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 source (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 — the empowerment of practical compassion in action, 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…

Paul v Jesus

Important notice:

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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. 526 Comments.

  1. When you understand the deep and true meaning of a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” then it becomes elementary in understanding that Paul not only fits the bill; but fits it perfectly. If Paul was to come flat out and deny the teachings of Jesus, then he would not last a nano second; no, he had to craftily apply his magic so much so, as to fool even the elite. And most of the elite have indeed been fooled. Only a remnant who hold the Lord of Hosts inwardly close, are protected from Pauls false teachings. Put simply, yes, Paul said a lot that tickle the ear and sound truly God given, but the heart is far from Him.The reason the thorn was not healed is obvious to those with insight and discernment.

    • I just recently attended a very beautiful wedding at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Houston. Except for the Lords prayer there was not a word uttered from Jesus but a lot was quoted from Paul. Why are Methodist so fascinated of Paul who never met and never learned what is fundamental to his teaching and still call them Christian.
      In my opinion we have to come up with a more authentic bible to get rid of every tale (app 75%) and Paul’s gibberish.

      • Not only Methodist, the Baptist church I recently left was the same. I suspected a lack of Jesus quoting, so I took a test over 6 weeks (posted it here somewhere else on Utube but forget lol), but as I remember it went something like this…
        Paul….. 65
        OT……. 13
        JC…….. 7
        Yup, only 7… I kid you not. I think if they were not trying so hard to include at least one verse a week from JC, it would be even less. I complained and was soon somewhat ostracized… so I left after they had someone deliberately take my seat every week after that. I run into the elder 6 months later at the shops, who asked me where I been and that the church needs me back. Yes, they need the $50 I gave each week hahaha. True story.

        • And a statistic on my own only 8% of the entire Bible is dealing with Jesus. That is a sure way to confuse and misdirect from the subject. Everyone can find a likable quote some place.

  2. Glad to see a scholar call out Paul as the interloper that he was. While I disagree with you on some minor issues, the entire world would be better off to read this. Too bad it isn’t required in seminary.

  3. While I can find little evidence to support it (i.e., I was taught 60 years ago that Paul was a Roman citizen because all of Tarsus was free, and he was born there. This was because the city had been of tremendous benefit to Rome.

    • I noted in the commentary that Paul was a Roman citizen and that we do not know exactly how he obtained that citizenship, and offered some speculative ideas as to possible ways. The point, of course, is that he was a Roman citizen, and thus had the ability (and apparently the means) to travel freely around the Empire to spread his version of “Christianity” to non-Jews, since the Jewish followers of Jesus were skeptical of him in the beginning and the non-Christian Jews likely saw him as a turncoat.

  4. While I would tend to agree with your thesis on Paul, what troubles me is that it gets Paul’s teaching all wrong. There are a few scholars–David Bentley Hart and Tom Wright are two–who have noted that what Christians understand to be Paul’s teaching, is not his teaching at all. Hart argues that it all goes wrong with Augustine, who, although a towering genius, could not read Greek and so relied on a flawed Latin translation of Paul. Wright and Hart eschew the more or less corporate translations–like the NIV–that seem to cater to firmly held theological views rather than the ideas put forth by the text itself.

    In short, your view of Paul appears to be coming from this camp and so you are really responding to a theological paradigm and not Paul’s actual ideas.

    • I stand by my commentary on Paul and his contradictions with Jesus. Your argument about Augustine is a red herring. Certainly Augustine, one of the earliest Catholic theologians, shaped the formation of Catholic theology and centered it on Paul rather than some of the other early Christian writers, but Paul’s writings are what they are — and certainly, however imperfectly, as they have been handed down to us.

      St Augustine’s command of Greek or Latin is not really relevant. Augustine also did not read or write English and the modern translations we have today (in English) of Paul’s writings are not based on Augustine.

      Notwithstanding an opinion piece in an online digital e-zine, Paul (and the other gospels) say what they say. And I have noted that the writings of Paul, as translated into English by modern scholars from the earliest source texts available, do in fact directly and repeatedly contradict Jesus on many points of doctrine, theology, morality, ethics and law, which provides the basis for those such as the Augustinians and other conservative theologians to support policies and beliefs that directly contradict Jesus, while still calling themselves “Christians” when they should, instead, be calling themselves “Paulians” or, if your point is to be considered, “Augustinians” — but not “Christians.”


        It’s not MY argument; It’s David Bentley Hart’s and Tom Wright’s. Deal with them, not me.

        • Neither David Bentley Hart nor Tom Wright posted in my comments section. I will “deal with” the comment here and/or those who post them here. You were the one who made the argument, even if “borrowed” from others, here.

    • Tom Drake-Brockman

      I agree with Danzier that Paul was completely out of sinc with Jesus and even if Paul did believe Jesus had come to rescue us from Archeons of bad angels, there is not a shred of evidence that Jesus harbored such wacky ideas.

      • Tom Drake-Brockman

        Paul’s idea of faith ‘pistis’ probably did carry a strong emphasis on ‘obedience and love’ but those sentiments are abstract and vague and tokenistic, compared to the highly evolved and spiritualized Judaic ethic of ‘hesed e’meth’ that Jesus and his Apostles espoused, taught and enacted.

      • Tom,

        It only seems wacky if you don’t take into consideration the role that history and literature played–especially Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphica–on the Jewish worldview.
        That kind of thinking was not something that Luther et al gave a glance at. The bible is actually pretty weird. This has been Tom Wright’s contention for some time now, but to folks like Piper, the new perspective on Paul is just this side of blasphemy.

        • Yes, indeed, I would certainly agree that “The Bible is actually pretty weird.” I have a whole separate commentary on the Bible, including its history and flaws (numerous direct internal contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies), which can be found at:

          The perspective I have presented on Paul is hardly “new.” Numerous scholars have pointed out the extent to which Paul contradicts and undermines the teachings attributed to Jesus. In less theological popular culture, one of the most famous criticisms 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.”

          Beyond the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, there were many other texts written by the early Jews and Christians that were not accepted for inclusion in the Bible, some of which are just now gaining popular attention through their discoveries in the Dead Sea Scrolls of Nag Hammadi discovered at Qumran, which included texts by women and Gnostics that the early church rejected.

          It often amazes me that many modern conservative evangelical sects worship the Bible as the inerrant, infallible word of God, yet some of them also assert that the Catholic church is not truly a “Christian” faith, while completely oblivious that it was the Catholic church that compiled the modern version of the text they consider so inviolate.

        • The first century Jewish worldview was extremely variegated but the one thing all revered as pivotal to Judaism was the notion of ‘hesed’ ( merciful forgiveness and loving-kindness) as the foundation of God’s covenant with his people. The Temple elites viewed this as mainly a one way relationship, involving God’s attitude to his chosen ones to be reciprocated in worship and ritual. However for most Jews, the reciprocity involved people imitating God’s merciful kindness by practicing it in their own social interactions. The problem however was that most people also believed those most in need of hesed humanity – the poor, the sick and outcast – were not deemed worthy of it because their afflictions were seen as a sign of God’s punishment for sinfulness. The whole purpose of Christ’s mission was to remove that stigma and enable hesed to function as God intended. I think that was Christ’s overriding humanist agenda, not vanquishing ‘bad angels’ (unless perhaps they were a metaphor for the Temple oppressors).

        • Matt. If Jesus was intent on vanquishing evil angels, he would just be an irrelevance to us today, his religion a sham and this discussion an utter waste of time

    • I’m pleased that I’m not the only one who knew that the true message of Jesus was kindness and love, not faith. Salvation through faith never made sense to me so I searched hard for the truth. I’ve read from several other people who stated the problem of Paul and why his method of salvation was erroneous. One such person was a fellow pagan who believed in Jesus. Another problem I find with Paul is his statement that both God and heaven are out there above and beyond when Jesus taught that both God and heaven are around us and within us. It’s safe to say many Christians have been brainwashed by this false principal of Paul and using it to slam other religions and non christians as “satanic” and doomed to hell.

      • Tom Drake-Brockman

        Here’s the clincher. NT Wright and many other scholars now believe Paul was a Shammaite Pharisee and there is strong evidence he gleaned his ideas on the fallen state of humanity from them. Yet it was the Shammaites who dominated the Jerusalem Temple and orchestrated Jesus’ crucifixion. So Paul’s theology (ie Christian theology) of faith in Christ’s sacrificial atonement for Adams sin may derive from the very fanatics who nailed Jesus to the cross.

  5. I strongly commend my recent book to you Danizier- it is a systematic refutation of conventional theology which strongly validates your position on Paul with a raft of new evidence and analysis- “Bad Faith: a spiritual humanist alternative for Christianity and the West”

    • I see David by your response that you don’t like expressing your believes openly. You pointed me to your book, for what reason? To find out about you? I questioned myself as to your reasoning for writing and publishing such a page. Looking at the icon to choose to depict yourself, should give us all where you are coming from. You don’t like Jesus. You don’t like Christianity. Like many Progressives, you then to lean toward humanism. So, where should I begin David with you? Do I continue to support my opening statement? Or should I try to prove you that God is real and if we look at Creation we can learn about his characteristics.

      • Noting that you posted your response in error, intending to reply to mine, not the one it is displayed under.

        Tsk, tsk. So judgmental. And claiming to be a Christian? I guess Matt 7:1 was missing from your edition. Rather than try to describe myself I pointed you in the direction towards a better way of getting to know the real me, but also pointed out that it is irrelevant to the points I made (and documented) to refute your claim about the role of a devil in the Torah, since it does not exist. Your response? A dodge — an attempt to make the discussion personal personal about me instead of about points you raised.

        As for being judgmental (jumping to conclusions and guessing wrong), I do not dislike Jesus and, if you read my article titled “Betrayal of Jesus” (click on the link in the upper right corner after scrolling back up to the top of the page, or find it at: This is just the specific article, not the book I wrote of the same title.) you will see I am quite fond of Jesus, at least as described in the Gospels. As for Christianity? It depends on the brand. I have great respect for liberal Christians who actually try to follow Jesus and care for the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the prisoner, the stranger — i.e., the least among us. I have no use for those who wrap themselves in the Bible, constantly shout “Praise the Lord” while completely disregarding anything actually attributed to Jesus.

        As for the question of whether or not God is real, that is not the subject of this page. This page is specifically about the contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and Jesus’ brother, James). If you wish to discuss the existence of God, that is more appropriate for the page with my article on that subject:

      • You have submitted another lengthy post, about the existence of god, communism, etc., that does not address the subject of this page (how Paul contradicts Jesus and his brother James) and is not relevant to the thread. Such off-topic content will not be approved for display.

        • You icon is enough for me. Lucifer is your ruler. Good luck with that BS.

        • When all you can do is express dislike, but cannot cite a single specific point to refute so you all you can do is respond to someone’s avatar, you have conceded that you can’t rebut the content of the article but you aren’t happy with it. Boo hoo.

          P.S.: your separate lengthy, rambling diatribe about Satan and Lucifer etc., which makes not a single reference to anything about the contradictions between Paul and Jesus (and Jesus’ brother James), is not relevant to this thread and will not be displayed. I will just note that your reference to when “Lucifer seduced Eve…” demonstrates ignorance of the Bible. Lucifer is not mentioned in the Eden story or anywhere in Genesis. Nor is Satan, a devil, Beelzebub or any other reference to a demonic fallen angel. Who seduced Eve according to the Bible legend? It was a “serpent.” Just a talking snake.

          There is no reference anywhere in the Old Testament to Satan, Lucifer or a devil prior to the Babylonian captivity — nothing. The words “Satan” or “devil” (or any of his names such as Lucifer or Beelzebub) never appear in the Five Books of Moses or any text earlier than I Chronicles that was written prior to the Babylonian captivity. Look it up in your own Bible; use whatever digital or online concordance you want.

          Just as the Hebrews plagiarized their myth of the talking snake in the magic garden from the earlier Sumerians (though they left out the more alluring and naughty Lilith, joining Adam and Eve as the third part of the Garden’s little threesome), so also they copied the concept of a devil from the Babylonians who did have such a concept.

          Later New Testament texts in the gospels and epistles did apply the concept of Satan or a devil retroactively to the serpent in Eden, but those references were actually written hundreds of years later, that metaphor is never applied anywhere actually in Genesis or in any book prior to Babylon. In Genesis, the serpent is just a talking snake.

          That point is off topic … if you wish to discuss the inconsistencies in the Bible accounts, you may do so on my page relevant to that subject, at:

          And your references to the cross in that other diatribe are more appropriate to my page on the Atonement human sacrifice mythology:

  6. Part of the problem between Jesus and Paul was that Paul was taught his faith through the Talmud and not the Torah. In fact, most Jews have been taught their faith through the Talmud which was written under Satan’s hand during their Babylonian captivity in 400 BC.

    Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. His words were different than before. Paul should have humbled himself to the apostles and learned from them. But he was more educated and thought himself to be wiser, thus his arrogance overcame whatever righteousness was within. Actually, with such a beginning he seems to sound more like a Lucifinarian character vs and Jesus one.

    What was Jesus’ mission? If we learn that, then maybe we can overcome our differences, In Corinthians, we actually do learn his mission—he is the 2nd Adam. He is not the same person but Jesus comes to complete the lost Adam position.

    What was Adam’s mission? He, along with Eve, was to fulfill the 3 Blessings: be fruitful, multiply, and be stewards over creation with the heart of God, But they made a grave mistake and fell. Thus, God needed to send replacements. Since Adam was first born, God needed to send a male Messiah first.

    Based on many foundations built in the Old Testament, Jesus could be born. He overcame Satan’s influence and fulfilled the 1st Blessing. But now he needed a bride. However, along the way, he lost his foundation. Read your Bible. Can you show me where either Mary or John the Baptist supported Jesus? It doesn’t exist! They both doubted him. In fact, when John found himself in the dungeon he sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one or should we wait for another?”

    When it was determined Jesus was going the way of the cross he finds himself speaking to his followers. There is a knock on the door. One says to Jesus, “Your mother and brother are outside.” Jesus turns to his followers and says, “Who is my mother? Who is my brother? Only you who follow the will of the Lord,” Peter and the apostles left Jesus last. Peter denies Jesus 3 times.

    The world seemed against Jesus. Satan could claim them all accept Jesus. Jesus decides to go to the cross so that God could send another. No, not Jesus, himself. Jesus was not Adam. Yet, they had the same mission. A new man must come. He must be chosen by God. He comes with a new name. But like Jesus Christ, will he find faith?

