important and motivates saving compassion; but they did not make it mandatory (which would be absurd).

          As for your rather convoluted attempt to explain why those who do not accept Jesus as Savior (the widespread standard for “accepting” Jesus’ “free gift” can really be believers if they believe in one invisible sky god rather than multiple sky gods (sun, moon, planets, lighting) that are in the sky but not invisible, and which actually have real power, this may be your personal view, but it is not the view of the vast majority of Pauline sects who base salvation on faith (meaning acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior). Again, if you do not share the Pauline view, then the argument is no more addressed to you than to someone who adheres to the religion of Greek Gods (by reading their horoscope every day to see what the Greek sky gods portend, which is the modern remnant of that old religion). Polytheists are believers, too. And those who believe in the angry, invisible Abrahamic sky god, but have a completely different view of him, his doctrines, his teachings and his scriptures, are no less “non believers” as to the Christian perspective than the polytheists of the Hindus, Pagans, Wiccans and some sects of Buddhists.

        • Again, never said I believed Mother Teresa was a bad person, certainly wasn’t trying to “belittle” her character as you keep trying to say. She was a very well-meaning and kind-hearted person, with (mostly) good and pure intentions. I am not saying that she was the Devil incarnate, that she is burning in Hell, or any other similarly fantastic statement that you call “FIREBOARDING”. I am also not saying that her faith was always non-existent, or even that she completely “fell away” from it in a sense. Her writings do however show that the many years leading up to her passing were essentially faithless; her zeal was largely a product of guilt. (for a more vitriolic, but in-depth critique: I seem to recall seeing a show Christopher Hitchens did on the subject from a while back).

          […edited for space and readability…]

          The claim that James did not stress the necessity of joining the church and worshiping the Abrahamic sky God is utterly without evidence. As you yourself have made abundantly clear in previous comments, James originally made it *mandatory* for Gentiles to convert to Judaism first, which would necessarily and fundamentally entail the belief solely in their God. The fact that you would even question the necessity of a belief in this God in the Church is absurd beyond all reason. It is incomprehensibly untrue. I don’t need you to tell me the absurdity of the necessity for the belief in the Abrahamic sky God as opposed to all the other sky Gods, because I wasn’t the one who said it. James did. Jesus did. Peter did. Paul did. All the early Christians, and all Christians after were and are intuitively aware of this fact.

          You cannot be justified by claiming faith if you do not have works, just the same way you cannot be justified by works and not have faith. You insist that one holds true and not the other by repeatedly using the parable of the Good Samaritan. My point is that your explanation implies that for absolutely anyone, simply doing good works fulfills the first commandment by default. As in it is literally a SUBSTITUTE for this it. In the parable, Jesus is very clearly asserting that it is impossible to say you love God, “who you cannot see” (not specifically in these verses), if do not love your neighbor, “who you can see”. The entire idea necessarily entails both loves being actually present. This fact is so clear in Jesus’s parable that any possible argument to it, be it from a Mormon, a Protestant, a Catholic or a 7th Day Adventist, escapes me completely. “I am the way, the truth and the life. None cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) – (Also see Luke 7:50, Matt 9:22, Mark 9:23 etc. I do not need clarification on the context of these verses, I’m aware of what they are) That would tend to indicate that Jesus asserted that aside from this fundamental belief in him as messiah, or at least a messenger, there can be no salvation. Period. No mention is made of Hinduism, paganism, Wicca, or Buddhism. You can argue all day about the proportional role faith and works play, but the salvation he preaches is clearly grounded in faith in him of some kind.

        • My criticism of your sloppy accusations had nothing to do with whether or not Mother Teresa is a good person and I did not say you called her a bad person. I said you were factually inaccurate on a gross scale. You called her an ATHEIST. That means she did fall away completely from her faith and not only harbored some doubts, as many believers occasionally do, but entirely and decisively concluded that there is no god. That is what ATHEIST means. That is a very specific allegation, asserting not merely doubt or questioning or uncertainty, but the certain conclusion that there is no god.

          There are many, like myself, who do not see evidence to support theistic claims, but unlike the certainty of the atheists, which I am not, I assert that the question of a supreme being, or even a superior being, is currently unknowable at the present level of human knowledge.

          That said, even agnostic does not describe Mother Teresa. She was a devout believer, as repeatedly acknowledged in writings of hers I have read extensively, but yes, she acknowledged she had wrestled with doubts, as many believers have. Don’t hurl inaccurate labels or make vague unreferenced claims that cite, without specific quote or source, an outspoken critic of Mother Teresa. Cite the actual statements of Mother Teresa herself, with source, in which she renounces God, outright denies her belief, and concludes not only mere doubt, but certainty of his/her/its non-existence. Anything short of that is wasting our time, off topic, and not acceptable.

          As to your statements about faith and works. One can have faith without works and works without faith. They are no co-dependent. Jesus (and James) said you need the works (but faith is also an effective motivator) and Paul says you need the faith (and even stated that faith without the works is the mechanism of justification), and when Jesus talked about the mechanism of salvation, he provided self-contained complete passages with no references to faith. Again, your insistence that you can’t have good works without faith is complete nonsense. Are you saying there can’t be good, loving, compassionate acts of service or kindness by atheists? agnostics? polytheists? Wiccans? Pagans? Hindus? (I would not call the latter four “non-believers,” but based on your definition they are headed for the cosmic ovens of fireboarding.

          Sorry, but if you expect rational people to believe that non-believers are not capable of good works, then please don’t be surprised why we dismiss your human sacrifice myths as barbaric and primitive.

  9. I absolutely love this article, but I have a question. When mentioning people of other faiths who could possibly enter Heaven through the merit of good deeds, it seems like you are specifically excluding Muslims. I mean, I don’t want to assume that, but it seems weird, when bringing up Hindus, Buddhists, and Pagans, to not mention the second largest religion in the world. If it wasn’t such a large group, I wouldn’t even wonder. Thanks for this thorough, engaging post.

    • Hi Charlie, your point is certainly valid that the same principle that applies to Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans should also apply to Muslims. I was surprised that you cited the omission of Islam, so I did a search on my master text. Wherever I referenced both Hindus and Buddhists citing the examples of including non-believers, I also did include Islam, with only one inadvertent exception. (I also found one instance where I included Islam and Hinduism and inadvertently omitted Buddhists.)

      I do think that, in some instances, I was citing examples of non-Abrahamic, non-monotheistic religions, in lists that would not apply to Islam. Also, my terminology was inconsistent. In some cases I used the term Muslim, others Moslem, and some are to the faith itself, Islam.

      In any case, in the interest of consistency, I will go through the articles and look to ensure uniformity and consistency, both in my use of terminology and in how I apply them to various faiths.

      I live in an area where there are many Muslims, and I have personally enjoyed many visits with Muslim friends, who have gifted me with both engaging conversation and three different English translations of the words of the Qur’an (the Qur’an itself is said not to be translated, because it is believed to be the actual words bequeathed by God, and it is essentially impossible to translate the meaning of the words while also capturing the poetic cadence.

      I certainly fully understand and appreciate, as I mention in my article on contemporary issues, that the vast majority of moderate Muslims are peaceful and gentle, and far more like Muslim Malala Yousafzai than Osama bin Laden. While the perception of Muslims is often stereotypically negative, the rise of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam is a relatively recent (300 years) phenomenon; prior to that, the Muslims were the ones who preserved the learning of the Greek and Roman civilizations through the period when Christian aristocratic elites controlled Europe in holy empires (which we call the “Dark Ages”), and enriched the ancient learning by adding Algebra, Algorithms, Arabic numerals and the concept of zero as a computational placeholder.

      To fall prey to the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists is no more valid than those in other parts of the world falling prey to the stereotype of all Christians engaging in (literal) witch hunts, inquisitions, crusades, burning crosses on the lawns of African Americans or Jews, shooting women’s doctors or bombing women’s clinics. And to say that Islam is different just because troubling texts can be found in the Qur’an is to overlook the far more troubling and far more vicious scriptural demands for atrocities and violence that are commanded in the Bible, some of which I have cited in my article on troubling Bible passages, at:, which also includes a link to a site by a recovering Muslim that provides the same kind of self-critique of the faith he was raised in.

  10. Hi Davis Danizier.

    I’m reposting your article in Facebook and would love to have you on as one of the moderators for INTER-FAITH FORUM.


    • You are welcome to repost the article as long as you acknowledge appropriate credit and provide a link back to this original article.

      I have enugh on my plate right now that I would prefer not to be an official moderator of another forum, but if you kindly provide a link to the Facebook page with your forum, I will be pleased to participate, and it would be helpful in directing other particpants to the discussion.

  11. Faith is very similar to the idea of “willing suspension of disbelief”–by being able to transcend one’s own intellectual faculties that excite doubt one rises to salvation, via an innocence that most children toss away as soon as they are able (or forced to). Having ignored the imperatives of compassion (action) in their lives, while also reducing the intellect to non-active status, all for the prize of their lord not kicking the shit out of them for eternity: this is what passes for the All in the All? I believe it to be a sadistic form of Calvin Ball, with or without Hobbes.

  12. I was so pleased to read this article. I’m far more comfortable trying to follow Jesus and James’ teachings than Paul’s, in as much as I’ve never been entirely sure about my faith, but I can certainly account for my deeds, good, bad or ugly.

    • a false prophet will make his message fit in with society…eat pork drink alcohol move sabbath to rome;s sun-day where the sun god was worshipped develop and install craven images that romans love and place in churches.. show allegiance to man/god by eating his flesh and drinking his blood every sun–day..jesus would find all this foreign oy vey

  13. I simply want to make one point. There is a suggestion that Paul is preaching a gospel of affinity and orthodoxy over one of orthopraxis, and that for not having proper belief one is condemned to Hell. A problem with this view, though, is that Paul never talks about Hell. Christians will be resurrected, others not– there is no extraordinary punishment taught. He actually argues against affinity as necessary for following Jesus– you do not have to “join the club” (become Jewish) to be a follower of Christ as James seems to demand (hence the controversy in Galatia). For Paul, Christianity is not one among many other sects in Judaism, but the expression of a universal human family in Christ.

  14. I apologize for being unable to site the source for this, I have read a theory that Paul may have been a Roman agent sent to defuse the Messianic message of the early Christians.

    • I remember seeing a similar article. Lot of interesting ideas, but still doesn’t really explain why he allowed himself to be tortured and executed for a faith he didn’t actually have. Saul’s true intentions will likely remain a mystery.

  15. thefightingmonk

    Well done. Very well done.

  16. Paul said : the entire Torah is fulfilled in this one command “Love your neighbor as yourself”

    • You appear to be referring to Galatians 5:14 (it is helpful if you cite your references so that comments can be examined in context). Paul also wrote the famous treatise in I Corinthians 13 about the centrality of compassionate love.

      As is clearly stated in the commentary, both Paul and Jesus (backed up by James) recognized the importance of both faith and compassionate deeds. The contradictory difference is that Jesus and James claim that you are saved by the compassionate works and not faith (but faith is valuable in motivating those good works), while Paul asserts that you are saved by faith and not works of the Law, but those good works are manifestations of the existence of faith.

      Paul may recognize that the Law is fulfilled in compassionate actions, but clearly says that this is not what leads to being saved, while Jesus and James say the direct opposite.

  17. I am very curious as to why you ignore the part of the Holy Spirit in all of this. I totally agree with you that deeds are very important, but we shouldn’t take credit for what we do. It is God that lives through us. If The Spirit is in you you will produce fruit (good deeds). Do you really think that in our own power we will be good enough for God? How many deeds would it take to go to heaven? One? A million? Do we needs to do deeds every day or is it once off? Do you really think God cares about all of this? I’m inclined to think that every human being who ever lived did good somewhere in his or her life, but was it enough? Where does God (Jesus) draw the line? To come back to my question: do you think we will ever be good enough? I don’t think so. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for you or me to get saved (Jesus’ words). That what is impossible God has made possible. If faith means nothing then what need do we have for Jesus? I mean, why did he come to earth? We have the law of Moses, isn’t it?
    Another thing: why do people who have not heard of Jesus “go to hell”? It is not because they did not believe in something they did not know existed. They go “to hell” because of their wickedness. So, how do we become acceptable and flawless before God? We cannot, but God can. Jesus was the complete and final offer for our sins. Deeds are still important because faith expresses itself through good deeds. If you don’t have good deeds in your life, you better examine your faith.

    • George, stop trying to make things more complicated than they are.
      I am not responding to every single thing in the Bible and, to the extent that I address the Bible as a whole, I do so more generally on the page dedicated to that subject which, again, you can find at:

      I am not writing on this page about the Holy Spirit. I am writing about the direct contradiction between the renegade “apostle” Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James). I have clearly established that contradiction and you have done nothing to dispel that; on the contrary, you have conceded the possibility of Bible errors and contradictions.

      If you want to argue about the respective merits of deeds and faith, take up your argument with Jesus. I am just citing the words attributed to him in the Bible. If you don’t like them, take it up with him.

      But really? “How many deeds would it take to go to heaven?”
      How much faith does it take to go to heaven?
      Why is it so easy for you to accept that faith pays the price but compassionate deeds don’t?

      Where does God (or Jesus — and I have no reason to accept any deity in Jesus) draw the line?
      Hello? I keep citing chapter and verse on that. I refer to the words of JESUS, and you keep hammering more nails of rejection into his wrists and ankles.

      The redemption from sin is not about what you believe; it is about your fundamental character. And no, one does not need faith, belief, the “Holy Spirit” or any other magical ghosts or demons of old and ancient legends. Sin lies in flaws of character. We don’t expunge sin by killing innocent human sacrifices, as I discuss in my web page on the absurdity of Christian human sacrifice mythology ( or by what we believe. We expunge sin by transforming our character. And what Jesus teaches in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and his final general teaching, and the only description of the Final Judgment by Jesus in his mortal life (Matt 25:31-46), is that, regardless of faith or belief, it is the cultivation and practice of compassionate benevolence, expressed through our deeds, that engenders that transformation. Elsewhere, he may extol the merits of faith. But, opposite of Paul, he does not make it the basis for salvation or character transformation. Helpful, sure; mandatory, not so much.

      And again, no matter how many times you keep repeating yourself, one does not need to be a believer to experience that pure, compassion-driven benevolence. Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and, yes, even those hated Samaritans, can all feel, express and act on such compassion and, according to Jesus, they will be saved far ahead of believers who don’t. If you don’t like it, argue with Jesus.

      • You may not believe in The Spirit but Jesus and Paul did. And I feel it has to be included in a discussion of faith vs works, especially when Paul believed the two — the Holy Spirit and good works — to be so closely related.

        • Jesus and Paul were both Jews who believed a lot of old myths. Their Old Testament (which we still use today) explicitly demanded capital punishment for non-virgin brides, disrespectful children and those who violate the Sabbath, among many others. In a time before the modern sciences of medical and behavioral health, they believed in demonic possession. Yes, there are many things Jesus, Paul and James believed that I unapologetically reject. I address many more on my page about Bible flaws:

          As I previously noted, the purpose of this page is not to address every single thing they wrote, but to cite specific points of disagreement and document them. I am satisfied that I have done that, and your attempts to change the subject will not be permitted.

          If you want to respond to other points covered on other pages on this site, please feel welcome to do so on the appropriate pages where they are relevant. But I am not going to continue processing comments on unrelated tangents. I cited, with chapter and verse references, the statements of Jesus, Paul and James respectively. Comments posted will be limited to the specific examples in the main article.

    • You say “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for you or me to get saved (Jesus’ words).” But that isn’t what the scripture said at all. By changing the ending you’ve completely twisted it from it’s original meaning and context. What the verse actually says is “its easier to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” It says nothing about “you and I getting saved.” The discussion you referenced was about the man Jesus was conversing with giving up all of his money to help the poor and needy, which doesn’t really bolster your claims at all, and in fact backs up the author of the original piece.

      • theodore kumlander

        I read once that in Jerusalem the is a doorway called the Eye of the Needle and the camel herders would train their best camels to pass thru this Eye of the Needle to show how well trained they were. I understand it is difficult to train camels. that it was a parable to show difficult it is to follow the path of our lord. I am not sure this is true or not.

      • jesus abrogated his peacefil verses ‘luv thy neighbor turn otrher cheek]….with violent verses after he gained support…luke 19 27 ‘jesus said bring those who deny me before me and kill them”’ ungodlike oy vey

        • Abrogation is not a real thing, a totally Muslim concept.

          Jesus isn’t even the one talking in Luke 19 27. It’s a parable about Judgement Day, from the perspective of a King. Jesus’s messages and instructions to the disciples were completely and consistently non-violent.

  18. Great expose Davis.
    I think you are spot on about Paul distorting the true message of Jesus. Perhaps though his faith alone one was easier to digest and that was the only way to ensure the world saving teachings of Jesus would endure beyond his own lifetime. My own view is that faith in anyone or anything not empirically grounded is primitive, irrational and dangerous. One can have faith in Christ’s teachings because they bear fruit in good works. One should not have faith in Paul’s notion of the saving power of the cross because it is totally speculative and based on gospel statements that are scant and tenuous.
    The faith alone doctrine is pernicious as it undermines any real motivation to be concerned for this world, except maybe in a tokenistic way. In that respect, sola fide is the anthesis of everything Jesus stood for. I look forward to reading you book and you might like to have a look at mine- it takes these propositions to their ultimate conclusion:

    • Exactly, Tom. Salvation by “faith alone” appeals to those who want an easy ride — just believe, it doesn’t really matter what you actually DO, though we hope your faith will lead to good deeds — to a rich reward after they die, after their mortal life of working hard to enrich the elites has come to an end.

      It is all about affinity and affiliation — joining the right team; cheering for the same “good guys” in an artificial “us vs. them” mentality that breeds the very forms of nationalism, group identity and, yes, religious rivalries that Jesus, in citing the examples of loving enemies (including the hated, non-believing Samaritans), sought to break down.

      Paul indeed teaches the direct opposite of what is attributed to Jesus, at the most fundamental level.

      • The contemporary interpretation of sola fide (ie sin all you want, as long as you believe) is the complete antithesis of the doctrine that was originally preached in the 16th century. Calvinists were, and are, probably more strict on good works and obedience to the law than Catholics are.

        • Again, Hank, there are many different views of salvation in the Christian world. Some, including Catholics, Mormons and various Protestant denominations do require some measure of balancing faith and good works but, yes, there are some who do teach the validity of deathbed confessions, professing faith after a life of cruel debauchery and being welcomed through the Pearly Gates, while the gracious Jewish heroes of Holocaust death camps are consigned to hell because (like the non-believing Samaritan cited as the example of what one does to be saved) they are non-believers who reject Jesus as Savior, no matter what Jesus himself is actually credited with teaching.

          If the shoe fits. Statements made are addressed to those who hold those views. If the shoe does not fit for those with different beliefs, stop trying to force your foot into it.

        • Again, modern interpretation is not what I’m talking about. Modern Calvinists who have actually preserved the tradition of the original doctrine are strict on good works and a complete positive transformation of self as a manifestation of faith. That is the ACTUAL doctrine of sola fide, not lip service.

          You keep citing the parable of the good Samaritan. Samaritans were not disbelievers. They were Jews; worshipers of the God of Abraham and followers of the Mosaic Law (albeit in a slightly different form from the Pharisaical sects). The references to Samaritans in the New Testament are attacks on ritualistic, orthodox Judaism, not endorsements of unbelief.

        • First, your repeated references to Calvinism, like your misrepresentations of the Nicene Creed, mean nothing to me. The article, and the relevant comments in the thread, are about Paul and how he repeatedly contradicts Jesus and James, on a variety of key issues, including the whole doctrine of the mechanism of salvation or justification. It is not about the Nicene Creed, which came centuries later. It is not about Calvinism or Mormonism or anything else. It is about how Paul contradicts Jesus and James, backed up with numerous chapter-and-verse references to specific examples. If you wish to make a point and credit it to other sources, including Nicaea or Calvinism, make your point. But holding up Nicaea or Calvin for their own sake mean nothing to me.

          Second, your dismissal of my comments about the Samaritans are nonsensical. As to Judaism, the religion of Jesus, and accepting the version of the scriptural Torah and the Law and the Prophets known to Jesus and the messianic prophecies, and all that, they absolutely were non-believers. Yes, they were Abrahamic in origin and claimed to be the true followers of Abraham. But the Muslims also claim to be the true heirs to Abraham through his firstborn male child, Ishmael, who even as described in the Bible (Genesis chapters 16-17) was the lawful firstborn son through lawful surrogacy via Sarah’s handmaiden Hagar, in a process the poor slave had no say in the matter, makes them the lawful heirs to Abraham. The Muslims are Abrahamic in origin, claim to be the lawful house of Abraham, even accept Jesus as “messiah” though the term is defined very, very differently than in Biblical sources. The Muslims reject Jesus as divine or a son of god or a “savior” and so, I would describe them, from a Christian perspective on Jesus’ teachings, as “non-believers.” If you question my characterization of Samaritans as non-believers in not accepting Jesus, then do you also accept Muslims as believers? I am not saying the Samaritans did not believe in anything, I am saying they were non-believers as to Jesus and his religion, and the religious affiliation (Jewish) that was a prerequisite to becoming a Christian until Paul dismantled the early system.

          As to the contradiction on salvation (works vs faiths), please read (or at least comprehend) what is in the article and in my comments in this Comments section before you misrepresent it in responding to allegations about what it says. As noted in both the article and repeatedly in my comments, even the renegade “apostle” Paul championed good works and, like the Calvinists, held them as the manifestation of faith.

          The contradictory difference, as noted repeated (I’m copying and pasting rather than reinventing the rhetorical wheel) is:
          Jesus says we are saved by compassionate DEEDS rooted in universal love, in passages that include no mention of faith.
          His brother, James, says we are saved by WORKS and NOT FAITH.

          Paul says the opposite, that we are saved by FAITH and NOT WORKS.

          Sure, Jesus, James and Paul all agreed that compassionate deeds (works) are good, and they all also agree that faith is good, and there are plenty of passages to affirm that from all of them. But the contradictory difference is as to the mechanism of salvation or justification.

          Jesus (and James) state that both FAITH and COMPASSIONATE DEEDS are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).
          [Reference, Jesus: Matt 25:31-46 & Luke 10:25-37] [James: James 2:24]
          Justification by DEEDS and NOT WORKS.

          Paul states that both FAITH and COMPASSIONATE DEEDS are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).
          [Reference: Romans 3:28; 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5]
          Justification by FAITH and NOT DEEDS.

  19. I could not reply to your last comment: there was no link. I wanted to say a few last things before I give the subject a rest. In Numbers 21 Moses was told to make a bronze snake in order to save the people. Anyone who looked up at it would live. This was forward shadowing of Jesus who would come in future to save everyone who “looked at Him”. Another example, Abraham was considered a good person, a saved person, but not because of what he did. Believe me he was nowhere close to living a righteous life. He was considered ok with God because he believed. (He accepted it when God asked him to sacrifice his son. He trusted in God).
    I do have huge respect for you and anyone who dare to be different and form their own opinion. You have clearly put a lot of thought into what you wrote in the article. I think I may have come across a bit rude in my arguments. I shouldn’t have. I may not agree on what you say but I respect you as a person.

    • Sorry, George, that the format appeared to not allow a reply. The format only allows replies to three nested levels. After the fourth level (replying to the third), the “Reply” button is not displayed; if you want to reply further just reply to the last entry in the prior level in the same nested thread.

      Numbers 21 does not have anything to do with Jesus, foreshadowing or otherwise. Christians are always desperate to try to take Old Testaments statements (Isaiah is a favorite, several popular passages are taken as prophecies of Jesus even though, in every one, there are no descriptions that uniquely applied to Jesus that could not apply to tens of thousands of other hapless victims of Hebrew, Babylonian and, especially, Roman oppression, and there are numerous statements that rule out any possibility that they could apply to Jesus as described in the gospels) and find some way of twisting them into some kind of prophecy about the future arrival of Jesus.

      If an all-knowing, all-powerful god wanted to prophecy of Jesus, he could just come out and say things that unambiguously pointed to Jesus. Not a hint here, a hint there, a tease there and throwing in the occasional exclusionary statement to throw off those of inadequate faith. Sorry, George, but please understand why I can’t possibly believe in a god of such trivial, game-playing pettiness.

      Numbers 21 has nothing to do with Jesus or what he taught. It is just another example of the schizophrenic, internally-inconsistent nature of self-contradiction in a compilation of myths, legends and superstitions of primitive, tribal, bronze-aged escaped slaves, by a leader who issues commands not to worship graven images and then promises salvation from a bronze snake. It is irrelevant to this thread on Paul and Jesus (and James); it has nothing to do with any of these New Testament adversaries. If you want to discuss factual errors, internal contradictions, atrocities supposedly commanded by god and failed prophecies, I direct you to my page discussing the Bible:

      Your example of Abraham is more relevant because, as I note in my article, Paul cites it as he continues from the verse at the end of Romans chapter three (justification by faith and not works), and into the start of chapter four, and James also refers to exactly the same thing, but comes to the opposite (contradictory) conclusion.

      In any case, it doesn’t matter. Jesus says what he says. His brother James defends him after Paul teaches the opposite. If you feel that Genesis further contradicts, then all you are doing is finding more contradictions. It does not change what Jesus is described in the gospels as saying, or how his brother James defends him. Until you explain why Jesus and James didn’t really mean by what they so clearly, unambiguously say when you examine the full context of what they said (understanding who the Samaritan is, for example), you have not addressed my point.

      But thank you for your participation.

      • In John 3 Jesus explains the importance of faith in his own words (or rather his words taken down by the author of the book). The words in my Bible are printed in red, showing they come directly from Jesus.
        The Bible is full of contradictions and errors, I know, but it has its place in telling us about God and who he is. Remember, Jesus was fully God and fully human. Because he was fully human means he probably was influenced by the thoughts and culture of the day. For example, he believed in a hell (a pagan concept), he also believed in works, but he also mentioned that through him we are seen as flawless before God. He was only a human while he was on earth (even though he was fully God as well). Do you think He was all knowing while he was on earth? I think not. Nothing in the Bible indicates that.

        • Again, George, there is much variation in beliefs among Christians. Many believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible and deny that it has any flaws, errors or contradictions, and are left speechless when confronted by specific chapter and verse references to hundreds of examples that prove them wrong. Again, if you do not share that misconception, then congratulations, and those points do not apply to you. And again, comments on the integrity of the Bible should be directed to my article on this site intended to address that subject, as cited earlier.

          That said, when you cite further examples of Jesus emphasizing the importance of faith, you are ignoring that I already made the same point: that both Paul and Jesus/James honored the importance of both faith and deeds; the disagreement was only about which is the basis of salvation.

          In any case, since we both agree that the Bible has many factual errors and internal contradictions (a point not accepted by many Bible literalists, to whom my examples in this regard are directed), it should also be noted that of all four gospels, John is the one to which I ascribe the least credibility. It is chronologically the last to be written, at least 100 years after the time of Jesus. It is not written by John, but scholars (such as Burton L. Mack, professor of early Christianity at the School of Theology at Claremont and associate scholar at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity in Claremont) tell us it was developed by the Johannine Community, named for John, but who are followers of Paul and reflect his later corruption of the teachings attributed to Jesus.

          While I have much admiration for many of the teachings attributed to Jesus, I have no reason to believe that he was a god, or that he was all-knowing, in this mortal life or otherwise. You might wish to peruse some of my other pages on this site to get a more comprehensive view of my overall perspective on Jesus and his teachings.

          Again, I stand by my assertion that, as reported in the Bible, the renegade “apostle” Paul stands in stark contradiction to Jesus on numerous key points of doctrine, theology and ethics, for which I cite extensive specific chapter and verse references, both the statements attributed to Jesus directly and defended by his brother James. So far, nothing you or others have cited has discredited this conclusion.

      • The Bible, particularly the New Testament, is not “infallible” in the sense that conservative biblical literalists claim it is. The problem is that non-Christians criticize it as if it were. The vast majority of contradictions, especially from the Tanakh, are inconsequential; specific numerical inconsistencies, or orders and manners of events whose order and manner are specifically said to be irrelevant by the books’ authors. In this sense yes, the conservative argument for biblical perfection collapses.

        I’m not sure where you get a date of “100 years” after Jesus’ death for John. The book was referenced and taught by Polycarp before this time. Even critical scholars don’t place the date later than the last quarter of the first century. Some place it even earlier, though this goes against the testimony of even Church tradition, which typically goes out of its way to force absurd authorship.

        • If you wish to pursue specific details of Bible authenticity, I have a separate article on that subject and comments on that subject should be directed to that forum. I believe there are specific references from scholarly research are provided there but, if not, I can provide them. Your reference to Polycarp is both unsubstantiated as to a citation and, since Polycarp was born in 80 A.D. and died at the age of 87 in 167 A.D., most of his writings would, indeed, be 100 or so years after the time of Jesus.

          But again, any such further discussion will be in the discussion about the Bible itself, not the specific discussion of how Paul contradicts Jesus and James.

  20. The author clearly does not comprehend the connection between faith and good deeds as outlined in the Bible. Faith without deeds is dead (James), but deeds without faith are useless (Paul). The one thing that disgusted Jesus the most was hypocrisy (people why thought that whey were close to God because of deeds, instead of just trusting in Him). Faith and deeds cannot exist without each other. Deeds are proof of our faith. But it comes automatically because of the spirit. I cannot go on explaining elementary things like these. You should read your Bible again Mister.

    • The respondent clearly did not comprehend the multiple times this point was addressed in the main article and in the comments.

      As was repeatedly noted, both Paul and Jesus/James extolled the virtue of both faith and deeds and that they certainly can work together.

      Paul asserts that deeds manifest faith but it is faith that is the mechanism of salvation or justification.

      The contradictory difference is that Jesus (backed up by James, defending his murdered brother) assert that faith motivates compassion-driven deeds, but that it is those compassionate deeds that are the mechanism of salvation. James explicitly states this, using the exact same grammatical and semantic construction as well as the same Old Testament example, but changing the order to exactly opposite (contradictory) conclusion.

      The statement that “Faith and deeds cannot exist without each other” is utter nonsense.

      As I note in the main article, according to George’s “logic,” Jews or Buddhists or atheists (or non-believing Samaritans, the hated enemy) who care deeply for others and perform sincere acts of compassionate service can’t really exist because they are not Christians and do not have the faith in Jesus that Paul demands for salvation.

      In contrast, Jesus had fully self-contained discussions of what was necessary to be saved that never once mention faith, however otherwise important faith might be

      You should read your Bible again, George.

      • Instead of “Faith and deeds cannot exist without each other” I should have said, “Faith and good deeds (the kind caused by The Spirit) cannot exist without each other.”