    When he does come again, he must overcome all accusations from Satan and take a bride. Together, they begin a family, thus fulfilling the 1st and 2nd Blessing. Together they become the true parents of humankind that engrafts all fallen humanity to God’s lineage. Our original sin is erased, and we can begin our path to perfection. We need to overcome our selfishness and think of others first. We have to love our enemies as we love ourselves.

    Both Jesus and the Second Coming Messiah overcome Lucifer by having him bow them to him and asking forgiveness. We too must do the same. If we prove to Satan our hearts are as big as God’s heart, he will bow to us. We must overcome all of his lies and influences. We need to hold onto our guns to defend ourselves from those individuals raged with the spirit of Satan and his minions that want us dead. Once subdued, we can love them as we love ourselves.


    • Your premise is not supported. There is no evidence that Jesus came to fulfill any prophecies. There is no prophecy in the Old Testament that unambiguously predicts the coming of Jesus, as a “messiah” or otherwise.

      You make references to Satan, Lucifer and a devil, but you decry the influence of the Babylonian captivity. Yet it was in the Babylonian captivity where the Jews learned (and adopted) a concept of a devil by whatever name. There is no reference to a devil, Lucifer or Satan anywhere in the Old Testament prior to I Chronicles. That evil character in the magic garden who tempted Eve? It was a serpent. Just a talking snake. No mention of a devil. No mention of Satan or Lucifer. Just a snake. Later writers, after Babylon, did retroactively describe it as being the devil, but prior to the Babylonian captivity it is just a snake. Based on the Torah, your theory about the purpose of Jesus does not hold up.

      As for the “problem” of Paul and the Talmud, Paul was definitely better educated (and had more financial resources) than other followers of Jesus and clearly was unable to humble himself, as Jesus commanded. He clearly was unable to fit his very laden camel through the proverbial “eye of a needle” (Matt 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). Your comment does address the reasons WHY Paul contradicts Jesus, but does nothing to refute it.

      • Before I begin to answer your response, I would like to know what is Jesus Christ to you? And what was his mission for you?

        • If you check the upper right corner of any of my articles, you will see several select other articles on this site. If you review them, particularly the article titled “,” you can get an idea of my views about who or what Jesus was.

          But my opinions are not relevant to the facts, so I am not sure you need to inquire about someone’s views before deciding how to respond to facts. And it is not just a matter of responding to me. Far more people read the comments here than just me (I read them at least once, to approve and/or respond). And if you read through the comments, they reflect a wide variety of viewpoints, from Christians who are very conservative to those who are very liberal, to those who are non-believers, to those of different faiths other than Christian (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism or nature religions such as Wicca). So you are presenting your views to all readers, not just me, so how you respond to FACTS cited should not be tailored to any specific viewpoint.

          I cited FACTS in terms of what the Bible does or does not say and the ways in which you did or did not respond to what is in the article demonstrating that Jesus and Paul are in extensive and direct contradictions on many key points of doctrine, law, morality and ethics.

    • Dear Bill,
      Let me put it bluntly anybody who is giving any credence to the Adam story has a problem discerning facts from fiction. Paul of course in his quest to become accepted is making the same mistake to sound educated. Educated you are not if citing the Adam story you just repeating old nonsense stories. This can not leading to a serious discussion and anything that follows that you mention is questionable from the start.

  7. John Radolinski

    The chart on Paul-vs-Jesus on women shows Paul as women repressive. I think it important to note that Paul wrote letters to churches, some of whom were experiencing problems. As I understood it from Sunday school lessons, there may have been women in one particular church ignoring the direction of males in authoritative positions. He offered that solution that women have their heads covered and be submitting to effect peace.
    I DO find Paul’s arguments tedious, but he had to use Greek logic to persuade his intended audiences.

    • Paul clearly takes a position oppressive to women. If there were a specific problem in one local congregation, it could have been addressed as such without making a broad, general pronouncement as to multiple aspects of keeping women “in their place” — covering their heads (not required of men), keeping silent in the churches and being submissive to their husbands, similar to the way in which Paul exhorts slaves to obey their masters. On both points (women and slaves), Jesus and Paul are in direct opposition. [Since this comment was duplicated, I have removed the duplication.]

  8. Paul confront Peter in Galatians, And when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to the face. For he was worthy to be blamed. 12 For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise, insomuch that Barnabas was brought into their simulation also. why?I marvel that you are so soon turned away from him who called you in the grace of Christ, to another gospel – 7 which is nothing other than that there are some who trouble you and intend to pervert the gospel of Christ. who are this people?James and Cephas and John, But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, this the greatest conflict the Grace mixed with the Law of Moses. The Book of Galatians deal with that. There is not record that James follow the Lord Jesus to the contrary he believed that Jesus was a Lunatic. I believed that James, Peter, Jude and John keep practicing the Law of Moses or at least part and mixed with the Grace of the Lord Jesus.

    • Peter and Paul also disputed, just as James and Paul disputed. Seems Paul couldn’t get along with just about anyone.

      As for the comment that James believed Jesus (his brother) was a lunatic, and that James did not follow his brother, that seems to be pure nonsense. There is no evidence of that and, the fact that James’ teachings are the most consistent with Jesus suggest otherwise.

      I would think only a supporter of Paul, who opposed Jesus, James, Peter — like I said, just about everybody — would be the only one to imagine that James was inconsistent with Jesus or, especially, the absurd (and unsupported) assertion that James thought his brother to be a lunatic.

      • John Radolinski

        There WAS a New Testament reference early in Jesus’ministry, where his brothers tried to take Him away, thinking Him ‘not well.’ He was preaching, they gathered either outside or out back, but He ignored them. I don’t know the verse and chapter, but I know I read it. This may have been what the commenter meant by ‘lunatic.’

        • The point remains, a commenter claimed that James did not follow his brother Jesus and called him a “lunatic.” Since there is no support for this absurd claim, it does not need to be explained or justified. In contrast, the writings of James clearly demonstrate support for his brother.

  9. Very interesting article. I have not read it completely, but find myself agreeing with much of the opinion. I must however point out that Paul perhaps felt his mission to Gentiles was threatened by Mosaic law (specifically circumcision), and what might be viewed as a contradiction of Jesus ministry, was rather an attempt by Paul to include those non Jews he always encountered. That his reference to law is just that.

    Ultimately, the sentence that sticks out most in this article is that modern practice of Jesus teachings can be appreciated by those who believe, and those who do not.

  10. [Lengthy post, edited for space]

    Paul claims to be a witness for Jesus..however, he fails to meet even one prerequisite that Peter ‘laid down’ in Acts ch 1 vs 21-22 to be an apostle for our Lord. Rev ch 21 v 14 makes it clear that there are 12 Apostles….and Matthias replaced Judas BECAUSE Matthias had walked the 3 1/2 years with Jesus and the other disciples and personally “knew” the resurrected Lord.
    Those disciples…apostles.. were sent out (Matt ch 28 vs) to teach ” ALL whatsoever I have commanded you ” . That indicates that there would be NO CHANGE to any of Christ’s teaching ( and that His death changed nothing – in that respect.)
    Now if we read 2 John v 9 :- “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth NOT in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD.” Now that is pretty clear….and 1 John ch 2 v the context of those verses says :- ” but the anointing which ye have received of HIM abideth in you, AND YE NOT ANY MAN TEACH YOU.” I read that as Christ is sufficient !
    Now that means…to me… that anything NOT of Jesus ( our sole teacher and one Master …Matt ch 23 ) is NOT of GOD !

    Hence I would challenge Paul over everything he claims beyond the words of Jesus. eg. including the whole ministry to the “Gentiles” in Rom ch 11 and Eph. and Colossians; instant grace; the removal of any of God’s law ;being subject to world governments (Rom ch 13 ) ( (Matt ch 4 v 4… Jesus refused Satan…note Satan claimed control of these kingdoms !!) ..and we can list many more things…ALL OUTSIDE the TEACHING of Jesus.
    We don’t need Paul…good, bad or indifferent…!!! We have Jesus and HIS Gospel. Paul, 3 times claims to teach his OWN gospel…and in Rom ch 16 v 25..also claims that Jesus is the PREACHER of it !!..(Paul,s ) gospel !!!

    I imagine many will gasp at mylisting the ministry to the Gentiles !!
    Matt ch 15 v 24 ( backed up by Matt ch 10 v. 5) makes it very clear that Jesus came for the Hebrew Israelites ONLY….but (John ch 10 v 16 ) He will take into His fold others of another fold. ( That leaves the door open for ANY who come to Him…eg. the Canaanite woman in Matt ch 15.
    Now churches MUST accept this. We don’t like the word but God ‘discriminates’. ( That word used to indicate ‘wisdom’ – that one could evaluate good and bad, right and wrong etc but today it is a ‘dirty’ word !! But God has a chosen people..and they are Adam’s race..the Hebrew Israelites…and even at the 2nd coming of Jesus, the New Covenant will be primarily for them. (Jer. ch 31 v 31)

    But who are these Israelites? (I know from now on few will accept what I am about to write….but if anyone is interested, I will give full account of my words..every one !)
    Churches have been deceived. Think about this ! You wil lnot find ONE WORD relating to Judaism nor Jews in any Bible before 586 BC purely because they didn’t exist before then.

    My own experience is that until folks know about the history, they will be deceived for always. Bibles do not help ! Churches do not KNOW !!! ( Jer. ch 23 !!) Jews are residents of Jerusalem …and mainly Edomites.. ‘Gentiles’..should be translated as “nations” ( In fact if you acknowledge Edomites are JEWS..then the Israelites MUST be “gentiles “!!!!!! (O how we have all been deliberately deceived !!!)
    Back to Paul :_ He claimed to be a “JEW”…whether that is the Bible being badly translated…..or if that bit is true….but either way, Paul is not someone I would trust…nor someone I need to trust..I have the Son of God !! ( Of course, I have to keep His commandments; I have to be industrious for Him ( or the limb will be cut off from the Vine); and I need to endure to the end ! But it will be wonderful !!).

    Sorry for being long…

    Most sincerely. Not a member of any church or denomination..(just Luke ch 12 v 32 )

  11. Tom Drake-Brockman

    The key difference between Paul and James was that the latter sustained a deep Jewish attachment to free will, befitting free human beings made in God’s likeness (Jas 3:9). For James, justification relied basically on faithfulness and in particular, our ethical choices in relation to ‘hesed’ compassion and justice (Jas 2:13). Thus Paul’s subjective faith epiphany, with its relatively scant interest in ethical behaviour and evident incomprehension of Christ’s emphasis on human ‘hesed’, was completely at odds with the works theology of James, Jesus himself and Judaism in general. In fact this basic divergence over free will and reliance on grace, was where Paul and most of his Jewish contemporaries parted company.

  12. What a fantastically researched, documented, and articulated article. I’ve been saying this for years. You shy away from accusing Paul of subverting Jesus’ teachings, but you do bring up the point that if someone wanted to co-opt and subvert the teachings, they might pursue exactly as Paul did.

    Jesus, like Buddha and a few others in history, was teaching universal principles designed to better humanity…even save us. Paul, a self-acknowledged zealot simply changed one zealotry for another. His message became about relying on a messenger rather than aligning your life to the message.

    Clearly, Paul’s conversion experience -assuming it’s validity – was all based on faith. This may have completely stilted his view of the process to the neglect of works. Early Church Councils and later Luther and others found this more appealing than the idea that evil humans could actually earn anything in the sight of God. Their mission was conversion at any cost and telling someone they could be a good Hindu, Jew, or Muslim and go to heaven undermined that objective and the singular authority of the church.

    They, in my view, exalted Paul’s teaching in many matters above Jesus. They made him the hero of a religion more aptly called Paulism than Christininity. A billion abuses have followed from that.

  13. Dear Sir, I agree overall with your article…and sum Paul up as no.1 suspect for John ch 5 v 43 ..and possibly being responsible for Jesus’ comments of “false christs in the desert” (outside Damascus.)which could deceive even the “elect”. It seems the true apostles were confused by Paul in Acts.
    However, I wish to comment on other aspects of your essay. A Jew ( an 18th century AD invented word simply meant ” a resident” ( all residents) of JUDAEA no matter race, religion, ethnic origin -or even his table manners ! . Peter makes this perfectly clear in Acts ch 2 v 14 when addressing the crowd. “Ye men of JUDAEA” ( verses 5-14) . ( Peter changes his title of audience in verse 22 to ONLY those Israelites which lived there….by saying ” Ye men of Israel” It is to them only that he tells to repent and be baptised (v.38))
    The word ‘JEW’ replaced in Bibles the word ‘IEWE’ from about 1765 AD( eg. K.James Blayney revision of 1769).. JUDAEA ( Jerusalem and lands of once K.of Judah) was named such by Babylon in 586BC when Nebuchadnezzar ended the Kingdom of Judah…by exiling the Israelite inhabitants .. He was aided by the Edomites – to round up the Israelites and then, themselves moved into Jerusalem to live in the then empty city ( see OBADIAH, O.T.)
    Thus the Edomites became the first IEWES…the first JEWS. No Bible mentions Jews before 586BC simply because they did NOT exist. ( Mis-translation in King James -2 Kings ch 16 v 6 (‘Jews’ instead of “men of Judah”and 2 Kings ch 18 v 28 ( Jews language) should read ‘Hebrew’… (Corrected in ch 23 v 2 again as ‘ men of JUDAH’.)
    And JUDAEA ceased to exist in 135AD….so no Iewes ( Jews) after that date !! Rev ch 2 v 9 or Rev ch 3 v 9..Jesus makes an interesting comment !!
    JESUS was NOT a JEW.( contrary to what you state in the article) Neither He nor 11 0f His disciples were JUDAEANS..they were Galileans..NOT a part of JUDAEA ( Luke ch 2 v 4 ) Jesus never lived there..He was afraid even to visit Jerusalem eg. John ch 7 v 1 ch 11 v 54 ch 20 v 19..
    Check John ch 8. V 33 PROVES the Jews were Edomites. of Esau. ( see Mal ch 1 vs 3-4) and never been in bondage…and v 44 that they are the sons of Satan and are liars all. This is what the Bible tells us. Are you saying Jesus is the Son of God ( I hope so) or the Son of Satan ? This is blasphemy !!

    Please, dear reader , check what is written here. You have been deceived.. The definition of what a Jew is, was revised (changed) in 19th century AD ie. no longer a Judaean but ” one born of a jewish woman…..or converts to JUDAISM”…which is NOT the Torah..but IS the word ( invented 1 st cent AD used for the written version of the Babylonian Talmud…the Tradition of the it was until about 500 AD !!
    A history was invented; the word Judah confused with JUDAEA; a claim made to be the chosen people of God was voiced, and a new definition..of what a Jew is…et voila ! Complete ! The churches readily spread the word….hence Jeremiah, in prophecy, was able to write chapter 23 !!!

    I know…amazing…yes….. but please read the Bible. ( ALL of it !!- the OT has many amazing different accounts from what the churches currently teach !! Please contact if you wish to hear any !! ) Sincerely, and thank you for accepting this ( in anticipation !!) rodd


  14. I haven’t read the whole article but I like a number of your points and agree that Paul created a totally different gospel and is largely the reason today’s churches are not following Jesus by walking in his teachings. Having stated this I have a problem that I have seen in your article which I see made by most people that speak against Paul and that is with claiming that Jesus upheld the Law’s of Moses. The main problem starts in Matthew 5:17 which is very poorly translated and if one looks at the Greek they will see that Jesus never stated anything close to what translators’ have claimed. What Jesus actually stated was that he came to engorge, or raise, the standards of the law, not lower them or do away with them. Then Jesus states: whoever breaks one of ******”these”******* not those or the, referring to JESUS’ Raised standards which he was about to teach as the rest of the chapter Jesus takes Moses’ laws and raises the standards of Moses’ law and claims they are not high enough and that unless your righteousness exceeds the Pharisees who follow Moses’ law, you will not even make heaven.

    Jesus’ the Christ/Messiah, heir to the throne (RULING AUTHORITY) of David, the King of Israel, His words are LAW/COMMANDMENTS and he came and established a NEW Covenant not after the covenant which God made with the children of Israel when God took them by the hand and lead them through the wilderness which covenant they did break. It is a change of heart that Christ and the Father demand one of affection instead of judgement, as we are offered forgiveness if we learn to forgive and have compassion for all men and thus turn our hearts from stone to a heart of flesh. I desire mercy (for us to show mercy to each other) and not sacrifice; if we are going to walk right with God we must change our hearts from having hate to love, anger to forgiveness, judgement to mercy.

    • Peter, I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and agree the text suggests that Jesus intended to expand the Law of Moses and enhance it, but that does not alter the fact that, as reported in Matthew 5:17-18, he stated that his intent included that not one dot or iota would be abrogated from the Law until, as noted in verse 18 that you gloss over, “heaven and earth pass away” and all things are completed. This does not preclude additions, but it does preclude eliminations. The fact that James, the brother of Jesus, argues so forcefully in his rebuttal against Paul for the continuation of Mosaic requirements, supports this view.

      As for your comment denigrating the work of translators, which is made without specific example or authoritative citation, it falls flat. I have compared the passage in numerous versions of translations, from the King James to the Revised Standard to Today’s English to the New International Version. While King James was done hundreds of years ago, with less access to source texts and less proficiency in modern standards of professional translation, the more recent versions have been developed by teams of very scholarly and professional translators examining many source texts in light of denotation, connotation, as well as linguistic, cultural and historical context. And while the specific word choices in each version vary somewhat, the gist is the same.

      On the point of the Law of Moses, clearly Paul and Jesus/James are in stark and direct contradiction. And as noted, the irony is that the compassion-based teachings of Jesus had the effect of softening the Law he claimed to uphold while Paul’s had the effect of returning to Mosaic harshness while claiming it to have been “fulfilled” despite the fact that Jesus standard has not been met yet (i.e., heaven and earth have not passed away and there is much of prophecy that remains yet unfulfilled).

  15. Many thanks for the article. I agree with you but I shall, of course, look up the Biblical references and check everything – just to keep you on your toes.

    I wasn’t brought up a Christian but became one in my twenties. I’ve always thought it interesting that Jesus’s God is loving and logical while Paul’s God is much less compassionate and seems to have a tick list.

    I think that many of the disagreements we have in considering Jesus versus Paul is to do whether we think that the Bible is infallable or fallable, and whether we treat Jesus and Paul chronologically or hierarchically.

    Lots of American Christians would say that the Bible is infallable. It is all the word of God. Therefore what Jesus says is right and what Paul says is right. Now clearly, if there is a discrepancy or contradiction how can both of them be right? Well the answer is say that Paul came after Jesus and is telling us things in more detail. Rather than giving us the broad brushstrokes of Jesus, Paul is telling us how to run our churches, our families and our lives. By considering the Bible to be infallible and putting the emphasis on the later speaker (Paul) people are actually giving Paul more authority than Jesus.

    Personally I wouldn’t look at it this way. I would say that the Bible isn’t infallable. Jesus is the primary source and Paul the secondary (lesser) source. Where there is conflict between what the two say we should follow the teachings of Jesus. We should also realise that while Jesus was human he was also the Son of God, Paul was an ordinary, if gifted, human being with many faults who was probably doing his very best to keep the early Church alive. In order to do so he invented lots of rules to support and encourage people. He tried to get people on board by saying “As long as you believe you’ll be okay.”. However he was a man of his time with his own hangups, culture bias and preconceived ideas. This allows me to say that Jesus was right and Paul was sometimes wrong.

    My version is so much nicer than the infallible, chronological version. It leaves room for humanity and compassion. So why doesn’t everyone agree with me?

    The problem is that if we say to people that the Bible is fallable then quite a lot of people feel threatened. If Paul can be wrong then maybe everything else is wrong too. Perhaps Jesus is wrong. If Jesus is wrong how are we going to defend Christianity? They see threat in all this. It’s like taking away the foundations of what they believe. They think that the chaos of the world will sweep them and Christianity away.

    I would say that part of faith is not some sort of blind acceptance of everything but is about judging whether Jesus was right. In order to do this we need to consider whether or not Jesus was wrong. We have to embrace the possibility before we can reject it.

    I’m often struck by how modern Jesus is and how dated Paul is. Jesus speaks to every man and woman and child throughout all the ages. Paul only speaks for the first 1600 years or so.

    The human race is growing up and I think as part of growing-up process we don’t need to believe that the Bible is infallible any more . We need to read it, judge it and embrace the truth within it. If we do this we will hold tighter to Jesus and lesson our grip on Paul.

    That’s my two cents worth.

    Have a good day.

  16. Sir, There is almost an endless list of differences between the teachings of Paul and our Saviour, Jesus…and I confess I have not read every word here on this site, so I apologise if I repeat anything.

    Jesus is our SOLE Teacher and our ONE Master and He told us to FOLLOW HIM ( Matt ch 23 vs 8 and 10 and Matt ch 19.
    Matt ch 28 vs 19-20 Jesus told His disciples…(.to include Matthias ( who replaced Judas) and the WOMEN ( contrary to Paul in 1 2)) to go to the nations and ” teach ALL whatsoever I have commanded you”.
    Please note that that was AFTER His crucifixion; and AFTER His glorious NOT a jot of His teaching or actions and example to us were affected by His death. ie. nothing regarding His Gospel was to be changed…. as is often claimed !!.

    Jesus did not treat the Bible times ( it didn’t ALL exist then!) as to be as 2 books ie Old Testament versus NEW Testament. This is simply because the Bible today should not be 2 books either..but ONE ALL CHRISTIAN book…simply the Old looking forward to the Messiah— and the other, since, looking back to the effect of the Messiah. Jesus does not, therefore repeat ALL that is said in the Old Testament.

    ( Please do not be confused by the false church ( Jer ch 23 v 1 ) teaching that Jews own the Torah and Judaism existed and they are the chosen race and the forerunner of Christianity ! This is ALL pure fantasy, falsehood, deception and utter lies…even the Jewish Almanac 1980 and Jewish Encyclopedias agree . ( Note the word “JEW” is an 18th century AD (AD !) invention…and in no Bible does the word..or its equivalent ( Iewe) – even appear historically until JUDAEA existed in 586BC )…( a JEW is ‘any and all residents of JUDAEA “no matter race, religion, colour, class or eating habits !! Acts ch 2 vs 5-14)( Judaea only existed from 586BC -135AD ) This definition of a JEW was changed in the 19th century AD purely to deceive the world.
    I will gladly write again with all Biblical proof of my statements here..if requested.
    Jesus does, therefore, NOT repeat or reconfirm everything of the OLD Testament in His Gospel simply because it is already in existence. God does NOT change…nor make mistakes that need correcting !! ( Mal ch 3 v 6 )
    As for Paul. Acts ch 1 from v. 16 Peter states the prerequisites of an apostle of Jesus Christ… Paul meets NONE of them..NOT ONE…infact he never even knew Jesus. For his alleged encounter by a (false) ‘christ’ in the ‘desert’, Paul supplies NO witnesses. John ch 8 vs 16-18 requires witnesses ..”2 men” that truth may be obtained !!

    There are pages of good reasons to doubt Paul’s word…over much that he says. Don’t be taken in:- a good enemy of God will be an effective deceiver and will mix truth with falsehoods purely to confuse. ( Personally I am sure Paul never left his previous job !! )
    I refer to John ch 5 v 43…and ask you to whom that applies ..afterall, Jesus does not make statements for no reason !!
    Sorry…but much more to write another time !

    In sincerity, rodd

    • Some of the points you raise are addressed on this page and in other pages on this site.

    • There aren’t two books—there are 66—most written by unknown authors and certainly edited over the centuries. The Jesus of the synoptic gospels is completely different from the more developed gospel of John that was heavily influenced by the enlarging Christian population of the late first century. John is very much into Paul’s idea of faith (Paul’s letters had been passed around for two to five decades before composition of John. The synoptic gospels are much more about DOING than they are about BELIEVING. That is a late development thrust on the Jesus who was becoming the Christ for all by the end of that first century.

      Many years ago I wrote down a quote (unfortunately I no longer have the source) which said:
      “Christianity cannot be proved first and practiced later. It’s proof and practice go hand in hand. Men say that when they know, they will do; Jesus says that when they do, they will know. The seeds of truth sprout in the soil of obedience.”

      Jesus was far more about practice than “belief.” If anything, the emphasis on belief has destroyed the best part of Jesus’ teaching about actively seeking to love our neighbor as ourselves. “Belief” has become a way of intellectual acknowledgment of Jesus without the onerous task of actually DOING anything that Jesus taught. For most Christians today, the cross and resurrection are the be all and end all of Jesus. It took six hours to die and three days to resurrect. But the three years of teaching and showing us with His actions how we are to treat others are mostly forgotten or relegated to a back seat in the onward progress of what has become modern day Phariseeism.

      If Christian “belief” is simply to get a ticket to heaven and a pass from hell, then what a sorry lot that Christian belief has become. I always thought it demanded sacrifice from the follower, not just the Savior. Bonhoeffer called it the “cost” of discipleship. Today the cost of discipleship appears to be nothing more than having to put up with an occasional overlong sermon or another Saturday morning church breakfast.

      Many of us who have been followers most of our lives, have mostly abandoned the modern day church as an impediment to the life of service Jesus demanded.

      • Please respond to what is actually in the article; don’t pretend to respond and then make “replies” to nothing that was said. No one said there are only two books in the Bible, but this article on this page is specifically about the direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (with Jesus backed up after his death by his brother James). The contradictions are clearly identified, with specific chapter-and-verse references.

        I have other pages on this site, including a page specifically about the Bible and its own direct internal contradictions, factual errors, commands to commit atrocities, etc. While there are many reasons for such flaws — multiple authors with differing views over a long period of time, chain of custody of original source materials, issues in translation and preservation, etc. — the fact remains that these flaws exist. If you wish to pursue the issue of scriptural integrity, other than as it specifically applies to the contradictions between Paul and Jesus/James, I suggest you pursue it at the page dedicated to that topic, at:

      We often hear people say, “If only Jews would return to the Law of Moses!
      “Instead, they follow their secular, atheistic, and Zionist ways!”
      They express horror at the recent deliberate slaughter of Gazans, particularly the slaughter of women and children. (1)
      But haven’t these folks ever read the Jewish Bible? Are they unaware of the influence of the Old Testament on Judaism?
      Please open your Jewish Bible. Turn to the Old Testament. For the moment, focus your attention on the Book of Numbers.
      You are about to learn that Moses, the great “law giver,” was a war criminal who ORDERED his followers to commit war crimes. The most heinous were crimes committed against women and children.

      NUMBERS 31:13-18:
      (13) Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp.
      (14) But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains who had returned from the battle.
      (15) “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded.
      (16) “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people.
      (17) So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man.
      ( 18 ) Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

      The rest of Chapter 31 is concerned with distributing the Midianite plunder. Thirty-two thousand (32,000) virgin girls were counted in the booty (Verse 35). Thirty-two of these were given to “the Lord.” That is, 32 of these little girls were set aside for the Levities (heave offerings), to be used as concubines (Verses 40 and 41).
      Yes, Numbers 31 says what it says. The Talmud sages used Numbers 31 to justify having sex with children. And since the Talmud sages, along with Christians, regard the Old Testament as “the word of God,” why beat up on the Talmud sages? Why not beat up on Jehovah and Moses, who set the standards?
      For further discussion of Jewish teachings on sex with children, see the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Yebamoth 60b, Soncino 1961 Edition, page 402. Discussion and links at
      It’s true. Moses was a war criminal. The Jewish Bible tells you so. Should we be surprised at how women and children were treated in Gaza?
      (1) New Evidence of Gaza Child Deaths, BBC, 22 January, 2009

      For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
      Matthew 5:18

      “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, in whom you have put your hope. 46 If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. 47But since you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”…
      John 5:45 47

      Seriously study Matthew 15:1-9 and see TORAH Jesus condemn TALMUDIC Pharisees for not obeying TORAH, whereby a disobedient son is to be executed for disobeying his parents.

      Jesus was a TORAH believer and his argument with the Pharisees was because they were TALMUDIC believers (Matthew ch 15; Matthew ch 23).

      His disciples were TORAH believers!

      In the fourth heaven, Prophet Muhammad met Prophet Idris, whom God described in Quran (19:57) as being elevated to a very high level. In the fifth heaven, he met Prophet Aaron, the brother of Moses. At each meeting, the Prophets expressed their faith in Muhammad’s prophethood. In the sixth heaven, Prophet Muhammad met Moses.