        And another thing, the lack of faith doesn’t cause you to go to hell – The lack of good deeds does.(According to a cover to cover interpretation of the Bible). But these good deeds are Spirit induced because Jesus hates hypocrisy. Deeds that do not flow from love are hypocritical.

        • The statements from Jesus at the time he gave the parable of the Good Samaritan and in Matt 25:31-46 do not include the qualifier “the kind caused by The Spirit.” You just made that up out of thin air.

          And again, your rephrased “correction” is still utter nonsense. It does not at all address the point that those who do not believe in Jesus, or even those do not believe in ANYTHING, can still have deep, true feelings of compassion and act on them in ways that Jesus says will save them, but Paul says will not — a direct contradiction. You know, like the Samaritan JESUS chose as his example.

          Jesus says if you help those in need YOU WILL BE SAVED with no other qualification, and he does not even mention faith in either passage. In fact, in the Good Samaritan parable, after two Jewish priests (believers) pass by our hapless hero, Jesus goes out of his way to use the example of the SAMARITAN, the hated enemy, the non-believer, as the model of helping someone in need. And remember, this parable was in response to the question of what one needs to be saved.

          And glad to know you don’t consign non-believers to the eternal torture of FIREBOARDING. Not all Christian denominations hold that belief and if yours doesn’t, congratulations. The comment did not apply to you. It applies to those who do hold that belief. If the shoe fits….

  21. Enjoyed your article. I’ve also noticed that James seems to be replying directly to Paul in Jame’s Letter. Note also that Paul says directly that he introduced the Eucharist ritual after hearing instructions from the risen Jesus. My take on this is that Jesus’ followers knew nothing of that ritual, which partly explains why they are portrayed as idiots in the gospel of Mark. I take Paul at his word, when he says he introduced the Eucharist. I do not call myself a Christian but I loved reading and studying the New Testament. Where else can you find mystery, history, philosophy, the birth of a major religion and four different commentaries and versions, plus letters written by the guy who created the Christian church that we are familiar with? I have also written about this subject on my blog in an article called “Jesus for Unitarians”.

  22. The gnostic Gospel of Thomas comes, I think, as close to presenting the real teachings of Jesus as anything I have read. I struggled for many, many years to become unshackled from the chains of fundamentalist Christian dogma, and to discover the truth about Jesus. I am now firmly convinced that he did preach the Truth, which was subsequently distorted by the apostle Paul and others. To discover the kingdom of heaven within, we all need to discover our own inner divinity, entrusted to the inner child. A couple of years ago, while lying on my bed in pitch blackness, I came to understand and really feel the depth of my pain at having not been loved, unconditionally, for simply being my parents’ son. I wondered how I would be able to survive. But then I experienced something completely unexpected – i actually heard two sharp knocks coming from thin air directly in front of my face. What first came to mind was the bible phrase “Knock and it shall be opened to you”, but following subsequent reflection and reading I now feel that the following phrase from Revelation is more significant: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”. Jesus loves unconditionally, and we are to do the same. That is the key to our salvation.

  23. Angelique Devereaux

    For many many years I have identified my faith as a conglomeration of religions. But I could never clearly identify why early attempts to look into christianity kept pushing me away other than the seeming lack of very many strong feminine figures. This article has shed a lot of light on the truth of why certain ideas were so hard to accept. As well as, for me, reinforcing the similarities in the teaching figures in other religions, such as Buddha, in regards to the importance of compassion. I’m quite glad you put this here to be read.

  24. I’m glad that I broke loose from the brainwashing of Christianity but I feel it is too late to try to break others free from the delusion of faith alone saves, eternal punishment act.

    • it took the church 481 yrs and numerous councils to conclude the poor rabbi from galilee was god….something like that would have been known from day one had it been true

  25. You are right Danizier, when I read the biblical atrocities and hatred of god in the bible, I knew someone had made it all up, such views of God is highly dishoroble and disrespectful to him. This website that I found is especially blasphemous www. I can now see what happens when people believe the bible to be the inerrant word of god. I believe most of Christianity centers around bible worship and Paul is the hero. God is not egocentric nor sadistic. I have come to the conclusion that the old testament god does not exist and is used as a ploy to fuel the egocentrism of those who try to force their beliefs on innocent people. I don’t believe in Satan either, his origins began in Zoroastrianism and was stolen from the ancient pagan religions who worshipped the horned god pan.

  26. Excellent article. As a former Christian(now pagan) I am aware of the errors of the bible. Salvation by faith alone is a false doctrine, after all even the demons fear and have faith in god and Jesus according to James 2:3. Here are biblical verses that proves love is the way to heaven.
    “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’

    “‘What is written in the law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

    “He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.’

    “‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied, ‘Do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28)
    (Jesus states eternity in heaven is by having complete love for god, everyone, and yourself

    “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) (the experience of being born again is by unconditional love for others, not by accepting Jesus as lord and Savior, according to Galatians:5, 6, people who believe they are born anew but have faith only are falling for a lie)
    “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) (If you truly have the holy spirit in your heart, than your life revolves around love)

    “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) (so whoever does not loves does not have Jesus in their life)

    “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) (True love for god is loving others)

    “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14) (Love means eternal life, a lack of love means spiritual death)

    “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) AND “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) (Since god is love, the description of what love is defines God)

    He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)
    ( God(love) is eternal life)

    If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3;13)

    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

    Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

    The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

    I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you, by this all humans will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) (All people who express love to others are disciples of Jesus)

    And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6)

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by works, is dead.” (James 2:17) “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10) (Can you add it all up?)

    Jesus answered them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The way to eternal life is by loving others and God (Luke 10:25-28). (Same as before)

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) “But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39) (A huge verse that affirms universal salvation)

    Sorry for the long comment but I felt I must share this. Eternal Damnation is also a lie and debunked many times by logic and the bible.

  27. This is just the sort of list I have been looking for. I got into Thomas Jefferson by way of my own faith search after hitting something of a crisis in my Catholic Faith. Ended up falling in love with another man and, long story short, approaching members of my faith family found myself having accusations and miserable assumptions about my motives hurled my way. Began to see the lies, the small little problems with the faith that were initially tiny wounds I could gloss over starting to widen and deepen, becoming terminal before long.

    I still am more a theist. Near death experience and all gave me some assurance in that regard. Still, I find the endless legalisms of the Catholic Church to be as far from “being as children” as you can get. The whole concept of Hell and saved by Grace is a morally repulsive frame work that reeks of human arrogance and sadismt. Good deeds made to prove one is good are absurd in the extreme and poison the good aspect of the deed. Just say the magic words, so long as you aren’t gay, and be saved.

    Thanks for this. May link it to my mother who has been alarmed by my rejection of much of Church doctrine and turning my back on my faith. Haven’t been able to figure out how to explain it but you managed to do it here with full Scripture passages and everything. Well done on your project/blog here.

    • paul by almost any measure was a false prophet whose letters make up half of the nt….roman paganism taking sun-day as the sabbath….cannabilism of jesus all come from roman paganism….adam noah abraham moses authentic jesus and muhammad all taught pure monotheism…paul did not

      • Yes, Sam, I would definitely agree that, while all prophets of the ancient Abrahamic mythology are “false” in the sense of being not literally factual or of divine origin, Paul does stand uniquely alone among those widely celebrated because he was a more direct fraud, undermining the nascent Christian movement from within.

        I would agree that Moses, the first confirmed source of the Abrahamic writings (Adam and Noah most certainly being wholly mythical; Abraham more possibly of some factual basis but lost to documented history due to the Egyptian bondage), as well as Jesus (being Jewish) and, yes, Muhammad, did teach the monotheism attributed to Abraham and that, yes, it was Paul that introduced the polytheistic of the illogical triune “three in one” deity of the trinity.

        • its amazing or maybe not that people still follow paul…but when you think about it whats their alternative for people who want to believe in god..judaism islam…both require deeds to get to heaven in addittion to faith…no pork pray several times a day…dress modestly……tithe…thats no fum..paul allowed christians to eat drink rituals….and just believe in jesus even if you were hitler youd be saved

        • Yes, Sam, it is amazing that people in the 21st Century still follow Paul, but not really any more amazing than to see how many also follow other ancient superstitions that trace their origins back to primitive sheep herders and fishermen of the Middle East.

          While much wisdom can be found in many ancient traditions — the Torah, the New Testament, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Vedas, the Upanashad, the Tao Teh Ching, the Tripitaka or the Tibetan Book of the Dead — all are the fleeting wisdom of humans, and all are also accompanied by factual errors, flaws and internal contradictions.

          So what is the “alternative”? How about to reject superstitions from imaginary deities entirely, evaluate the pros and the cons of many traditions, and pick and choose which portions stand the test of modern scrutiny.

      • I can see that now and agree with you. In truth, I don’t even mind polytheism, so long as the drive is right. So long as it pushes towards making people better and driving people to actually love one another and help each other for the right reasons. Not to get to heaven or to please God, but out of the love they should have for their fellow man.

        • polytheism goes against all 3 monotheistic religions moses authentic jesus and muhammad paul will lead billions into the lake of fire

        • Against all three monotheistic religions?
          You mean opposing the three cruel, oppressive legacies of the angry, invisible sky god invented by Abraham?

          While I do not endorse polytheism or any other -ism, if it opposes the viciousness of the Abrahamic legacy, I can see how that might make it more attractive.

        • buybull written by men make god a mass murderer….worldwide noah flood passover murders of first born newborn babies in egypt….v quran ‘noah flood regional’ no mention of god killing newborns/first borns of egypt…oy vey

        • Sam — while the Qur’an, written at least a couple thousand years after the Biblical accounts in Genesis (Noah’s flood) and Exodus (baby-slaughter of Egyptian first-born males), reflects the advances made him human civilization, and while I would agree having read translations of the Qur’an, that it is certainly toned down from some of the worst violence in the Bible that never makes it into contemporary Sunday School lessons, the Qur’an has plenty of its own violence, oppression of women and, in more recent centuries, has allowed more moderate and science-based factions to be shoved aside in favor of the rise of extreme sects such as the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Muslims, or their radical Shiite counterparts among the ayatollahs of Iran.

          Having said that, Sam, I am going to reiterate yet again that the pages on this site are for a discussion of Christian theology and scripture and, other than the occasional brief aside, while all viewpoints — current or former Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Wiccan, atheist, agnostic, other non-believer or anything else — are welcome to participate in the discussion of Christianity, I am not going to allow you or anyone else to take it over and try to redirect it into a discussion of Islam. Islam is a fascinating subject, but it is a subject for a different forum. If you continue to push in that direction, you will be permanently blocked from the site.

        • nothing on the scale of violence in the bible….bart ehrman ‘s new book will once again hit the ny bestseller list he is a biblical expert par excellence and has contributed to the steep rise in atheism in the west…he is clear that jesus never considered himself to be god….he even was recorded in bible as saying ‘the greatest commandment is to love your god with all your heart and mind’….same creed as allthe prophets..pure monotheism

        • Sam, I would agree that, in the Abrahamic tradition, Judaism and Islam are pure monotheism and most sects of Christianity practice a triune polytheism. I would agree that the accounts of Jesus such as we have describe him as a Jewish rabbi and I would agree that there is less indication that he considered himself a god than that he did, though there are several instances of statements in the gospels where statements are attributed to him that suggest he was claiming deification, though these are subject, like everything in the Bible, skeptical questioning.

          I would also agree that, with the benefit of more than 600 additional years of human advancement, the Qur’an and some of the earliest Islamic companion source materials, such as the Sunnah and Hadith, are less onerous than the Bible when it is taken literally, as is the Talmud, a compendium of Jewish law that is supplemental to the Torah.

          But the fact remains that the Qur’an, Sunnah, Hadith, Talmud, Torah and Christian Bible, however greater or lesser their endorsements of cruelty, violence, oppression of women, gays and others, their obsessive preoccupation with restricting sexuality, and the manner in which all of them have inspired holy wars or jihads, or “convert-or-die” conquests of indigenous civilizations, the legacy of of all the Abrahamic superstitions are fraught with violence, viciousness and cruelty, and none can claim any valid relation to any deity rooted in any semblance of morality, compassion or decency.

          And none of these traditions of myth-based superstition have ever given a single reason why belief in one god is more valid than belief in multiple gods, or why their invisible, impotent, powerless sky god who commands atrocities is any more real than sky gods such as Apollo the Greek sun or Thor the Viking lightning god, who at least can be seen in the sky and do have real power.

          As to Bart Ehrman, I am a huge fan, love his work and would absolutely agree that scholarly examination of religious works, including all I have named above, in light of scientific, historical and forensic evidence, is the greatest threat to religious orthodoxy and the most successful tool in debunking those superstitions.

  28. Greetings Dave,
    I thought you might enjoy this.

    Here is a parable in the form of a “Letter” to illustrate what happens if you follow the wrong pattern.

    Letter to the Angelenos
    Setting and context: Los Angeles California, Summer 2009. Due to lack of rain, there is a water shortage.

    The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, preached that homeowners should only water their lawns 2 days a week, not every day, in order to save water. But after that, a TV news crew camped out 24/7 at the mayor’s house, and found that the mayor’s own lawn was being watered every day. Now, it has come to the mayor’s attention that some other homeowners are also watering their lawns every day again.

    The mayor could write a letter to the homeowners of Los Angeles about the need for water rationing. If he decided to use the life of the Paul the Pharisee as his example, and he wanted to “be like Paul,” he could write the letter below, using Paul’s letter to the Galatians as his pattern.


    Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles,
    To the homeowners of Los Angeles:

    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the 2-day-a-week plan for watering your lawns. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion. But even if we or an angel from heaven should tell you to stop the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody should tell you a different message, let him be eternally condemned! Not even my personal staff members at City Hall are watering their own lawns every day.

    You foolish Angelenos! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes I clearly explained the need for water rationing. I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. What has happened to all your joy? Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

    Mark my words! I, Antonio Villaraigosa, tell you that if you water your lawn every day, your life in Los Angeles will be of no value at all. You have fallen away from grace. For in Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn has any value. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the 2-day-a-week water-rationing plan? A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty whoever he may be. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and turn their lawns into swamps!

    Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to water your lawn every day. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for having a brown lawn. In Los Angeles, neither a green lawn nor a brown lawn means anything.

    Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I’ve suffered a lot for the City of Los Angeles. Do as I say, not as I did. How dare you ask me why I was watering my own lawn every day?
    The Mayor of Los Angeles – Antonio Villaraigosa

  29. Danizier,
    I will plan to look at your article. But I’ve just made an observation of fact about your “tag line.” It says:

    “About Danizier
    Be wise. Be wild. Care for others. Love your neighbor as yourself. The mysteries of the universe are not beyond your grasp. ”

    You never mention anything at all God. If you are a follower of Jesus, and the most important commandment is to “Love God,” … do you think this tag line reflects your priorities?

    • Matthew Perri — The tag line on my avatar image accurately reflects the values I aspire to, however imperfectly I live up to them.

      Again, you seem to jump to conclusions. There is no place where I said I claimed to be a follower of Jesus (or Paul or, per your earlier comment, Mother Teresa or any other writer I may cite in making a particular point). While I think my affection for some of the teachings attributed to Jesus shows through, I do not believe him to be a messianic son of god or manifestation of god in any sense different from any other human being. My point is not to endorse the views of Jesus or Paul, but to point out the duplicity of conservative “Christians” who give lip service to Jesus while actually following and worshipping Paul. While the views reportedly attributed to Jesus do generally fall closer to mine than those of Paul, I do have specific points of difference from Jesus, the most striking being his clear endorsement in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:17-19) of continuing the extremely harsh Law of Moses completely intact until the end of heaven and earth and the fulfillment of all things.

      By the way, I also suspect that if Jesus were here today, he would be disgusted by what conservative Christianity has devolved into in his name. He would be revolted to see his “followers” worshipping the graven image of the implement of torture on which he was killed and yelling “praise the lord” while they spit in the faces of the poor and homeless. If Jesus were to come back to our modern world, he would more likely be a wandering hippie, perhaps a Buddhist or Wiccan or other peace-loving nature worshipper. Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and “born again” conservative Protestants would all be fighting over whose turn it is to nail him to a cross this time.

      The extensive bio page that provides my background makes this perspective very clear.

      Again, you have read one article out of a series, and out of sequence. If read sequentially, and read the bio page rather than just the tag to my avatar image, you would see that this was made very clear and expressed very explicitly.
      The full bio page can be found at:

      Further comment relevant to my bio should be addressed on that page, and comments relevant to how JESUS states that the first commandment is fulfilled in the second should be addressed to the “Betrayal of Jesus” article which I have provided the link to several times.

      • Danizier,
        I appreciate your honesty and willingness to communicate about significant subjects. It seems we both see the same glaring problem in most of the Evangelical church today. We agree on the problem – but not on the solution.

        I agree with you that “I also suspect that if Jesus were here today, he would be disgusted by what conservative Christianity has devolved into in his name.”

        And I agree with your description of the PROBLEM of “Paul worship” in your statement:
        “My point is not to endorse the views of Jesus or Paul, but to point out the duplicity of conservative “Christians” who give lip service to Jesus while actually following and worshipping Paul.”

        Yet, I have found Jesus to be The Solution. I do endorse and listen to the views of Jesus and I follow Jesus. I know Him personally, in a real living way with real personal interactive communication and relationship.

  30. But Danizier,
    This means you are following Mother Teresa rather than following Jesus. Maybe she believed that “the first commandment (to love god) is fulfilled in the second” but Jesus never said that, it contradicts His teaching. However, it does agree with Paul’s teaching, which I quoted here.

    I am not misrepresenting your views. Regardless of the source, whether Mother Teresa or your own opinions, you quote “Love your neighbor as yourself” (in a short summary of only 1 ½ lines) without mentioning God at all- just like Paul, but contradicting Jesus. I myself was blind to this until last year, and I’ve been following Jesus for 21 years. It’s time for us all to wake up and start following Jesus.

    • Matthew Perri — I have addressed your point and, yes, you are completely misrepresenting mine, whether inadvertently or by intent.

      I do not share the religious, social, cultural or public policy views of Mother Teresa, but I did acknowledge that she provided an insightful view of the relationship between the first and second great commandments, and how Matthew 25:31-46 demonstrates that JESUS, whom you obviously repudiate, in his last general teaching before going up into the Last Supper and the “end of things,” stated that we demonstrate love of god through the active expression of love for “the least of these,” and that this is the basis on which the final judgment will be predicated.

      In direct, contradictory contrast, the renegade “apostle” Paul teaches that, yeah, love of others might be a good thing, but — opposite of what Jesus said — salvation is by faith and not by acting on that compassionate love.

      Please understand that the series of articles on this site are extracted from chapters in my book. The chapter in which I discuss at great length, far more than 1-1/2 lines you falsely state, the relation between the first and second great commandments, is from a chapter that comes earlier in the book and lays the foundation for this discussion of the contradictions between Jesus and Paul. I will acknowledge that I was remiss in posting adaptations of separate chapters in separate articles on line, where the sequential relationship may not be obvious. I have now corrected that, and provided a clickable link at the point of reference.

      Either you did not read that article, did not understand it, or your distortion is intentional. If you wish to pursue the discussion on the relationship of the first and second commandments, I suggest you first read (and understand) the reference where it is fully addressed and direct any further (relevant) discussion to the comments section for that article, but I am not going to have this forum turned into one of inventing misrepresentations of my statements and views and then arguing against them.

      • Danizier,
        Matthew 25:31-46 is one long parable spoken by Jesus. It’s important, and not irrelevant, but it’s really a stretch to say that this one parable comprehensively defines what it means to “Love God” and that to “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the same thing as loving God. Jesus never said that. But Jesus did say some other things, such as “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

        Jesus gave a direct answer twice when asked “Which is the most important commandment,” and I wrote it out here. To ignore this and simply focus on an interpretation of one parable is not the right thing to do. I understand you have written more elsewhere, which may be good to discuss, but I’ve presented the words of Jesus himself, and I think we should look at what Jesus actually said first.

        • Again, I have repeatedly referred you to the article which is sequentially prior to this one, and on which this article is based, in which I did refer to the complete words of Jesus, both in the passage that you also cite, fully, and in other passages. The first time you missed that and concluded that I “ignored” the words of Jesus you could be excused for simply being careless and ignorant and not having seen the foundational article. Now that I have twice before (and now for the third time) provided the link to it, for you to say that I have ignored the words of Jesus or that I have focused on a single parable when, in fact, I put it in the context of the passage you cite in both the Luke and Matthew versions as well as the Sermon on the Mount, covering the entire span of Jesus’ ministry, proves that you are not merely careless or ignorant.

          At some point, when one is repeatedly corrected, and pointed towards the correct information, it has to be considered that the misrepresentations are intentional and malicious, and for the purpose — by design — of deflecting from the facts.

          For the third time, the article in which I address this point fully is at:

          If you wish to honestly discuss this point, please take your conversation to the appropriate forum after you have actually read the article.

  31. Hi again,
    I just noticed your tag line about “Love your neighbor as yourself”, but nothing about loving God. In this, you are following the teaching of Paul, not the teachings of Jesus. Here is the contrast in their teachings.

    Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?
    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    Of all the commandments, which is the most important?
    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But, in contrast, Paul didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He how loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    . 2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    So amazingly, like most of us, you really have been following Paul rather than Jesus without knowing it. Like me, and most Bible Believing Evangelicals, you have also been brainwashed by Paul subconsciously. But it’s time to wake up! Jesus is better than any other spirit, or person, or thing. The Lord God Jesus Christ the Jewish Messiah Son of Yahweh the Most High God is The King!

    • Matthew Perri — Please read the article more carefully and avoid misrepresenting my views and what I wrote.
      Citing a message from Mother Teresa, I make specific reference to my comments about how the first commandment (to love god) is fulfilled in the second (what we do to the “least of these” is what we do to god), and note that this is addressed in more depth elsewhere. I will go back and insert the specific reference to my article which addresses this point in much greater depth and specificity.

      That article, on this site, is titled “Betrayal of Jesus” and can be found at:

      Please try to actually read the material before jumping to conclusions, guessing wrong, and misrepresenting others’ views and statements.

    • paul/constantine tri-god would be foreign to jesus

      • Really not a tri-God in the sense you’re talking about, and it also wasn’t a concept invented by Paul.

        • Again, Hank, unless you want to argue that there is not a significant segment, perhaps a substantial majority, of Christianity that holds to the tri-god concept (and credits Paul as its originator with some controversial scriptural basis), just because that view is not held by all Christians (again, that thing about not trying to wear the shoe if it doesn’t fit) does not mean that it is not a valid objection for the significant portion of Christianity that does accept it.

          Owing to the many significant direct internal contradictions within the Bible, as well as the inconsistencies among those who try to interpret it, Christianity is widely and extensively splintered. Not all objections apply to all factions. If a specific objection does not apply to you or your faction, then it doesn’t apply to you. But again, unless you want to argue that it is not a widely-held view among a significant number of Christians, or that it has been aimed at a particular faction to which it does not apply, your objection is overly defensive.

        • The actual, original conclusions and dogma from the Council of Nicea have been completely bastardized over the centuries. Just read the canons of the council. While they do grant that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are of the ESSENCE of God, there is no indication of a supposed “tri-God” in the sense that the components are all equal in merit or power, or even components at all in the sense that people nowadays say they are. Again, I will direct you to Corinthians 8:6 – “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Paul makes a clear distinction between the two, as he does in all of his other writings. The bastardization of Paul’s writings by contemporary trinitarians does not change the fact that even the canons of Nicea themselves do not propose that Jesus was “God in the flesh” (per se). Paul’s writings aren’t even really the starting place for most trinitarian exegesis. His supposed references to Jesus’ Godship are scant at best, and based on the excerpt above, it can easily be concluded that they are also misunderstood. Get rid of the “Gospel” of John, and trinitarianism has almost no scriptural basis.

        • The Council of Nicaea and its famous Creed are utterly without merit or meaning in understanding the origins or message attributed to Jesus. It was written centuries after the fact, completely apart from anything scripture-based and a grotesque distortion of scripture, and promulgated under the direction of Roman military and political agents fashioning together a church, not of humility, compassion or simplicity, but of ornate and majestic nouveau royalism run by the “princes” of the church. This original article, and comments in reply to it, are about the renegade “apostle” Paul and how is writings repeatedly contradict Jesus and James. The Nicene Creed, written by none of them, centuries later, is not relevant unless you are citing it as a source for a point you are making that actually is relevant to it.

          The Nicene Creed absolutely presents a bizarre concept of a triune deity though, like the Bible itself, it can be interpreted in all manner of ways by selectively quoting (or editing) or going through bizarre, tortured mental gymnastics to explain why passages really don’t mean what they so very clearly say.

          While our Muslim troll Sam (who spams and trolls even though I only approve a small fraction of his posts when they can be construed to be relevant to the thread and on point) clearly makes some outlandish claims, and I have allowed you to respond to them unfettered on some of his most obvious distortions, you could absolute use the term Tri-God to describe the message of the Nicene Creed, especially as interpreted by huge portions of the Christian world that claim to adhere to it.

        • Dave – I only addressed Nicea because of the reference to a “tri-God” concept attributed to “paul/constantine” (in spite of the fact that the latter came two and a half centuries after the former, and that the use of the word “Trinity” preceded the former by half that)

          The vast majority of modern day Christians who stress the importance and accuracy of the Nicene Creed have not actually read its contents, and consequently elevate Jesus to a status not really assigned him by the council. Yes, the council of Nicea was highly aristocratic, and its canons certainly laid the foundation for the elitism and immodesty of the later Catholic Church. Regardless, its conclusions regarding Jesus were most definitely theological, as well as scriptural.

          “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.” That is the first line of the Nicene Creed. It goes on to say that Jesus is, again, of the same ESSENCE as the Father in a sense, as is implied by the Gospel authors, but in no way attributes to him the same power, authority, and nature of God, aka “The Father”.

        • Again, Hank Kennedy, the Nicene Creed, written centuries after Paul contradicted Jesus (and James), from a different country by military and government wealthiest elitists of a completely different mindset from Jesus or his poor, oppressed Middle Eastern early followers, is completely irrelevant to the discussion of how Paul contradicts Jesus.

          Similarly whether you use the term “Trinity” or “Tri-God,” you are too hung up on terminology that can be interpreted variously to define a concept that can be interpreted in different ways. Whether you call it the “Trinity” or the “Tri-God,” a concept of “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons” is widely embraced among most Christian faiths. The doctrine of the Tri-God Trinity was not solely attributed to the Nicene Creed, but to a conflation of some sects’ interpretations of various statements in the New Testament and various Creeds (not limited to the Nicene). Again, not all Christians (Mormons are a definite and notable exception) accept this concept, though they have their own concept of a “godhead” more like a team. Again, if your view is more like that of the Mormons or other sects that embrace a similar version of the Trinity, then the reference does not apply to you. But it is a valid characterization of a view of God that is extremely widespread in the Christian world. If you are not aware of how widespread this view is in the Christian world, then your perspective is extremely limited.

          This tangent has nothing to do with the contradictions between the writings of Paul and the teachings attributed to Jesus, and I am not going to entertain further pursuit of this tangent.

  32. You are right that Paul contradicted Jesus on many key points. I have not read your entire blog, since I’m not sure you are still around. But If you are still active, I would welcome dialogue with you. I don’t know everything, and no one else does either, but we should all try to learn together how to become more like Jesus was, based on the testimony of Jesus recorded by Matthew Mark Luke & John, The Law and the Prophets.

    Here is a song that I’m sure you will appreciate.

    [sing it to the tune of “Rapture” by Blondie]

    I’m Boss Paul, the Pharisee
    My hypocrisy’s plain for the world to see
    I travel the land and travel the sea
    to make a convert who is just like ME

    “All have sinned” – we know that’s true
    but it never means ME – it only means YOU
    My sins are all theoretical
    “I’m the worst of sinners”- but don’t ask where

    To be more like Jesus is what some strive
    except for me – I’ve already arrived
    I’m the perfect model since the road to Damascus
    What were Paul’s sins? Don’t ask us!

    I justify everything I do
    If I testify about myself it MUST be true
    I’m the only man in all history
    whose testimony doesn’t need two or three

    If I did something it MUST be right
    Don’t use the Scripture to shed any light
    Don’t do as I say, do as I do
    and then you can be a Pharisee too.

    • Paul codified sin in the bible…do not need good deeds just believe god came to earth thru mary’s birth canal as his own son on a suicide mission…thanx

  33. I agree with a lot that you have said, tho of course we do have to realise that Paul was only human and not “The son of God”, in the same way that Jesus was., and Paul was therefore likely to have misapprehensions and misunderstandings in his interpretations of Jesus, yet still to be used by God to do great works.

    I believe that Jesus was of course wholly a man, yet He did believe that He was the Messiah
    a person with a special closeness to His Father God and His revelations.( This is quite clear in what He says and teaches, and is what the Pharisees often criticise Him for. He spent much time away in quiet places communing with God and recharging His strength)
    So perhaps Paul might be forgiven for being merely human, a man affected by of the beliefs
    of his times , and making mistakes in interpretation?
    I personally, have never taken all Pauls sayings as “Gospel”. ie “A woman should cover her head in church”

    Like you, I do feel that all this emphasis on Blood Sacrifice is a little distasteful,( as quoted by Lionel Blue, a British Rabbi). (Tho this idea of sacrifice goes back into history, and is still practised, I know) But I think there is a quote somewhere in the Old Testament about Justice and kindness being what God requires for sacrifice,

    However, how would you interpret Jesus telling people that their faith had made them whole when He had healed them? And I believe there is a story about Jesus going to His home territory and being unable to do any great works because they didn’t believe in Him.
    Perhaps your point is that faith is necessary, but of course so are works?
    In fact if faith is genuine, surely it will inevitably lead on to works?

    I agree with you that of course people should not be accountable for the sins of their parents, and I disregard the concept of original sin. Still sadly I do believe that there is a way in which “The sins of the fathers are brought upon the children to the second and third generations”. Children coming from disturbed families are often so traumatised themselves that they are unable to prevent this pain being passed on again to the next generation.
    In this way it is like a curse upon them.

    Your ideas are very refreshing, and I feel very heartened at the emergence of “The Christian Left” Of course, it is the words actions and personality of Jesus Himself which should be our guide.

    • Hi Mrs. Archer — my search for truth led me to reject a messianic role for Jesus as a savior, especially in terms of being a sacrifice for “sin” but, while I do admire and respect the moral/ethical teachings attributed to Jesus, I no longer call my self a Christian.

      That said, I do think it is possible, as long as one does not adhere too closely to Bible literalism for a “book” that was not compiled in something resembling its modern form until more than 300 years after the last separate volume was written, or does not accept the writings that directly oppose Jesus core teachings, or which are rooted in human sacrifice mythology, I do think it is possible to fashion a rational Christian theology that accepts Jesus and his teachings, and his knowingly heroic self-sacrifice as the cost of offering the free gift of those teachings.

      It is not the conclusion I come to or share, but it is one against which I would not try to argue nor dissuade others from.

      • Do you know the Quakers or “Friends”? I am a great admirer of them. They do not try to impose their views on others, but quietly concentrate on doing good. They are very wide and accepting in their views and simply say that God is in the heart of everyone.

        • There are a number of Christian communities, including some subsets of larger denominations, that do try to come down on the side of Jesus on the points where his teachings are so overtly opposed and undermined by Paul. In many cases, such communities deny the existence of any such inconsistency, either because they simply fail to recognize it or by trying to explain away the contradictions, in much the same way as do those who come down on the side of Paul (the conservative, evangelical “Christians” or more conservative elements of other faiths).

          My intent is to shine the light clearly on the fact of the contradiction and point out the inconsistency of those who claim to worship Jesus while actually following teachings that are completely opposite. For individual Christians or communities of Christians to whom this does not apply, they are not the primary audience for this message.

    • theodore kumlander

      I once tried to explain the Eucharist to an Islamic man he was socked that we would drink the Blood and eat the Body of Jesus. I was too when I thought about it, so I studied the teachings of the Buddha and meditated for a few years. the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus are remarkably similar. Both teach compassion and forgiveness. Which is what try to do everyday. :-)

      • Theodore — I have read quite a bit of the Buddhist writings and find much to like in them. As with the teachings attributed to Jesus, I find much value, but not inclined to commit to a specific creed. I do feel that religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahá’í, Jainism and nature religions such as Wicca, at least try to make us better, kinder, happier people without inflicting harm, dogma, oppression or the requirement that others convert.

        As for drinking blood and eating bodies, I go into depth on that aspect of the Pauline mythology in much more detail on my specific article, at:

        • drinking blood eating body of christ exclusively paul/constantine pagan ritual

        • Sam — While I would agree tat drinking blood and consuming human flesh is not part of Judaism (I would refrain from tagging that on all pagans as many varieties are simple lovers of Nature and Nature’s magick).

          That said, the earliest followers of Jesus were Jews and identified themselves as such and Jesus himself taught the inviolate sanctity of the Hebrew Law of Moses. While one can certainly question the integrity of their commitment to Judaic Law, their claim of that identity is beyond question.

        • true but if jesus came back today he would find pauline christianity foreign…the people who follow him fast circumcise abstain from pork and drunkeness and pray by touching their head to the ground….today he would find only muslims doing all these things….if a christian drinking a beer and eating a ham sandwich came to him he would no doubt say ‘get away from me i know ye not’…thanx

        • Sam, I would certainly agree that if Jesus were to come back today, he would find Pauline “Christianity” completely alien to everything he taught, because it is. Jesus did state that the Law of Moses, which demands circumcision and abstaining from pork, would remain absolutely inviolate.

          Your comment on having a beer is absurd. While I doubt that beer was readily available in Jesus’ time and place, Jesus clearly enjoyed drinking wine, and even commanded its ritual consumption.

          Further, Jesus made it clear in Luke 7:33-34 and Matt 11:18-19 that he enjoyed the consumption of wine, noting that others even call him a “winebibber” [according to King James Version] or “drunkard” in more modern translations. Noting that others accused him of being a drunkard hardly suggests someone who follows a strict prohibition of alcohol consumption.

          And Sam, this is a forum for discussing the contradictions between Paul and Jesus (along with Jesus’ brother James) according to the literature of Christian mythology. I understand you are a Muslim, and trying to promote your beliefs, and I will allow the occasional departure into tangential references to Islam, but I am not going to have this forum hijacked for you to make it into a soap box for preaching your separate agenda, and comments or replies that deviate too far into Islam will not be added to the thread for public display.

      • jesus said in bible ‘if kids disobey kill them’….’if they dont want to believe in me bring them before men and kill them’….;jews children of thedevil’ john 8 36 44…..antisemite

        • Sam — I am not familiar with any statement were Jesus reportedly said that “if kids disobey kill them” or “if they dont want to believe in me bring them before men and kill them” and if you are going to make such an allegation, I suggest you accurately cite chapter and verse. You do refer to John 8:36-44 which uses some of those words, but does not say what you falsely claim. Jesus is saying that he teaches the truth and others want to kill him for it. Citing verses that don’t say what you claim suggests sloppy or intentionally dishonest “research.”

          The Old Testament, not Jesus, does prescribe stoning for disobedient children (Deut 21:18-21), but that is not Jesus. There are many atrocities, contradictions and factual errors in the Bible and I have addressed them in more specific detail in my Bible article:

        • luke 19 17 ..jesus said ‘bring my enemies who do not want to follow me before me and kill them’

        • Sam, there is no such statement in Luke 19:17. That part of Luke is the parable of the ten talents, and the specific verse is the one in which Jesus is telling a parable and quoting what a king says to the good servant who invests the talents wisely and profitably and includes the statement, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

          I think you are confusing the reference (and getting it wrong) with another parable I have seen cited before in which Jesus does utter this statement, but it is NOT a statement Jesus is saying on his own. Rather, it is a quote from a parable in which Jesus is saying what an evil king commands, so it is badly taken out of the context of a character Jesus is quoting.

          Hey, I have a whole additional article just on ridiculous stuff in the Bible, and I have seen this allegation before and would love to add it, if it were legitimate. And I am not going to continue to allow you to just make stuff up and misquote your sources. I do allow differing viewpoints, but I am trying to keep this a serious discussion.

        • theodore kumlander

          thanks for the discussion on the new testament. I have always concentrated on the 4 Gospels the rest of it seemed to be written by Paul and Luke who never actually knew Jesus. I have always been puzzled by the crucifixion. the Jews have used animal sacrifice for centuries or burnt offerings, but the crucifixion seemed to be more about pain and humiliation. But for all that whenever I am in pain I always remind myself that Our Lord suffered on the cross for my sins the least I can do is suffer my own pain.

        • Yes, Theodore, if one seeks to understand the teachings attributed to Jesus, it is more appropriate to stick with the gospels rather than the letters by someone who not only never actually knew Jesus, but whose writings so directly contradict him.

          As for the doctrine of blood atonement, the idea that killing an innocent human sacrifice can make other people’s sins magically disappear is a doctrine wholly invented by Paul. While Jesus does refer to giving up his life as a sacrifice, and does teach us a path for the remission (removal) of sins through character-transforming compassionate deeds which he taught knowing it could cost him is life, the idea of blood atonement — sin transference — is concocted by Paul. In the gospels, Jesus acts as a sacrifice to give his life to teach compassion, in the same way that a soldier might jump on a live grenade to smother it and save him comrades at the expense of his own life, but no one would say that the soldier took upon himself the sins of his fellow soldiers.

          The Jews had, indeed, offered animal sacrifices as offerings to the Lord for thanksgiving, as tithes to return something to the giver and, yes, as penance for sin (all as prescribed in the first six chapters of Leviticus), but none involve actual transference of sin to the object of the sacrifice. The closest analogy in the Old Testament might be the scapegoat, described in Leviticus 16:7-10, in which sins are symbolically and metaphorically (not literally) attached to the goats who are then set off into the wilderness. Unlike other sacrifices, the goats are not actually killed! They are set free! And in any case, today when we refer to a scapegoat, it is something we ridicule as an example of injustice.

          The issue of blood atonement and human (not animal) sacrifice is a central issue for most Christian sects, and one I have examined in much more extensive depth in my article specific to that topic, at:

        • jews have rejected jesus as a false prophet he doesn’t fulfill their ot messiah requirements… fas as the gospels are concerned none were wriitten by the said authors biblical expert bart ehrman has proven this….and the bible itself warns jeremiah 8 8 ‘scribes have falsified scriptures with their lying pens’…so to tell us jesus said this or that is total speculation

        • Anyone who reads any of my articles, including the one on Bible flaws, understands that I agree that the Bible, like all ancient compendia of myths and legends, especially any that claim the legacy of Abraham, is not reliable as literal, objectively-verifiable fact, nor can they be authenticated as to authorship, with a few notable exceptions.

          This is why I do not make claims as to what Jesus actually said, since no one actually knows, and prefer to cite Biblical claims of Jesus’ teachings as “teachings attributed to Jesus.”

          The teachings attributed to Jesus, like all the old legends, are inconsistent but, to the extent that they hold value, whoever said or wrote them, they reflect the wisdom of insightful but imperfect humans. I do not believe in prophets or messiahs, nor is their any objective or verifiable evidence to support that such mythological beings are either necessary or have ever actually existed.

        • jesus was raised up before not after being tortured…the creator does not need the blood of an innocent man in order to forgive sins…you do not give the Creator his true measure

        • Sam —as I repeatedly state in this forum and the accompanying comments, and even more specifically in my commentary on the atonement mythology of human sacrifice, I agree as to the absurdity of a supposed creator needing the blood of an innocent human sacrifice to forgive sins (or even that the forgiveness of sins is necessary), but the idea of giving an invisible sky god “creator” full credit or even acknowledging the existence of this invisible, mythical creature of Judeo-Christian-Islamic legend.

        • for al the like minded secularist out there who claim they dont need god to be moral…look at secularists actor philip hoffman and woody allen….thanx mate

        • What a bunch of crap, Sam. To say that morality only exists if is imposed externally by a powerful cosmic bully is to say that “might makes right” and is not morality at all. Cowering in fearful obeisance is not morality. The only true morality is that which springs from internalized compassion expressed actively through deeds. It is morality we adhere to even when no one, including imaginary sky gods, is watching. If one would not be moral without the fear of god looking over their shoulder, they are not moral; they are merely compliant.

          Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a kind, decent family man, neighbor, friend and extremely talented actor who happened to have an unfortunate addiction to mind- and body-altering substances.
          There are allegations that are disputed and unproven about Woody Allen, but whether he is a pervert or not is irrelevant and has nothing to do with whether or not he is religious or secular. We know that hundreds of Catholic priests were child rapists with tens of thousands (if not millions) of victims, and they were protected and enabled by the highest levels of the Catholic central hierarchy under policies orchestrated and enforced by the most recent outgoing Pope (Benedict XVI). Many authoritative Islamic texts report that Mohammed, founder of Islam, married his child bride Aysha when she was only six years old, and consummated the “relationship” (i.e.: raped this child) when she was only nine years old. We know that many Muslim religious extremists, very devout, devour pornography and rape women of peoples conquered in war and are so unable to control their biological urges that they have to cover their women from their uncontrollable eyes and libidos (this is not true of all Muslims, only the most religiously extreme). We know that there are far more murderers, rapists and robbers in prisoners who are religious than secular.

          Sure, there are criminals and perverts who are secular. There are far more who are religious. Religion does not seem to be much of a deciding factor but, to the extent that it is something of a secondary influence, it does not reflect well on religion, especially of any Abrahamic persuasion.

          Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told.
          Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right.

          Or as Santa Claus (the “god” for children who sees you when you’re sleeping or when you’re awake) would say, “Just be good for goodness sake.” (Not because “Big Santa” or “Big Jesus” of “Big Allah” is watching.)

          P.S.: your accompanying comment preaching the virtues of ancient prophets is not being accepted for public display. It is not relevant and makes outrageous claims that, lacking any objective, substantive external evidence, does not validate its claims of myth and magic attributed to an invisible sky god.

        • the time the people in scriptures lived is far different than today life expectancy for one was about 35 yrs old…catholic bible says ‘mary gave birth to jesus when she was 12 yrs old’….midrash teaches that issac ‘married rebecca when she was 3 yrs old’…following the talmud sannhedrin ‘jews may marry 3 yr olds sleep with 9 yr olds’ […]

        • Aside from your continued misrepresenting of sources (the Catholics use the same New Testament as the Protestants, though generally prefer different translations and, no, the “Catholic Bible” does not say Mary was 12 when she bore Jesus), even if you could get your facts and sources right for once in your life, all you are doing is validating my point about the moral depravity of all of the Abrahamic religions.

          Yes, the Jewish Talmud does make 12 the age of consent and marriage (and even today it is the symbolic coming of age celebrate in Bar and Bat Mitzvahs). Twelve is certainly quite different than six or nine but, in any case, Judaism is part of that Abrahamic legacy — in fact, the original part so, again, you are simply validating the point about Abrahamic moral depravity and making excuses to justify child rape by the primitive tribal societies whose “morality” is the basis of Abrahamic superstitions. The rest of civilized human society has now moved far beyond that.

          And really, your nonsense about life spans to justify old men raping children is absurd. Many from earlier eras lived quite long lives. Mohammed himself was 53 at the time he raped the nine-year-old Aysha.

  34. I am only just beginning to read through the long list of comments but wanted to add my own. I see several references to Paul as a) anti-woman and b) as having written Ephesians and other Epistles that he, in fact did not write. It is quite well documented that Paul did not write any of the Pastoral Epistles–the most vehemently anti-woman Epistles–and there is very good evidence that he also did not write Ephesians, Colossians, or 2 Thessalonians. In addition, it is highly likely that the anti-woman statement in Corinthians was a later addition, inserted by a scribe, and not part of the original letter. In the undisputed letter from Paul (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon), he is very much pro women.

    I otherwise agree completely with the presented, factual statement that Paul’s message was very different from Jesus message. What they did share was an apocalyptic world view–that the forces of evil were in control but that God was about to intervene and bring in his new Kingdom (and punish all the evil doers). They were both clearly, very, very wrong in that prediction.

    • Henry — while I am not certain that I agree that it is “well documented that Paul did not write any of” the specific epistles you mention, I would certainly agree that the legitimacy of claimed authorship is an issue for many of the gospels and other books in the New Testament, as well as much of the Old Testament.

      But the issue of claimed authorship being valid as reported by experts in antiquities does not resonate with those who claim that the Bible, exactly as compiled by the newly unified universal or “Catholic” church several hundreds of years later. These Bible literalists reject any suggestion that questions the Bible as the literal infallible/inerrant word of god, and most certainly dispute any challenges to attributed authorship.

      Those who accept some of the historical ambiguity and the recognition that the Bible is the work of imperfect, fallible humans, even if they generally accept its overall message, are usually not the extremist radicals these articles are addressed to. These articles are directed to those who do believe in the claimed authorship, not to those who do not.

      For a more in-depth look at Bible perspectives, I have an article that more specifically addresses that at:

  35. As a follower of Jesus I am very grateful that you are posting the sometimes renegade ideas of Paul who was worshiped by the heretic Marcion. I’m still a Christian, but a former fundamentalist, fully recognizing the many additions and deletions to the scriptures, and noting that there is frequently an axe to grind by the authors–whoever they may be.

    It is amazing to me how Paulinian Christianity now dominates the United States. And Paul’s doctrine is used over and over by so called Christians to treat other people in such a fashion that I’m sure that Christ must think He will have to return to the cross!!

    I find myself in the strange position of having more in common with agnostics such as yourself and Bart Ehrman, a more recognized biblical scholar, than with many of those who claim to be Christians.

    But thank you for a quite interesting comparison of Paul and Jesus–and a more lucid description of the strange anomalies between the teaching of the two. A very sure way to make a liberal of a Christian, is to get them to read the Bible critically as opposed to accepting the Sunday School version most of us grew up with.

    My own spiritual and philosophical ties are to Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer (when I can understand Bonhoeffer!!). But bottom line, there is a cost to discipleship, and Christianity today no longer wishes to face the fact of cost (unless it’s building a new gym or educational building)–only the free and easy gift of accepting Jesus and using Him to justify my ill treatment of others.

    • Kent — you are correct that I identify myself as an agnostic (questioning about theism, very different than an atheist).

      Nevertheless, those who continue to hold to their belief in Jesus as more than just a great moral teacher such as non-Christians Gautama Siddhartha or the Dalai Lama (Buddhists) or Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi (Hindu) can still find much common ground, but rather as having some kind of role as a messianic savior, can still find some common ground if they seek to root it in holding to the reality of the history of how the Christian movement evolved (or mutated) into modern Christianity.

      While I have not chosen the same path, it is still very much possible for one to align one’s self to the teachings attributed to Jesus, including something of a messianic role, while also rejecting the Pauline corruption of what Jesus really taught about how one gets “saved” and rejecting any literalist Bibliolatrous worship of a compilation of post-Jesus writings as letters and gospel accounts that was not selected, compiled and put in place until hundreds of years later.

      In the same way, evangelical Protestants who take some of my hardest hits, can find some common ground in my separate articles about problems unique to Catholics and Mormons specifically, which provide them with resources they might have never otherwise considered.

    • why are you surprised how pauline christianity won over the west….its a religion that promotes effort required….judaism/islam pure monotheism requires word good deeds prayer fasting…..something jesus knew would never fly among the gentiles hence his call to his 12 to ‘preach only to the jews’

      • sam, not EVERY Christian believes the same way. I’m one, and I believe I was put here to be a servant of Jesus, to spend my life doing every thing I can to make life a little easier for those around me. Those who appear to worship Paul have for some reason reached the conclusion that their job is to make accusations against the very ones they should be trying to help.

        I confess, it doesn’t make Christians as a whole appear very Christlike

        • i respect your are you a unitarian who believe jesus was just a mortal prophet of man?…and that you should only worship the creator with all your heart and mind?…if so you are a follower of jesus and not a pauline christian but a muslim…thanx

        • Sam, it is possible to accept Jesus in a messianic, divine role, without accepting Paul and certainly without accepting Mohammed or his claims to have received a divine revelation from the Abrahamic invisible sky god.

          It is possible to accept Jesus as a prophet or teacher while rejecting Paul and also rejecting Mohammed and also rejecting the Mormon “prophet” Joseph Smith, or “prophets” such as David Koresh or Jim Jones who engineered the mass suicide/murders of Jonestown in Guyana.

          It is also possible to take the view that I do, that Jesus was neither god nor prophet, but that there are some wonderful and inspiring teachings on morality and ethics, and certainly rejecting Paul, Mohammed, Smith, Koresh, Jones or any other self-declared false “prophets.”

          To repeat, discussions relevant to the contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and James) are relevant in this thread. Comments relevant to the Bible as scripture (including comparisons to the Qur’an), belong on the Bible page. Comments relevant to current events, political aspects of religion (including religious moral aspects of sexual revolution, church and state, etc.) belong on the page for discussions of Christianity and current events, and questions of general theology and the existence or nature of god belong on that page. Comments not relevant to this page will not be approved for public display.

          Links to my other pages:

          Bible contradictions, atrocities and factual errors:

          Christianity and contemporary issues:

          Nature and existence of god:

        • theodore kumlander

          amen to that, when we accept Jesus Christ into our life we also accept his mission to spread his message of compassion and forgiveness and our lives are our testimony to that.

  36. If jesus wasn’t god who came down thru mary’s birth canal on a suicide mission as his own son then the only thing left to believe in is judaism or islam….the former consider jesus ‘a false prophet’….while islam considers jesus to be a ‘mighty prophet ‘ of god….’mankind is at a loss except those who believe and do good deeds…exhorting to truth and patience’ holy quran

    • Sam — your statement is absurd. One can reject all of the cruel, vicious, misogynistic legacies of the invisible Abrahamic sky god and either believe in no god, or leave the question of god open to possible future evidence, or believe in some other deity.

      There is far more evidence to believe in a sun god (Ra of Egypt, Apollo of Greece or Inti of the Incas) or a lightning god (Thor of the Vikings), who are in the sky but are NOT invisible and have real power, than to believe in the invisible sky god of a vicious, bloodthirsty sky god who demands human sacrifice (in the Christian version) or commands atrocities.

      Some specific examples of atrocities supposedly commanded by god are provided in my web page that demonstrates the many fallacies, factual errors, direct internal contradictions and atrocities in the Bible:

      • theodore kumlander

        I think that the biggest problem in Judaism and Christianity is the obsession with making their God as mighty and as powerful as the other Gods you mention. The ironic part is Jesus conquered the western world by preaching and teaching Compassion and Forgiveness and Non- Violence. IMHO.

      • You’ve heard me before, being Catholic, it is obvious to me that the Bible is certainly not the work of one entity. Whether it be God or whoever else. And we Catholics have been continually criticized by the Bible cults because we do not put the same blind faith in it, and never have. However as far as atrocities enumerated in the Bible are concerned, who is the judge of what an atrocity is. It is subjective. Is the killing of millions of cows every year to feed us burgers an atrocity or a good thing? (I think it’s good, yum). If there is no God and no soul we have the same value as cows. We are no more important. So who cares if millions are slaughtered. What difference does it make? By what reference are you drawing what is good and what is bad.

        • I have a separate article that addresses the Bible and its atrocities, direct internal contradictions, factual errors and other problems, and discussions specific to the Bible and Bible integrity should be directed to that page, which can be found at:

          But just to address your point briefly (and further discussion should move to the Bible page), humans have the sentient capacity for valuation and eVALUation to determine value and it has nothing to do with god. What makes us human is not that an invisible sky god invented by primitive, Bronze Age sheep herders and fishermen says so, but that we have higher ordered conscious sentience by which to determine moral sensibilities.

          I do not need a god to tell me that it is wrong to rape and murder children (as the Bible god COMMANDS in Numbers 31); I do not need a god to tell me that it is wrong to abuse women, kill people for working on the Sabbath or for being accused of being witches. And neither do you. Do you agree that killing and raping children is wrong? Your Biblical god never says so; in fact, he COMMANDS people to do that. Do you agree that killing someone for working on the Sabbath or being gay is wrong? How do you know that, since your god never says so. Congratulations, you do have a moral compass after all and it did not come from god because he did not direct those things.

          To say that morality only exists if is imposed externally by a powerful cosmic bully is to say that “might makes right” and is not morality at all. Cowering in fearful obeisance is not morality. The only true morality is that which springs from internalized compassion expressed actively through deeds. It is morality we adhere to even when no one, including imaginary sky gods, is watching. If one would not be moral without the fear of god looking over their shoulder, they are not moral; they are merely compliant.

          Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told.
          Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right.

          Or as Santa Claus (the “god” that children pray to for presents, who sees you when you’re sleeping or when you’re awake) would say, “Just be good for goodness sake.” (Not because “Big Santa” or “Big Jesus” is watching.)

        • Killing animals is definitively an atrocity – that’s the main difference between Paul on one side and Jesus and James on the other. Jesus and his disciples advocated vegetarianism and non-violence towards all God’s creatures, not just humans. Jesus was crucified after an act of animal liberation in the Temple.

        • I am not able to find a Bible reference in which any statement calling for vegetarianism or avoiding meat is attributed to Jesus. If you have such a reference that I have missed, I would be glad to look at it. I generally agree that humans can live quite a bit healthier if they avoid artery-clogging animal fats.

          That said, I do find references which I have cited in which Jesus endorses the Law of Moses, which explicitly permits certain forms of meat (explicitly excluding pork, ham, bacon, shrimp or lobster), though Paul does successfully lead a movement to allow the forbidden meats, and Jesus does repeatedly participate in fishing expeditions with his apostles, some of whom were fishermen, and when he reportedly feeds the multitude, he distributes both loaves and fishes.

        • paul preached the opposite of what jesus taught…….he was therefore a false prophet….his pauline creed that god came to earth through mary’s birth canal as his own son on a suicide mission’,,would be foreign to jesus oy vey

        • bible evolved over 400 yrs…..not divine….man made quran only divine preserved scripture in the world…its main creed ‘worship only the creator not the created’..oy vet

        • The Bible is human made.
          I find no evidence or basis for believing that the Qur’an is an less human made.

          Any further discussion of this point should be moved to the discussion of the Bible as scripture, at:

        • what would it take to convince you

        • Sam, I can not envision a path for being convinced that ancient superstition of pre-scientific desert rats are the one and only divine truth, especially when they defy all civilized standards of moral decency and humanity, all scientific fact and demonstrate ZERO knowledge of science or technology that I would expect from an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful deity.

          I can not envision how the ancient Greeks could convince me that their sun gods or planet gods are actually sentient deities.

          I can not envision how the ancient Vikings could convince me that their lightning god is actually a sentient deity.

          I can not envision how the ancient Hindus could convince me that any of their many gods are actually sentient deities.

          I can not envision how the ancient Incas or Mayans could convince me of their gods.

          And I especially cannot envision any way in which the invisible sky god of Abraham, one of the most vicious, cruel and genocidal, who is embraced by Jews, Christians and Muslims with very different theologies, each riddled with scriptures that contain numerous direct internal contradictions, factual errors and atrocities supposedly commanded by their god, could possibly provide evidence that this mythological being has any actual basis in reality.

          In every case, in every body of mythology, legend or “scripture,” the all-knowing, all-powerful deities never demonstrated one single shred of scientific knowledge beyond what was known in their times and to the most learned of their peoples. And no deity ever has been able to provide objective evidence of miracles or cures beyond what was known in their times.

        • Hi Dave,
          Well put. I agree with your entire post except MAYBE the last line. Have you ever read about the events at Fatima in 1917?

        • Hugh, every major religion has its miracles and revelations, both historic and modern (not sure whether 1917, almost a hundred years ago, with no outside verification, is ancient or modern).
          In some cases there are events that seem to have some basis in fact which can’t be explained, in others there seems little basis for credibility and much suspicion of fraud.

          In the cases where there are events that seem to have at least some basis in an unexplained occurrence, such events reflect every viewpoint of every cult, religion, superstition or to those who do not believe at all, so they do not seem to mean much in a discussion specific to supporting any specific viewpoint.

  37. Beloveds:
    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:9; God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10; Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
    Matthews 12:25; And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
    It is almost universally agreed that the author of Acts also wrote the Gospel of Luke. The author is traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist; (See Wikipedia)
    These teachings in Acts; written by Luke are of the same scriptures, you must first denounce to believe that Paul was in opposition to Christ. Either Luke’s writings are true by faith, or not. They are all true by faith or not. One cannot invalidate any part of scripture without invalidating the whole, for the part is not greater than the whole. (Also Read verse Acts 12:1-30).
    Per these teaching to reject Paul means we must also assume the whole of the book of Acts is false, because they chronicle Paul’s conversion. We must also assume all the writing of Luke are false, and he a false teacher since he wrote Acts. Furthermore, we must assume Ananias (Acts 9:10-19) was a liar too.
    Now consider this… If the 2/3rds of scripture written by Paul, and the other portions written by Luke are false, then can we trust that the other writings are valid? THIS IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE! We must receive the truth of God’s word by faith.
    Hebrew 11:6; But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    Hebrew 10:38; Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
    Galatians 3:11; But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
    Of the phases of Spiritual growth, phase three is knowledge. 1 Corinthians 8:1; Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. Where is the LOVE in this teaching, and how does devaluing more than 2/3rds of the New Testament express the Love of God? How does it edify Christ or his message?
    Acts 9:17; And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul (Paul), the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
    The GREATEST PROBLEM I see with this teaching is this… You make these claims: “Subsequently, Saul claimed to have had a dramatic vision on the road to Damascus and claims to have miraculously converted to this new cult he had been persecuting, in which it was Saul who held the coats of those who stoned the martyred apostle Stephen (Acts 7:58; 22:20). To signify his new life, he renamed himself from “Saul” to “Paul.”
    Herein is the potential blasphemy of your perspective… You’ve taken the above facts from the scriptures themselves, not from some random person’s perspective. So can you give these peripheral ideas merit than the scriptures themselves?
    If one can so callously and foolishly minimize the validate peripheral documents, ideas, and materials; to invalidate a scriptural truth, then anyone can devalue any or all parts of scripture or persons therein; including Jesus the Christ Himself. THIS IS A DANGEROUS PATH TO TAKE, JUST TO EMBRACE A NEW IDEA.
    To devalue Paul from scripture leaves every character of the scriptures vulnerable to being devalued and made of non-effect. Though; maybe well intended, the ideas of these lessons begin with one having to accept scripture as erred. I any part of scripture can be invalidated, then all has to be considered just as invalid.
    How can one pick and choose which part of scripture is valid and which is not. This idea begins with one having to accept that some parts of scripture are invalid in order to accept the scripture regarding Paul as an false Apostle. So what is there to prevent anyone else from assuming Jesus as nothing more the just a prophet, by disregarding the verses that validate Him as the very son of God?
    Men will do and say what they choose, for what reasons they choose, but these teachings are dangerous because of the foundation upon which they are established. They require believers to doubt some scripture, making all scripture vulnerable to reproach, deflation and deception. I will pray for all who have and are considering embracing them.


    • At each point where I have referred to the respective views which the Bible attributes to Paul, Jesus or James, I have cited chapter and verse and addressed them in the entirety of their respective social, cultural and linguistic contexts.

      The Bible says what the Bible says and citing other statements attributed to Paul, Jesus or James do not change them. At best, you are essentially alleging that not only does Paul contradict Jesus and James but that Paul contradicts himself and Jesus and James contradict themselves.

      When you accuse me of trying “to devalue Paul from scripture” when what I am citing is Paul’s own actual words justified against those of Jesus and James, without addressing those actual statements in their full context, you are really failing to grasp that it is Paul who is devaluing Paul in terms of respect for the integrity of Jesus’ teachings.

      As for the assertion about a “dangerous path to take, just to embrace a new idea,” the idea is not new (goes back at least as far as Jefferson and many other writers going back hundreds of years) and it is only “dangerous” to the extent that the established religious orthodoxy always feels threatened by those who show its feet to be fashioned out of very malleable clay.

      As for how one can “pick and choose which part of scripture is valid and which is not,” well, yes, that is what everyone does. The Bible is riddled with direct internal contradictions, factual errors, failed prophecies and atrocities that the Bible alleges are commanded by god. These are the parts that the cherry-pickers who claim to accept the Bible as the inerrant and infallible “word of god” never seem to read in Sunday School.

      I have addressed some of the flaws, errors, contradictions and atrocities in the Bible in my separate article on that subject which is, again, replete with precise chapter and verse references for each example provided. That article can be found at:

  38. I’ve found the biggest con artists to be the clergy, specifically the clergy that wants to teach you a mixture of Old and New Testament laws, ignoring the teachings of Paul. All of the Protestant work ethic was taught by Paul who stressed working honestly with your hands night and day so you’re not a burden to others. When I read those words I threw away collared shirts and ties and dress shoes, which are nothing more than elitist statements against physical work, loved by a parasitic clergy, like Martin Luther saw in the Catholic Dark Ages. I was delighted to read later that the collarless frock worn by today’s Catholic Priest was instituted during the reformation, as a direct result of the Protestant’s ditching of dress not appropriate for honest work with you hands.