      (Be sure to Google this article:
      614-1096 C.E.
      From the Accession of the Mahomedans to that of the Europeans.
      By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850





      Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

      Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

      Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

      • Hi Buddy,
        If you read Mat 5:18 in separation you will come to the conclusion the old laws have any (acceptable) meaning in the view of Jesus. But a few lines down in 5:20 he made is utterly clear what laws he is referring to and it cannot be the laws of Moses or Prophets since following them will guarantee not do see heaven. So the smallest of the laws are all the divine laws Jesus is concerned with not the tales of the Old Testament.
        In regards to John that is confusing makes no sense to me Jesus would have said that it is so contrary to everything else he said. But then John is a big question mark anyway.

        • The irony is that, as you note, Otto, Jesus in Matt 5:18 says that not one dot or iota will be changed or abrogated in the Law of Moses, but he does more to reform it than anyone else, while the renegade “apostle” Paul says we are no longer under the Law, but does more than anyone else to undermine Jesus’ very flexible reinterpretation and return to the strict legalism similar to the spirit of the Law of Moses.

        • I checked again it Mat 5:18 does not mention anything about Moses. That word is not even anywhere near. It tells us the law of the old is bad stuff and look further on 5:21 it contradicts everything that is found in the Moses stories like you shall not kill. That is not good enough for Jesus and goes on to more subtle laws to abide.
          In my opinion there is not anything in the OT that is worth following, talk about and has nothing to do with Jesus. All bad stuff. Jesus is much more in line with the Yogic/Buddhist tradition of mindfulness.

        • Otto, Matt 5:17-20 does not mention Moses by name. It refers to “The Law” which means the Law of Moses — the religious legal system in Leviticus and Exodus and Numbers that was the religious and civil law of the Hebrews.

          Here (the early part of the Sermon on the Mount) Jesus reportedly claims that he did not come to destroy the Law (of Moses) but to fulfill it, and not one tiny dot or iota of the Law (of Moses) [“jot or tittle” in King James is “dot or iota” in newer translations] will be modified or reduced until “heaven and earth pass away” and “all things are fulfilled.”

          Since heaven and earth have not passed away, and many prophecies still remain unfulfilled, this means Jesus is saying that his intent is that nothing, not the slightest, least thing, will change in the Law of Moses.

          But as I said, immediately after that, starting in the next paragraph section with verse 21, he begins to modify the Law (of Moses) and the rest of his ministry, despite his promise not to, he completely remakes the Law (of Moses) into something humane, flexible and people-centered, very different than the way Moses handed it down.

          In contrast, Paul says we are no longer under the Law (of Moses), and does eliminate compliance with many details of the Law (of Moses), but transforms Jesus’ simple gospel of love, kindness, acceptance, inclusion and flexibility back into a harsh, legalistic, punitive system of oppression more in keeping with the spirit of the Law (of Moses), if not the letter, and something Jesus would not recognize and James, as noted in the article, vigorously disputed.

        • Sorry but Jesus does not contradict himself he cannot be talking about Moses law in Mat 18 what he says he is not quarreling with his fellow Jews about the absurdity of Moses and the Prophet stories that would be a futile undertaking. What he is concerned with is how to see the kingdom of god which means love and non attachment not even to wife, kid or anything else much like a Buddha would teach.
          Paul’s interpretation of not being under the Law of Moses might have gotten it right in this instance while he constantly he tried to prove himself to know anything of Jesus. He demonstrated he had no clue what he is talking about.

        • While I would agree that Jesus has more in common with Gautama Siddhartha (Buddha) than Moses, the Bible accounts also refer to him as a Rabbi. And in the context of that time and the meaning of that word as understood by Jesus and the people he was speaking to, the Law means the Law of Moses. That is simply what it means.

          Jesus often quotes from the Law, such as the parable of the Good Samaritan (when the question is raised, “What is the great commandment?” Luke 10:25-37) and Jesus responds by asking what is “in the Law.” He does not mention Moses, but both Jesus and his questioner understand it means the Law of MOSES. And each reference that follows, to “love the Lord thy God” (from the Law of Moses, Deuteronomy 6:5) and to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (from Leviticus 19:18) comes from the Law of Moses, even though the word Moses is not explicitly mentioned.

          That was the context of that time in reference to the meaning of “the Law” meaning the Law of Moses, and it was understood by Jesus and anyone he was speaking to. This is a well-known fact.

  17. Thank you. This is well done, and as someone else commented, justifies my belief that Paul’s teachings were not to be taken at face value. I believe that Jesus said that in the last days there would be false Christians and that he would say to many “I never knew you.” ‘Paulians’ indeed.

    There is one small side issue that almost kept me from reading (and benefiting) from the article, and I would appreciate it if you could research this. I was taught 60 years ago that the reason that Saul was a Roman citizen was because *all* of Tarsus had been granted citizenship for some favor to the emperor.

    • What I stated was that we do not know, and the Bible does not say, how Paul acquired his Roman citizenship. I then offered some of the speculative possibilities. If all of Tarsus had been granted citizenship, for a reason also not specified, that would certainly provide an explanation, but it would be interesting to see the documentation for that.

      The relevant point, of course, is that Paul had Roman citizenship, which afforded him the ability to travel the empire. The reason for why a Jew had such privilege is an interesting point to consider, but not the key issue involved.

  18. I was given a Bible when I was baptized into the Baptist Church as a child. I must have been around 6 or 7 years old. It had the passages supposedly spoken by Jesus printed red. Even at that age, I liked what Jesus said and couldn’t for the life of me understand Paul. I understood that he was converted from a persecutor to a promoter of the Jewish sect called “Christians,” but he still seemed mean to me.
    I understand now that Paul was building a Church and was perhaps responsible for the spread of Christianity as we know it today, but I felt that Jesus freed me from the dogma of the Church and here was Paul telling me that I needed it for salvation or I was going to Hell.
    I think, even as a child, I became what I call today, “A Red Letter Christian.”

  19. Alice Teserovitch

    Thank you so much for this article. I have always felt conflicted about Paul and his views, especially on slavery and women. They seemed so contrary to what Jesus said. Then I would feel guilty. You brought all of this together for me. Now, I know my instincts about Paul were right on. Thank you so much!!

  20. You left out what I believ is a very important fact. Jesus stated that there will be only twelve apostles, I believe some translations are heavenly apostles. Paul is a self proclaimed thirteenth.
    I found your page thru a comment on athread on Facebook . The group “The Christian Left” posted something and your paper was linked. I am so glad to have read your work. It has answered a lot of questions that I’ve had for years. I am now a practicing Buddhist whom is still a Christian. I feel that Christ real teachings were Buddhist. That is my journey and I’m sticking with a non dogmatic version of both Christianity and Buddhism. I greatly appreciate your work. I feel vindicated in my choices.
    I do understand that you wrote this to simply state facts and not to add feul to fire. I hope that others read your work and research your findings. They will,as I have, find even more evidence showing the church (99%of churches) worshipping Paul’s Christ and not the real Jesus.
    Thank you sir.

    • Roberto — while I personally find no need (nor factual basis) to believe in the messianic aspects of Jesus’ ministry, for those who do but follow him in a non-dogmatic manner consistent with the teachings attributed to him, and without the claim of an inerrant/infallible Bible (which has provable, demonstrable errors as I document in my article on that subject at, I have no quarrel with them.

      As for the theory of a Buddhist influence on Jesus and the formation of his teachings, I have heard that hypothesis before. Certainly there is no record of most of his formative years, and travel between the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent (where Buddha was from) was possible if rare, again, lacking any specific basis for believing that I find it to be an interesting bit of speculation that can be considered (can’t be ruled out), but not something I can accept as being definitive.

      Whether or not Jesus himself was directly influenced by the teachings of Buddha, certainly there is nothing inconsistent in a person seeing the many points of overlap and embracing both messages in a way that enhances their combined insights.

      As to the number of apostles, Jesus is reported to have called. I am not familiar with any particular statement limiting it to that precise number, only that it is the number he called. If you could provide the actual chapter-and-verse reference to that statement, it would be something to consider. Further, there is also no reason to definitely say that any of the other apostles had not died or been removed from their calling, leaving a vacancy by the time Paul called himself an apostle. Therefore between not really seeing the evidence that Jesus limited the number, or that Paul would have violated that number, and since there are so many other points of consideration, I just don‘t see that as a point to be pursued very aggressively.

    • I agree that the real teachings of Jesus are strikingly similar to Mahayana Buddhism. In fact, you will find that Tibetan Buddhism (which is actually the tradition of the original Indian Buddhism) actually provides a comprehensive training programme on how to achieve the state of “loving your neighbour as you love yourself.” Take a look at my webpage:

  21. I stumbled on this by “Chance” I’m sure the Lord directed me here. I have been struggling with a lot of contradictory concepts for almost my whole life. I told my mother ages ago (I’m 44 now and I think I was still at school when I did), that something is off about Paul. I grew up in the Duch Reformed Church in South Africa, and although I always had Jesus in my heart, I never felt comfortable going to Church. I have an aversion against organized religion, could not ecplain. I have been searching for a long time and I really think I found it! I don’t say I am going to take everything at face value, but I am looking forward to research this myself by using your references as study guide reading my Bible. What I can say, is that everything that I’ve read here, resonate with all that fealt wrong about religion. Thanks again.

    • theodore kumlander

      HI I felt the same way you did, that after the 4 Gospels the rest of the new testament seemed be going in the opposite direction. after reading Danizer’s essays it cleared up a lot of confusion. I have a speculative theory on Paul. That Paul’s writings were taken out of context by those who edited the New Testament. Though I have no idea what the proper context would have been? Hopefully when I pass over I will be able to ask him personally. 🙂

  22. You know, Danizier, as an educator I find repetition is a useful tool when warranted and in different ways or methods. I think I’ll rest my case with the 100 or so mentions in the Scriptures (check your Strong’s Concordance) covering the dead horse being beaten here that is akin to dead works. It seems the translation of “works” by James, from the Greek, includes the meaning of “such works as these” in other words the nuance declares a difference of works done to fulfill the letter of the law (which we know is impossible) with works ordained by God for us from before time began. So good-bye, good night and have a good life. I’ll remember this discussion with a degree of pleasure and realistic optimism for a future embraced by what to me are not two mutually exclusive views given the original intent.

    • At a certain point, Dawn, just repeating yourself without adding anything new just takes up space, becomes monotonous, and clutters up a forum intended to discuss the ideas from the above article rather than off-topic tangents or comments directed at individuals rather than ideas.

      This is especially true when you continue to repeat a point that does not address the real issue. You continue to argue the issue of works vs. faith, taking Paul’s position in favor of salvation by faith (without works, though they do have a place of importance in other ways) against Jesus’ and James’ position in favor of salvation by works (though faith is meritorious because it can motivate works, but is not absolutely essentially such as Jesus’ example of salvation for the non-believing Samaritan he used as his example of salvation by works).

      I am not going to keep posting your comments that just repeat something off topic. I repeat: the issue is not whether you and Paul are right in arguing against Jesus and James, but the fact that they did, in fact, contradict each other. If you want to argue that point, take it to Jesus and James. That is not the issue here.

      And the above article, with additional support in the comments that follow, provide extensive demonstration of the fact of that contradiction, all documented so you can look it up in your very own Bible and additional supplementary sources.

  23. You did it again, my dear Danizier. Misappropriating deeds, good or otherwise for a sine qua non for faith that is alive and justified. To follow the path of deeds being necessary for justification is to live in a tit for tat world with God, who’s mind we cannot know. Who are we to determine whether the deed is even acceptable to our LORD and Savior? In other words, it seems to me as postulated by Paul, that there is boasting involved when self-assurance accompanies the deed that it is performed. Are you not yourself creating a delusional screen for faith that is based on self-righteousness that is unwarranted? Where do you account for entering into the Kingdom as a “child of God” and not as a “know-it all” with one’s space in Heaven assured?

    • You did it again, Dawn. Criticizing a standard that applies equally to your own. Who are we to determine whether the faith we profess is even acceptable to our LORD and Savior? And sorry, but with all due respect, no one comes across as more of a “know-it all” with one’s space in Heaven assured than those who refer to themselves as “saved” with the smug self-assurance that, because they have professed Jesus as their “lord and savior” with their lips, regardless of where there hearts (or deeds) may lie.

      Again, you are veering off the subject of my point. You are trying to argue the merits of the respective (and contradictory) standards presented by Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James). You need to take up your argument against the Jesus position with HIM. I am merely pointing out, with extensive chapter-and-verse documentation, the contradiction.

      At this point, Dawn, you are repeating yourself and you are not addressing the actual point of the article, which is the meticulously-documented contradiction between Paul and Jesus/James. If you wish to continue participation, please address the specific and directly contradictory point(s) cited in the article.

  24. Methinks you doth protest too much in bolstering your argument of Paul, the so-called betrayer of Jesus’s teachings. It seems you and I are in agreement that grace finds you just as you are and is an event we cannot control. Also, and here we depart from agreement; for I contend there are no pre-suppositions to the grace event. In other words no works are required on our side to earn one’s self salvation. Have you fallen prey to the “good person” argument that assures one a place in Heaven? Appreciate your response–without attacking the messenger, please.

    • Another correction, Dawn: I do not “protest,” I cite specific examples and back them up with chapter and verse references.

      While I have my opinions on the matter of morality and the justification of character, that is not the point I am arguing at all. I am not arguing to support the either the view of Jesus and James that justification/salvation is the fruit of universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds, or of Paul that justification/salvation is the fruit of grace or faith. (Again, noting that both Jesus/James and Paul agree that both faith and compassionate deeds are of merit, the contradictory difference being the agent of salvation/justification.)

      As documented in the article, Jesus has entire self-contained passages on being saved (cited and referenced) which he bases entirely on universal compassionate love acted upon, and James backs that up with the statement that justification/salvation is by works and not faith alone, while Paul states that justification/salvation is by faith and not works. This is clearly a contradiction, straight and simple.

      As for the “good person” argument, which you seem to dismissively ridicule, no I am not taking one side or the other, though I clearly have my own separate opinions. I am pointing out the very straightforward contradiction.

      That said, one can argue that everything is an unearned gift of grace — creation, our very lives, the opportunity to be taught universal compassionate love that motivates deeds and so, of course, salvation by compassionate deeds is also an unearned gift of grace because, no matter what we do, we can never earn that gift on our own.

      But neither Paul nor Jesus say that this unearned gift is given to everyone unconditionally. We have to adhere to a specific standard of compliance — not that the standard earns us anything, but we have to adhere to that standard.

      Jesus says the standard is to active compassionately towards loved ones, strangers, enemies and the least among us — not that it “earns” us anything, but that is the standard of compliance.

      Paul says the standard is faith or belief alone, and not worksnot that it “earns” us anything, but that is the standard of compliance.

      But as to your dismissive ridicule of the “good person” argument — that sounds like the selfish followers of Paul who want to get off easy — doesn’t matter what you do (how far your heart is from him), just accept Jesus as your lord and savior and, hallelujah, you’re saved (your lips draw near to him).

      By that argument, Adolf Hitler, a professed Christian who declared repeatedly that Nazi Germany was to be a Christian state, gets saved, while the rare, heroic, noble Jews described by Dr. Frankl as cited in the article above who, themselves starving in the Nazi death camps of Christian Hitler, still gave of their meager rations to ease the suffering of others. Paul consigns these Jews to hell because, as Jews, they have not accepted Jesus as their lord and savior, while Jesus opens his arms in welcome and says, “come, thou blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundation of this world, for I was an hungered, and ye fed me….” Or followers of Paul would consign the hated, non-believing Samaritan to hell, but Jesus cites a kindly, compassionate Samaritan as the example of who would be saved in answer to the lawyer’s question about how to be saved.

      So you can ridicule the “good person” argument all you want. But if you want to put Hitler in heaven and his heroic Jewish victims or the Samaritan of Jesus’ parable in hell, good luck, but don’t be surprised or wonder why people think your theology to be rather perverse.

      • theodore kumlander

        I would like to throw out a new idea I had about Paul . it will be brief so please excuse the lack of historical detail. The Hebrews get taken into captivity in Babylon and feel that this is it for the them so the 5 books of Moses are put down on parchment as history and testament to who the Hebrews were. But Cyrus the conquer frees them. skip ahead to the Greeks a large amount of the Hebrew population becomes Hellenized again the Hebrew race is disappearing. So the Maccabees start a war with the Greeks and the 1st temple is destroyed and the Hebrews are defeated and dispersed. let us move on to the Romans the Hebrews are back in Jerusalem the 2nd temple has been built then comes the 1st and 2nd Jewish revolts and the Hebrews are once again defeated and dispersed . So here is the point Perhaps part of Paul’s message is the by Faith alone we can survive as Jews and become united again through the power and will of God. just an idea I wanted to see what your thoughts were on this. Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:52:55 +0000 To:

        • Trying to figure out how Saul (Paul) developed the views he had is speculative, and fair game for anyone to share their perspectives.

          Your thoughts are interesting and possibly of merit but, again, speculative. And of course, as fellow Jews (but lacking Paul’s status as a highly-educated dual Jewish/Roman citizen of means and papers for travel), Jesus and James also would feel the same cultural influences as Paul.

          My point is not to try to figure out where Paul’s perspective comes from, but that he had it, and it is in direct contradiction to the views and message of Jesus.

        • theodore kumlander

          thanks for replying. you have pointed out the flaw in my theory. “Jesus and James would have been exposed to the same cultural influences” I should have seen it myself. 🙂

        • In fairness to yourself, Theodore, because Paul was so highly educated and had the means and papers to travel widely, his exposure to external cultural and literary influences would have been deeper and stronger. I wouldn’t rule your theory out, but just note that it is speculative.

      • Ah. My husband once said, “People would rather be dead than wrong.” Apparently Dawn would rather be damned than wrong. I won’t waste my time on another word of hers.

  25. For my own edification, I continued researching the “faith versus works” controversy and what more I could glean about Paul’s view point. (I would have answered in the appropriate place but the reply bubble wasn’t activated by scrolling the upper right hand corner of your second reply.) Context was provided by reading Ephesians 2:8-10. In particular verse 10; “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath ordained that we walk in them.”

    The early church dilemma was what in the world to do about the uncircumcised? As Jesus had come for the “lost sheep of Israel,” was salvation avail to the Gentile? Acts chapter 10 and 11 answer that question. Peter is directed to go from Joppa to Caesarea to meet Cornelius. Verse 10:45 “And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” When Peter later came to Jerusalem, he had to contend with Jews (the circumcised) who questioned him about his behavior. (eating with the uncircumcised–obviously a really big deal) 11:17 then takes the matter out of men’s hands; “Forasmuch then God gave them the like GIFT, as he did unto us, who BELIEVED on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I COULD WITHSTAND GOD?”

    This takes on added significance when one continues on to Acts chapter 15. Here we see the entire leadership dealing with the Gentile question. (verse 22) “Then pleased it the apostles and elders, WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabus, namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, CHIEF MEN among the brethren:” They even included a letter saying they didn’t want to burden them unnecessarily, only to “abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.” Not bad considering there are 613 commandments in the OT.

    We can see then, that Paul was fully commissioned by church authorities. He wasn’t subversive, scandalous, or a renegade. His theological teachings were nuanced, however. He spends the entire epistle to the Romans trying to make distinctions of why the Law doesn’t apply to the Gentiles. But he never suggests that it doesn’t apply to Jews. (God forbid!) This was difficult then as now. Reading 2nd Peter 3:15-16 shows us just how difficult: (15) “…given as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which they are HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest…”

    As I read it, Paul had the unenviable task of explaining a thousand year old Jewish tradition to people who knew little, if anything, about it. What part did they play in it, how it effected them, why they were equals to those who were heirs to that history–when many of those heirs rejected them outright and told them they had to be circumcised and subject to the Law of Moses. He (Paul) proclaimed that, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a NEW CREATURE. (Galatians 6:15) This new creature would do good works as a natural by-product of his FAITH that Jesus was the messiah. This was a forgone conclusion to Paul, as indicated in my opening citation of Ephesians 2:10. (and implied in many other NT verses) The entire Christian movement was contingent on one theme; Christ crucified–Christ RISEN! He was the long sought Messiah. Believe in Jesus (Acts 2:38 and Acts 8:37; neither involving Paul) was paramount to gain salvation. Believe means faith. That is why Paul’s emphasis was on faith, with an understanding that, as night follows day, good works would follow.

    It may be that Paul’s education (not only a Pharisee, but a Pharisee who had studied under Gamaliel) became more a stumbling block than an asset. Perhaps James, who in all probability was unlettered (as the vast majority of new Christians were) couldn’t fathom the nuances of Paul’s message. Or it may be similar to an egghead trying to explain something to you versus another who has the ability to put it into “plain English.” It may be a lot of things, but it wasn’t subversive. Or scandalous. Nor a renegade running amok, bent on “intentional sabotage.” The scripture simply doesn’t support those claims.

    • I have repeatedly addressed, in the original article and then numerous times in the comments that follow, the point people keep raising about Paul exhorting to good works. I seriously don’t want to keep repeating myself. Go to the top of the article and do a search on the term “contradictory difference” and see if you can find how many times I have already addressed it.

      As for trying to minimize James, the brother of Jesus, as being unlettered (he was), therefore perhaps “couldn’t fathom the nuances of Paul’s message,” I find that very patronizing. Jesus himself was also unlettered in the formal terms that Paul would have known. James had the wisdom of practical living (street smarts) and a personal, intimate knowledge of his brother’s message. I don’t see that James “couldn’t fathom” so much as being a bold, brash, articulate in his street-smart way, speaking truth to power: “You show me your faith without your works and I’ll show you my faith BY my works. Faith without works is dead.” (James chapter two.)

      It is not that James “couldn’t fathom the nuances,” but that he could see through the intellectual B.S. Education is certainly valuable and empowers us to achieve much that we would not be able to achieve in its absence. But education — empowerment of the mind — is a means, not an end. And that end can be used to advance humanity or to manipulate. Paul is very smooth in the circuitous manner in which he undermines Jesus and his teachings. He offers praise and worship with his lips, and even words of support for good works, but then minimize the centrality of their role in the actual process of justification or salvation, which is where the contradictory difference (on that point) lies.

      I stand by the conclusions I have offered and the scriptural basis with which I have supported them.

    • Paul left a doctrine of confusion regardless of circumstances. Jesus says to love, Paul says to “think something.” The details are of no use. The over arching message is in conflict. Perform the miracle of love, unconditional bright burning love for all under the sun. The scripture in Jeremiah 8:8 clearly indicates that Paul could be nothing other than a wolf in sheeps clothing. “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

  26. I have my own arguments with Paul, but I believe you very much misunderstand him if you hand him over to social conservatives. Measured by 2,000 of history, he is clearly still very much a person of his day in many ways, but measured by his day, and preceding history and he is an unimaginable leap forward for human dignity and rights. Even atheist philosophers acknowledge that he is a major force for universal human rights, based on the value of every individual person.

    Paul is also the force that broke religion out of its “purity only” paradigm. Jesus in our Gospels never really pushes his followers directly out of their culture. If not for Stephen, Philip and Paul, Jesus would have likely quickly been smothered historically as another provincial mystic, but no one to take beyond the cultural borders of his day.

    Paul’s theology is a systematic dismantling of all the arguments that humans throw up against community with each other. Race, language, gender, language, culture. Without a Paul-like person–whether the one we know or another replacement–there would really be no Gentiles in the mix. Paul’s theology is still hard to surpass even today. Whose would you say is in his league that is not in one way or another indebted to his foundation?

    I think Paul would be elated that we may have grown past some of the cultural and theological barriers of his day and even his own theology. He certainly hoped we would go further than he was able to in his culture.

    I think the issue really is that there are people who want religion to buttress their way of life as the center of the world and reassure their egoistic desires to dominate some part or all of the world as their own private world. Jesus and Paul are both terrible choices to try to build that world. Which is why I think neither makes thise people happy unless you severely truncate their vision and then use it to sacralize a way of life they never lived nor taught.

    • I appreciate your perspective but find no basis for agreeing with it, and notice you did not provide any supporting basis for it either other than your own sincere desire for it to be true. I am comfortable with the conclusions I have drawn and the extensive Biblical documentation that supports them provided in the above article and my responses to comments that follow.

      Based on the Biblical evidence, Paul was a rather vicious persecutor, a harsh and legalistic Pharisee who supposedly converted, but he brought the same personality and tendencies with him and can clearly be seen as the reason the earliest community of Jesus’ followers were turned in a direction so completely opposite of Jesus. There may have been some worse who came later, but it starts with Paul.

      • By Paul’s theology, I am constrained to reply to you with all the gentleness I can muster. So, it’s hard to imagine a vicious persecutor teaching that, or simply speaking as often about love as Paul does. A running list of his vocabulary would embarrass most religious and political and cultural leaders today, to say nothing of intellectuals. The fact that there is a “community of Jesus’ followers” outside of Judea is largely because of Paul. The cultures of hostility he encountered were certainly far from kind ones. So, to believe that any human community can be turned toward mercy and love is really amazing. But Paul did believe that when few others did–or do even today. So you have a really odd view of the Biblical evidence, even if we take all of Paul’s personal cultural limitations into account.

        It was not my interest to enter into a Pharisee-like debate with you over every verse of Paul’s writings, which I myself have studied for over 40 years. It was to point out that you seem to have some anger toward Paul that filters his life and message. Paul remains a revolutionary thinker, human to be sure, but he installed mercy and kindness at the center of the Christian Gospel in a new context, the same as Jesus did in his. This was controversial, and the arguments got intense. I have worked for compassion and justice among people for 40 years, basing my actions and years of teaching largely in Paul’s theology. I have spent considerable time reading his writings solely in Greek. So, I think I have some idea of his meaning beyond “wishing it were so.”

        The attacks that people in the name of righteousness launch against the theology of inclusion of “the outsider” on a new equal basis for all that Paul hammered out in hard arguments certainly make me understand why Paul himself had to do so much arguing for the outsider in his day. It was a very Jesus-like thing to do. It is true that Paul believes Jesus is the answer to the hostilities that human beings bring toward God and one another. He hopes that a message about a crucified God will disempower people’s prevalent tendencies to fight against trusting anyone or anything, except their own power to control, judge and dominated. But for a once vicious persecutor to turn and argue with his own people, and even his own new communities, for the full acceptance and dignity of outsiders strikes me as the best of Biblical theology in action. I will end all my comments on this site by simply attesting that Paul has been the guide for me to discover the power of compassion, and to enable me to hear Jesus more and more clearly in my own context. He takes away every excuse I have for not meeting everyone with respect and compassion. I think Paul would be glad we are debating aspects of his theology, and moving on toward even more paths of love and kindness than he himself walked. Thanks for the time and space. Grace and peace to you.

        • Paul may have moderated his earlier viciousness (he held the coats of those who stoned the martyr Stephen and was a very active persecutor), and he clearly is attributed with some very moving passages on love and compassion (I Corinthians 13 is among the most famous, but there are others).

          And of course Paul wanted to include the outsiders. That was his power base. The early Hebrew Christians knew of his record as a persecutor and, in the beginning, did not trust him. With the rare distinction of being both a Jew and a Roman citizen, he had both the papers and the means to travel throughout the Roman Empire, and he could build a base of followers from among the Gentiles or, as you might call them, the outsiders. This was not a sign of his inclusion, it was a sign of his strategy.

          But the fact remains that he holds true to the harsh legalism of his Pharisee roots in making the teaching of Jesus less about universal compassionate love expressed through deeds (he does extoll this core value with words, but not policies — lips near, heart far), but eliminates it entirely as the basis for salvation or justification when he explicitly and repeatedly (references in the main article above) says, contrary to Jesus and his brother James, that they are not the basis of salvation but that only faith is (but they are important because they reflect faith).

  27. Ephesians 2:5-10. What say you?

    • What is your point, just throwing out a verse without describing it, or without mentioning that it is one of the examples cited in the article of where Paul (the author of Ephesians) contradicts Jesus, and then asking for a response.

      Did you even read the above article?

      Go back to the article above and do a search on the term “Ephesians 2.” The reference I cited is the most relevant subset of the passage to which you refer. If you want to know what I “say” about it, go back and read what I already wrote about it (a long time ago).

      • Now, now don’t get into a hissy fit. Sorry you did not follow my shorthand. You’re close to proving my point. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Seems that it should be clear from “an even longer time ago” Paul is referring to the most concrete of works; the ones we walk in that were “held in place” for us so to speak that we should “walk by faith” and not by sight. Lest you happen to befall into the trap of “boasting” of your works, I trust you understand the verse to mean just what it says, to wit, if your works are full of your taking responsibility for them and to your own merit; you have missed the point of performing works set in place for you to fulfill Gods’ Will inside the parameters and guidance set in place by Christ Jesus. We are God’s “work in progress” and serve Him “at the good pleasure of His Will.” (Ephesians 1:5, 9) (Philippians 2:13).