    The con artist/preacher wants to make sure that you are cursed struggling to uphold the Laws of the Old Testament citing Jesus’ words that not one aspect of it will pass away. As you struggle under a curse brought about by works, in absence of the blessings of God, Jesus’s words become lies as his clergy casts millstones around your neck, grievous to bear, and you find that Jesus’s words lead to a crushing burden, not something “light” at all as you get stuck doing all the physical hard work the professional clergy refuses to do.

    The worst part of the con artist Clergy who hates the doctrines of honesty and grace is that they want to make you into a paranoid nutcase teaching you that you’re going to have your neck placed in a guillotine and put in a concentration camp and that you may cave and be cast into hell for taking the mark of the beast. The con artist clergy will have you believing the believers in Revelations are gentile churches which of course we who are the students of Paul know is wrong because John never spoke a word to Gentiles. I believe in the rapture which God spoke to me as my blessed hope and saw it taking place before the horrors Jews will experience in Revelations.

    The con artist clergy wants to burden you with endless academics as they teach the entirety of the Bible as if it is the Gentile Covenant forfeited by Israel dependent on constant works to benefit them and to keep them in fancy, dandified dress as they lift not a finger. As someone who works honestly with my hands and knows how to lay, block, brick, stone, stucco, frame hoses, work on cars, wiring and plumbing, roofing and tiling and concrete and landscaping, I thank God, like Martin Luther and every Gentile since Paul, that I can identify a con artist, sent by Satan to rip you off and teaches another doctrine besides that taught by Paul.

    • Hi Charles — some excellent observations, and I agree with much of what you said, but one point I would question would be about your reference to the con artist clergy that, “wants to burden you with endless academics as they teach the entirety of the Bible.”

      I would assert that the con artist clergy (and some of them are more misguided than intentionally or maliciously deceptive, though the outcome is the same, though there are definitely a lot of con artists, too) teaches the entirety of the Bible at all. They cherry-pick a few favored passages that seem to support their viewpoint (or can be twisted to sound like it), and repeat them over and over, while ignoring the many passages that either present a different viewpoint, or show the Bible to be filled with all kinds of atrocities (supposedly commanded by god), direct internal contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies. I have compiled some examples, with links to many more, in my article that specifically addresses the Bible:

  39. One other interesting point. Look at 1Cor 1:10-12 – Paul says don’t follow me; follow Christ. Yet the Nicean Council saw fit to include so many of Paul’s letters in the canon. Why?? I’m new to seeing the contradictions, but I have to agree. Jesus’ two greatest commandments trump all.

    • theodore kumlander

      it is interesting that Paul started out with the best of intentions, but after his upside down crucifixion his letters so influenced the writing of the new testament. It reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King who is today revered as Civil Rights leader but his passionate love for Jesus and peaceful protest has been lost. I wonder if the same thing happened to Paul.

      • Whether or not Paul ever “started out with the best of intentions” is questionable. The Bible account in Acts reports that he “started out” as a persecutor of the early Christians and that he held the coats of those who stoned the Apostle Stephen, considered the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58; 22:20).

        From there, it is hard to extrapolate any good intent from making up a fantastic story of miracles and magic and bright lights and a sudden conversion that just happened to put himself in a role where he could do far more to hijack the movement. With his rare combination of being a wealthy, educated Jew but also a Roman citizen, he had the papers and the means to travel the Empire and recruit new followers, not from the ranks of the Jews, whose perception of Jesus and his teachings were filtered through the prism of Paul’s distortion which, from the very beginning — his earliest letters — was completely opposite of Jesus.

        To compare him to Martin Luther King, Jr., falls short of reality. If Paul did start out “with the best of intentions” and was gradually corrupted, it is still his own corruption and, at whatever pace, it clearly happened. If readers today overlook the core teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., it is not because he changed in any way, but because they don’t understand his mission and role, likely due to never having actually studied any of his work other than listening to the “I have a dream” speech. If one has read more of his works, including Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, about the Montgomery Bus Boycott which pulled him into a movement when one of his congregation, Rosa Parks, got arrested, or Why We Can’t Wait, which gives us the famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail, or others of his notable speeches, including the one he gave impromptu the night before his assassination, one would not have the slightest doubt of the centrality of his role as a minister or this devotion to the nonviolence and universal compassionate love of Jesus, which permeates his work right up to the very end. If others are not aware of his work, it is a reflection on them, not on any supposition that King himself changed at all.

        • Hello, once more. Two points: 1. We don’t really know how Paul died-what is this about being crucified upside down? Peter was the one who was said-tradition- that he chose such death. 2. I do not see Paul being corrupted, at all. He is not always right, but people who have passionate nature-and me being one of them-can often sound a bit “out there”,be loud, yell a bit, love a lot, give a lot, be jealous,etc. I view Paul as a passionate man, about his new faith. I see him as a lover of his new faith and his new congregations. He did not have to go through such hard life, if he did not have that passion; he did not have to give it all for his faith, if he did not have that drive. I do understand him, because i too, have such temperament. When we love, boy, we love.

        • theodore kumlander

          thanks for replying your points are all very interesting. I worked in an urban high school for 32 years and as the years went bye the ” Official ” MLK story became modified until he became stereotype of who he actually was and this was taught as fact to young people, and it occurred to me that the same thing could have happened to Paul by the people who told his story and put the new testament together. The book of acts and his letters may have been used to promote a particular vision for Christianity.

          specifically the Agnostics who had sexual orgies in their temples and anointed statues with semen because they believed the power of God was in it because it created life. Paul or his followers viewed this is profane worship and for Christianity they wanted a Sacred Worship for their Lord and Savior .

          This is similar to the 12 tribes of Israel when they were the followers of a dusty hill God they called Yahweh they wanted the same temples and grandeur that the Egyptian Gods had .

          It is nice talking with you , you have a whole new insight into the Bible that I find fascinating. Peace be with you my friend.

        • As you probably have discerned, I have on my bookshelf, and have read, much more of Martin Luther King, Jr., than just his “I have a dream” speech. From his beginnings as the pastor who happened to be preaching in the church attended by Rosa Parks, to the very day of his death, he never retreated from or moderated his Bible-based Christian views, and took very literally the exhortation to “love enemies” and, when they smite you, “turn the other cheek.” If others have changed their views of him over the years (and I do not believe that includes those who have thoroughly studied his sermons, books and other writings), that is not the same as HIM changing. On this day that we mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, making sure our memories are tempered by factual accuracy confers respect and honor.

          In contrast, while I do not find any evidence that Paul changed from being a persecutor with blood on his hands, other than a more effective strategy, if he did, it was not the perception of others over the years, but it was he, himself, who changed. This is very different from what happened in some quarters with Martin Luther King, Jr.

      • I can see that Paul as a new Christian having the best of intentions with what he saw was his task, but what I guess what stands out for me most right now is Paul’s emphasis that we are no longer under the law when Jesus insisted that we were under the law.and that we should continue to teach the law. I believe that Paul was a Jew and understood the importance of the law. Did he believe that Christianity was in someway radically different from Judaism?

  40. theodore kumlander

    Thank you for putting the final piece in place. I have studied the Bible as history for years and I could not understand the great contradiction in the new testament between Paul an Jesus until I read this excerpt from your book. I knew with out Paul we would not have Christianity as we know it today, but I could not figure out where it all went wrong. Peace be with you.

  41. I have read your article and all of the comments made, and I want to add my thoughts. But before I do, I want you to know that I understand where you are coming from. I understand the apparent contradiction between faith (according to Paul) and works (according to James). I can see how you would believe that they are opposed to one another. But as I see it, they are not. Instead, they are actually talking about two different things. Paul is talking about how you “get” salvation, and James is talking about how you “prove” you have it.

    • Tom — I have a hard time believing that you thoroughly read either the article or the comments, since your point was specifically addressed in the original article, and has been repeatedly addressed in the comments as readers keep bringing up the same thing.

      Your full comment was quite lengthy and, since none of it is supported by the content of scripture or other authoritative original sources, and repeats material that has been repeatedly covered.

      There is absolutely nothing in the text to suggest that James and Paul are talking about different things. On the contrary, James is clearly rebutting Paul as he also does on the requirements for circumcision, Jewish conversion and the sanctity of the Law of Moses that his brother, Jesus, referred to in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:17-19).

      The fact that James’ response uses exactly the same syntax, same words (changing the order for the opposite meaning) and, the same scriptural example of Abraham and Isaac, clearly shows that they are referring to the exact same thing, and nothing in the text suggests otherwise. Your little hypothesis is based purely on conjecture that you, or someone you have listened to, made up to try to explain why the passage does not really mean what it so very clearly says.

      Moreover, if one looks at the totality of what is explained in the article, James is defending the teaching of his brother, Jesus, who very clearly taught that salvation is achieved by, not merely proven by, universal compassionate “agape” love (for neighbors broadly defined to include foes, enemies and the least among us), expressed through deeds or actions.

      Moreover, even if one accepts that “salvation” is by the grace and free gift of god, both the standards of Paul and Jesus/James still require something in return. Paul says that it is a free gift of grace, but the standard for receiving it is that the recipient must have faith; Jesus/James say that it is a free gift of grace but that the standard is that one must feel and live by — through actions — universal compassionate love.

      If you missed that in the article or in the other comments, search on “mechanism of salvation” or the “contradictory difference” between Paul and James (who both espouse both faith and works, but differ as to the mechanism of salvation or justification). If you wish to continue this line, you will have to explain where you find your point in scripture or other authoritative original source texts, and address the point in the article and comments that has been repeatedly made.

    • I would strongly argue that it’s the other way around.

      • Actually, Hank, no you would NOT “strongly argue” that “it’s the other way around.”
        You would just say that and express your (unsupported) disagreement, but not actually support it; not actually argue it.

        In contrast I provided actual statements from scriptural sources, backed up with chapter and verse citations and actually argued my position.
        You offered NOTHING.
        You merely stated that you disagree.
        You did not actually argue your case.
        That is not arguing, that is whining.

        • Dave – My response was directed at Tom. He said: “Paul is talking about how you “get” salvation, and James is talking about how you “prove” you have it.” In simple terms, yes, I would argue that the opposite is the case, as evidenced by the writings attributed to both men.

        • Hank Kennedy — again, you merely made a statement of your views; you did not actually present any argument in support of your statement.
          And my response to Tom’s original statement was to note that he did not merely get it backwards, as you state but do not support, but that he was wrong. Both Paul and James are discussing how you “get” salvation — the mechanism of salvation or justification — and their conclusions (one by faith without works, though works is indicatively important, and the other by works without faith only, though faith can be an important motivator of works) are directly and unambiguously contradictory.

  42. “In the early decades following Jesus’ death, his followers remained a small, local sect. They retained their Jewish identify and, in fact, only Jews could be baptized as new followers, as “Christians.” – I guess the author never read the book of “Acts” in which Jews and Gentiles were baptised? Acts 10:47 [The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit]
    …46) For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47) “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48) And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

    • You clearly missed the point made in the article. Jesus made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that the entire Law of Moses would remain absolutely inviolate — not one dot or iota (jot or tittle) would be abrogated until “heaven and earth shall pass away” and “ALL THINGS” have been fulfilled. (Matt 5:17-19).

      Paul, in direct opposition to Jesus, proclaimed that Christians were “no longer under the Law” (Romans 3:19-21 and Romans 6:14), even though heaven and earth had not yet passed away and many things, including all the End Times prophecies, had not been fulfilled yet. That Law included prohibitions against eating certain prohibited foods (pork, shellfish such as shrimp or lobster) and had many other requirements that Jews became used to but which were onerous to those who had grown up without such restrictions.

      As noted in the article, Paul held the rare dual status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen, highly educated and of means, and had both the papers and the resources to travel the Roman Empire widely, converting many gentiles. He found these restrictions of the Law of Moses to be obstacles to converting gentiles. But at that time, as the commentary clearly notes, and as is reported in the early parts of Acts prior to chapter ten that you cite, it was, indeed, a requirement that new gentile converts first be converted to Judaism before they could be baptized.

      The smooth-talking Paul, overcoming vigorous dissent from Jesus’ brother James, whose short book clearly opposes any retreat from the Law of Moses, was able to persuade Peter, famous for denying that he even knew Jesus, to further ignore Jesus’ teaching about the Law of Moses, and waive that requirement. This chapter, Chapter Ten of Acts that you cite, is where that happens. The verses you cite are at the end of the chapter. The first part of the chapter is where Peter, goaded by Paul, has his famous dream about eating the forbidden foods, as the metaphor for essentially waiving the Law of Moses in violation of Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. In the same way as Peter allowing the foods that were forbidden under the Law, allowing gentiles to be baptized directly, without first converting to Judaism, represents this fundamental change in policy and fundamental repudiation of one of the elements Jesus’ emphasized in the Sermon on the Mount. That is the theme of Chapter 10 of Acts. The point could be further made that this is the moment at which Pauline Christianity ceased to be a sect of Judaism and became a separate faith in its own right.

      Maybe it is YOU, my friend, who needs to read the book of Acts — the whole book, or at least the whole chapter you cite — not just cherry-picked, isolated verses taken out of context.

  43. educated people seem to miss simple truths because they are so book smart and heavenly minded they are of no earthly good …

  44. If you read Galations 1:1 you will see that Paul claims not to have learned the gospel from men (or he did not learn the teaching of Jesus from the original disciples) nor did he teach the teachings of Jesus.

    In Galations 2 the difference of doctrine is apparent between Paul and Cephas (Simon Peter “The Rock”).

    Good article.

    • In Galatians 1:1, Paul claims by way of self introduction, to have been sent, not by men, but by Jesus Christ and god. That is what he claims, but the extensive, specific direct contradictions with almost every key point of doctrine, theology, morality or ethics attributed to Jesus, discredits that claim and proves Paul to be a fraud.

      In chapter 2 of Galatians Paul plunges right into more examples of that, as he continues to teach that “justification” is by faith and not compassion-inspired deeds, as the gospels assert that Jesus repeatedly taught.

      • Indeed it is one of the most worrying issues within Christianity today. People follow a pauline tradition, rather than considering oneself a disciple of Jesus and his teachings.

        I personally feel that pastors should never mention the letters of Paul of Tarsus without bringing them into context with the clear division in doctrine with the rest of the disciples and Jesus himself.

        I personally feel that the letters of Paul have historical value. But they should not be treated as scripture of teachings (even though nearly all churches do), they are important as they have historical value in demonstrating the early division in the church. But Paul’s teachings themselves do not “fit” into the teachings of Jewish tradition or Jesus himself.

        I tend to think of Paul as the car salesman of the Christian faith, I don’t think he really knew what he was selling but did what ever he could to “sell” as many cars as he could with “FREE” gift. :)

  45. Ms. SpoolTeacher

    [Unnecessary personal insults deleted]
    I found this article and thought it might serve you to consider…”Saul of Tarsus did not became Paul the Apostle by his own efforts or by any human efforts (Romans 1.1-6; Galatians 1.1, 15-24). He became the apostle of the grace of God by the sovereign will of the glorified Christ.

    Just as God established His plan with Israel beginning with Abraham, He began a new plan with Paul. God created Israel beginning with Abraham. God created the Church, the body of Christ, beginning with Paul.

    The risen Lord revealed His plan through Paul just as He revealed His plan through Abraham and later, Moses. The two are different: complementary, not contradictory, for God cannot contradict God.”

    Apparently the 12 were preaching to the Jews and didn’t have the knowledge that had been revealed to Paul by the heavenly Jesus. Paul was preaching that the Gentiles now had access to Heaven, not on earth as the Jews expected and were devastated with misunderstanding “the truth” that the Kingdom was in the future, not then or “now” to them. I am not trying to support your point nor deny it. Trying to grasp something that you seem to be grappling with yourself. “Me thinks thou does protest to much”

    • I have repeatedly cited, with chapter and verse, specific instances in which Jesus stated that salvation and eternal life were based on DEEDS rooted in universal compassionate love, in stand-alone passages in which faith was never even mentioned, which completely contradicts Paul’s statement that justification is based on FAITH and NOT WORKS.

      Further, Jesus’ brother James replied to Paul’s attempt to undermine his brother’s teaching by using Paul’s exact same words, in the exact same syntactical construction and the exact same example and scriptural reference to Abraham and Isaac, but changing the order of Paul’s words in that construction to say the exact opposite, that justification is based on WORKS and NOT FAITH (and even throwing in the little dig that “faith without works is dead”).

      You, or the non-scriptural apologetic source you cite can whine that they are “complimentary, not contradictory” all you want, but anyone who can read can see that you and your sources are trying to mash round pegs into square holes, and going through all kinds of tortured semantic gyrations to try to explain why the very clear words don’t really mean what they so clearly say.

      Clearly there was a “new beginning,” as you say, with Paul. Not merely different, not merely “complimentary,” but utterly and totally contradictory on numerous fundamental issues of theology (of salvation), morality, equality (of women, slaves, gays) and so much other. Yes, with Paul the church began anew, in a different direction — a direction of darkness, cruelty and paternalistic oppression of elitists against everyone else, in a manner that Jesus would respond to by saying, “GET THEE BEHIND ME.”

  46. This is what my pastor had to say about this post, “So far it is very interesting. I found that with his logic, he questions the unity between Jesus and Paul. He, in my estimation does not know how to “rightly divide the word of truth”. Some of the statements that he makes are totally out of character of Paul. For example (I quote)

    “Perhaps he infiltrated their ranks and taught a doctrine that opposed Jesus, replacing Jesus’ selfless teaching of universal compassionate action with a selfish teaching of desire to gain a “free gift” of salvation based only on faith and completely devoid of any behavioral requirement or obedience to law, thus distracting us from the selfless teachings of Jesus.”

    Danizier accuses Paul and says that he is an enemy to the church and a enemy implant to divert the believers from the teaching of Jesus. He obviously does not know Paul and his teachings.

    I find that so far from the truth. His hypothesis has no basis when you take in the age of the Law of Moses, the age of Grace and the age of the church. Some of Jesus teachings were meant for the Jews, some for the church. This man does everything to avoid the term, sin. I find that really interesting.

    He also mentions that there is no works required. Faith is a work, Jesus stated so. We were created (or born again) for “good works”. These are just a few thoughts under his first sub heading.

    What can the end result be of accusing Paul and saying that his teaching are erroneous? I think that this man is deceived and is writing to have believers question the word of God. When they do that they will question their salvation.

    In doing an overview of this mans teachings he is an antichrist (The picture he choose for this article says a thousand words). He flat out rejects the need of the sacrifice for remission of sin and redemption by the blood of the Son of God. That is heresy, a person who teaches heresy, well is a …. He quotes Jesus saying “I require mercy and not sacrifice? We need to remember that Satan used scripture when tempting Jesus in the desert.

    I will finish the article. Yes I like to see how others handle the Word of God and yes it is very interesting.”

    We both agree that you are doing the same thing you are claiming Paul was doing.

    • Ms. SpoolTeacher — it is not surprising that someone who is deeply invested in trying to reconcile the round peg of Paul’s doctrine of salvation based on “faith and not works” with square hole of Jesus’ numerous, explicit statements to the contrary (reinforced by the blistering rebuttal his brother James made directly against Paul), would find the conclusions problematic.

      But since your pastor cannot actually refute the extensive specific “chapter and verse” references and quotes, showing the many direct contradictions in full context, and is unable to offer anything similar in response, all he is left with are his own statements of opinion expressing disagreement (with no basis provided) and name calling (describing me as an “anti-Christ” based on an avatar icon).

      Your pastor claims that some of Paul’s writings were for Jews, others for the church (forgetting that, in the beginning, all of those in the early church WERE Jews), as if Jesus has one message for Jews and a different one for everybody else, more evidence that even your pastor recognizes there is a contradictory difference. Sure, honest speakers may provide differences in emphasis or degree of explanation depending on the perspective of their audience, but they do not change the essential substance. Yor pastor is essentially reducing Paul to the level of a crass politician so, in that regard, seems to be agreeing with the article.

      Your pastor objects to the observation that Jesus did, in fact, describe salvation based on universal compassionate deeds while Paul teaches the opposite. I cited “chapter and verse”; your pastor did not.

      Your pastor objects to my observations (primarily in a different article on the fallacies of human sacrifice blood atonement) rejecting the absurd notion of killing an innocent human sacrifice to pay for (atone for) OTHER PEOPLE’s “sins,” as heresy but, again, does not address a single point in that regard made in this article or the one on atonement human sacrifice.

      You state that both you and your pastor agree that I am doing the same thing I accuse Paul of doing. But I cite extensive chapter and verse to show what Jesus reportedly said, and how Paul explicitly contradicts it. Paul does no such thing.

      Many of us began from the same set of beliefs that you and your pastor still hold and, at past times in our lives were equally invested in them. But some of us were willing to adapt our views when fact-based evidence proved them wrong.

      • Doesn’t seem like anyone can reconcile having it both ways. Either we are saved by grace or not. I won’t quote scripture and verse or try to sound like a scholar. My understanding is that we will want to do good works if we are truly saved. There are no works we can do to be saved. And we can only believe in faith because, let’s face it, Jesus isn’t here now speaking directly to us. Works are evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And why do you use an avatar that is so blatant?

        • Indeed, Ms. SpoolTeacher, you can’t have it both ways.
          Either people are saved by grace or not.
          You won’t quote scripture; I DID.

          Jesus says we are saved by compassionate DEEDS rooted in universal love, in passages that include no mention of faith.
          His brother, James, says we are saved by WORKS and NOT FAITH.

          Paul says the opposite, that we are saved by FAITH and NOT WORKS.

          Sure, Jesus, James and Paul all agreed that compassionate deeds (works) are good, and they all also agree that faith is good, and there are plenty of passages to affirm that from all of them. But the contradictory difference is as to the mechanism of salvation or justification.

          Jesus (and James) state that both FAITH and COMPASSIONATE DEEDS are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).
          [Reference, Jesus: Matt 25:31-46 & Luke 10:25-37] [James: James 2:24]
          Justification by DEEDS and NOT WORKS.

          Paul states that both FAITH and COMPASSIONATE DEEDS are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).
          [Reference: Romans 3:28; 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5]
          Justification by FAITH and NOT DEEDS.

          And again, there is a reason why you do not cite “chapter and verse” and I do.

        • Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

          For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

        • EXACTLY! The Epistle to the Ephesians was written by the renegade “apostle” PAUL, including this passage [which I had already cited in my previous response TO YOU so I am not sure why you are repeating it without responding to the point I previously made about it], that explicitly contradict the teachings of Jesus and his brother James who say the exact opposite, as I cited in numerous verses and other passages that tell women to “keep silent in the churches” and “submit to [their] husbands” (in other words, “sit down, shut up and we men will tell you what to do do”) while Jesus elevates women such as Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalene.

          This is, yet again, a perfect example, and one that I had already cited, of where Paul directly and repeatedly contradicts Jesus and James, so thank you for reinforcing my reference to it.

        • Fascinating discussion here. Those of us who agree with Danizier would have as a basic thesis that Paul corrupted the teachings of Jesus and turned them into something slightly different, with no spiritual authority.

          So the quoting from the epistle to the Ephesians is actually reinforcing our point. The concept that only belief and faith will assure salvation, without working here on earth to do good, originates with Paul, not with Jesus. It’s as good an example as any of the kind of suspicious tampering that Paul routinely did. Each change may seem fairly minor in itself, but cumulatively all his changes morph the universal mystical truths of Jesus’ teachings into a clumsier religion. One can accept that Paul had some sort of divine inspiration if one wishes, but I for one see no reason to accept his version of anything, any more than I’d believe a Jerry Falwell or someone on The 700 Club. Yes, Paul lived nearer in time to Jesus, but so what? He still is wholly unconnected. Why believe Paul instead of any number of contemporary Gnostic Christians of that era, for example? Paul’s version took hold in part because, as a Roman, he was a better politician, had a more mainstream understanding of how to turn things into rhetoric that appealed to people in his time, AND he was a better salesman. All those things made his tale on things gain hold in those early times, even if he had absolutely no spiritual authority of any kind.

          Too much of accepted Christianity is actually some kind of “Paulism.” It’s my deep belief that if we study the actual sayings of Jesus himself, we will find ourselves closer to the kind of mystical understanding which he taught. Paul confuses the issue, and has no authority whatsoever.

          “The kingdom of heaven is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.”
          –from The Gospel of Thomas, a source much earlier than the New Testament and, one might conclude, closer to the truth of what Jesus actually said…

    • The Pastor’s critique of Danizier reads like the critique from the point of view of an antichrist who is opposed to Jesus’ teachings and instead follows the later teachings of Paul. For example, no follower of Jesus or genuine Christian would write something like the following:

      ‘He also mentions that there is no works required. Faith is a work, Jesus stated so. We were created (or born again) for “good works”.’

      I mean how ridiculous is the notion that you only have to believe you are a Christian, i.e. have faith, but not commit to acts, i.e. doing things in your life that demonstrate that you are a Christian. That’s not the teachings of Jesus, that’s the words of an antichrist who opposes the teachings of Jesus.

      • “Faith is a work” and could you all speak as if you are talking to children, like maybe, say, Jesus would have.

        • Another problem with this antichrist Pastor is his extremely poor and uneducated grasp of the English language. Faith is a belief, it has nothing to do with action. It can motivate us to do good works, i.e. act in a way that is following the teachings of Jesus, but on its own, it is purely an internal psychological belief.

          It is for this reason that the Pastor seems to be ignorantly or more likely duplicitously putting an incorrect meaning into Jesus’ teachings that make it the opposite of what the Bible indicates Jesus said. For this reason the Pastor is an antichrist, not a follower of Jesus, rather a follower of Paul.

          If I was a member of his congregation, I’d walk out once I heard him speak such anti christian teachings. The man is an uneducated ignoramus. And definitely not a Christian who follows the teachings of Jesus.

        • Another demonstration of the antichrist teachings of this Pastor can be clearly demonstrated by looking at Matthew 7:21-23. Where the Pastor comes into stark contradiction and disagreement with what Jesus teaches us:

          Matthew 7:21-23
          21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” 23 Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

          According to the antichrist Pastor, Jesus is wrong. Whereas the Pastor teaches that the people who believe they are Christians and by that belief alone, i.e. faith, they will be granted entrance to heaven. Jesus disagrees with the Pastor. Jesus indicates above that regardless of whether people believe they are Christian or not, that alone is not sufficient to grant them entrance into heaven. Only those who carry out the will of God as clearly described by Jesus in earlier chapters of the book of Matthew will then be judged as worthy of being granted entry to heaven.

          Therefore, for all those antichrists who praised Jesus, prophesied in his name, exorcised demons, and spoke as if they had the power of authority to speak on behalf of Jesus by telling people that you only have to believe in Jesus to be saved as opposed to what Jesus tells us that you also have to act and involve yourself in works that follow the will of God, Jesus will have one response when you ask for entrance into heaven:

          “I never knew you; go away from me, you evil doers.”

  47. Good Evening, Davis. Wow, I don’t know where to begin…I am an Athenian Greek, who is Antiquity teacher in a classical-private-school. I teach Ancient History and Ancient Literature, from The Epic of Gilgamesh all the way to the time of Augustine’s Confessions. Last year i read the great book, “From Jesus to Christianity” which truly brought some answers to me, as I already had some questions, concerning the assemble of the New Testament. As i taught the Mesopotamian history, I found incredible similarities to the Mosaic law, and this too, made me think…This last few months, my husband has been focusing on the four gospels over, and over, and over, to the point that we agreed with all the above points of your essay of paul/Jesus…We too, came to the conclusion that paul is teaching something different than jesus. With humility, i hope, we continue our journey of our Spiritual journey, praying for the Lord to keep us close to Him. What’s up with the goat, in your profile picture?? Blessings, Ima.

    • Hi Ima, thanks for the supportive words.

      The avatar icon is not actually a “goat”; it is supposed to represent the Faun, Tumnus, from the children’s fantasy “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” written as an allegory by Christian apologist C. S. Lewis as a fable to teach Christianity to Children.

      In the metaphor, the Children represent those seeking Christianity. The Faun protects the Children, but is not of the alignment with Aslan, the Lion, the symbol of Jesus as a messianic christus. In the same way, my effort is to defend the integrity of the real Jesus, at least as he is portrayed in the Bible legends, yet just as Tumnus is not the formal ally of Aslan, I also cannot claim to be a Christian believer.

  48. In short the kingdom of God, salvation, the race, the mansion, etc. is RECEIVED by GRACE/GIFT… not by works and not by faith (through works and through faith yes but NOT by either).
    One dwells in this kingdom, experiences this salvation, runs this race, abides in this mansion, etc. through faith = works and/or works = faith. Faith and works are not ‘vs’ they compliment and complete each other, as they demonstrate ‘the kingdom is coming’, ‘salvation occurring’, ‘race being run’, ‘mansion being decorated’, etc.

    • Your point that faith and works are not incompatible is valid, and that point is explicitly stated in the article. Your conclusion that because faith and works are not incompatible that, therefore, Jesus and Paul do not contradict, is flawed because that is not the basis of the contradiction on that point (as one of several areas of disagreement). Certainly no one can read the words of Jesus’ brother James and not see that he is very vehemently writing a strong rebuttal against Paul, using exactly the same vocabulary, syntax, context and examples, but rearranging the order to arrive at the opposite conclusion. You are responding to something that was not asserted.

      Here is what you seem to have missed from the commentary:

      “But here is the contradictory difference on that last one, which is especially amplified by Jesus’ brother James’ stunningly direct rebuttal against Paul in James chapter 2:
      Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).
      Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).”

      The contradiction is as to the mechanism of salvation (or justification) — which gets you into heaven, and which is helpful in the process but not the process itself.

  49. There is no contradiction between ‘faith alone’ and ‘faith without works is dead’. There is no contradiction in practicing infant baptism or adult baptism. Both proclaim the same thing: the primacy of God’s FREE grace.

    It is not FAITH vs WORKS it is FAITH = WORKS and WORKS = FAITH.

    But in either case that which be primary is GIFT/GRACE. God’s grace produces faith. God’s grace produces works. This GIFT/GRACE explodes in our life in diverse fashion: through faith and through works are two. They are not contradictory they are complementary.

    Trying to pit FAITH vs WORKS {or Paul vs Jesus} only demonstrates one misunderstands that which is primary: GRACE, FREE GIFT. Or as the reformation put it JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE. If the primacy of grace/gift is lost and ‘through works’ (without faith in grace) becomes primary we have a reformation. If the primacy of grace/gift is lost and ‘through faith’ (without works of grace) becomes primary we have a reformation.

    The ‘tension’ that people perceive between ‘faith’ vs ‘works’ is not specific to ‘Paul vs Jesus (and James’)… it is also specific to JESUS who also says “your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19,”your faith has made you well” Matthew 9:22, Luke 18:42, Mark 5:34.

    The gift of Christ can be received through works which exhibits faith (in this free gift) AND the gift of Christ can be received through faith which exhibits works (of this free gift). If one has GIFT/GRACE as primary there is NO CONTRADICTION in one lifting up works or one lifting up faith. If one centers on the “it is your Father’s good pleasure to GIVE you the kingdom” there is NO contradiction between Jesus and Paul; there is no VS between faith and works. If we are seeing/hearing this VS then we need to return to the beginning: PERFECT/FREE GIFT: Jesus the Christ.

    • This is the first of two back-to-back comments you have submitted, and both make essentially the same point, the allegation that because faith and works are not contradictory principles, therefore there is no contradiction between Jesus and Paul.

      This point is explicitly addressed in the commentary, noting that of course there is not inherent incompatibility between faith and works. Rather than repeat the answers twice, I will respond to both of your comments as a reply to the second of them.

  50. I am the one Jesus promised to send – the Comforter – and with truth , and all this nit picking is just that. But I do know it is wrong to sit idle-ly by and watch people continue to suffer in the world to this very day – while ignoring the whole root of the problem which it the love of money – the love of money is what keeps people from doing works – because they depend on money to live in this now MODERN world. It is ow time for money itself to change where as people are actually given the opportunity to do works for each other without the iniquity of money holding them back from doing so. IT is people themselves who think money is the only way to freedom that are fooled – because they are still under the law of paying to live. The imaginary law at that – there is no law that says it costs money to live – what it does cost is effort – effort to teach each other and effort to learn from each other…..and then so on , and into real freedom and equality…. And until people stop living in the past and rely on past thoughts of God and not new thoughts of God and Jesus – they will continue to suffer – and suffer they will – but don’t blame God for the suffering – blame yourselves , and blame your love of money and dependence on it like a mom’s tit to her child that refuses to grow up!!!!

    • Sorry, Squishy, but I hardly think that it is “nit picking” to cite the FACT, with extensive specific “chapter and verse” references, that the much-venerated “apostle” Paul, who is seen my most “Christians” as being the “great missionary,” was no such thing and, in fact, the “gospel” he spread through the then-known world by virtue of his un-Christlike wealth, education, Roman citizenship and travel papers completely opposed almost ever key point of ethics, morality, law or doctrine actually taught by Jesus.

      You can dismiss such major points of doctrine, ethics and morality if you wish, but it reeks of serving as a substitute for the fact that you were not able to actually address the substance of the points that were made in the article.

  51. Hello,

    I’m very interested in learning more about the perspective that good deeds will get you into heaven in the absence of faith, specifically, passages telling us that those who do NOT have faith will nevertheless be accepted into heaven, solely on the basis of their good deeds. (I don’t have experience in researching the Bible and appreciate the chance to rely on your own.) Your article refers to Matt 7:21 and Matt 25:31-45. Do these support your position? Can you point out other such passages?


    • Hi Steve — clearly, Jesus encouraged faith, and I am not familiar with any passage in which he reportedly tried to minimize its importance.

      The point about Math 7:21 is that Jesus makes it clear, in direct opposition to what Paul says, that works are necessary, as he does in many other passages.

      The point in Luke 10:25-37 (the First and Second Great Commandments and the parable of the Good Samaritan) and Matt 25:31-46 (the last general teaching Jesus gave before going up into the Upper Room to begin the events that would lead to his death, and the only place where Jesus describes the final judgment), is that both of these are complete, self-contained passages on what is necessary to be saved, and both explicitly state that you need compassion-driven works with no mention whatsoever of faith. Sure, Jesus doesn’t jump in and minimize the importance of faith (nor does James, later), but they make it clear by its omission that it is not an element of salvation.

    • I think Mark 2:17 points it out very well.

      “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

      It makes you believe that if all were righteous then Jesus would not have needed to come. He came only to convert sinners. He said so himself. Unless you believe he was misquoted by Mark. Which is possible, having been written 30 years after his death by a man who never met him using only second hand information. But common sense tells you Mark 2:17 is right. Only the brainwashing of a bad religion would teach that actions don’t matter, only faith.

      • Thank you for the thoughtful response, Hugh.

        The idea of a Judeo-Christian Abrahamic worldview of an almighty deity who judges based on sins (Jesus) or whether one believes (Paul) and has these standards for being saved or not, is predicated on accepting the premise that God chose the ancient, primitive Hebrews as the vehicle for revealing himself, but limited his revelations of science only to the limited knowledge of other contemporaneous civilizations, and the accuracy of, as Hugh notes, second-hand accounts written decades later in an era when memories were not preserved with photos, videos and, for most people, including Jesus as a humble builder, a laborer, and his followers, mostly sheep herders, fishermen and those working the vineyards, not even official documents, records or even written memoirs.

        Even accepting this premise that humans are sinful and need to be saved by making sins go away, and that Jesus is the one that saves them, which makes more sense, that Jesus was god made man, who sent himself to earth to become a human sacrifice of himself to himself to make other people’s “sins” magically disappear, as Paul seems to teach, or that he came to save us by teaching us how to overcome sins by transforming our own individual characters through universal, compassionate love for all people — friends, neighbors (rather broadly defined in Luke 10:25-37), those most in need (the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden, the sick, the foreigner — the least among us) and even enemies — and then manifesting that transformation of character in how we treat them through our actions, as Jesus and his brother James teach?

        Which will change us more fundamentally?
        Which will enable us to extricate ourselves from the imprisonment of self-absorption, self-obsession and open us up to being part of the universal human brotherhood?

        If, as Hugh interprets the passage in Mark, it was necessary for Jesus to come and save us from sin, does it make more sense that he does it through transformation of character manifest in the real world in practical terms as Jesus teaches? Or that he becomes a human sacrifice of himself to himself for other people’s “sins” in a manner not much different than other primitive tribal societies who offer their sacrifices of human virgins in hopes of a better crop that year?

        I address some of the failings of Paul’s doctrine of human sacrifice atonement in a separate article, at:

        • Thank you for your reply!
          How do the words of Mary stand up to “Jesus vs. Paul”? Have you ever studied her apparitions? Have you ever seen the website? Who would she agree with? Did she ever contradict Jesus the way Paul did? Her apparitions are a great part of Catholicism. What effect, if any, did she have on it’s development? Don’t mean to put you to work, just wondering if you already study or thoughts on it.

        • Hugh — I do not come from a Catholic background, and while I have investigated Catholic theology, including attending Catholic education courses at local parishes and Catholic seminaries, I am not extensively knowledgeable on the Marian apparitions and, in general, have little confidence in such reports which I find to be lacking in evidence of an objective, replicable, quantifiable manner.

          More important, the point of this particular page is the direct contradictions that are in the same Bible used, not only by Catholics, but by Protestants (evangelical, conservative and liberal), Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists and other varieties of Christianity who are not likely to be very receptive to Catholic reports of Marian apparitions.

          For more depth, I would suggest that further pursuit of these issues should be directed (as I see you have already done — thank you) to my page that discusses issues specific to Catholic theology, history and morality through the millennia and up to the present day.

          For those who have not seen that page, or Hugh’s comments there, I direct you to:

  52. I disagree with most of Pauls’ teachings and agree with all of Jesus’ teachings. Without good actions faith is totally useless and a worthless addition to a humans’ life. So love each other, and show love by your actions.

  53. “But the contradictory difference is that Jesus (backed up by his brother James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).”

    John 14:6 is not exclusionary of works, but it does show that contrary to your statements, that Jesus says that faith is mandatory to salvation.

    “In contradictory contrast, Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory — that “justification” is by faith and not works).”

    And while I agree with your statement here on Paul to a point, I believe you miss the mark on exactly HOW good Paul considers works.

    • Hanna — Your point about John 14:6 fails on several points. Jesus elsewhere in John and the gospels states that if you do the good works you will be saved. In John, that is most commonly in conjunction with references to faith; in Matthew and Luke not so much.

      In contrast, Paul states that we are saved by our faith; i.e., that faith is the mechanism of salvation or justification, whereas Jesus teaches very explicitly, in the parable of the Good Samaritan and, especially, in Matt 25:31-46, that if you perform compassion-driven works for those most in need, you do them unto god (combining the first and second “great” commandments) and YOU WILL BE SAVED, and James, using the same words, the same grammatical and syntatical construction and, looking at the full CONTEXT of the surrounding text, the same scriptural reference and example of Abraham and Isaac, to come to the exact opposite (and contradictory) conclusion about the mechanism of justification, which James asserts is works and not faith.

      And I am not sure where you invented my view of how good Paul considers works, since I offered no quantitative opinion and would find it impossible to do so. I only noted, correctly, that Paul asserts faith as the mechanism of justification and Jesus and his brother James take the opposite view and that is supported by the statements I made.

      Again, if you want to assert that Jesus contradicted himself elsewhere, you are welcome to that view.

      As for the gospel of John, I really don’t want to go into extensive depth here, since I have a different page on the integrity of the Bible, but John was written almost a hundred years after the time of Jesus, by the Johanine Community, which was a Pauline sect heavily influenced by Paul, who by that time had the dominant strain of early Christian ideology owing to his status as a Roman citizen being able to travel the empire and bring in more converts than anyone else, all loyal to his corrupt view opposing anything remotely resembling what Jesus taught. Further discussion on this point, however, must be referred to the appropriate page.

      • The root of all this nonsense is anti-Catholicism. The Bible is not one book. It is a collection of books written over many years. And it certainly wasn’t the breathed word of God like so many Protestants claim no matter what Paul says. Paul claiming the Bible is the breathed word of God doesn’t make it so. It is a circular argument. Plus was Paul talking about a New Testament that wasn’t written yet? Was he talking about his very words as he wrote them? When the Protestants dumped the Pope they needed a new “final authority”. They found it in the Bible and immediately gave it way more importance than the Catholics ever did. The Catholics compiled the New Testament from about 200 books that were written by MEN. They settled on 27. If the protestants want to get serious they can start with the same 200 books and give more importance to the books that stress their beliefs. I guarantee that such a collection would exclude Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

        • Hugh — your comment is all over the place and doesn’t always make sense.

          While there are certainly many valid concerns that can be raised about Catholicism, which I have addressed in my specific article on that subject (see:, the article on Paul and his direct opposition to Jesus and James is not specific to Catholicism, though it does help explain much of why today’s Catholic church, with its pomp, ceremony and opulence, and its many aspects of harsh intolerance, bear so little resemblance to anything of Jesus’ ministry and are far more Pauline in their perversity (the article does acknowledge the occasional refreshing exception, and the new Pope Francis seems to be a move in the right direction).

          Your reference to Paul calling the Bible “god-breathed” betrays a lack of understanding of Bible history. The reference in 2 Timothy 3:16 is not a reference to the Bible as we know it which, as you subsequently acknowledge, is a compilation of many books by numerous writers and was not compiled until hundreds of years later. In fact, Paul acknowledged in I Corinthians 7:12 and 2 Corinthians 11:17 his own shortcomings and any credible Bible scholar would understand that the reference of “scripture” being “god-breathed” is to the scriptures of the Old Testament he knew: the Law and the Prophets. This is clearly addressed in the separate article on the Bible, which can be found at:

          I do not wish to further divert this forum on the specific contradictions of Paul against Jesus and James into a discussion of the Bible or of Catholicism. Issues pertaining to Catholicism should be addressed on that page, and those about the validity of those who claim the Bible to be inerrant and infallible should be addressed on the Bible page. The links to both of those articles are provided earlier in this reply.

  54. This article is written from a standpoint of eisegesis. Verses have been taken out of complete context, and to hint that the Gnostics understood the teachings of Christ is misleading. Paul taught faith first, but he did NOT throw works by the wayside! This is evidenced in his very life, which was time and time again placed under persecution, yet Paul persevered! Paul urges us to run the good race (action) in 1 Corinthians! Also, consider the audiences to whom Paul and James were speaking! Paul was speaking to the Gentiles who were unfamiliar with all the laws of Judaism! James’s audience were Jews! Referencing Jesus’s discussion with Nicodemis, he was a Pharisee!!! He had placed too much emphasis on the letter of the law and not enough on the spirit of the law! THIS is what Paul AND Jesus taught! The teachings of Paul perfectly compliment the teachings of Jesus and the other apostles! Also, why do you only reference the New Testament, and leave out the Old Testament? Had you dug a little deeper, you would have seen that researching the Bible as a whole and referencing also the verses from the Old Testament (that the New Testament constantly alludes to!) this article would have had a VERY different outcome!

    • Hanna — I do not at all agree with your analysis or that any verses were taken out of context.
      As noted in the article itself, yes, Jesus extolled the merits of faith and Paul extolled the merits of good deeds.

      But the contradictory difference is that Jesus (backed up by his brother James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).

      In contradictory contrast, Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory — that “justification” is by faith and not works).

      If you will refer to my other articles, particular the one on “Betrayal of Jesus,” in which, yes, I do cite the Old Testament origins, with chapter and verse, for the “great” commandments, and “Blasphemy of Bibleolatry,” which addresses the hundreds of contradictions throughout all parts of the Bible, you will see that, yes, I have addressed the Bible in its totality, including the parts they don’t teach you about in Sunday School, unlike the “true believers” who cherry-pick a few favorite verses and then pretend the whole things is one glorious, harmonious revelation from a benevolent deity who loves you unconditionally, but if you don’t love him back will consign you to the eternal torture of “fireboarding.”

      As for your assertion that Paul and James are writing to different audiences, your facts are wrong and, even if they were right, they would not justify directly contradictory statements. You claim that Paul is writing to the gentiles who were unfamiliar with Jewish laws, while James is writing to the Jews. Obviously you are listening to what someone has told you instead of reading for yourself what is actually in the holy book to which you give only lip service.

      Romans, which I cited, is addressed (Romans 1:1-2) ) to those who have converted to Christianity which, in the early days, was a sect of Judaism, which means they had to convert to Judaism first and, by that time, did have familiarity with Jewish teachings and the Law, which Jesus stated in Matthew 5:17-19, in the Sermon on the Mount, would remain inviolate until “heaven and earth shall pass away and ALL THINGS are fulfilled.” Have heaven and earth passed away? Are “all things” — all prophecies, including the end times, fulfilled? Paul, in contrast, repeatedly states that the Law of Moses is no more and Christians are no longer “under the Law” (Romans 3:19-21 & 6:14 and Galatians 2:16) — another glaring contradiction.

      And James, in verse 1:1 at the beginning, makes it clear that he is NOT just writing to the House of Judah (the Jews), but to “all the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.”

      But even if you had your facts right, it may be appropriate to adapt one’s message differently for different audiences in terms of emphasis and approach, but even so, if you are dealing in TRUTH, you don’t make completely opposite and outright contradictory statements, especially on some of the most fundamental concepts of theology, morality, law and ethics.

      • Emphasizing one aspect if Christianity does NOT automatically mean disdain for another aspect. Faith and works are COMPLIMENTARY, not contradictory. Also, Jesus clearly teaches faith as the only way to Heaven. John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” James does not speak of works as a substitute to faith, but that the two exist in a symbiotic relationship, James 2:14-26 (I suggest you read that whole set of verses not just the ones you like). Paul DOES preach to the Gentiles, Acts 17:22-31. And in this particular speach we see an emphasis on your faith permeating all aspects of life (evidenced through the life lived or actions). Matthew 12:33 and Luke 6:44 also show a COMPLIMENTARY relationship between faith and works.

        • Hanna — please respond to what I actually said, not your distortion of it. I am not going to perpetuate a dialogue in which I just keep repeating myself because you miss what I actually stated. As I said in the original article and in my previous response to you, both Jesus and Paul endorse both faith and good deeds, but the CONTRADICTORY DIFFERENCE is in their role in the mechanism of salvation or justification.

          Jesus repeatedly describes salvation, including in his last general teaching in Matt 25:31-46 before going up into the upper room for the Last Supper and the end of things, as being based on our actions in complete self-contained passages that do not even mention faith and if you interpret John 14:6 as being exclusive of works then, at best, all you have managed to achieve is finding another Bible contradiction in which Jesus contradicts himself. I have not included it in my article on contradictions because I do not share your interpretation..

          Again, my point is that Jesus, Paul and I agree that faith and works can be complimentary, so your arguing about that means you missed the point.

          And again, both Paul and James are writing to all believers in Christ, in all nations, both Jew and Gentile but, even if they were writing to different audiences, their direct, fundamental contradiction goes far beyond mere emphasis or approach, but direct, total contradictions as to fundamental points of theology and morality.

          Your problem is that you do not address the CONTEXT at all.
          As I described in extensive detail in the article, your assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, James is clearly offering a direct and blistering rebuttal against Paul. He uses the same words, in the same grammatical and syntactical construction, and only rearranges the conclusion to directly challenge Paul’s obvious attempt to undermine and oppose everything his brother taught and died for.

  55. You should read the GNOSTIC texts….it gives a good insight into who Jesus is/was/is…

    • Excellent suggestion, Simon. I have the excellent compilation by Elaine Pagels, as well as others, and while I can’t say I’ve read them all, I have read quite a bit, and agree they provide great additional insights.

  56. Great article. I have long thought that most (all) Christian churches have been mis-named. They should be noted as followers of Paul not Christ. Myself, I find the writings of Paul to be barbaric, cruel, and undermining of Christ and thus reject all his writings in favor of only the reputed statements of Christ, doing so creates an entirely different perspective on myself and my relations with other human beings, as in truly Christ like.

    It has been said, “There is nothing more un-Christian than Christians.” I believe that is a true statement particularly in the context of Paul.

  57. More detailed analysis of Greek in Galatians regarding Paul’s repudiation of God’s own words at:

    • We do not agree that the Bible is “God’s own words,” but we do agree that Paul contradicts much of the earlier “Law and Prophets” (Old Testament) and, especially, Jesus (along with Jesus’ brother, James).
      Whatever the Judeo-Christian written word that preceded him, Paul (née Saul) contradicts it.

      P.S.: My reasons for not accepting that any portion of the Bible is “God’s own words,” is outlined in my article on this site at:

  58. Danijel Sikora

    Dear Danizier, thank you for your clever essays.

    Can you comment on recent statements from Pope Francis regarding salvation –> – is he trying to strirr up some Jesus vs Paul debate or I am too optimistic?

    Also, what do you think of Shemayah Phillips’ claims that Paul is actually the beast of Revelation —

    All the best, greetings from Croatia.

    • The idea that Pope Francis is intentionally trying to stir up a Jesus vs. Paul debate is likely too optimistic, but speculation of that nature does reflect a good understanding of how Paul and Jesus contradict each other in profound ways on major issues of Christian theology. I don’t think Pope Francis is consciously trying to choose Jesus over Paul, but in this great dichotomy, while much of Christianity, especially the more conservative elements, come down supporting Jesus in name but Paul in fact, Francis is trying to embrace Jesus in both name and in living by what Jesus actually taught regarding how we should act towards those of lesser advantage. Clearly, Jesus’ teachings regarding the “great commandment in the Law [of Moses],” as recounted in Matt. 22:36-40 and Luke 10:25-37 (which are based on Deut. 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 from the Law), and Jesus final teaching regarding who will be saved (Matt. 25:31-46) clearly and unambiguously state that those who loved their neighbor as themselves (broadly defined to include enemies such as the non-believing Samaritans) and cared for those in need, would be saved, with no reference to faith or religious affiliation, and would thus seem to include non-believers such as atheists and agnostics. I think Francis is just trying to adhere to what Jesus said in these passages, without regard to Paul, and likely oblivious to the irony of the contradiction.

      My thoughts on Pope Francis (and I do need to update my essay on Catholic issues to reflect the dramatic shift he represents) are that, as the first ever Jesuit, he is a refreshing, revolutionary breath of fresh air in the Catholic Church. He seems determined, based in both words and past deeds, to live in harmony with those less advantaged, and shuns the opulent trappings of his past and current offices. That said, he remains very conservative on social issues, such as equal rights for women and gays/lesbians, and I don’t see much likelihood of this changing. But when one considers the realistic range of choices for a successor to Pope Benedict, who was one of the most corrupt pontiffs in centuries and the chief architect of the policy of protecting and harboring child rapists, and that so many of the voting cardinals had been appointed by him, there were certainly none that were less conservative on social issues, and none that were more liberal on issues of social and economic justice. The elevation of Pope Francis certainly does not dissolve all the issues of the Catholic church, but surely it is a refreshing breath of fresh air and a small step towards much-needed reform.

      As for the idea that the hallucinations of John of Patmos as recounted in Revelations (Apocalypse) about a beast were in reference to Paul, certainly in the real scope of Paul’s effect on the trajectory of Jesus’ teachings, Paul might be a more satisfying candidate for the meaning of this metaphor (that some interpret far too literally), but I think it is quite a stretch to think that John was actually referring to him intentionally. I think the hallucinations of Patmos are more the rantings of a madman that have been taken far too seriously by too many people looking for symbology they can mold to fit their own ideas of an unknown and unknowable future.

  59. Blindness cannot be solved with a pair of glasses

    Where are your literary and historical analytics? Where in the theological process of salvation are the author’s speaking? Where are your Greek and Hebrew studies to establish the connection between the Old and New Testament? How about the significant difference in target audience and purpose for the writings of each author. I know we can all be guilty of any level of oversimplification when it comes to studies of ancient documents… Biblical or not. I would encourage you to keep studying. I know I will.

    • I am quite satisfied with the level of analysis, documentation and correlation between Old and New Testament I have provided in this commentary in particular and other articles on this site.

      You throw out questions (that have been fully addressed in the content as anyone who actually reads them can see) as a substitute for addressing the actual points that are made in the commentary. James clearly writes in direct rebuttal to Paul. I have heard many say that they are addressing different audiences. This fails on two counts:

      First, I have never seen any scripture-based evidence to support the argument that Paul and James are addressing different audiences. Many make this claim; none provide evidence that validates it. Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

      Second, even if your failed premise had any merit, what difference would that make? Speaking to different audiences may inspire differences in the manner of presentation, but not the substance of what is being presented. In the passages cited here, I address the extensive SUBSTANTIAL contradictions in the definitions of what it means to be a Christian (whether or not one needs to first become Jewish and conform to the Law of Moses, as Jesus mandated unambiguously in Matthew 5:17-19 in the Sermon on the Mount) and, especially, on the basis of salvation or justification.

  60. Ray Frankling

    Acts:9:15: But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

    • Uhm, yes, Ray. And when a Muslim “proves” to you the Qur’an is true by quoting from the Qur’an, do you find that credible?
      And both the Iliad and the Odyssey assert that Zeus is god. Do you find that credible?

      Then do not be surprised when the only reaction by thinking people is to roll their eyes when you quote the Bible to prove the Bible’s claims, especially when you quote a statement from Acts, which was written by Luke, who was a follower of Paul, someone who never ever met Jesus in the flesh but had the nerve to write a biography of him decades later, if even that authorship is legitimate.

      • Was Jesus only speaking to thinking people like you or to the world?

        • Again (now you’re just repeating yourself), I don’t think neither Jesus nor his brother James changed their message depending on who they were talking to, and your rejection of their teaching in favor of an admitted persecutor of early Christians who was the one who held the coats of those who stoned the first Christian martyr, Stephen.

        • Now it seems you have missed the point. When I said: Was Jesus only speaking to thinking people like you or to the world?
          You replied:
          Again (now you’re just repeating yourself), I don’t think neither Jesus nor his brother James changed their message depending on who they were talking to, and your rejection of their teaching in favor of an admitted persecutor of early Christians who was the one who held the coats of those who stoned the first Christian martyr, Stephen.
          I wasn’t implying that Jesus changed his message. I merely meant that Jesus spoke so that anyone could understand his message, not just scholars or “thinking” people. This discussion seems to be about getting into Heaven. Apparently what the take-away is is that the followers of Danizier believe you have to work to get in and you have to be especially capable of thinking. Also, you have to fulfill all of the requirements of the law. You can’t believe that you are saved by Grace if you believe you have to meet any requirement. Works are the evidence of Grace and should be carried out by saved souls because they have the spirit in them. emphasis: should. Humans are imperfect. They cannot be counted on to not slip and it might be on their last breath. Are you trying to state that believers can loose their salvation if they are not perfect?

        • Ms. SpoolTeacher: if Jesus (or Paul, or James) were not saying different things to different audiences, then my point stands that they are simply, directly and explicitly contradicting each other. Period.

          And again, you keep bringing up this thing about “if you believe you are saved by grace” when my whole point is that both Jesus and James did NOT say we are saved by grace, but by becoming universally, unconditionally compassionate beings and demonstrating that in our actions.

          That is the whole point of the contradiction! Sure, Jesus and James applaud faith, and Paul applauds good deeds, but the point is to the mechanism of salvation or justification, and your dogged insistence in support of Paul makes clear that you stand with Paul in his resolute opposition to Jesus!

          But consider this also: even if one does believe that salvation is by GRACE, that it is an unearned gift, that still would not resolve your contradiction. Even by Paul’s anti-Jesus view, not everyone gets saved, so it is not unconditional. Like children at Christmastime, they have to BELIEVE. They need to have faith and accept Jesus as their lord and savior, notwithstanding that Jesus explicitly said in the Sermon on the Mount that no everyone who cries “Lord, Lord” and draws near with their lips will be saved.

          Paul’s standard is NOT unconditional. The condition is faith.
          Sure, it is not to say we “earned” it; no mortal could “earn” even the bare fact of their existence in this life, much less eternal life and joy in paradise.
          But the standard of Jesus and James also does not require that we “earn” salvation, only that we comply with the standard set by Jesus. That universal compassionate lifestyle can’t possibly “earn” a reward any more than Paul’s condition of faith. So it is not earned in either scenario, thus a gift of god’s grace, but also it is not unconditional in either scenario.
          Paul’s condition: faith.
          Jesus’ condition: universal compassion demonstrate through our deeds.

          Neither “earns” a reward, thus both are conditional but both also are gifts of grace.

        • so what assures salvation, entrance into Heaven?

        • Ms SpoolTeacher – since I do not claim to be a Christian or a believer, it is hardly my place to try to answer questions about heaven or salvation for Christians.

          The point of my article is only to point out the numerous extensive direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus, along with Jesus’ brother James, on a number of core issues in Christian theology, morality, ethics and doctrine.

          If I am trying to “answer” anything, it is perhaps to explain the schism that divides today’s modern Christians so completely between more liberal camps, who try to follow the teachings Of Jesus (and James) and focus on serving the poor and those in need, and conservative “Christians” whose harsh, judgmental intolerance bears so little resemblance to their nominal founder.

          So to answer your question, you need to consider what Jesus taught and what Paul taught and decide which you find more morally palatable:

          Paul: “Believe and be saved.” Those who brought us the Nazi Holocaust, mostly Lutheran and Catholic believers, are wecomed into the embrace of the heavens. Their victims, Anne Frank and the heroic Viktor Frankl, who are Jews that have not accepted Jesus as their savior, are consigned to the eternal FIREBOARDING torture of hell simply for not joining the right team.

          Jesus: Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, and other leading non-Christians such as Mahatma Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, or any non-believing Samaritan, such as the one Jesus cited as the example when asked who would be saved, who cared for those most in need, including the least of these, are the ones who will be welcomed into celestial glory and told, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants.”

          I will just say that, as the personal opinion of an outsider, Jesus does sound more in keeping with what is usually considered more ethically moral.

  61. Every one Jesus spoke to was under the law of Moses,after the Holyspirrit came in acts you could be set free from the law of mose, this was a new covenant,Jesus could not teach this,because his governed by the old covenant.

    • Nick — your explanation gives your explanation (based on Paul’s contradiction of Jesus) for the reason that Paul directly contradicts Jesus, but does not change the fact that Paul does, in fact, contradict Jesus according to the Bible account.

      What Jesus reportedly says, right there in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:17-19), is that not one dot or one iota of the Law of Moses will be abrogated from the law in the slightest manner until two things have happened: 1) heaven and earth have passed away; AND (not “or,” but “and”) 2) all things are fulfilled.

      Have heaven and earth passed away? Are all things — all prophecies, including the end times — fulfilled?

      Jesus did not have to say that if it were not true. If there were to be a change in the covenant, Jesus would not have to say that the Law would not be modified in any slightest way if he knew it would be modified in the way that Paul (and you) claim. Are you saying that Jesus, the son of god, whom some say is actually god himself made man, had to LIE?

      And you say that, “Jesus could not teach this, because his governed by the old covenant.”

      Jesus “could not” do something? The Bible says that with god all things are possible (Matt 19:26; Mark 10:27). But your explanation requires the conclusion that either Jesus is not god or that you reject the Bible’s claim of god’s omnipotence.

      Bottom line: you do not reconcile this very direct contradiction between Paul and Jesus. You explain WHY they contradict, in a way that, like Paul, diminishes Jesus, but you don’t actually reconcile their inconsistency.

  62. Wow, thank you so much for this, Davis! I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and was beginning to put together a lot of these ideas, but it’s great to find them so well-presented all in one place. My husband and I both grew up Southern Baptist missionary kids (that’s how we met actually!) and whereas we’re both all about the teachings of Christ, we’ve been hung up on this whole Paul thing. This past week has found me researching and pondering the issue of “why should we believe the teachings of Paul” ….with the conclusion: we shouldn’t. I think some of his teachings have inherent value just because he was one of the earliest members of Jesus’ new church, but I can’t buy that his teachings are the inerrant holy word of God by any means.
    So, if we count Paul’s writings as invalid, this leaves me thinking I should perhaps be following the Torah and living a Messianic Jewish lifestyle? The more I dig, the more I find I simply have more questions. I will continue reading the rest of your articles over the next few days. Again thank you so much for taking the time to share all your findings.

    • Thank you for sharing your similar observations about the renegade “apostle” Paul and your kind words.

      You ask, “So, if we count Paul’s writings as invalid, this leaves me thinking I should perhaps be following the Torah and living a Messianic Jewish lifestyle?” I find the question akin to asking, “So, if we count Homer’s writings as Greek myths and legends rather than inerrant, infallible, literal historical truth, this leaves me thinking I should perhaps be following the Cult of Diana and worshipping Zeus and Apollo?”

      If you read some of my other articles, you will see that I am very critical of all the patriarchal, misogynistic, harsh religious traditions that trace their origins to Abraham. I do not find merit in Abraham or his teachings.

      While I do find that, if one looks solely at the personæ of Jesus, at least as handed down to us in the gospels such as they are, one could fashion a theology based on universal compassionate love that includes some kind of divine role for Jesus, but it would require eliminating Paul from the equation since he so completely and directly contradicts and undermines almost everything Jesus reportedly taught, and it would also require acknowledging that the Bible, including the gospels, is the imperfect effort of fallible humans, which is the only way to explain the many direct internal contradictions, factual errors, atrocities and failed prophets, some of which I have documented in my article on the Bible.