        • No one disputes that grace — a free, unearned gift — is the root of everything. We need nothing to merit creation of the universe, our existence, our mortal life or having people in this world to teach us things such as salvation (in this life or any other that follows) through universal compassionate love expressed actively in our deeds.

          But as to our role in the process, Jesus and James say that it is the achievement of actually putting that into practice that saves you, and Paul says the opposite, as cited in the article above.

          And spare me the lecture on hissy fits. When you just ask someone “what say you?” — and nothing more — about something they already said their piece, without clarifying or specifying exactly what you felt was inadequately covered in the original statement, that is not “shorthand,” that is playing games and, yes, you will be called for that kind of nonsense.

        • I think I’ve hit a nerve! You do not specifically address Ephesians 2:10 namely, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Just like the Scriptures are inspired by God, including your “paper tiger”, Paul, take the leap of faith and acknowledge so are our deeds.

        • Actually, Dawn, I did indeed specifically address the passage. I did so in the original article above and repeatedly in the comments that follow. I clearly note that both Paul and Jesus/James extoll the virtues of both faith and works and do so repeatedly. Now, go to the top of the page, do a search on the term “contradictory difference” and see if you can see find where I acknowledge the points where they overlap and point out how it does not resolve the fundamental contradiction underlying those points. Frankly I do get tired of being asked to reinvent the wheel and do not intend to keep repeating the same thing and expecting different results.

          As for having “hit a nerve,” I do admit to some impatience with those who stubbornly refuse to either read or understand what is repeatedly pointed out.

  28. Whatever about the rest of it, but George Bernard Shaw was Irish, not English. Just saying.

    • You are correct, Stevie, that George Bernard Shaw was born and raised in Ireland and was of Irish origins. Most of his writing career was in London, where he also died. To say that one born and raised in Ireland is Irish is not wrong, but it is also not incorrect to identify him by where he wrote and lived in his productive years. The two are not mutually exclusive.

      My wife of 28 years was born and raised in a foreign country and came to the United States as an adult. She has been a United States citizen for 23 years. She can correctly be identified with either country.

  29. Hi. I start out agreeing with the author’s first point, for the most part. But I disagree after that. I think the author mischaracterizes Paul’s teachings about the relationship between works (which seems to be synonymous with The Law) and grace. I DON’T think Paul is saying anywhere that “works” are fruitless, but rather I think Paul is saying something like: “strict adherence to the Law of Moses does not earn a person salvation or forgiveness or reconciliation with God. I can prove it because of Abraham. And since adherence to the Law of Moses was not necessary for Abraham, strict adherence to the Law is not necessary for new believers today. Adherence to the law does not earn salvation; salvation comes by Christ.”

    I want to agree with the author; I don’t want to be Paul’s defender, but I am not only not swayed by the author’s arguments about Paul, I’m turned off by them, and I don’t like that.

    • You criticize my characterization of of Paul’s teaching, but then you mischaracterize what I said about it. Instead of quoting the actual words of any statement I made, you inaccurately “paraphrase” and re-state my view of Paul as saying: “‘works’ are fruitless” when I not only did not attribute that to Paul, I said the opposite.

      In the main article above, and repeatedly in the comments below, I reiterate that both Paul and Jesus (and James) agree that both faith and works are important. This is hardly claiming that Paul thinks works are useless or that Jesus (and James) think that faith is “useless.” The contradictory difference, as I note repeatedly, is which one they attribute to being the mechanism of salvation or justification, and the relative weight they accordingly ascribe to each. (Do a search of the article using the term “contradictory difference” and see if you can find where I discuss this.)

      I find it troubling that I have to keep repeating this clarification so frequently. Apparently some people read into my description of the contradiction whatever they want to.

  30. I wish to make clear I fully accept the point of view promoted in the article. I believe you have made your point of “works (deeds) versus faith.” What has astonished me though, is the wholly negative perspective of Paul’s MOTIVES. You use words like subversion, scandalous, renegade (apostle), and finally (where it got to be too much) “…he (Paul) was more a direct fraud, undermining the nascent Christian movement from within.” [3-30-14] Goodness! You write of Paul as though he were a double agent–a mole within the Christian movement. I think a reading of Galatians chapter 1 and 2 (with emphasis on 1:19 and 2:9) contradicts that line of reasoning. James fully signed off on Paul’s mission to the Gentiles. (this after 17 years “in the field.”) Right or wrong, Paul certainly didn’t hide his believes; “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (verse 2:11) No shrinking violet, our Paul. In my humble opinion, I think an examination of your adjectives may be in order.

    • I do agree that Paul was no “shrinking violet” and that he was fully and sincerely devoted to his cause. I just don’t agree, and I certainly believe this is supported by the extensive chapter-and-verse documentation provided, that his cause was the same cause as Jesus’.

      • Couldn’t have been the same because the leader of the movement was dead. Jesus’ cause was the good news that, “…the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) For the Jew this was viewed as an earthly kingdom. (Acts 1:6) How to make sense of the death, then delay, of the arrival of the Kingdom? Paul’s cause was “…we preach Christ crucified…” (1 Cor 1:23) as if it were all part of the “plan.” (1 Cor 2:7-9) It could actually be argued Paul had the tougher theological road to hoe. My point isn’t that Paul didn’t usurp Christ’s message, I just don’t think it was MALICIOUSLY done. The words I referenced in my first post give some validity that they (may) reflect that you think it was.

        • Ultimately we read the content and interpret it the way it strikes us, but we cannot actually see into the heart and mind of Paul. Ultimately our interpretations as to motive are entirely speculative. I do read it and, based on the references in the article, I do find the idea of Paul as intentional saboteur of Jesus’ message as being deliberate. He was an active persecutor; he participated in the stoning of Stephen; he fabricated a supernatural tale to explain an otherwise unlikely story of conversion needed to provide a cover of credibility. I do respect the possibility of other interpretations.

    • It’s also possible that Saul / Paul had a personality that craved influence and control. Like a dictator, cult leader, gang boss, power hungry politician, or greedy mega church leader, people in positions of authority and power can get carried away and lose themselves. They use control tactics to get their way, they fight with and silence their critics, and create their own rules and policy to further an idea or agenda they believe in. It’s entirely possible that Paul’s motives weren’t to subvert Jesus’ teachings, but rather to be in control of the direction of this new religion he chose to join but also wanted to lead. Obviously Paul didn’t want money, fame, and earthly glory, but he did want to be in control of the message, probably because he believed he knew better than everyone else. He wanted the church to grow, but in his own approved direction; even if it meant twisting truth, lying, using scare tactics, and ultimately doing a huge disservice to the teachings of Jesus. I also happen to believe that Paul never intended for his words to be considered scripture, on par with the prophets and stories of the OT. Perhaps if he knew what weight his teachings would carry, he would have chosen his words more carefully.

      • You are absolutely correct, PDiddyCreme, in your perception that “Paul never intended for his words to be considered scripture, on par with the prophets and stories of the OT.” In fact, he specifically writes this in his letters. As I note in my separate article on the Bible and its imperfections, Paul wrote in 1 Cor 7:12 “But to the rest speak I, not the lord…” (emphasis added); and 2 Cor 11:17 “That which I speak, I speak [it] not after the lord…” (emphasis added).
        My article on Bible internal contradictions, factual errors and commands from god to commit atrocities can be found at:

  31. It is irrefutable that Paul is in contradiction with Jesus and may be the prime reason the fables of the OT have been brought into any connection with Jesus and his mission. One observation I made is that Thomas – the Apostel who with the help of the medium Jesus- experienced a super conscious state which was second nature to Jesus but he is discredited by Paul (and many Jews) referring to him as drunkard and non-believer. Can that be just a coincident.

  32. Could not agree with you more and have felt this way for many years. Paul strikes me as an extremely angry and jugdemental guy with a pretty big “chip” on his shoulder. Much harm in the name of Christianity has been done during the past 2000 years in accordance to the writings of Paul. Jesus was the “original” advocate of women (and children), even appearing first to a woman on the Day of Resurrection. The message of the Messiah was one of tolerance, love and non-violence.

  33. Thank you! I am a regular lector in my Episcopalian Church and I cringe when I’m assigned to read Paul’s letters.Now I’m thinking that I should just refuse the honor of reading when the author of the week’s text is so abhorrent to me.

  34. Michael M. Eisman

    A small wrinkle in your presentation. Every since the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls scholars have been aware of the similarity of terminology between the sectarian literature of the scrolls and the vocabulary of the Gospel of John. Every since the 1950’s a growing number of scholars now consider the Gospel of John to be the earliest of the the gospels dating to about 45 C.E.(plus or minus a decade) rather than a reflection of the Gnostic ideas of the 2nd and 3rd centuries C.E..

    • Michael, you are incorrect both as to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of John. Academic and research scholars in Biblical antiquities are in broad consensus agreement. There is essentially zero contemporary secular literature that backs up any unique claims in the gospels, certainly not in the Dead Sea Scrolls or Nag Hammadi library (translations of which I have) and scholars are in agreement that John is chronologically the last of the gospels to be written.

      Specifically my sources regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi Library include several volumes that I have in my library and have referred to actively for many years:
      The Nag Hammadi Library, edited by James M. Robinson, general editor, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Claremont Graduate University and the founding director of the Institute for Antiquity and Early Christianity in Claremont; and
      The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship.

      My sources on the coming forth of the New Testament include:
      Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton L. Mack. (1995; San Francisco: HarperCollins) 326 pages. (Burton L. Mack is professor of early Christianity at the School of Theology at Claremont and associate scholar at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity in Claremont); and
      James, the Brother of Jesus, by Robert Eisenman (1997; Penguin Books) 1,074 pages. (Robert Eisenmann is Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach; Visiting Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford University; National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaelogical Research in Jerusalem; Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies).

      Please note, these are not self-taught amateur radio or television preachers; these are accredited scholars with high-level access to original source documents.

      In any case, none of that is directly relevant to the extensive citations of examples of direct contradictions between Paul and Jesus (along with Jesus’ brother James) provided in the article.

      • While you are right as to most of your post, I must point out that the issue regarding the Gospel of John does have relevance, direct relevance, regarding the contradictions between Jesus and Paul.

        The Gospel of John, being the last one written, is notorious for its claims that Jesus is Lord, that faith is all that matters and other things like Saul wanted. I have long been opposed to the Gospel of John because it contradicts Mark (and to a lesser degree Matthew) in so many details as well as sides with Saul.

        It would not surprise me at all to find out that John was written by a Saulist in order to legitimize the teachings of Saul.

        • While I agree with your assessment of the relevance of John (which, as I have noted at various times in these comments was written by the Johannine Community, named for John but followers of Paul), the comment is included for the benefit of those who do place high trust in John.

          As noted in my article on the Bible as a whole, I am careful in terms of what parts of the Bible I am inclined to take as being too literal or factual.

  35. Danizier, I have to say that your blogs(?)/articles are very interesting and thought provoking. I have been struggling for a long time to justify Creationism vs. Evolution, Belief vs. modern science, “Is God out there”, and “why does God punish the most moral and good and just of nonbelievers”, etc. I’ve even crafted my own definitions of what is Good and what is Evil. And your articles here help me to balance all the contradictions of the Bible with itself and modern science.

    While it doesn’t answer my questions of “Is God really out there”, “Who is God”, and “What happens after death”, it definately helps me make sense of Jesus’ teachings and that of the Roman Catholic church (I guess Paul was the founder; not Peter, as I thought). It even helps me align my own libertarian views with the teachings of Jesus. While your analyses(sp?) don’t answer all of my questions, they cetainly help with my spiritual piece of mind. I think I may take the Old Testament as Historical (kinda), Jesus’ teachings as [gospel; though I hate using the word], and just completely disregard Paul’s writings (save for his description of “love”).

    For that, I thank you. I may even be interested in reading your full book “Betrayal of Jesus”.

    • Addendum: Haven’t read all of your blogs yet, so some of my other questions may or may not be aswered after I do.

    • Hi Travis —

      My blog on Christianity and Contemporary issues addresses the issue of creationism and evolution.

      My blog entitled, “Is there a God?” addresses the question about the reality of a god.

      • I am so on the same page with all of your essays, but I ran into a problem regarding Jesus vs. Paul.

        I got to thinking you’re right. When people “witness”, or try to convert other people to Chrisitanity, they use Romans 3:23, something from Ephesians, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, etc. Paul’s books.

        But, wait a minute. What about John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. That sounds like Paul’s words. But John is one of the Four Gospels. Wasn’t John one of the Apostles that traveled with Jesus? What’s the context of this?

        So, I read it. John Chapter 3 is about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus about being “born again”, which generally means a spiritual change in a person’s life to align with God/Jesus. But, Jesus puts an aweful lot of emphasis on Believing in the Son of God (Faith) over good works (Behavior). So much so, that a person is judged by his Faith and cannot get into the Kingdom of Heaven without Faith. This account of Jesus’ own words seems to run contrary to what the rest of the Gospels say.

        I’m not aiming to prove you wrong. Maybe I just noticed my own inconsistency without someone pointing it out to me. But, how to you rectify or respond to this?

        • Travis, your question is a good one and one that commonly comes up. I did address it in the main article (you might have missed it), but the response has two aspects:

          1. In Paul’s epistles (letters) he repeatedly states that faith ALONE is the mechanism of justification. While he often extolls good deeds, they are completely omitted from the process of justification. Now if you look at the passage that contains John 3:16, marked by paragraphs in modern versions and paragraph markers in the old King James, you will see that in the same passage — the same passage — in verses 19-21 of John 3, Jesus (having just noted that if you believe you will be saved) goes on to say, immediately, that you cannot be saved without ACTING on that belief, not unlike James stating that “faith without works is dead.” Unlike Paul, Jesus does not separate the faith from the works.

          2. The gospel of John was not written by the apostle John who traveled with Jesus. It was chronologically the last to be written, almost 100 years after the events described, and was written by the Johannine Community, a sect of Paul’s followers named after the apostle John, but long, long after he was gone.

          In any case, even if Jesus had (according to the followers of Paul who wrote John) separated faith from works like Paul, that would just be another contradiction between what Jesus said in John and what he said elsewhere, and would have been covered in my essay on Bible contradictions instead of Paul vs. Jesus.

  36. I couldn’t agree more….I have a catholic school education and years of seeking Christ’s way, I have been so frustrated by the unquestioned devotion to Paul by so-called Christians. Finally I KNOW I am not alone. What I don’t understand is why (when it has been theologically proven MANY years ago) so many of the NT books are STILL being attributed to Paul as the author. It doesn’t matter who actually wrote them, as they support Paul’s beliefs, but Paul’s importance is inflated by virtue of his seeming majority of writings. I have found articles worth reading…Thank you.

  37. I grew up and was educated in a Catholic school on the south side of Chicago in the early 80’s. It was the most blessed, love filled four years of HS that I saw service and the unconditional love of Jesus for me reflected in the nuns eyes.

    Today, when I read stuff written by many Catholics I feel like aliens took over or something. From an early age we knew that Paul’s stuff were LETTERS written to new churches in response to fighting or difficulties. They weren’t gospel.

    We were taught that Jesus word was what to fall back on. Paul was like a comma – one tiny little paragraph each Sunday, while we were still sitting and maybe not even listening. Then, all the music, the prayer’s, standing up – for the word of Christ.

    Now that I’ve met especially conservative and evangelical christians and heard how they say that all words have equal value! And that only the death of christ is important, hardly ever reflecting on all the parables,,, I just don’t get it. It was very tough for me to see how people who knew Jesus were so so so not – with Jesus. They most of them were mean and always looking at the other person, for sins which I surmise is like a salve for that infected board in their own eye they don’t seem to think is there.

    I am NOT generalizing. I am confining my comments only to people that I met or conversed with.

    Although I know the New Testament pretty well, I read it everyday and it still gives me these goosepumpy a ha moments! I mean, how can you not imagine the bright burning light in Jesus eyes that the adulterous woman saw burning right through her with so much fricking big bright beautiful love! but instead focus on Jesus flimsy words don’t sin now girl.

    People think it was the words of Christ that this woman carried with her, that showed her a new way of living? – or the love?

    What makes people stop thinking and leave important concepts back to the mind of a 3rd grader? I saw this with earnestness! I want them to see the love that God gave for them and what it would look like if they gave it to “the other.”

    • Yes, Cindy – Jesus’ message was all about unconditional love, which is our true nature.

      Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 02:27:46 +0000 To:

    • theodore kumlander

      I like your comment unconditional love or a spiritual experience is impossible to describe in mere words. I have often thought that if all I wanted in life were those things that Jesus wanted I would be a happier man.

      • The message from JESUS is about unconditional love — friends, strangers, even hated enemies such as the Samaritans, who occupied the West Bank to the chagrin of the Jews. (If Jesus were giving his parable today on who would be saved based on compassionate deeds, he would tell the story of “The Good Palestinian” and for exactly the same reason.

        But the message from PAUL, in contradiction to Jesus, is that love is very much conditional — just like Santa Claus, if you don’t “believe,” you get coal instead of goodies.

    • Thank you Cindy, very well said. I would also like to add that author seems to ignore the fact that Jesus died on the Cross for all mankind, not just the individual. To me when Paul is talking about salvation, he is talking about creating a world without Roman Imperial Doctrine. Just look at what has happened after WWII. The European world had been run by imperialists since Roman times and the world had just created a weapon that could leave us all in a world of fire and death from a nuclear holocaust (Hell). Russia had become atheist under Stalin. If the U.S. was not a Christian Nation would we even be here today? The underling seed that all antichristians seem to not be able to find, is that Jesus did not die on the cross for them individually, he did it for all of us. Jesus was teaching to the masses and creating the seeds of truth for all of us. Paul was creating a church for which that seed could grow.

      • Actually, Erin, aside from the fact that you attribute to Paul viewpoints about a distinction between the individual and the collective not expressed in his letters, perspectives that you either just made up yourself or passed along from someone else, the author (me) does not ignore the Christian mythology of human sacrifice.

        But this doctrine is so fundamental to the theology of Paul and the conservative brands of “Christianity” that it merits its own separate, in-depth examination, which I have done in a separate article, found at:

  38. Great article! but the form of the comments is confusing and difficult to read.
    I have been known to say that Paul was the anti-Christ because he negated what Jesus taught. Glad to see someone with more knowledge than me also sees the contradictions.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Kim. Many who write seem surprised to learn that so many others have also noticed the very obvious contradictions between Paul and Jesus (along with Jesus’ brother James). The only thing I find surprising is that it isn’t obvious to absolutely everyone!

      As for the format for this comments section, I agree that it is sometimes tricky to navigate but, unfortunately, the format is set by WordPress and I do not have any control over how the formatting structure works.

  39. On the issue of Paul’s Roman citizenship, an important clue can be found in the life of his somewhat contemporary, Philo of Alexandria, about whose social and political life more is known. Although the following link deals with the plurality of early Christianity, I included a lot of details about Philo’s “dual” citizenship and what it meant to be an Alexandrian Jew and Roman citizen. If you’re interested, the references I’ve included provide a much more detailed history of Philo’s life and some of it could be used to more fully understand Paul’s social and political life. Thanks for your post, I enjoyed it.

  40. David Mitchell

    Well, as you said you know little about me other than what I have posted on here, and you certainly don’t know where I stand on most issues…my stand on most issues is probably more complex than yours because, unlike you and danizier, I don’t try to make issues simpler by simply removing anything from the discussion that makes me think and have to work thru complex issues. You want everything simple and easy…that isn’t life.

    • Just saying that your “stand on most issues is probably more complex” than someone else’s, with no ability to demonstrate even the slightest bit of complexity or analytical sophistication is an exercise in hollow self-congratulation without a single accomplishment to base it on.

      So far all we have seen from you is arguing against your own misrepresentations of content that you clearly either did not fully read or did not fully understand. You want everything simple and easy…that isn’t life.

      You want to wear badges of honor with no achievement to base them on.
      That isn’t life.

    • It is amusing to read your reply to my post above which was actually intended for Holly. Either my response went right over your head, or you had no idea of what I was responding to because you completely missed the point of what I said.

      I was responding to Holly’s comments about homosexuality and her seeming assertion that she knows my views on that issue. I haven’t said a single word about that so that what my response was to. Regarding my statement about my stand on most issues probably being more complex than Holly’s or yours…that wasn’t self congratulation, it was sarcasm directed at the fact that the only way you can defend your viewpoints is to eliminate pretty much all of the bible except for those few passages that support your viewpoints.

      It is a waste of time to respond to your assertions of scripture because you will simply say that I don’t really understand the passages and am misrepresenting content I either haven’t fully read or don’t fully understand (in other words…don’t understand as deeply as you do), but Galatians 5 which discusses the works of the flesh and fruits of the spirit which pretty directly says that if you live a life exhibiting the works of the flesh you won’t be saved…if you exhibit the works of the spirit you will. Sounds to me like there is more involved here than simply faith. I Corinthians 13 Paul states that Love is greater/more important than(based on context) faith. That is quite different than what you teach and speak here. And regarding Jesus (and I will grant this isn’t your statement but Holly’s, but it still is part of this discussion and you didn’t comment on it), Holly stated that Jesus healed the Centurian’s servant because of the love the centurian had for him (trying to say this is some sort of proof text that Jesus supported homosexuality?). But what does the text say. There is no mention of love in the passage…simply mention of the condition of the servant. In the end what does Jesus say? “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel…Go your way; and as you have BELIEVED, so let it be done for you.

      And look at Mark 2….When the paralyzed man is brought to Jesus…he sees their faith and say….”you are healed.”?…he says…your sins are forgiven. Jesus put great store in faith. Everywhere he talks about believing in him and in him who sent him.

      I could go on, but I doubt it is of much value to do so. I once had an advisor, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who studied under Thomas O. Lambdin. He always said that the more liberal the theologian, the less diverse the studying had to be, because liberal theologians regard fundamentalists as idiots and think it is a waste of time to study anything they have to say. Dr. McLean encouraged us to study everything…which is why I have read some of your writings. Our school motto was “All truth is God’s truth, no matter where it is found.” I have found that to be true. I can find truth reading the writings of people who hate God. That truth is still God’s truth. I don’t need your approval. I would probably be a little concerned if I received your approval;-). Learn to listen a little more though…you learn a lot more that way.

      • Again, you respond to that which you have either not read or at least not understood. In the main article above, and numerous times in this comments section, I have noted that Paul endorsed compassion and Jesus (and his brother James) were strong advocates of faith.

        To repeat in much-abbreviated fashion that which is already addressed repeatedly: the contradictory difference is that Jesus (and James) state that both faith and compassionate deeds are good, but that compassionate deeds are the mechanism of salvation that 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 the mechanism of salvation what gets you into heaven (but compassionate deeds are good because they are a reflection of the sincerity of faith, but not absolutely mandatory).

        I have cited the statements of Jesus and James regarding the above, including complete, self-contained passages with specific statements describing the basis of judgment or responding to specific questions about salvation, which never once even include the word “faith.” If you can construe an act of healing by faith as being the mechanism of salvation rather than a reflection of it then, at best, you have asserted that Jesus contradicts himself. As one who does not ascribe theistic infallibility to Jesus, I don’t have a problem with that.

        And rigid fundamentalists hurling unsupported insults at liberals is simply childish and meaningless, no matter how many letters are after their names. In any case, I have previously provided a link to my background. In any case, the childish nonsense attributed to Lambdin does not address those of us who began as conservatives and, after wide exposure (and you, David Mitchell, have no idea how much or how little or of what I have read, which will not stop you from jumping to unsupported conclusions) evolved from conservatives into liberals.

  41. david mitchell

    I am no going to attempt to debate you on your points here, but I would like to make one point. I have read the Bible since I firat learned to read and have read it in its entirety dozens of times.. I would guess I have read the New Testament at least a hundred times with the book o d James always having been among my favorite books…and in all that time I NEVER saw Paul and J ames as contradicting each other…nor Paul contradicting Jesus. Obviously from your articlw you find my assertion implausible…and will probably demand chapter and verse and all that, but I doubt I could change your view by doing that…it isnt about chapter and verae but about what is being said and why.

    I grew up listening to Keith Green…a christian musician the late 70s early 80s. He was awesome and one of his songs was a rendition of the Matt. 25 parable you referenced…the sheep and the goats. The last line was …”the only difference between the sh=p and the goats was what th we y did and didnt DO! ” POWERFULLY ILLUSTRATING YOURpoint about t he message of Jesus. He also had a song called asleep in the light which…had the following line. “He brings people to your door, but you turn them away as you smile and say Gos bless you be at peace and all heaven just weeps, cause Jesus came to your door….you left him out on the street.”. Again powerful words like the words of Jesus and James.

    But keith Green also wrote the following….
    “My child, my child why are you striving? You cant add 1 thing to what’s been done for you. I did it all while I was dying. Rest in your faith my peace will come to you.”

    It isnt either or it is both. There is no contradiction. The contradiction comes when we try to make it all fit into our conceptions of what it SHOULD be.

    • Thank you for your comment, David, and I also do not wish to debate or argue.

      I have shared specific examples of where Paul directly contradicts both Jesus and his brother James, with explicit chapter-and-verse references in comprehensive context. I have acknowledged, in the original commentary article and in other responses to comments from others, where Paul did agree with Jesus (and James), and where they contradict and why.

      With all respect, no matter how many times you have read the New Testament, including James (also one of my favorites), you have not addressed any of the specific points of contradiction.

      • David Mitchell

        Not to be “argumentative”, but you obviously missed the entire point of what I was trying to say, since you didn’t address anything I said other than my opening sentence…my bad… I obviously did a poor job of keeping your attention. My point was that many of the contradictions you mention such as faith vs work…really aren’t contradictions…to you it is logically implausible…even stupid to think the way I do, but I believe the problem lies in how we view the bible. If one views it as a highly flawed work of men., especially if parts differ from ones own personal beliefs while others don’t…then it is easy to subject interpretation to a methodology that doesn’t allow for unity of thought expressed in differing ways, and I am struggling to. Get my point across here.What I am really attempting to say is that our problem here is really a matter of our base assumptions. Your base assumption seems to be that we are dealing here with two diametrically opposed world views here that are irreconcilable (correct me if I am misstating your starting point here).
        My base assumption is that both viewpoints are christian viewpoints, but they are addressing extremism when one viewpoint is taken too far in one direction or the other, and we both know that both extremes occur frequently within christianity.
        Again, I am not attempting to argue against your article, but more to clarify what I said before
        …and hopefully to get a thoughtful reasoned response. I didn’t quote scripture and verse because all I am doing here is questioning you conclusions…not you evidence as presented.

        • Again, David, you are the one who either did not read or did not understand either what is in the article or what is repeatedly clarified in these comments. I specifically noted that Paul’s exaltation of faith and Jesus/James’ exaltation of compassionate are not at all inconsistent and that is not where the contradiction lies. As I specifically note in the article, and repeatedly in these comments, Paul also endorsed compassionate good works and Jesus/James also endorsed faith.

          The contradictory difference is in the mechanism of salvation: what it is that each teaches as to how we are saved. Paul says it is faith and not works, (though good works are a reflection of that faith) while Jesus teaches salvation without mentioning faith in the passages on salvation, and James — throwing Paul’s syntactical structure right back at him but reversing (contradictorally) the elements — that we are saved by deeds/works and not faith, though both James and Jesus teach the value of faith in motivating good works.

          And yes, a theology of salvation based on belief rather than action (however much one praises the action) does lend itself to fundamental differences in the theology and morality that follow, which we see manifest in the differences between the conservative “Christians” who claim to worship Jesus but tend to mostly quote Paul, and those who, like Jesus, are more liberal and try to follow (and tend to more often quote) Jesus.

          And that said, that is perhaps the most explicit and dramatic of the contradictions, but hardly the only one, and the article clearly cites more.

        • theodore kumlander

          your explanation’s of Paul, James and Jesus teachings has cleared up a lot of confusion I had with the new testament. I have always stuck to just the 4 Gospels , Mark in particular because it was the first, and now I know why. thanks. 🙂

        • Agreed, Theodore. But of the gospels, my favorite was always Matthew because, while Mark was written first, Matthew seems to be the most comprehensive, and demonstrates most clearly the role of universal compassionate love in salvation (Matt. 22:36-40 and, especially, his last general teaching in Matt. 25:31-46), though I also like how Luke adds the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) in which he chooses as his example of saving compassion even the hated enemy, the non-believing Samaritan, to illustrate his point.