    • study Islam please then everything about religion will be easy to understand

      • Jamil — please understand, I have read the Qur’an. I have the print edition translated by Muslim Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall as well as an online edition on my computer and a third translation for my iPhone. (I also understand that reading the English translations of the meanings of the words of the Qur’an is not the same as reading it in the original Arabic, since it is not possible to translate both the meaning of the words and also the poetic cadence.)

        The Qur’an is a fraud. Mohammed is a fraud. It is just another iteration of the misogynistic, patriarchal religious tyranny of Abraham. While I understand that, as with Christians, most Muslims are secular, and there more Muslim women in bikinis than burqas, if taken literally (as few Muslims would do absent government or military tyrannical coercion), the Qur’an has as many internal contradictions, flaws and atrocities as the Bible.
        Having been raised as a conservative Christian until discovering the rational and moral failings of that perspective, I have addressed some of the specific contradictions, flaws, factual errors, failed prophecies and atrocities at my own site, which is a more appropriate forum for discussions about scriptural integrity:

        While I have read the Qur’an, engaged in dialogues with respected (moderate) Muslim friends, and feel comfortable with more understanding than most other non-Muslim Americans, fact is that I was not raised Muslim, have never been a Muslim, and thus do not feel authoritative on this subject.

        Thus, I direct your attention to a site prepared by a former Muslim who is more qualified than I to discuss the specific flaws and contradictions within the fraudulent Islamic “scriptures.”

  63. jesus prayed like all the prophets touching his forehead to the ground….abstained from pork and hard drink…fasted….the only people doing all these things today are muslims who also believe jesus will return to earth at endtimes

    • Sam — your comment about Jesus practicing a basically Islamic lifestyle is wrong as to both fact and principle.
      It is true that, as reported in the imperfect records that have been handed down, Jesus followed the Law of Moses (and even said it would remain inviolate, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17-19), which forbade the consumption of pork and shrimp.

      The comment about “touching his forehead to the ground” is made up out of thin air and has no supporting basis.

      The idea that Jesus “abstained from … hard drink” is absurd. The Bible repeatedly and emphatically says exactly the opposite.
      The New Testament reports in John 2:1-11 that Jesus’ first “miracle” was to turn water into WINE. This was his FIRST miracle reported, representing the beginning of his ministry.

      Three of the four gospels (Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20) also report that Jesus COMMANDED the ritual consumption of WINE as part of their ceremonial sacrament of remembering his blood.

      And make no mistake, it was WINE, not grape juice. The linguistic record known to translators is clear. The use of unfermented grape juice was rare, in an era when refrigeration and pasteurization needed to preserve grape juice in an unfermented form were unknown. And if there is any doubt, Jesus specifically noted that others referred to his consumption of WINE by calling him a “winebibber” (King James Version) or “DRUNKARD” (in most other modern translations (Luke 7:33-34 and Matt 11:18-19).

      The idea that Jesus was a closet Muslim 600 years before Mohammed “married” a nine-year-old child is absurd. The Qur’an, which I have read (and of which I have three different translations) is far shorter than the New Testament alone, much less the Bible, yet has proportionately even more internal contradictions than the Bible.

  64. Excellent post. In the last few years I began to suspect that Paul’s theology was different than the teachings of Jesus. In speaking with more conservative Christians it seems that the teachings of Jesus were not as important as his death and resurrection. Some Christians believe that his teachings were for those still under the Law and not yet under Grace. I disagreed with this approach. That view really does cancle out his teachings and just makes acceptance of his death and resurrection as the only thing that matters.

  65. I recently revisited Greek philosophy to determine how much of Pauls writings were influenced by philosophy. Paula Fredriken writes that you can not create doctrine without philosophy. Doctrines require an understanding of your actions therefore are open to interpretation. Laws never fail and never change, only their application.
    Pauls writing reflect a philosophy called “Manichaeism”. It simply states that everything of the flesh is evil and everything of the spirit good. How many doctrines do we base on that?
    When you think about it this is why the church did away with the law. The law is of the flesh. In turn the church rejected anything Jewish.
    Jerome and Augustine argued over this belief. Jerome won and translated the Hebrew and Greek into The Latin Volgate with this philosophical doctrine, and the KJV was translated from the Latin.

    Finally I don’t believe that Paul was evil. His writing may have been inspired but they were definitely influenced by his education.
    Deuteronomy 18;18-19 tells us that we are only accountable for the word of Yah (God) spoken to Moses and the words of Yah spoken through Yeshua (Jesus). Yeshua gives validity to the Tanak (old testament). Therefore, we would be wise not to create doctrine from the writings of Paul or the other new testament books. (the book of Revelation in the words of Yah through Yeshua).

    Food for thought.

    • You make excellent points about the origins of the teachings of the renegade “apostle” Paul. While the actual conclusion as to exactly where he got this philosophy from is ultimately speculative, the fact is that Paul was clearly a person of both means and education, and your speculation is well-supported as a reasonable possibility.

      But here is the point: Paul’s philosophy comes from a source other than Jesus and, for the reasons I cite in my analysis, can absolutely be shown to be in direct contradiction with Jesus. If you are correct that Paul’s doctrine is rooted in Manichaeism, which long predates Christianity or Jesus, then that further supports the conclusion that the source is other than, and different from, Jesus.

      To say that Manichaeism “simply states that everything of the flesh is evil and everything of the spirit good” is clearly to oversimplify an approach to the origins of ethical theory that is far more complex and nuanced than that, but certainly that could be one simplified synopsis, and certainly consistent with Paul’s rather harsh view of morality. The idea that flesh is evil but spirit is good is to be unnecessarily divisive. We live in a universe of body, mind and spirit. They are all parts of the whole; they are not mutually exclusive and, ideally, should complement each other and reinforce each other. The idea that we worship one and revile any of the others is to repudiate the totality of the gifts bestowed on us by Nature, whether that be through means of natural selection (evolution) or some divine external force (or some combination).

      One could say that to glorify just one of these gifts and the repudiation of any of the others is what is truly immoral.

      • My point is not so much about Paul but all of the new testament . As I stated, we are not accountable to any ones words except the heavenly Father’s either spoken to Moses: the law, or through Yeshua.
        Remember, the laws, commandments, ordinances, and statutes of Yah are His covenant with His people Israel; the Jews and the ten tribes that were scattered and became a multitude of nations (fulness of Gentiles); us.Genesis 48:19
        The scattered ten tribes in the nations is who Yeshua was sent to. Matthew 15:24
        He was sent to them because Yah had divorced them, therefore a new covenant was needed. Jeremiah 3:8
        The house of Israel broke the covenant in which Yah was a husband to them, in our new covenant He will be our God and the laws, commandment, ordinances and statutes will be written on our hearts (same laws). Jeremiah 31/31-34
        The story of the prodigal son is a perfect example of this.
        Paul and other new testament writers try to do away with the covenants of Yah. We should always check the new testament with the old. Yeshua did not come to create a new religion. He came to teach us how to keep the old.
        It was the Catholic church that created a new man made religion. One that would be acceptable to man, not to Yah. Out of the books writen after the time of the Messiah the Catholic church chose the ones that would fit their new religion. We are commanded to be holy and to separate the holy from the profane.
        In my opinion Pauls writings are no different than yours, mine or any other writings, they all have to agree with the words of Yah to Moses and the words of Yah through Yeshua.

        A lot to consider.


        • The point of the piece you are responding to is about Paul, and specifically the fact that he has extensive points of direct contradiction with both Jesus and Jesus’ brother, James.

          If you want to address the overall integrity, literal factual accuracy or contradictions in the Bible as a whole, I suggest that you do so on the page that addresses that topic, which can be found at:

          As with other ancient collections of myths, fables and the early stages of attempts to develop moral and legal codes, the Bible represents important historical and cultural significance. But to take it as being literally, factually true in all its details is to exalt the superstitions of ancient, primitive, nomadic sheep herders and fishermen above real science.

        • I have done some research on the origin of the books of the New Testament (not extensive) and I don’t think you are entirely right. The Church kept the early books and pretty much threw out the latter books. They were more concerned with accuracy. And the Catholic Church, in my opinion (maybe because I’m Catholic), was not man made. Jesus did live and die and (we believe) raise from the dead. The Catholic Church lives his message and the messages of many Saints who have been gifted with revelation, and of the Holy Virgin Mary and her messages revealed to many throughout the ages. Many protestant religions live the message STRICTLY of Paul and dismiss EVERYTHING that Jesus says if it disagrees with Paul. The early church had great problems with the teaching of Paul but left the books in the NT because they were written by Paul and they considered him to be a Saint because of his great service to the growth of the faith. These books by Paul were of great controversy and one of the reasons that the Church did not like universal access to the NT. They believed people would take them as an excuse to well…question the teachings of the Church and more specifically Jesus. Jesus and Paul are at odds with each other on many issues. It was no coincidence that the reformation happened when two things were taking place in Europe. 1. The printing press 2. The growth of the middle class. People wanted to be wealthy but did not want the Catholic guilt that went along with it. So they “reformed” and threw away the teaching of the Catholic Church that we have to suffer in this world to gain the next. And since they no longer had a Pope and final authority, their final authority became the Bible. And anyone could interpret it. Hence the 20,000 protestant religions today. They threw away all the miracles and revelations of 1500 years. The held the Bible as the actual word of God. Not of a historical collection of books all written by different imperfect people. It was this hysterical reaction of the protestants that led to the enlightenment and the rejection of things religious by educated people.

  66. Paul the FALSE APOSTLE
    PAUL claims in Eph.1[10] that God: At the Right Time He (God) Will Bring Everything Together under the Authority of Christ– Everything In Heaven And On Earth.

    Jesus after paying the price on the cross says in Matthew 28[18]

    “I Have Been Given All Authority In Heaven And On Earth.


  67. Patricia McLaughlin

    I al am reminded again – when Jesus was offered power, he rejected it. But Paul loved power. I decided long ago that men who seek the presidency have one of 3 weaknesses: the love of power (LBJ) , the love of women (Clinton), or the love of alcohol (Nixon). I think. Paul was seduced by power because he hated women.

  68. i don’t think it would serve much purpose for me to itemize all the deficiencies and contextomy present in the author’s document. However, I want to assure others that might read it that it is insufficient and erroneous in many areas. Certainly there are differences in the gospel and audience between Jesus’ and Paul’s ministry. I would not like to think that anyone believes that it comes close to being unchallenged by the actual scripture message.
    It is too bad that the author did not, at least attempt to consider the audience, time and purpose of the two ministries.

    • John Alston —

      To respond to material that is extensively documented with scriptural and linguistic support by essentially saying that you don’t need to justify at all why you can “assure” others that it is wrong, just because you say so, reflects the dogmatic authoritarianism of the Pauline perversion of Jesus’ simple teachings. Rational persons based views on facts and evidence, not the authoritarian pronouncements of those who just say “trust me” and then pass the plate.

    • The time was very nearly the same. The audience was the same which Peter and James had. Are you suggesting the message changes acourding to who you speak to? Is this the “good word” of Christ? I have spent many years of my life feeling that Paul is at odds with Peter, James, and most all, of Christ.

      • Yes, Richard, my response to John was to note that he had simply replied to material documented with wild claims that had no documentation of his own.

        Your response does make an important point: while the differentiation in the audience being addressed is not as obvious or certain as John might have been told (Romans 1:7 notes that Paul is writing to “ALL” in Rome, which is rather inclusive of Jew, Gentile and convert), it is certainly suspicious when one suggests that the early Christian leaders taught different gospels and different doctrines to different audiences. The point of my article is to demonstrate, with chapter and verse, that on a key point — perhaps THE key point — of doctrine, regarding the essence of salvation itself, Paul taught a message that was 100% diametrically opposed to that taught by Jesus and his brother James.

        I further demonstrate conclusively, with chapter and verse, a number of other significant points in which Paul directly contradicts Jesus (and James). Responding to this extensive documentation by merely saying, “Ain’t so,” with no supporting documentation, only confirms that even the writer knew he had nothing.

  69. Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Behold, “Danizier” – a man fighting with all his heart (and all the ammunition of the most clever spirits of deception and trickery) to annihilate that still small voice that whispers to him of his tragic folly.
    You tragically underestimate the wit of the ancient Serpent and equally sabotage yourself with the overestimation of your own, Sir.

    • “Christian” —

      I provide specific facts with references.
      You respond with incantations of superstition based on talking snakes and legends from ancient Bronze-age sheep herders leavened with generalized condemnations and name calling, but do not respond to a single reference or point of substance provided.

      I stand proudly with referenced fact over superstition and attempts at insults that bear far more resemblance to the renegade “apostle” Paul than to the gentle compassion of Jesus.

      • Yesterday i watched video (“Oprah Denies Christ”) condemning Oprah Winfrey for saying: “Here many ways for being in the world..millions ways or paths to God…” Women waving with fingers before Oprah, parroting name of Jesus like a broken money or change. For not-christian people it looks like …how to say it…like procurator staying near of dead corpse and judging sternly the apostate. Really for them Jesus is dead and hopelessly absent.
        Even if they advocating idea “Jesus is only way!” bigotry prove namely opposite.

  70. Patricia McLaughlin

    I like. You. You do Jesus. Credit. He would like yo

    u too. J IMHO.

  71. Patricia McLaughlin

    You didn’t discuss how Sabbath went from. Saturday to Sunday in Roman times. With conversion to major accepted. Religion. Incredible betrayal of. Heritage.

    • Patricia, I would agree that the unceremonious rejection of the Sabbath established in the Law of Moses is yet another example of the betrayal of the commitment Jesus expressed in Matthew 5:18 when he stated that there would not be the slightest abridgment of the Law until ALL things were fulfilled (which would include all prophecies including the End Times) and heaven and earth were destroyed.

      I certainly would not attempt to claim that my small effort here pretends to be a complete compilation of all the ways in which Jesus was betrayed and undermined by the renegade “apostle” Paul.

  72. May I ask, then, Danzier, what denomination of Christianity do you follow? Reading the Bible and articles on the life of Paul, I’ve come to question a lot of contradictions between him and Jesus, him and the other apostles, and him and James. I’m just wondering what you subscribed to as opposed to a Pauline form of Christianity.

    • Cory, I do not subscribe to any denomination of Christianity. Those who read these articles, especially the one “Betrayal of Jesus,” will see my admiration for some of the teachings attributed to Jesus, and a recognition of the insightful construction of the ethical system he reportedly introduced, but will also see that I do not see any need to consider him a singularly divine “Son of God” (any more than any of the rest of us) or “Redeemer” or “Savior” in any way. I just don’t see the moral or theological need for it.

      That said, I also recognize that it could be possible to construct a rationally-consistent theological belief system that includes a divine role for Jesus, as long as it did not center around a belief in (or worship of) the Bible as being inerrant and infallible, since the opposite can clearly be demonstrated as in my article on Bibleolatry or a belief in Jesus’ primary role being that of an atoning human sacrifice, for the reasons outlined in my article on that subject.

  73. I appreciated the anti-sacrificial stance in the article very much. This is consistent with the Luke/Acts perspective (which differs from other Gospels and Paul) where Jesus dies not for the sins of the people but to show the sins of the people, after which they are restored to God with simple repentance.

    I also wanted to point out that you seem to be conflating works of the law (keeping the law of Moses) with the good works. Bart Ehrman argues in Forged and other books that Paul is specifically speaking against the works of the law, e.g. Christians don’t have to become Jewish first and only then follow Jesus, while deutero-Pauline and pastoral epistles (which are likely not written by Paul) speak of good works, which becomes a discussion in Christian circles decades after the Gentile-Jewish Christian conflict.

  74. Anyone can spin words and “assume”what the writer had intended to say. You cannot prove James was contradicting Paul. Any reasonable person can research and discover that Paul and James were writing to different people whom struggled with different portions of the faith. In your example of Abraham, James (writing to Christian Jews) looked at Abrahams offering of isaac differently. It was a demonstration of Abrahams Faith in Gods promises. His willingness to sacrifice his son proved his faith in his “sky god” as u call him. It wasn’t the act that caused God to account Abraham righteous but his faith alone. His faith was acted out in his offering. No man will ever be moved to action without faith. But no mans faith is genuine unless it moves him to action. All the bible scholars( there occupation) follow this belief. Is that your Occupation as well? this is not an a conflict between Paul and James. James was speaking to Christian Jews who needed to know the difference. Faith without works isn’t really faith at all. This is not complicated.

    • Jon, you missed the point I made and then badly misstated the scriptural record.

      I clearly acknowledged that any discussion of motives or intent is speculative. That said, speculative considerations do provide insight when supported by specific factual references.

      You claim that Paul and James are writing to different audiences, as if you believe that god tells different stories to different audiences. Either something is true or it isn’t. But even this bizarre distortion of logic fails to stand up to the contextual content of the passages.

      When you say that Paul and James are writing to different audiences, you just say it. You cite no supporting evidence, no scriptural reference, NOTHING.

      Obviously, someone told you this once, so you just accept it on sheep-like blind faith, no questions asked, no documentation demanded, or else you have FIBricated this on your own in a desperate grasping at made-up straws. If you read the introductions of Paul’s passage that I cited from Romans (see Romans 1:7) and the passage from the brother of Jesus, James, that I cited (see James 1:1) you will see that they are both speaking to exactly the same audience.

      The idea that Jews or non-Jews would see Abraham different is not only without support other than your own presumptive say-so, but defies logic. Why would facts change based on the audience? Why does your god feel the need to change her story depending on who she is talking to? It makes no sense.

      The reality is that Saul/Paul made statements that directly contradicted Jesus, as I specifically documented with chapter and verse and which you deny, while offering absolutely no support for that denial. By the time Saul/Paul wrote his epistles (letters) opposing Jesus’ teachings, Jesus was long dead and could not defend himself. But his brother, James, did. While lacking in the financial and educational advantages of the elitist Saul/Paul, James had the street smarts and wit that seems to have run in his family. While Peter, who couldn’t even stay awake the night of Jesus’ death and who denied him three times, fell quickly under the spell of the wealthy, educated, erudite Saul/Paul’s charms, Jesus’ brother James was not so easily taken in. James uses exactly the same language, exactly the same syntactical construction and exactly the same words, and even the same scriptural example of Abraham and Isaac, to refute Saul/Paul. For you to claim, with no citation whatsoever, that they are talking about something different is to be deluded into a fantasy of epic proportion.

    • Gen. 22:15 “Oracle of the lord- because you acted as you did in not witholding your son… I will bless you… because you OBEYED MY COMMAND.” Of couse the “Jews” look at it differently, they actually KNOW the scripture.

  75. Pauline people are crazy. I have been going at it with a few of them. They insist that the words of Paul are necessary and the words of Jesus are not enough. The problem is that they think the New Testament floated down from heaven. They show no sign of having enough energy to really study where the NT comes from and who wrote it etc… I can’t figure out if they really are good people duped by bad religion or if they knowingly embrace the Pauline concept of salvation to excuse their worldly lives. Considering how mean and degrading they are I think it’s the latter. They can not be reasoned with. It’s a cult plain and simple.

  76. Correction: My previous post should have been addressed to Jon Wilkes and not ‘Ivan’.

  77. I find it absurd that you believe Paul, whom persecuted Christians, would give up his respected position among his peers as well as his wealth and standing among the Jews of his time to convert so he could create his own religion by contradicting Christ. That he would endure severe beatings, survive being stoned and purposefully continue to preach the gospel knowing he would be imprisoned for life all so he could secretly undermine the “true” meaning of how one should be saved because he felt like it. No sir. That is so far from logical it’s truely absurd. Would you suffer 39 lashes with a whip so you could share this propaganda with the world? I think not.

    • I find it absurd that someone could look at the lengthy list of specific contradictions I cited, with chapter and verse, between Jesus and Paul and then, after Jesus’ death, between Paul and Jesus’ surviving brother, James, writing in defense of his murdered brother, and then simply deny, with no specific rebuttal, that these numerous, profound contradictions, many on critical points of doctrine, simply do not exist. Just deny them. Sorry, Jon, but they are there. I cited them. They’re there.

      I do not know, neither do I claim to understand, what motivated Saul/Paul to do what he did. We do know that he was an early persecutor of Christians, and even held the coats of those who stoned the apostle Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58; 22:20). Perhaps he simply found a more effective way to persecute, undermine and destroy the teachings of Jesus he so despised. Whatever the motive, it is pure speculation. What cannot be denied, and what you have not even attempted to address, is that, for whatever reason, even if purely due to innocent error (not likely given his education, wealth, erudition and station), he did, in fact, repeatedly and fundamentally contradict Jesus, on many points of doctrine, including even the whole basis of justification and salvation.

    • Ivan, I find your comment interesting as I recognize it as identical to the trained response Jehovah’s Witnesses give when someone points out to them the numerous contradictions in the New Testament between what Paul taught and how it contradicts Jesus’ own teachings.

      The logic of your rebuttal is as follows: ‘Why would anyone in such a respected position, comfort and wealth, put themselves in such peril and hardship”. The clue to the answer is in Pauline Christianity’s fixation and obsession with sin and guilt. The hallucination Saul had on the road to Damascus was a disturbing revelation to him that effected him severely and acknowledged the deep seated guilt within his own heart for the persecution he had committed against Christians.

      What better way to atone for that pathological experience of guilt than to devote your life to the very symbol that those who you had previously persecuted worshipped, i.e. Jesus. The persecution and hardship that followed for Paul was a welcome punishment in his self righteous mind for the heinous wrong doings he had previously committed. Unfortunately, Paul’s ego strayed away from the original teachings of Jesus in order to establish his own Pauline Church, a necessary step it would seem due the Jesus’ own prohibition of public worship [John 6:6].

      Jesus had no problem with people preaching the good word, but when it came to worshiping YHWH in prayer, that was to be an interaction to be acted out in a personal and private meditation with the Father himself, not amongst others in a public display. So anyone praying in public, in a congregation, goes against the teachings of Christ, the Messiah and son of God, and is rather a follower of Paul’s mystery cult of sin and salvation.

  78. Salvation by faith alone is a direct slap in the face of Catholicism which these non-christian sects, know as protestants, were rebeling against. Grant it at the time there were quite a few abuses in the Catholic church. But to rebel against the doctrine of the church, instead of the bad clergy, was intentional. The bad acts of the clergy were used as an excuse to create a new religion that did not hold them to such high standards of behavior and also to glorify themselves as leaders. Once again, protestants that believe in salvation by faith alone are NOT Christians. They do not live by the words of Christ and have also tossed by the wayside 1500 years of miracles and intercessions of heaven. They follow the words of Paul EXCLUSIVELY. I have never heard them quote Jesus! I don’t mean to talk bad of Paul because he was a great man but he had to craft a message that would be accepted by each new people he encountered. If he knew he was contributing to the Bible his writings may have looked a little different.

  79. Danizier: I’ve read through all of your comments by you and others.

    What if the Bible were just the blue print of the wide road and the narrow road of which Jesus often spoke?

    The road is there for anyone to choose who actually takes the time to read it.

    The fact that Paul has so many inconsistencies would move a rational person to reject Paul, if one has the faith of a child. Only a Pharisee would be able to follow Paul’s logic and the logic that it takes in convoluted “word-smithing” to rationalize the differences.

    Moreover, the decrepit state of nearly every denomination of Pauline-churches openly testifies to the rejection of the teachings of Christ. I have yet to ever hear a pastor or teacher read the whole Beatitutudes in front of their congregation.

    If the Pauline teachings are the wide road, then it can be argued that Christ’s teachings are the narrow road.

  80. ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…’ (John 1:12)

    ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.’ (John 5:24)

    ‘Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…’ (1 John 5:1)

    So, we see by Scripture that being born of God and having everlasting life is by recieving the gift of God’s faith.

    ‘And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ (Mark 1:15)

    ‘Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.’ (1 John 5:1-2)

    ‘Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.’ (1 Peter 2:7,9)

    And we also see by Scripture that having God’s faith is immediately accompanied with repentance from sin and showing the good works of God.

    Which Scriptural doctrine of salvation AND doing good through faith is summed up with:

    ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ‘ (Ephesians 2:8-10)

    • Again, Robert, you simply deny what I wrote and then pretend you have addressed it.

      I do not dispute that Paul championed good works, just as I do not dispute that Jesus and James championed faith.

      But right here, copied directly from my article that you pretend does not exist, is how I addressed the difference:

      Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory). [Note that the article also notes Jesus’ statements on salvation by deeds in which faith or grace are never even mentioned in entire self-contained passages,]

      Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).

      Robert, I am not going to continue to entertain responses that simply exert denial of points made in the articles, or which simply exert denial without any point of substance attached.

  81. “I cite the example of Christians who never did one darn act of kindness or decency but had faith, and cite examples of extraordinary compassion by Jews or Buddhists who do NOT accept Jesus as their savior…” danizier

    ‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?’ (Luke 6:46)

    ‘They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.’ (Titus 1:16)

    ‘Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’ (James 2:24,26)

    ‘But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.’ (1 John 3:17-18)

    In the first matter of hypocrites claiming a faith they do not live by nor show, you agree with Scripture. Faith ‘only’ types are in error, which neither Jesus and His apostles preached, as seen above…

    The former case is not germain to this dispute concerning Jesus and Paul. That would be better placed within the context of ‘One Way’ to God’s heaven (John 14:6), and there being only ‘One true’ God (1 John 5:20), or not.

    • You do not address the relevant point I cited:

      When Jesus said in Matt 25:31-46 that those who showed universal compassionate love for “the least of these” would be saved and those who did not would not, he did not predicate that on faith, acceptance or affiliation with his movement. Jesus: compassion = salvation. No other qualification. It is a self-contained, complete passage.

      According to Jesus, the starving Jew in a concentration camp, who has NOT accepted Jesus, who, despite his own hunger pangs, imparts from his meager rations to alleviate the suffering of another, would be saved. But according to Paul, and those who accept his version (which not all Christians do), this noble hero would NOT be saved because he has not accepted Jesus as savior. But a child rapist/murderer who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior on his deathbed could be granted acceptance into eternal life.

      My apologies if you can’t understand why I utterly repudiate the disgusting injustice that passes for “salvation” in this perversion of Jesus’ teachings.

  82. A non-believing and classicly trained friend of mine made this comment once. “When people want to undermine the Bible or Christianity, they attack Paul first…”

    And the unbelieving Jews of the day persecuted Paul above all the Apostles for his zealous spreading of the faith of Jesus.

    And the liberals of today who want to claim Jesus for themselves also attack Paul first because he lists the deeds of unrighteousness that prove the absence of Jesus’ faith in the heart.

    And here we have an attack on Paul for declaring salvation by faith, and not demanding enough works of righteousness…

    Gosh, It certainly would be better Paul had not been born, if he were actually a corrupter of the Doctrine of Christ.

    But then, the same must then be said for Peter, who condemned all of Paul’s ‘unlearned and unstable’ attackers, who wrested the Scriptures he wrote (as well as those written by the rest of the Apostles) to their own destruction…(2 Peter 3:16)

    So, as Paul stood in defense of the Gospel of Christ, I’ll be glad to stand in defense of all the Scriptures, including those written by Paul, as being given by inspiration of God.

    You’ll note God with a capital ‘G’. You folks do know that danizier is an atheist. or if he does believe, it is in a god that he ought not…I mean, the picture ought be a bit of a clue too. Not that I have anything personal against unblievers, atheists, etc.. But when they put forth themselves as such authorities on God and Christ also??

    More unbelieving instructors for believers on how to believe…or not. Funny.

    • Robert, the reason those citing New Testament errors start with Paul is because his direct contradictions with Jesus are simply so obvious and so numerous. While there are other contradictions, and I have cited them on other pages, none is as striking and blatant as those of Paul against Jesus.

      You say that you will “defend” the writings of Paul, but you don’t. Whereas I offered numerous specific examples, with chapter and verse, you did not defend against them or in any way justify why these direct contradictions really aren’t. All you do is go off on generalizations and attempts at personal insults that have not the slightest elements of substance.

      Since you have not challenged one single specific point I made, backed up by numerous specific examples with chapter and verse, you have offered nothing that requires a response other than to simply point that out.

      • Well said Danizier. Robert fails to engage with the content of what you say completely. And I’m unsure why he cites those who believe in God as the ones who are to be trusted when it comes to scriptural interpretation. If anything, due to the bias of a theist’s faith, he or she is more likely to go outside and subjectively read into the literal content of the Holy Bible; but then again, that’s the foundation upon which all religious institutions and cults are based.

        I think the real reason critics focus on Paul is because he was quite obviously such a pathologically deceitful and dishonest human being who hijacked the teachings of a good man and transformed them into exactly that which Jesus taught against.

        And Danizier, I did find one theme of agreement between Jesus and Paul which you critiqued in your writing. Public/private worship, Romans 2:28-9 seems to be on the same theme and in agreement with Jesus as outlined in Matthew 6:5. Your thoughts?

        • Adrian, it is true that Paul repeatedly and consistently contradicted and undermined the teachings attributed to Jesus, in points of doctrine both small and large which, coupled with his high level stature among the conservative denominations of “Christians,” is what makes him such an obvious point of attention for those trying to demonstrate the utter inconsistency of the first century Christian movement.

          But as you point out, and as I point out in some of the other articles, there are also points in which Paul and Jesus find occasional agreement. You cite one example. Another example is the failed prophecy attributed to Jesus in Matthew 24:34 where, among many marvelous predictions of the end times, he predicts that these signs and wonders will occur within the lifetimes of the “current generation” or those currently living at the time Jesus spoke those words. Some “Christians” use all kinds of contortions to try to explain why Jesus actually didn’t mean that his contemporaries would witness the end times, but when Paul teaches the same thing in I Thessalonians 4:15-17, he makes it even more unambiguously clear that Jesus is prophesied to return within the lifetimes of those still alive at the time the epistle is written.

      • Hello Danizier, I have not continued in offering any defense, because I first wanted to see if I would be accepted into the argument on your site. Since I am, I will be glad to continue.

        First, let me say that I am, by past experience of necessity, a strict reader of Scripture, as well as any other writings (including your own), and I take them exactly as they are written, and would apply them as such, before moving any further towards expanding them with a contextual sense of their meaning. And I would like to be treated the same.

        Therefore, I would like to clarify my greater intent to defend all the writings of the Bible from Genesis – Revelation, as being one whole and complete work, without inner contradiction, of which the ‘writings of Paul’ are a part. As Paul wrote, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…Whether one believes what is written therein, or not, is entirely up to them, since God Himself has given us all individual free will, and by our own works we shall be judged. (Psalms 106:39, Prov 31:31, Rom 2:6)

        With that in mind, I believe your main complaint against Paul of contradicting Jesus, is that he declares that life with God is by faith ‘only’, excluding works, whereas Jesus plainly calls all people, especially believers of God, to be doing the good works of God in their own lives, which begins with the commandments to love God from the heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

        Is this so?

        If this were the case with Paul, I also would heartily agree with you.

        (Also, what of Peter’s confirmation of Paul’s writings being Scripture as well as the rest, and warning against wresting them to one’s own destruction? I would be interested. Thanks…Robert)

        • Your assertion that it is your “intent to defend all the writings of the Bible from Genesis – Revelation, as being one whole and complete work, without inner contradiction” bespeaks complete nonsense.

          The books of the Bible were written by mortal humans, of primitive origin. They are not scientific and have many historical and factual errors. Further, as is expected of a work written over hundreds of years by scores of different writers, it is riddled with hundreds of direct internal contradictions. You can spout this nonsense about it not being so, but the fact is that on my Bible page I have cited several key examples, and provided a link to HUNDREDS of additional specific examples.

          For you to just say “ain’t so” without addressing one single specific point is simply denial. I am not going to continue to include comments that just keep repeating vain denials that completely lack substance.

          If you wish to address the many direct factual errors and internal contradictions of the Bible, please do so on the page that addresses that subject:

          As for the contradiction between Paul and Jesus, yes, the primary difference between them is about the mechanism of salvation. Jesus says one thing very clearly and Paul says something that is not only different, but contradictory, and is subsequently rebutted by Jesus’ brother, James, as I have cited.

          That is NOT, however, the ONLY contradiction between them. I have cited additional examples on this page and, since you have not addressed any of them (in fact, denied that there were any others), you have not provided any substance to rebut.

          Denial is not a substitute for addressing points of substance.

    • Guy, Abraham was justified by works alone. Him and his wife laughed in God’s face, but were justified, because they still followed his word. Try reading the OT without Paul’s glasses, you’ll get a whole new picture… the REAL picture.

  83. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS Thank you!!! I get so tired of people calling Paul the best of the Apostles (the wanker wasnt even an apostle!) Everyone is so ready to take EVERYTHING in the bible as a truth without thinking of who it was really that compiled all of the books into the bible. God didn’t bind the book. A ROMAN emperor and his band of warriors compiled what we call the canonized bible. I wish people wouldnt so blindly follow. KEEP UP THE AWESOME WORK!!!

  84. I also just stumbled accross your site and all I can say is that it is truly a very interesting read indeed. I cannot comment at all, only to say that this is extremely insightful and I find your answers to everybody’s concerns, defense and criticism of your interpretation of Jesus vs Paul, and even other out of context remarks that you cover elsewhere, extremely researched and to the point. It really throws a punch at the way the Christian religion and the Christian bible has been and still is being handled by and for the masses to keep them uninformed and ignorant to the actual message in the bible and Jesus’s teachings. It truly is an eye opener to someone that has had doubts as to why certain verses and especially Paul’s teachings tended to be out of sync with the rest of the bible and especially Jesus’s teachings, but could never really pinpoint it so clearly. I am not always online, but will most surely pop in to read more of your essays, Mr Danizier.

    My word, I hope I am making sense in what I am trying to say.

    Thank you.

    Wynand Bezuidenhout

  85. Hello Davis, I find the idea behind your book very thought provoking and interestingly similar to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of Pauline Christianity, but at the same time Nietzsche’s admiration of Jesus.

    Your reading of the Holy Bible is very accurate and scholarly. I’m impressed.

    Out of curiosity, what is your own belief? Are you Christian, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, or none of the aforementioned?

    Here’s a few quotes from Nietzsche that seem to be aligned with your thesis:

    [158] ‘What did Christ deny? Everything that is today called Christian.’

    [160] ‘He (Jesus) likewise ignores the entire system of crude formalities governing intercourse with God: he opposes the whole teaching of repentance and atonement; he demonstrates how one must live in order to feel “deified” – and how one will not achieve it through repentance and contrition for one’s sins: “Sin is of no account” is his central judgement.”

    [161] ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart (-it is said of children “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”) Not something “above the Earth.” The Kingdom of God does not “come” chronologically-historically, on a certain day in the calendar, […] it is an “inward change in the individual,” something that comes at every moment and at every moment has not yet arrived –

    [162] The Thief on the Cross: – When even the criminal undergoing a painful death declares: “the way this Jesus suffers and dies, without rebelling, without enmity, graciously, resignedly, is the only right way,” he has affirmed the gospel: and with that he is in Paradise-

    [163] Neither by deeds nor in your heart should you resist him who harms you. […]
    You should make no distinction between strangers and neighbours, foreigners and fellow countrymen.
    You should be angry with no one, you should show contempt to no one. Give alms in secret. You should not want to become rich. You should not swear. You should not judge. You should be reconciled with foes; you should forgive. Do not pray publicly.
    “Bliss” is not something promised: it is there if you live and act in such and such a way.

    [167] Christianity: a naive beginning to a Buddhistic peace movement in the very seat of ressentiment – but reversed by Paul into a pagan mystery doctrine, which finally learns to treat with the entire state organisation – and wages war, condemns, tortures, swears, hates.

    This is the humour of the situation, a tragic humour: Paul re-erected on a grand scale precisely that which Christ had annulled through his way of living.

    [168] – The Church is precisely that against which Jesus preached – and against which he taught his disciples to fight –

    [169] A god who dies for our sins: redemption through faith; resurrection after death – all these are counterfeits of true Christianity for which that disastrous wrong headed fellow [Paul] must be held responsible.

    • Hi Adrian — While Nietzsche is coming at it from a different perspective, he is seeing what is there, and seeing and reporting the same phenomena, the resulting reports are naturally likely to bear some resemblance.

      I have prepared this site as a commentary on Christianity and how it has, for the most part, strayed significantly from what Jesus taught. Christianity is where I come from, but not where I am today. Therefore, the emphasis of any writings about Christianity by a former Christian, explaining why I chose the different path I did and sharing my observations with those who may be experiencing similar struggles but haven’t quite reinvented the wheel, will focus on where I came from, and not where I am today.

      The one concession I have made to that is in the final essay in the series, “Is There a God?”:
      In this essay, I address the reasons for and against a belief in a higher power (not necessarily the same thing as a “supreme” being who is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-righteous; perhaps merely more-knowing, more-powerful and more-righteous) and my personal thoughts on the matter.

      One might choose to label this admixture of perspectives as quasi-Pagan, deist (in the sense of Jefferson and Paine), agnostic or some blend, but certainly not outright atheist and certainly not as one who remains an adherent of any of the cruel legacies of the vicious Abrahamic sky god of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions.

  86. The resolution of this apparent dichotomy is pretty straight forward if not so commonly understood.

    We are indeed saved by faith (as Paul says).

    But faith – if it is TRUE FAITH – will by default yield righteousness and good works, for as James says in 2:17

    “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead,
    being by itself”

    Faith is not the words “I believe in…”

    Faith is (or includes)… the experience of grace in acceptance.

    When we in faith, truly accept God’s grace, then we will have “nothing to boast about” for it will not be “I” who am righteous but God’s righteousness that work through me.

    And without the experience of grace we can have no faith for it is the *experience* of God’s grace that inspiries our faith.

    M Luther had all the pieces, he just couldn’t quite bring it all together, and so for him James (or “Jimmy” as he once referred to the epistle of James) was made of “straw”. Too bad because James and Paul (when correctly understood) are not in conflict but are mutually complimentary.

    The key is this:

    When we lean only on our “good works” we become mere politicos, we become arrogant and self righteous – tough to get into heaven that way.

    But also, if we lean on our so called “faith” believing that we are already there because we simply “said” we believe then these may just be empty and meaningless words that fail to SHOW a true and real faith that changes or saves lives.

    Either error is overcome by simply giving “all glory to God” in the truest sense of that phrase.

    Not my will but HIS be done.

    • Doug, you are simply trying to use semantics to change what is a very direct contradiction between Jesus and Paul, and then James, the brother of Jesus, coming to his dead brother’s defense.

      In Matt 25:31-46, Jesus’ last general teaching before going up into the Upper Room for the Last Supper and the “end of things,” and the only time in which, in mortality, he personally describes the final judgment, predicates the final determination of salvation solely on our actions, in a self-contained passage that never once mentions faith. This is not to say Jesus didn’t think faith was important. He did. There are many favorable references to faith. But he established a behavioral component as the standard on which salvation would be awarded or denied. Similarly in Luke 10:25-37, when Jesus is asked what is the great commandment in the Law (of Moses, which Paul later throws under the cosmic bus), Jesus cites (from the Old Testament, the Law) the commands to love god and love your neighbor (and, per Matt 25:31-46, the first is fulfilled in the second, “…you did it unto me.”), and then says “this DO and you will live,” again with no mention at all of faith in the entire self-contained passage.

      In my treatise above, I cite the example of Christians who never did one darn act of kindness or decency but had faith, and cite examples of extraordinary compassion by Jews or Buddhists who do NOT accept Jesus as their savior; you and Paul would have them cast into eternal darkness while Jesus would welcome them in with the eternal embrace saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants.”

      Again, your deal in semantic doublespeak, going through tortured mental gyrations trying to explain why James rebuttal does not really mean what is so very clearly says. Sure, like Jesus, James saw merit in faith. And again, read what I wrote in the article, which I doubt you actually read, since it fully addresses your concerns: “Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are what get you into heaven (but faith is good because it motivates you to do the good deeds, but is not absolutely mandatory).

      Paul states that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that faith is what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).

      You seem to suggest that I am claiming that one can “earn” salvation through works. Not at all. I am saying that IF one believes that Jesus, having “paid the price” (which he did not; see my Atonement page), has the right to judge us, then it is Jesus, NOT PAUL, who gets to set the standard. Paul says the standard is faith. Jesus said the standard is rooted in deeds. Guess what, according to even your own failed mythology, Jesus gets to decide, not Paul, and he said it is deeds. You say “HIS will be done” but then you repudiate Jesus in favor of Paul. And this is only one of the many direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (backed up by James).

      Please, before you respond, actually read the article. All of the material in this response is from the article. If you had actually read it before “responding,” you might have approached it much differently, if at all.

  87. I would like you to define how we earn salvation? if it is by keeping the law and everyword Jesus spoke then who sir will be saved……. anyone? I think not. And if it is by keeping all of his words then once we did (which we could not) then would we need his sacrifice on the cross? Would we not have earned our own salvation? and if your going to say no because we sinned before we came to know Jesus and thats the sins he died for, then your saying that once we believed then for the rest of our life we could not sin? wow… I would say impossible which would lead us back to being saved through faith in him and what he did, NOT BY WORKS. You sir are trying to bring us back under the law, the bible says no flesh shall be justified by the law.. because we cant keep it. HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME

    • As for EARNING salvation? Your comment fails on two grounds

      1. If Jesus’ atonement (human sacrifice myth) “pays the price” and gives him the right to absolve our sins, then he gets to set the standard, not Paul, and he included works/deeds/actions and not merely faith alone, as part of that standard that Paul contradicts. It is not necessarily that one has EARNED anything, any more than faith or belief is EARNING anything. It is the standard that Jesus himself set, not Paul and, according to your human sacrifice myth, Jesus is the one who gets to make that call. For more on the fallacies of your atonement myth, and why Jesus did NOT pay any “price,” check my atonement page.

      2. The idea that one slightest sin or imperfection requires not only the cosmic death penalty, but the eternal torture of “fireboarding,” is like saying that the infraction of jaywalking should be punished not by mere capital punishment, but by torture from a heavenly “father” because “he loves us.” If you expect this to convince people that such a cruel, vengeful deity is a loving god, please understand if your argument falls short. Again, I have further addressed the fallacies and the injustices of your bloody human sacrifice atonement myth on the page dedicated to that subject.

  88. You are so wrong sir! Jesus himself said that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus himself said that we must believe or we are condemed….. not for works but for not believing in him (go back and read John 3:16-18). If the way to salvation was by keeping his word completely none would be saved, no man could do it and that is the sole purpose for his death on the cross. Paul knew this, he knew that no man could be justified by works. Now I agree true faith produces works but the works come from a redeemed heart given by faith in him. You should take this site down sir because you will be held accountable for teaching hearsy yourself. Paul understood that everything points to Jesus we are nothing he is everything… we cannot earn our salvation by works but like Abraham we must be willing to forsake all and follow, we must be willing to (sacrifice Isaac) if thats what he calls us to do. Its complete hope in Christ to be made right with God. When we realize that it changes us and produces works.

    • Donny — I understand that the gospel of John (written over a hundred years after the death of Jesus) quotes Jesus as saying that those who believe will be saved. I have cited specific, self-contained passages that show Jesus saying the opposite. So at best, you are providing another example of a Bible contradiction. I do not cite this as a contradiction on my contradictions page, though, because of the rest of the passage that you omitted. John 3:16 says what you noted, but the same passage, in the same paragraph division, goes on in verses 19-21 to close out the passage, to discuss the need for DEEDS (actions; works). So unlike Paul, who refers to faith APART FROM deeds, Jesus does not impose that separation.

      In any case, my Bible contradictions page cites many reasons why I do not accept the Bible as being infallible or inerrant, because there are so many hundreds of specific examples of factual errors, internal contradictions and failed prophecies. I am not really fearful of what your old book of myths says, any more than you are likely concerned with warnings to you from the Qur’an, Bhagavad Gita or Veda.

      • O.k. the part of scripture that you say I omitted is this..
        19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

        20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

        21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

        we establish in 16 that he loved us and sent his son and we must believe in him to be saved
        17. we learn he did not send him to condemn but to provide a way of escape
        18. we learn again how we escape the penalty of our sin (which is by believing) and the way we do not escape is by not believing.(our choice) not works or no works
        19. now we learn the cause for our condemnation in the first place…. because men loved darkness rather then light and their deeds were evil! but light came into the world. who is the light? JESUS
        20. everyone who has an evil nature hates the light (JESUS) they do not want to come to him for fear that they may expose their true nature of rebellion to God and be reproved. in other words they want to do what they want to do.
        21.finally here we see that there are some who will choose to do the right thing and come to the light found only in the true light (JESUS) he will save and redeem them and
        they will want to do what is right and clear and honoring.

        • Your recitation of the rest of the passage confirms what I said about it.
          You are not contradicting any of my points, nor have you responded to any of my points about the (lack of) infallibility / inerrancy of the Bible (better addressed in the comments for that page) or the fact that not one single claim about Jesus as an atoning human sacrifice (also better addressed in the comments for the appropriate page) holds up under scrutiny, even when your own facts are accepted.

    • Donny,

      It’s hard to defend a city with no walls, and it is just as hard to defend a religion based on a book full of fallacies.

  89. Agree with the main point here. I have had this discussion with Christians, and they just will not see the contradiction between Paul and Jesus on salvation. They have to come up with some really inventive ways of ‘interpreting’ Jesus’ sayings. I say ‘interpreting’, because they don’t need interpreting, the meanings of Jesus are plain. They say that when Jesus is talking to the rich young ruler, he is holding up the law as a ‘mirror’ to him…so he could theoretically follow the law and go to heaven. Even though there’s no mention of that type of thinking by Jesus anywhere in the gospels, and the exact opposite is taught in the synoptics and especially Matthew.

    One thing I will disagree with you is about Paul’s attitude on women. Many scholars don’t consider the Timothy letters to have actually been written by Paul. Some consider the quote from Corinthians to be an interpolation, because it breaks up the flow of the passage, and it contradicts what he says in Ch 11. He also mentions women leaders in Romans 16. I think Paul would have been heralded by feminists of his time.

    • Your experience in dealing with Christians of the Pauline school who try to explain why Jesus didn’t really mean what he so clearly and repeatedly said is consistent with mine. In response to the very explicit descriptions of the final judgment in Matt 25:31-46, based entirely on acting compassionately without a single mention of faith or grace, I have had so-called Christians belittle the passage as anti-Christian, and I have to keep reminding them who it is that is speaking (Jesus) and why their conclusion is so absurd. One of them even referred me to a whole website on dealing with the “problem” of Matt 25:31-46, but none can make it go away without confirming that they are the ones who oppose what Jesus taught in favor of Paul’s contradictory teaching.

      As for women, I would agree that Paul would be seen as progressive for his time. But we must also remember that we look back on Abraham Lincoln as being progressive for his time in matters of racial equality, yet while he supported freeing slaves, he also explicitly and repeatedly noted that he acknowledged those of African heritage to be of inferior mental abilities and absolutely opposed intermarriage. Today his statements would render him extremely backward and be considered (rightfully) to be utterly racist.

      As for the authorship of Timothy, it is important to understand that the entire authorship of the Bible, and certainly the New Testament, is up for question. None of the original source texts by the actual authors have been preserved, and the chain of custody as to who has preserved and protected copies and reworks is questionable. As I note in one of the introductory essays, I do not assert that Jesus, Paul or any of the credited gospel “authors” actually wrote or said the things attributed to them. But for the sake of addressing those that do — solely for the purpose of argument — I am operating on that basis.

      Your comment was thoughtful and insightful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m sure you have noticed that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke seem a bit different than the gospel of John. What explains the difference between what some have named the synoptic gospels and the gospel of John? Why did the Holy Spirit have John recount so many of Jesus’ Words that are not mentioned in the prior gospels? Why is the Word “believe” used around 100 times in the gospel of John, but when we read the other gospels it seems like salvation and good works are dependent on an individuals comittment and resolve?

      The Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry fulfilled all of the righteousness of the law, the only person to ever do so in the history of the world. In the first three gospels, the Holy Spirit shows Him extending the requirements of the law for justification right to the heart of man. Just like the perfect law given by God, perfectly exposed man’s sinfulness. The Lord Jesus Christ went further to show that even outward profession and works mean nothing if the heart isn’t right. Jesus amplified the law, knowing that no man of his own accord to do the works of God, but hereby preparing the hearts of those that realized this to be able to understand why He had to bleed, die, be buried and rise again. That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit. The only way an individual can do the works of God is if they believe Him and He empowers them to do so.

      This was not revealed immediately during the Lord’s earthly ministry, but would be revealed later, that’s why the Holy Spirit had John write His gospel after he learned of the grace of God and the mystery committed to the apostle Paul by the risen ascended Lord Jesus Christ. By reading the end of John’s gospel, we learn by inference that John did not write his gospel until after Peter’s death, that’s how he understood that what the Lord said, signified the way Peter would die. We see in Galatians and other places that after the knowledge of the mystery was committed to Paul it was also made known to the other apostles.

      If our salvation is based on what we’ve done, then there is no one on the earth that is going to heaven. Praise the Lord our salvation is based on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and praise the Lord that after being saved, He will empower us to do good works by His working!

      • DW — you are operating under the assumption that the gospels are written under the influence of the holy spirit as the explanation for why John is so different from the synoptic gospels. I don’t see any basis for accepting this as a valid a priori assumption.

        The synoptic gospels are similar because Mark (an acolyte of Paul) wrote a first simple account, which was later used as the model by Luke, the “dear and beloved physician (who also wrote the book of Acts) and by Matthew, the only gospel writer (assuming validity of authorship) who actually lived with Jesus.

        Both Matthew and Luke model their gospels after Mark, filling in missing details and perspectives, making some corrections as to details, and yet Matthew and Luke did not seem to be aware of each other’s work, as they often contradict on the added materials, such as completely contradictory genealogies of Jesus, completely different nativity stories (including some details that are contradictorily mutually impossible) and other points of inconsistency. I have detailed these more fully in the essay addressing Bible contradictions and will direct further discussion of those details to that forum.

        The best explanation for the differences with John is that the account is not only written much, much later, one of the last of the New Testament additions, but was written by a committee of the Johannine Community, a community of Paul’s followers, and reflects that strong Pauline influence. There is no basis on which to ascribe much credibility to John’s completely inconsistent and unique account, written long after Jesus and the original apostles had gone, by people who did not actually know any of them.

        Again, this point is beginning to go off target from the specific contradictions of Paul vs. Jesus (and James), and I will direct further examination of those aspects to the Bible contradiction comments.

  90. Hi Danizier,
    Please forgive me as I have 3 small children and my time is limited so I can’t respond to every point or every reply in this post. I just would like to communicate to you that most of Christianity is not Pauline in their doctrine as many say. To Paul was committed “the preaching of the cross” and “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery”. Most of Christianity has never heard of this mystery committed to Paul. I would be willing to bet that if you walked into almost any church and asked about the mystery, the congregants would give you a blank stare or after asking you to qualify your question further, some obscure answer. The fact is that the Words of Christ during His earthly ministry do not conflict with the Words he gave Paul to speak from His risen ascended position at the right hand of God, though at first glance some of them appear to be different. The key to understanding the Bible is understanding the mystery.

    Secondly, as pertaining to the famous supposed contradiction with Paul and James. Paul is speaking on eternal salvation, while James is speaking on salvation during this life. Paul is speaking to eternal standing with God, while James is speaking to the Christians state while here on earth. If we identify the context in which both speak we can discern this. That’s why James starts out with his passage with a reference to someone destitute and in need of food and ends it with an example of Rahab and how she and her family were saved when the rest of those who lived in that city were killed. When studying salvation in the Bible, one always has to consider whether or not the subject is eternal salvation or salvation (gr, delivered or protected) regarding our life here.

    Ok, well I gotta split, thanks for entertaining my thoughts. All glory, honor, and praise to God the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ forever!

    Best regards,
    DW from

    • DW — it is true that not all Christians are either Pauline or absolute Bible literalists, and my comments on Pauline contradictions with Jesus do not apply to those who are not. Some of the points in some of the other posts on this site may, however, apply to them. That said, while I do not take the Chrisitna route any longer, it would be possible to fashion a wholly Jesus-based Christian faith that is at least rationally consistent.

      You state that Paul is addressing eternal salvation and James is speaking of salvation during this life, yet I do not see the basis in the passage for that conclusion, and believe that someone has simply invented that as a device for avoiding the directness of this absolute contradiction. The fact that Paul and Jesus, in their openings, note that they are addressing the same audience, and that James uses the same words, in the same grammatical and syntactical parallel constructions (just chaning the order to get the opposite meaning) and even cites the same scriptural example of Abraham (from Genesis) does suggest that the contradiction is explicit and an intentional rebuttal. The references to earthly situations demanding compassion are to show that, just as his brother Jesus taught, our salvation for eternity will be rooted in the compassion-based deeds we performed toward “the least among us,” including the poor and the prostitutes, in this life.

      The post, however, is not merely about Paul and James. It is about Paul and Jesus, with James coming to the defense of his slain brother. I note that Jesus makes it explicitly clear that salvation is via universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds, in multiple passages in which grace or faith are never mentioned (though Jesus elsewhere praises such traits, while not making them the basis of salvation). Certainly no one could read Jesus’ final public teaching in Matt 25:31-46, before going up into the upper room for the Last Supper, and conclude that he (Jesus) is referring to anything other than eternal salvation and eternal life.

      • Hi Danizier,
        In studying the scriptures it is of the utmost importance to notice similarities and differences. Learning the mystery that Paul was given is a key to this. When comparing Paul and James’ instructions on justification, we notice that the similar example they use is Abraham, but we must note that when James points to Abraham he points to when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice, which happened after his circumcision. Paul points to Abraham before his circumcision. At first glance this appears to be a trivial difference. But when study the difference between Jew and Gentile this is actually a very important distinction to make.

        Also Paul was the “apostle to the Gentiles” while James except for his brief letter recorded in Acts, was ministering to the Jewish Christians. We see that James, John, and Peter agreed to Paul going to the Gentiles and they going to the Jews as described at the Jerusalem council in Galatians 2:9. And as a side note this one verse debunks the whole doctrine of Papal succession for if Peter was the first pope, he was pope over the Jewish Christians only, after the Jerusalem meeting.

        When the Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth he admittedly came to “none but the Jews only”. The Gentiles were still given up by God and considered “dogs”. At that time the way for Gentiles to come to God was as a Jewish convert. So when Christ came He came as Israels messiah, but we find out later that the primary reason He came was to die on the cross for the sins of the everybody in the world, whether they be Jew or Gentile. This was a mystery that even when the Lord Jesus revealed the fact that He was to die, His disciples still didn’t understand or comprehend it because it was still a mystery and God didn’t give them understanding yet. A lot of people like to point to Jesus earthly ministry and condemn others and say stick to just the gospels and live like Jesus said. The problem is we can’t, just like the law never justified a man, it just pointed out that every man was a sinner, so in the same way Jesus in His earthly ministry while in the midst of self righteous religionists pointed out the things contained in the law and good works and said if your expect to earn salvation and do your own good works, here is what you got to do. Absolutely no one could do those good works of their own accord, it had to be by God’s empowerment, this would be revealed later, and we can see an example of this concerning Peters denial. The reason he went to the “sinners” instead of the self righteous religionists aka saduccees and pharisees was because, before you could know you needed a savior you needed to realize your a sinner. Obviously the prostitutes and tax collectors and poor while maybe not having the torah memorized, surely by conscience knew their unrighteousness compared to God’s righteousness. Concerning good works, what did Jesus say to those who approached Him asking Him how they could do the works of God? Believe in the one whom He has sent. And again in another part it is written, no one comes to the Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we can do the good works, we have to be saved and then God will empower us to do good works.

        The religions of the world, though they appear different are all basically the same. They prescribe some sort of action on the individuals part to be made right with what they perceived to be God and gain entrance to heaven, nirvana, reincarnation or whatever else. Sadly a lot of quote unquote “Christendom” sees it this way too. What differentiates true Christianity from the religious pack, is that man’s works can not do one thing to justify him before God. It is solely based on God’s work at the cross when the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood, died, was buried and rose again. All a recipient of God’s grace can do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work accept His gracious gift, no amount of works will ever justify them before God. But after salvation, they have been empowered unto good works and by yielding to God can work the works of God by believing Him and His Word. When you learn the mystery that committed to Paul you learn of these things and you learn that this is how it has been since the beginning of creation.

        • DW — I do not believe you are reading the similarities/differences between Paul and James correctly. Paul cites the example of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac if the Lord commands as an example of faith; James cites exactly the same example, showing the parallel reference to exactly the same construction, and shows that, because Abraham ACTED on his faith, and actually prepared Isaac to be sacrificed (and would have completed the ACTION if not interrupted), it is an example of how faith is only meaningful when manifest as DEEDS (“show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith BY my works; faith without works is dead” James 2:18 & 26). This is not an example of the differentiation of their contexts but of how James is clearly using Paul’s example and turning it around to the opposite and contradictory conclusion.

  91. “Feeding the poor: Jesus taught in Matt 25:31-46 that our final salvation and judgment would be based in large part on our willingness to feed the poor. Jesus further emphasizes the importance of feeding the poor, apart from salvation issues, repeatedly throughout his ministry (Matt 19:21; Matt: 25:31-46; Matt 26:9; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22; John 12:6). Jesus never, not once, imposes any qualification or conditional limitation on this requirement. Paul contradicts this: 2Thess 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

    “Does this mean that if poor people are unemployed, we should turn them away from any charity?”

    Answer: I don’t think this is the meaning. I think the Apostle Paul says that those who are not willing to work should not be fed. In other words, Christian charity should not be abused by those lazy ones who will sit back not working, gull of gossip, knowing that they Christian church will feed and cloth them.

    • Hi Rob —

      I am not suggesting that there should not be reasonable oversight or accountability to monitor the balance between production and consumption, especially in a communal society such as was practiced by Jesus’ earliest followers, as recorded very early in Acts covering the time before Paul came along (see Acts 2:44-45). The passage says: “All that believed were together, and HAD ALL THINGS IN COMMON; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS.”

      As with Jesus, there is no qualification whatsoever imposed. Now again, I am not saying some limits are not appropriate. I am merely pointing out that, especially in the context of so many other direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and his brother James), that this simply represents yet another inconsistency between them.

  92. Your introduction indicates that you do not subscribe to the idea that Paul may have been a double agent for Rome. Some scholars believe he was hired by the Romans to promote a religion that would discredit Judaism and give control of the religion to Rome. If this senario is true, it appears to have worked ergo The Roman Catholic and all the various Pauline Christian offshoots.

    • Hi Duane — I have not heard any serious presentation of a concept that Paul might have been a double agent for Rome. It is an interesting, fascinating idea! Certainly nothing I have written would rule that out; I simply have not considered it. It would certainly do much to explain some of the unknowns, such as how a prominent Jewish figure enjoyed the duality of also holding Roman citizenship, and how he was able to travel so extensively and, most important, provide some motivation for his apparent eagerness, cleverly packaged, to teach a message that gave lip service to honoring Jesus while undermining at their core Jesus’ fundamental teachings. Interesting thought!

  93. Here is a list of 27 contradictions between Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s teaching, originally provided by evan1 at thread “PAUL VS JESUS WRITING” (

    While I may not agree with all of them, any fair-minded individual could conclude nothing other than that evan1’s discernment is spot on.

    Contradiction #1
    Jesus teaches that the Law has not been anulled.
    Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    [Luke 16:16-17]
    Mt 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Paul teaches that it has.
    Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
    Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
    Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

    Contradiction #2
    Jesus teaches that God is not a God of the dead.
    Luke 20:38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
    Mk 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

    Paul contradicts this, demonstrating his unawareness of the words of Jesus.
    Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

    Contradiction #3
    Jesus teaches equality of believers.
    Mt 23:8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ; and you are all brethren.

    Paul not only sets himself up as a teacher, he sets up a church hierarchy!
    1Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    1Tim 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

    Contradiction #4
    Jesus says that the Gospel must be preached without financial reward.
    Mt 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

    Paul disagrees, as do the multitude of churches.
    1Cor 9:11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

    Um, no.

    Contradiction #5
    Jesus teaches to bless unbelievers.
    Mt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    [Mark 6:27-28]

    Paul teaches that unbelievers should be cursed.
    1Cor 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

    Contradiction #6
    Jesus teaches to follow/imitate Him.
    Jn 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

    Paul teaches to follow him.
    1Cor 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. [KJV=”Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”]

    Contradiction #7
    Here’s how Jesus dealt with one accused of sexual sin.
    Jn 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    Paul’s solution was a little more Draconian.
    1Cor 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit [NKJV = his spirit] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Contradiction #8
    Here’s how Jesus treated the sin of blasphemy.
    Mt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [Luke 12:10]

    Paul’s solution was again Draconian.
    1Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    Contradiction #9
    Eating things sacrificed to Idols was prohibited in the Law, and is specifically mentioned as something not permitted in Revelations.
    Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

    Paul gives “liberty” to eat these things.
    1Cor 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
    1Cor 10:25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake:

    Contradiction #10
    Jesus had no difficulty with speaking to women, even though this was unusual in that culture.
    Jn 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

    Contrasted with Paul’s chauvinism.
    1Cor 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
    1Tim 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

    Contradiction #11
    Jesus taught that God’s forgiveness is dependent on us forgiving others.

    Mt 6:14 For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
    Forgive and you will be forgiven (Lk 6:37).

    The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35 illustrates this point with someone who was forgiven by God, but remained unforgiving to others.

    Paul understood that he was forgiven:

    1Tim 1:13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of out Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    But when someone sinned against Paul, Paul did not forgive the very sin he admitted to being guilty of only a few sentences earlier.

    1Tim1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophesies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom Hymanaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    By not understanding this principle of conditional (or reciprocal) forgiveness, Paul contradicts Jesus. Furthermore, Paul asks us to believe that forgiveness is obtained by some other means:

    Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Contradiction #12
    Paul says that one is saved by “faith” and “confession”
    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    1Cor 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

    Jesus teaches precisely the opposite.
    Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [NKJV = lawlessness].
    Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

    James adds this observation:
    James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    Contradiction #13
    As discussed in an earlier thread, Paul wants it to be known that he is a spiritual father to his flock.
    1Cor 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

    Paul must have forgotten about this little number.
    Mt 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

    Contradiction #14
    Jesus preaches meekness.
    Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Paul’s version of meekness is rather conditional and mixed with threats.
    1Cor 4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

    Contradiction #15
    Paul teaches that his followers will be judges on judgement day.
    1Cor 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    Jesus has other ideas.
    Jn 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.

    Contradiction #16
    Paul specifically seeks to please men and to be “all things to all men”.
    1Cor 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
    1Cor 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

    Paul clearly failed to comprehend these teachings of Jesus.
    Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
    Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
    Jn 5:41 I receive not honour from men.

    Contradiction #17
    Paul makes this claim:
    Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

    Which Jesus pre-emptively dismissed with these words:
    Mt 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    Contradiction #18
    This is a major one. Jesus clearly claimed to have personally delivered the Gospel to the world.
    Jn 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

    Paul would like you to think that doctrines that Jesus did not teach (eg. Deity of Christ, blood atonement, “grace”, demotion of the Law, abolition of the Sabbath, church hierarchy, etc etc) was brought via him.
    Gal 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus spent years training 12 apostles and 70-odd disciples as witnesses of Jesus and his words. But the main doctrines of the Christian church were delivered to humanity via a claimed revelation to a single witness: Paul. Jesus said that 2 or 3 witnesses are a necessary minimum for something to be true.

    Contradiction #19
    Paul teaches public prayer.
    1 Tim 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

    Jesus teaches private prayer.
    Mt 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Contradiction #20
    Paul thinks that once saved always saved.
    Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Sadly—not true.
    Lk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

    Contradiction #21
    Jesus is careful to attribute his teachings to God (another nail in the coffin of the Jesus is God theory).
    Jn 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

    Paul has no difficulty taking the credit.
    Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel

    Contradiction #22
    Jesus teaches that Eternal life will cost you everything you own.
    Mt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
    Lk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

    Not only does Paul fail to teach this, he teaches that eternal life is entirely free.
    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    In fact, many churches go further and claim that believing in their religion will make you materially prosperous.

    Contradiction #23
    Paul is deferential to worldly authority, claiming that it comes from God.
    Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    Jesus refutes this idea.
    Jn 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

    I don’t suppose that we need Jesus to tell us that earthly powers are often corrupt, but here it is anyway:
    Mt 17:25b “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 Peter said to him “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first.”

    Contradiction #24
    Jesus teaches charity.
    Mt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    Paul is concerned that welfare is going to cost his church too much.
    1Tim 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
    5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
    2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    Contradiction #25
    Jesus’ teaching on “Sanctification”
    Jn 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

    Is “blood” and “thy truth” the same thing?
    Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

    And I don’t quite understand how this works, but its kind of funny really.
    1Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

    Contradiction #26
    Paul makes a stark admission that he cannot control his sinful nature in Romans 7
    14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

    25b So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

    Rather, imitate Jesus who teaches thus:
    Mt 22:37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Mk 12:30, Deut 6:5)


    Jn 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.”


    Jn 5:14 “Sin no more”

    If you hate something, should you not stop doing it?

    Contradiction #27
    Jesus prophesised this:
    Jn 9:4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

    Paul says the opposite.
    Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    And then we had the dark ages.

  94. Thank You for the academic integrity and keeping it accessible to the non-scholarly.
    Someday I will have my Southern Baptist family read this, but probably years down the road if we ever reestablish communications since I became atheist. They are so afraid of me, they would burn any writings I gave them.
    But this is by far the best written criticisms of Paul, I have ever read that would also be accessible ( non-threatening) to Christians

    • Actually, joe, I am LOOKING for conflicting doctrines between Paul and the Apostles, and to tell the Truth, most of the 27 objections/contradictions he just listed are wrong (I’m writing corrections for each). The only place where Paul at least SEEMINGLY differs with Jesus is on the Law. THAT is interesting to me, and I am researching it further.

    • joe cool,

      How silly does that sound, “…so afraid of me, they would burn any writings I gave them.” It’s sad that your own family members are so narrow minded that they can’t even read let alone keep things from one of their own.

  95. You have a lot of good stuff on your article ..thanks :-)

    but not on Yahshua about homosexuality…Mark 7:21, Matt 15:19

    our translations are messed up and fornication comes from word porneia –

    where we get the word porn today

    it means illicit sex = homosexuality, relatives, animals, divorced man or woman

    definition will all verses at the bottom:

    and He also warned about the day He returns will be worse than Sodom

    • The basis of your conclusion is a Bible interpretation which is undocumented, unsubstantiated and therefore suspect.

      The verses you cite from Mark and Matthew do not relate to same sex relationships at all and there is no credible support for this rather bizarre interpretation.

      In particular, the idea of equating same sex relationships with illicit relationships such as adultery and premarital sex that does not lead to marriage (as addressed in my webpage, which are presumably consensual adult relationships, with animals (or children, as some do) that have no legal or moral capacity for consent, is simply a homophobic attempt to equate apples and fruitcakes.

      • did you read the definition of the Greek word used in Mk and Matt… I didn’t make it up

        homosexual sex is fornication:

        • You (and your agenda-driven source) make a mistake common to amateurs trying to play a game of etymological interpretation that demonstrates the dangers of amateurs trying to explain word meanings of ancient languages they do not know by simply looking up words in Strong’s.

          Your source cites a word and lists all of its possible meanings as demonstrated in Strong’s. It does not mean all of these things all the time in every usage. Many words, even in our own language, have multiple meanings that are understood in context. Professional translators who understand nuance and context have the linguistic understanding and training to accurately reflect the meaning used in the specific context. When homosexual references were intended in the Bible, as in Leviticus and Romans, they were identified as such.

          There is no qualified expert, in considering context and nuance as actually used, that shares the homophobic misinterpretation that your agenda-driven source tries to promote.

        • Please further note, I have different pages to discuss various aspects of Christian issues. The purpose of THIS page is to discuss the extensive range of contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and Jesus’ brother James).

          This is not the place for an in-depth discussion of the Bible as it relates to same-sex relationships and your detailed examination goes beyond the scope of THIS page. I have a different page that addresses Christianity in regard to contemporary social, cultural and political issues, which is at:

          All further comments on this point on this page will be deleted, however you are welcome to continue the discussion on the appropriate page.

        • Diane,

          Heterosexual sex is also fornication. Where are you trying to go with this?

      • If Yeshua upheld the Law, as your article puts forth, does He not uphold the Law that prohibits homosexual relations; and the death sentence pronounced upon it?

        • Daniel — Jesus said what he said. The Law of Moses says what it says. While I admire many of Jesus’ teachings, I do not consider him to be a deity, in whole or part, and as a wise but fallible human I reject those aspects of his message that do not stand up to contemporary values that have evolved far beyond those of his more primitive era.

  96. I agree with much that is here. Paul was not an apostle but a false prophet. Jesus was not a sacrifice as J had already said, so Paul was wrong again. J did say that he gave his life as a ransom for many, big difference between a sacrifice and a ransom. Jesus true words in the Bible are inspired– yes I realize that there are some disagreements in the gospel accounts of J’s words. Some of these caused by faulty translations, some by Paul’s cronies in the following centuries, a few by the authors of the gospels who had other agendas–such as Luke. Luke was Plutarch, and in Acts he exposes Paul as one BAD dude, if you look between the lines. Luke’s account of Paul and Paul’s account of himself differ a lot.
    J promised that heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away-as recorded in Matt, Mark, and Luke.
    7 times in the gospels J gives a new great principal that is only in the gospels. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.” Slightly different words are used in the 7 accounts. Reading this as a teen it made no sense to me and since it was NEVER mentioned in church, I didn’t try to figure it out then. J lived out this principal the last weeks of his life, he didn’t defend himself and wouldn’t allow any of his followers to defend him either. This principal applies to all of us, including Jesus.
    Portions of the Old Testament that J mentioned are also inspired, most of the rest is not. J many times disagreed with Moses. Read the sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plain
    Moses was wrong about sacrifices, tooth for a tooth, divorce, killing, adultery, etc.
    I didn’t figure this out myself, visit This sight has changed my life, and I probably agree with 99% of the hundreds of articles on it. Peace

    • Paul — I find your comments to be insightful and thoughtful. While I do find the words attributed to Jesus to be filled with wisdom, compassion and brilliance that could be described as “inspired,” I also find much the same in the teachings attributed to Gautama Siddhartha (Buddha) and other wise teachers in religious, philosophical and scientific pursuits. I do not find the need to attribute to Jesus any unique or messianic role, however I respect the fact that, as you seem to pursue, it is possible to fashion a consistent and morally/rationally feasible theology that does include such a role, as long as the message of Paul that undermines and opposes Jesus is disallowed, and the Bible is accepted for the important but imperfect record that it is, instead of worshipping it as an engraved image of Bibleolatry.

      Again, we differ in certain specifics as to our final conclusions, but I find your approach to be solid, rational and moral.

  97. Wow. I am appalled at the people who are just totally brainwashed on this “Lamb of God” business, that Jesus “died” for us, and I see signs saying that Jesus died for my sins (why?) and other such foolishness promulgated by a Church that in its many forms mind controls its subjects perfectly, especially this Protestant “Charismatic” movement.
    First; If Jesus died, and on the third day arose (he is not here), then how is his death of any significance? And if he still lives, how does his death matter?
    Also, these people so assiduously hate Jews – and Jesus was the biggest Jew going! And if still alive, as so many claim (I have never seen him,, but they say he is), how did he die for me IF HE IS STILL LIVING?
    So many inconsistencies that are passed over by closed minds.

    • Jack, obviously I am in agreement with you, but this point is examined in much more detail, along the same lines you suggest, in my page on the atonement mythology of human sacrifice. I think you would find much common ground with what I wrote in that piece.

  98. Greetings,

    what you say seems to make sense.
    But I happened to come across this site
    What do you think? When reading it it would seems like Paul has been misunderstood all along.

    • Two points:
      I don’t think Paul has been misunderstood. Your source seems to be trying to find a rather convoluted approach to interpreting Paul that tries to explain why Paul doesn’t really mean what he so clearly says.

      Moreover, my point is not so much about the pro’s or con’s of the Law of Moses per se, but to point out the contradiction between Paul and Jesus/James.
      Jesus clearly stated that justification was based on universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds and emphasized that the Law of Moses would remain absolutely inviolate until ALL THINGS are fulfilled and until heaven and earth have passed away, while Paul says that justification is based on faith and NOT DEEDS, and that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled already and no longer operational, even though there are many prophecies still not fulfilled, and heaven and earth are still quite intact.

  99. Davis,
    You make some good points, however, Jesus’ teachings are never wrong and to disclaim yourself as a “Christian” because you don’t agree with Paul is not a valid reason to deny Christ. We the people who believe in Christ are the Church and the “Bride” of Christ. Faith is extremely important to salvation. It is the only way the major Prophets were “saved”. They did not have the salvation Plan Jesus came to implement. Christ did not come to the world to abolish the laws of Moses, and His exclamation that Love is the greatest of these is true… when you have a love that Jesus speaks of you will follow the Commandments without fail. After all the Commandments were given to the Israelites because the Father Loves them as He loves you and I. Faith is an action word in the Bible, it’s not static or a noun. It is a way of life. And those who truly love Jesus live by faith, creating a lifestyle around His teachings and have a firm foundation for the “Christian” faith. After all Jesus taught many times about the final judgement and those who will be welcomed and those who will be punished, through the parables. Personally I pray you will be one of those that came to the wedding dressed appropriately so you are not throw out. Peace be with you and may the word of truth (Jesus) touch you and treat you at a lost sheep, only to celebrate when He puts you on his shoulders and carries you back into the flock. There is no one Jesus wants to be lost and yet many will be. It will be cut and dry you are either with him or against him… Heaven or the Lake of Fire, only your spiritual faith and obedience can save you at judgement. Are you a sheep or goat?

    • Hi Tim —

      It is possible to fashion a rational theology of Christian belief in a messianic role for Jesus, as long as one divorces Jesus from both the Pauline corruption that has been the bedrock of evangelical and “born again” conservative Protestants who build their belief system around a foundation of “faith” (Paul) rather than actions (Jesus and his brother James), and also divorce themselves from the blasphemy of Bibleolatray (Bible worship of an engraved image), as I address in much more specific depth on the page at:

      I do not subscribe to such a view because I do not find a rational basis for it, but while such a view is not based in reason, it could be formulated in such a way that it would not contravene reason.

      You are correct that Jesus reportedly taught the inviolate, immutable perpetuation of the Law of Moses until “all things are fulfilled” (which had not happened when Paul declared the Law to be fulfilled, and which has still not happened yet).

      Unfortunately, when you speak of “faith,” you fall into the corrupted perversion of the renegade “apostle” Paul. You provide your own definition of “faith,” but you do not explain how your attempt to change “faith” into “deeds/action” makes any sense, especially since (as I extensively documented) Jesus clearly rebuts this and the rebuttal is even more direct by his brother James.

      As for the sheep and the goats, Jesus reportedly defines this very specifically and in the passage where he does so (Matt 25:31-46) he never once mentions faith. Only deeds rooted in universal compassionate love. Period. If you try to change that, you join Paul in perverting and subverting the teaching of Jesus and forfeit any right to call yourself after his name or title.

      As for the Lake of Fire, if you take this as anything more than metaphor (as are all the references in Jesus’ many parables), then you risk rational ridicule, as I note in the article on Paul’s contradictions with Jesus (the one you responded to), in the reference to fireboarding. Please re-read that IF you are going to try to assert a literal Lake of Fire for the cosmic death penalty and neverending torture by a “loving” god. Obviously you found this article before, but for quick reference you can quickly find it at:

      Further, if your view of a messianic Jesus incorporates Paul’s human sacrifice doctrine of “atonement,” I suggest your examine carefully the absurdity of Paul’s contradiction (and undermining) of Jesus in the article at:


    • Tim,

      Your ultimatums are quite hilarious. Is this how you win so many souls over to Christ? You had me quite convinced at “Heaven or the Lake of Fire.”

  100. As a person who has long believed that Jesus’ message was hijacked and subverted by Paul, I’m glad to have this eloquent essay of yours to share with people when this topic is discussed. I find Hyam Maccoby’s THE MYTHMAKER perhaps the most exhaustive and persuasive exposé of Paul, but its rather severe tone, length and academic language make it an unlikely vehicle to convince people who have long invested in mistaking Paul’s self-appointed spiritual authority for something more genuine. He may well have believed what he was saying — in fact he probably did, since he seems so passionate and long-winded about it. But he has no more claim to any kind of spiritual authority than any other religious commentator from the past 2000 years does, and less than some.

    The challenge is to somehow remove Paul from the equation and still have access to the truths of Jesus. The easiest way for me is to just rely on “The Gospel of Thomas” and various reconstructed versions of “Q” as my source for what Jesus said. Everything else is suspect.

    Perhaps Paul was a nice fellow, or a sincere one. But there is absolutely no reason to believe that anything he had to say represents Jesus in any meaningful way.

    • Michael, I agree that it is possible to formulate a rational Christian theology that does not center around the unfortunate teachings of Paul that contradict those of Jesus.

      A rational Christianity would not have to require the acceptance of a literal, infallible Bible or Paul’s doctrine of atonement through human sacrifice.
      The issues of Bible worship and the flaws of Paul’s teaching on human sacrifice atonement are addressed in separate essays on this site (see main index or top essays along right).

  101. Jesus is God and I'm not

    Wow, after reading these posts, no wonder few choose to follow Jesus.

    You need to both realize that Jesus Christ is God was right and St. Paul, whom Jesus called was also right.

    And also please ask Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Ghost, because these writings are littered with nothing short of foolishness.

    Here, try to grasp this very smail idea…

    Jesus died so we could be saved, period Now go forth and do your best to love everyone. Period, because guess what, you will both fail in the next minute to do so perfectly, why? Because Jesus Christ is God and we aren’t.

    Jesus was right, His death at Calvary, which was the manifestation of His absolute perfect love, paid the price for our salvation, Period.

    And St. Paul was right, Simply accept the previous sentence and you are qualified to enter Heaven. Please for God’s sake, quit trying to make it so difficult.

    You aren’t God, you can’t save yourself, so quit trying to and simply rejoice in the Lord!

    Have a lovely day!

    • You just repeat the nonsense that Jesus’ “death at Calvary” “paid the price” for our sins, thus joining the renegade “apostle” Paul in his heresy opposing Jesus .
      This is absurd. How does killing an innocent human sacrifice do anything to make other peoples’ sins go away.
      And if death is the price, as the renegade “apostle” Paul contradicts Jesus by teaching, does it mean death forever?
      If so, and if “JESUS LIVES,” then HE DIDN’T PAY THE PRICE. And if only temporary death pays the price, we can all die for however long our share is, and then, having paid the price ourselves, live in eternal bliss forever.
      Your nonsense simply makes no sense. I have a whole web page just about the absurdity of this Christian HUMAN SACRIFICE myth:
      I suggest you read it before you continue to embarrass yourself with silly statements.
      And again, I cited chapter and verse of what JESUS said was the basis for salvation.
      In opposing that and, instead, buying into Paul’s HUMAN SACRIFICE mythology, you oppose Jesus.
      You should not call yourself a Christian if you repudiate Jesus.

  102. As far as biblical contradictions and inconsistencies. I have to admit there are some things that really trouble me. I would say however, that a lot of things that trouble me on first reading are often resolved though examination, reasoning through things, meditation on the subject etc. And i believe that is the way God intended it. There are plenty of things that are very plain and easy to understand and there are other things that require real effort on your behalf in meditation, study and prayer to come to grips with.

    Some peoples explanation of some of the troubling aspects of the old testament are actually more troubling to me than what is being stated in the text. I do not accept the circular arguments made by 99% of Christendom today. You can not start with “this is true because it says its true”. and have any credibility with a rational thinking person.. I used to think that way, but over the last couple of years i have started to see what an absolute bubble of thought that people live in. What i realized is that most people really have no solid basis within themselves for what they purport to believe. That their faith is based on, one liners, unsubstantiated dogma and straw man characterizations of everything outside their thought bubble.

    Truth has to stand on its own two feet and if it is True is doesn’t need your help to make it so. You should believe what is demonstratively true, not try to make what you believe true.

    On the other hand, if some event or thing can be reasonably demonstrated as true then it provides a core foundation to make an effort to understand other things associated with it, even if on the surface they appear difficult. this is no different than physical science.

    I have read many atheist and ex Christian websites (more so recently than in the past) and honestly i agree with some of what they are saying.. but far to often they will be going along and then jump right off the deep end regarding something that is quite plain, obvious, and not hard to understand.

    As i believe i have demonstrated with my post regarding what paul is actually saying regarding original sin, if an honest effort is given, with reason and logic to examine the scriptures most of the time the apparent contradictions or difficulties are resolved. however, from my own personal study there are some things in there that are hard if not impossible to reconcile. i am not talking about miracles etc, but in logic and reason.

    For me personally, specific prophecies, allegory, parable, figurative language etc regarding the messiah, and the witness and testimony of the first century church examined with logic and reason has lead me to only one conclusion. Jesus is the Messiah and He was raised from the dead (i actually traveled to Israel and have seen how accurate the accounts are with my own eyes, and not on a church tour). that gives me the foundation i need to examine and try to understand the things that are difficult and not to come across something difficult and say… this is difficult the whole thing is a lie.

  103. as an example.. paul does not teach original sin. yet nearly all of Christianity believes in original sin,, without giving one thought as to what they says about the nature and character of God. In romans 5 paul actually teaches the EXACT OPPOSITE of original sin. Unfortunately no one reads scripture and applies reason to it as they are reading,, all they do is use someone elses commentary or pastors view based on someones commentary.. (exactly like the pharasees in jesus day). Paul says this

    More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned– for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, _even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam_, who was a type of the one who was to come.
    (Rom 5:11-14)

    How people cant seem to understand what Paul is saying is beyond me. Sin entered the world through adam yes, and death entered the world through adam yes. and adams sin resulted int he human race being subjected to death (along with the entire universe). BUT each person sins their OWN SIN and it is not like or associated at all with ADAMS SIN!.

    this is where like i said in another post, you have to read paul in the sections of thought he makes, and not in one verse or you will completely miss what he is saying.

    This next section seals the deal on what Paul is actually saying verses what people have twisted out of what he is saying.. again because they refuse to apply reason and logic as they read.

    And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
    (Rom 5:16-19)

    this is where again we have to use logic, reason and take this as a whole. Paul *is* saying that adams sin, brought judgment and condemnation.. that being the sentence that man and the universe would die. He is really making kind of a poetic parallelism here. Death reigning vs life reigning. this is where we have to be really careful, and this is the problem i have with paul, it is sometimes very hard to decipher what he is saying.. which is a whole other discussion.

    anyway there is a clear distinction between paul talking about the sentence of death and the act of sin. otherwise you have him teaching universal salvation here by default… and we know from the rest of his wittings that he obviously does not believe universal salvation. If all were made sinners by the sin of one man then, according to the logical flow here all have to be made righteous in the same way. which means involuntary universal salvation for all.

    HOWEVER…. if we understand that he is not making the case for original sin here, but merely that sin entered the world though adam and that has lead to all men ultimately sinning after their own fashion, even though none of them are under any obligation to sin… then it makes sense. We do not have a sin nature inherited from adam, but we do live in a corrupted world which makes in virtually impossible for someone not to sin. We all willfully choose to violate our conscience, and the moral.. ethical codes of how we know we ought to be treating others.

    Because sin is a free choice on our behalf, so salvation is a free choice on our behalf. adam made sin possible for all, and Jesus makes salvation possible for all.

    i could further demonstrate in another post, that paul indeed teaches moral changes are necessary and part of faith. even in this section of scripture romans 5-7.

    Christian doctrine has become so corrupted through time, that no one can read the scripture for what it actually says anymore. or have the courage to stand on what it actually says because they will be deemed a heretic by the church at large. They have nearly all become nothing more than pharisees, blindly following their own traditions and externally enforced interpretations that they all follow and adhere to. Condemning all who actually care what the scripture says as heretics.

  104. i also have some growing problems with paul. BUT.. and this is a very big BUT you have missed the boat on several key issues. Scripture throughout the old testament, the gospels, and the epistles.. other than pauls.. clearly teach by direct statement, allegory, parable, and figurative language that the messiah would die for the sins of the world and provide the blood sacrifice needed to satisfy the justice of God in regards to sin. From Genesis on through to the end. You have to be very careful about how you read a section of scripture. because of the way these languages work similar phrases can be used over and over but have different applications. When Jesus talks about desiring mercy and not sacrifice, he is talking about how the people were sacrificing out of ritual and not having genuine faith and relationship with God. they were practicing dead religion. This is the exactly same thing Paul is addressing most of the time in these statements people take the wring way. if you read romans 5-7 carefully pauls is saying the same thing as jesus. He says they failed because they tried to fulfill the law as a ritual and not by faith, Faith is directed at a person, or in this case God. Not a rule. Men are the ones who have twisted the snot out of Pauls writings because they dont pay attention to what he is actually saying, and they dont understand that Paul never says anything in one verse. He writes in a fashion, where he is conveiing whole concepts in long discourses tied together to make a complete thought. People screw paul up because they dont understand this and they build doctrines off of one sentence. Of all the biblical writers you simply can not do this with paul and ever understand what he was actually saying.

    • Hi Timothy —

      I do understand the need to consider the entirety of the context of a passage of scripture, and whether it is allegorical, literal, lawgiving, poetry, etc.

      The point is, and this is perhaps covered more fully on the page on Bible contradictions and flaws, is that so-called “scripture” is still invented my inconsistent humans and, even allowing for the fullness of contextual variations, there are many inconsistencies in the Bible. Biblical scripture evolves and changes tremendously through the early Old Testament, the later Old Testament following the Babylonian captivity, in which the Jews picked up many nuances of theological complexity, and especially in the New Testament.

      And while many of the inconsistencies between Paul and Jesus (along with his brother James) can be reconciled (sometimes with great effort), if the fullness of context is truly considered, there are absolutely some fundamental contradictions on some of the most basic principles of theology. If the fullness of context is considered, the contradictions actually become stronger, and it is only through contorted, convoluted, tortured mental gymnastics that explanations can be concocted to try and explain away the very simple fact that there are simply different perspectives by differing Bible contributors, and they simply do not always agree.

      This does not minimize the historical, cultural, moral and other aspects of importance that the Bible brings. But it does make it more human, and the same can be said about the ancient texts of myths and legends from many other primitive societies, including the Hindus, Buddhists, Vikings, Greeks, Romans, etc….

  105. In regards to ‘human sacrifice':

    14 ‘I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
    15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
    16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
    17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
    18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.’
    This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:14-18


    And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
    9 And they sang a new song, saying,
    “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
    10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,and they shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:8-10


    You’re right about the general idea of human sacrifice. But someone who willingly lays down his life for someone? Well, let’s see how the Man Himself feels about that:

    Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

    Who do we hear about in the news as being heroes? People who die trying to save someone else. The brave firefighters who died trying to save people in the World Trade Center. A soldier who jumps on a grenade and saves the lives of those around him; he’d more than likely even receive a posthumous Medal of Honor for it. And of course those firemen and policemen involved in 9/11 have been immortalized as heroes.

    So, yes. You’re right about Paul, and to a degree you’re right about human sacrifice. The entire point is that He laid down His life willingly.

    ‘Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?’ Matthew 26:53

    To not see this concept is to miss the whole point. You have to do a lot of bending over backwards and omitting things that the Messiah Himself said. But I’m being sincere when I say kudos on seeing through Paul and the religion he created.

    • Josh, thank you for your thoughtful comments. However, I believe you have misunderstood what I wrote. I have never denied nor denigrated the wiling self-sacrifice of heroes. My point, however, is that it is different than what I understand the Christian human sacrifice mythology to be about.

      When a brave hero jumps in front of an oncoming car to push a child out of the way and take the fatal force of the oncoming vehicle, or when a brave military hero jumps on a live grenade to absorb its destruction to save the lives of his buddies at the expense of his own, we recognize their heroism. Based on the accounts in the New Testament, to whatever extent they reflect the actual facts accurately, I would clearly say that Jesus willingly sacrificed his life by assuming voluntarily terrible political and religious risks to preach a message of salvation by universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds.

      So far, so good. Where I see this differing from Christian dogmatic mythology, however, is that it does not stop with that. The Christian myth is not merely that Jesus gave his life to teach his message, but that in doing so there was a magical transfer of the character flaws (sins) OF OTHER PEOPLE to himself because a “just god” capriciously decreed that even the slightest stain of imperfection would merit not only the cosmic death penalty, but eternal torture by unending “fireboarding.”

      Nor was it a WILLING sacrifice; it was mandatory. That was what Jesus was born to do. Yes, technically he could have exercised his “free will” and rejected his assigned role, but then all of humanity would languish in the cosmic death penalty and eternal fireboarding FOREVER. This is quite different than the hero who jumps in front of the oncoming car or onto a live grenade about to explode. They give their lives freely, but there is no “magical sin transference.”

      It is these extra layers of absurd and unjust moral demands from the supposed author of that which is right or wrong, coupled with the “magical sin transference,” that confers the air of human sacrifice mythology akin to killing an innocent (unstained) virgin so there will be a magical transference of redemption to the barren land and the crops will again grow.

  106. Found this by accident/search after hearing Thom Hartman mention a controversy between Jesus and Paul…It explains so much about the contradictions within the christian church…I’m going to enjoy reading further…

    • I love Thom Hartmann, and have his excellent book “What Would Jefferson Do” (WWJD), but sadly the station that carried his radio show in my area went off the air.

  107. I appreciate that you’re focused upon Paul vs Jesus, and therefore, you might purposely be very narrow minded. However, I find no consideration within your writing to the fact that Yeshua was/is/will always be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. A gospel concept. Due to this single lack of consideration, your understanding is extremely flawed.

    There is such a thing as salvation by grace through faith, and yet also life by the grace of God. I feel Christians have a very poor regard for God’s laws, which I deleight in. While attempting to do good works, I could never earn God’s unmerited favor [grace], it is by the grace of God that I am equipped to fulfil God’s laws in the Mashiyach. We ought to delight in God’s laws, for they have the very best intent for us. I see Yeshua, The Mashiyach, the embodiment of God’s grace, but also the embodiment of God’s law. God’s grace, simply the attributes of the Most High God, YeHWeH, working in me to do the good works He Himself delights in. Anyone who thinks they can live against God’s law to have a free access into heaven is extremely deceived. I don’t do the good works to earn God’s favor. I do the good works empowered by God’s grace in The Mashiyach. It’s my faith in Lamb, the sacrificial offering that earns me, not just an atonement, but also a justification. The atonement, the redemption, the justification then releases me from guilt, and empowers me to go forward and, as long as i look to the Son, sin no more. By no means do I see the grace of God as a license to continue in wrong doing. Some Christians may attempt to do this, but only because they are deceived. No Lamb, my friend, no God.

    • You claim that you “find no consideration within your writing to the fact that Yeshua was/is/will always be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.”

      This is only because you do not look very far. Please scroll through the various essays, and find the one titled, “Bloody Human Sacrifice Atonement Mythology,” which addresses the absurdities of the belief that killing an innocent man — a sacrificial “Lamb of God” as a human sacrifice — can do anything to expunge or remove the sins of others. If you wish to comment further on the topic of the role of Jesus as mediator or atoning human sacrifice, I suggest you first read that essay and then comment further on that page.

      As it relates to the contradictions between the renegade “apostle” Paul against Jesus and his brother James, the Bible is what it is. Jesus/James say that salvation is by universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds (not that this “earns” anything; it is the standard by which acceptance of grace is measured, not the mere profession by the lip service that is far removed from one’s heart); Paul says it is through faith and grace alone.

      Again, this is further discussed in the specific essay devoted to that specific topic.

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