      • I have understood what your article is about but have chosen to focus on one specific issue…and for a reason…your article is very wide ranging and the faith vs works issue is probably one of the more central issues. I will make a couple of points about the texts you discussed(James and Pauls views on faith and works), I also want to briefly comment on your assertion that Jesus never discussed faith and salvation, and lastly just briefly mention your assertions below concerning conservative vs liberal christians.

        First….in your discussion about faith vs works you chose Paul’s passage from Romans as your passage for comparison because they use the same words and syntax but the words are flip flopped so that whereas

        Paul says:.

        a man is justified by faith apart from works (of the law).

        James says

        by works a man is justified, and not by faith

        Oh wait….i am missing a word there in James….what James said was actually

        by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone.

        Martin Luther had a problem with this because Martin Luther did believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith…so when he added the word alone when he talked about being saved by faith…and indeed some Lutheran Synods completely hold that doctrinal view, and if your are referencing them when you speak of conservative christians, you are correct in your assertions, However….the word “alone” is not in paul’s writings. The reason for that is because he didn’t believe that we are saved only by faith. In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul states “For of this you can be sure, no immoral, impure, greedy person-such a man is an idolator-has any inheritance in the kingdom of God. Pauls contention was that the Gospel wasn’t just for the Jews, thus his assertion that the Law had been fulfilled in Christ and we were “no longer under the law but under Grace”. All of this led to the confrontation between him and Peter & James in Galatians 2….and the Jerusalem leaders of the Church appeared to agree that the gentile believers weren’t bound by the Law…as noted in Acts 15…and repeated in Acts 21. Clearly Paul did not believe that one could be saved without living righteously, but he did believe that regardless of how hard we try…it is only by God’s grace that we can live righteously. Peter recognized that the way that Paul said things did tend to lead to some issues in the church and addressed this when he said in 2 Peter 15-17::

        “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other scriptures to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”

        Peter understood what Paul was saying but recognized that there was real danger that many would twist and distort his writings into meaning something never intended, and he warned against falling into that. James was doing essentially the same thing…just more directly. People were distorting Paul’s words saying that he was saying…you can do anything you want…all that matters is grace all that matters if faith. James was countering those idiots…not Paul. He was saying…of course you need faith, but just saying you have faith means nothing..I can say i trust someone all i want, but if my actions show utter distrust…it is quite obvious that my words are just words. The actions themselves aren’t the trust…they are simply the demonstration of the trust…can i have actions that outwardly appear to show and demonstrate trust and not have trust?…that is the genius of what James said. He didn’t say you are saved by works by themselves…far from it. he said that our faith is made complete in our works. That is not a contradiction to what Paul said at all. If Paul had used the word ALONE, perhaps you would be right, but that isn’t what he said.

        Now regarding Jesus…he was constantly talking about…”believe in me”. The entire book of John has Jesus talking about the need to believe in him. John 3:16 is Jesus speaking. John 7:38 says “whoever believes in me, as the scriptures says, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 10:9 I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved. There are probably a dozen more passages in John, and the other gospels Jesus does speak of believing in him but I do admit that it is less direct.. I think it is quite a stretch to say that neither James nor Jesus believed that salvation came through faith in Jesus….but that is, i suppose a discussion for another day as i have no more time today to pursue this discussion.

        I do want to say one thing about your assertion regarding conservative christians holding to Paul’s teachings predominantly while liberal christians(using your terms here, not mine)…tend to quote James. My experience has been that there are portions of James that are much more quoted by more liberal christians than by the more conservative christians….but that the faith vs works passage is not one of those passages. The reason I say this is because there is great debate within the evangelical community over that very isssue. There are indeed those who hold that we are saved by grace alone thru faith and we have nothing whatsoever to do with our salvation…we don’t choose to believe…it is all GOD….and on that side there are some that distort things and say that this means we can do anything because grace covers all. But that is far from the dominant view within the evangelical community…the other extreme…within evangelicals believes that faith is necessary but that we cooperate with that faith….and that it is completely our choice to believe…and then we must work out our salvation through rigid self discipline…etc. Most conservatives lie somewhere in the middle of these extremes….what defines a conservative christian is simply their belief that the bible is God’s word….but how to interpret that word…even if you believe it is divinely inspired…I am only speaking here regarding this one issue….on this issue…conservative christians are all over the place…few, though hold exclusively to Paul’s teaching and most conservative christians I know…and i know quite a few….LOVE the book of James….with the exception perhaps of the first few verses of chapter 5 which is the one part that is most loved by liberal christians.

        Well, enough for now…I am enjoying the discussion.


        • In multiple passages, Jesus says that salvation is by universal compassionate deeds in self-contained passages that do not include any mention of faith or belief. In fact, when asked how we are saved and the reference goes to loving god and our neighbor as ourselves, Jesus cites as his example of the person who demonstrates that the hated NON-BELIEVING Samaritan.

          It would be like Jesus coming back to the Jews who occupy his native land today and citing as his example the “Good Palestinian” (and the Samaritans, who occupied the West Bank, were hated for much the same reasons as the Palestinians). Jesus clearly endorses faith in many passages, but in this one, as in Matt 25:31-46, a lengthy passage and his last general teaching before the Upper Room and “the end of things,” and the only one in which Jesus describes the final judgment, he never even mentions faith.

          As for John, the gospel was the last to be written, almost a hundred years after the fact, by the Johannine Community, a sect of Paul’s followers who had named their community after John. Yet even in the famous John 3:16, if you read the entire paragraph division, the full self-contained passage, Jesus concludes by saying something that Paul never does: that his believers may be saved, but he qualifies it by also saying they have to put that faith into action, without which they are condemned.

          And no, James does not retreat from Jesus. As I said, he does extoll faith and sees it as a contributing element but NOT part of the mechanism of salvation or justification. He throws Paul’s words back at him saying that you are NOT saved by faith, but by works, but does give a nod to faith as a possible contributing element with the word “alone.” But if there is any doubt, James does further clarify by TWICE using the expression in the same passage that “faith without works is DEAD,” barely six verses apart (verses 20 and 26 of chapter 2). And earlier in the chapter (v. 18) he says: “You show me your faith without your works and I’ll show you my faith BY my works.” He is clearly arguing against Paul on this point and saying that the mechanism of salvation is compassionate deeds — just as Jesus had said — though he gives a nod to the motivating role of faith, as I have also noted several times previously.

          And as for showing faith by works, the inverse of that is not true. You cannot show good works by faith. In fact, as I note in the main article, Jews described by Dr. Viktor Frankl, a German Jew who survived the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, who sacrificed of even their own starvation rations to ease the suffering of others, would be consigned to hell by the salvation-by-faith crowd because, as Jews, they do not accept Jesus as their savior, while Hitler, their murderer, who professed Jesus as his savior and vowed that his Reich would be a Christian state (see more detail in my article on contemporary issues), would be saved for his faith.

          I think Jesus and James would say that the compassionate Jews (or Buddhists or Hindus or Muslims or Wiccans or atheists … or Samaritans) would be saved and the believers who passed by on the other side are the ones who would miss the boat.

    • David, I have to commend you for your reading of the bible several times in it’s entirety. That is quite a task, since numbers is a snooze fest, but if you made it through it, good for you! You are aware, however, that reading and comprehending are totally different. For instance, homosexuality is very big in the news right now. I am sure that unless you live under a rock. you are aware of this. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about it… “…..” Nothing (Unless you consider the Roman Centurian and Jesus healing him due to the love he held for his slave) and Paul’s teachings on homosexuality, which was a great deal and none of it in a positive light. Now, I don’t know what religion you are, but in my belief, Jesus was divine and perfect, and Paul was a human and thus made mistakes. So, do you pin your hopes on the son of God who was divine, or should you call yourself a “Paulitian” rather than a Christian? The teachings of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you”.

      • Well said, Holly.
        David Mitchell (to whom your reply is directed) seems to reflect the common experience of those who have read the Bible, taken the word of others who have explained to them what it means, and are desperate to reconcile the teachings of Jesus and those of Paul who are so completely and diametrically opposed.

        • David Mitchell

          I am glad that you at least used the phrase…seems to….when attempting to represent where I have come to my views since you really don’t know. I will admit that my world view does influence how I view these passages, but then again so does your influence you. You would like tou say that you are purely rational in how you interpret the bible, but that isnt true…you have your own preconceptions… just like me and if I had time I could point them out….maybe I will…but I have come to my views rationally and consistently within my world view. I once said that if I ever found what I believe to be untrue, I would have to change my views because it would be inconceivable to believe something I knew wasnt true. Well, I still believe because you represent the best that those whodon’t believe have to offer, and although I haven’t the time or the eloquence to put into words the answers to all your false arguments, I clearly see the bankruptcy in your arguments.

        • David Mitchell — I agree that one’s perspective (one’s “world view”) provides the prism through which views are filtered. That is why my website shares my background and perspective.

          You will notice that, at the top of each of my page, just below the title, are two little boxes: one says “home” and one says “about.” I have chosen to use the “about” page for this site to provide an extensive description of my background and perspective, and how I came to the views I hold.

          In case you missed it, it is at:

          I find it interesting when someone with such simple and simplistic views has such an arrogant self-assessment, yet for all their whining about how someone else’s views are “bankrupt,” can’t even cite a single valid instance to call into question. It seems to be quite common for simplistic believers to make general comments about things “taken out of context” or, in your case, logically “bankrupt” without actually citing a single example of the inadequacy they are referring to.

        • I have studied this fairly extensively and I have to agree. I have shared this article with many people and I hope it will make an impact, unfortunately, the response I get most often is, “The bible said it, I believe it, that ends it” to which I ask them to please explain then why the bible contradicts itself -even as early as the creation story in Genesis. If they hear something that would make them THINK about the foundation of their faith, rather than study and prayer, they go into “You are being ruled by satan” mode, to which nothing I say after will even be considered. It is much like the witch trials, we’re going to tie you to a rock and throw you in the river, if you make it out alive it PROVES that you’re a witch, but if you drown, we made an “oopsey! You’re screwed either way. I hate to say it, but with a lot of people -people like David Miller, perhaps ignorance is bliss. Personally, I think God gave us a brain, a voice and free will so that we can study, see issues, pray and study on them and STILL find our faith. Why would God want people to be FORCED to worship him/her, (someone’s head just exploded LOL!) God could have created us to do just that, but chose not to, instead God gave us free will. YAY God!

  42. this passage had really cleared up this in my mind. I prayed and asked Jesus ti clear up things in my mind. I went to this web page shortly after I prayed.
    thank yiu for letting God use you.

    • Glad you found this useful, though I am not the first to point out the many direct ways in which Paul contradicts and undermines the teachings of Jesus and his brother James. Others have made similar points over the last several hundred years, often with much stronger voices than mine. I merely shared a perspective that was helpful to me, and glad you also found it helpful, but I would not at all claim that I am being used by any divine or supernatural influence.

  43. One thing that people do when discussing Paul is throw the woman hating card at him, and they bring up the “don’t speak in church” verse in 2 Timothy (I think?) up. Well, as you know, Paul used to attack people who preached the gospel before his Damascus Road experience (women as well as men). And, that was still a dangerous time to preach the word, and Paul didn’t want women getting hurt.

    • So in other words, in your attempt to rationalize the anti-woman oppression that opposed Jesus’ expansion of women’s roles, your claim is that Paul was a persecutor of early Christians (both men and women), became a Christian, and then wanted to protect only those weak, helpless women from people like himself, but not applying the same standard to obviously superior men.

      I suppose when Paul commanded that slaves obey their masters, this was just another example of his desire to protect the downtrodden.

      How convenient. How condescendingly paternalistic.
      How desperate.

      P.S. — your reference to 2 Timothy on women speaking in churches is just a wild guess. And you guessed wrong. The correct reference is 1 Cor 14:34-35. There is a verse from Timothy about women staying home and taking care of the kids, but it is FIRST Timothy 2:12 and 5:14, not SECOND Timothy. Elsewhere, Paul demands the subjugation of women to their husbands in Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18-19.

      You throw out “references” that you just pulled out of thin air. If you are going to “quote” scripture, you should at least look up the actual reference before you embarrass yourself by just blindly following what someone else tells you instead of actually looking it up for yourself.

  44. I found this article very enlightening! As always, however, the more truth that is revealed, the more questions we have.

    Perhaps you might be able to suggest some form of clarity that I have missed. This is relating to references made in this article, but is possibly not suited for posting here- but just in case, I will give it a shot.

    Jesus, as stated, was never in defiance of the law, but supported these beliefs. Yet also, as you mentioned, I would paraphrase that he summed up the law by saying that we must love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

    Yet when I think about it, there are many things in the law that are unloving. I feel this is somewhat contradictory. According to the law, the woman caught in sin ought to have been stoned. Yet, he loves his neighbor as himself here, and intervenes.

    Is it that he supports the law, but that what comes as a priority to everything else is that we must love God and our neighbors, first? And if so, why continue to support the law completely when so many statutes seem at odds? Or do we simply ignore the parts of the law that are unloving? To this effect, why would Jesus be such a fervent follower of the law, when there seem to be contradictions? I’m supposing that this comment might not be as directly related to the article as would be preferred, but perhaps someone could clarify?

    • Hi Eileen — you call attention to one of the great ironies in the contradictions between Jesus and Paul and, yes, I found your comment to be extremely relevant to the main article.

      As you correctly note, Jesus never explicitly repudiates the Law of Moses — on the contrary, he gives lip service to its inviolate integrity until the end of time (Matt 5:17-19) — yet does more than any other figure to undo the harshness and cruelty of its strict legalism.

      In deliciously ironic but equally-contradicting contrast, Paul repeatedly states (multiple references, cited in the main article) that the Law is “fulfilled” and no longer applicable to believers, directly contradicting Jesus’ statement that not even the slightest dot or iota would be abridged until ALL prophecies have been fulfilled and heaven and earth have passed away. Yet Paul, who says the Law is no longer operational, is the one who does more than any other (nominal) follower of Jesus to restore the harsh legalism of its spirit that Jesus, while giving lip service to the Law, had done so much to humanize.

      • Then what is the end product of that argument? Is the law in force or not? Which law? the Ten Commandments or all of Leviticus and the others? And what does this mean for homosexuals?

        • No fan of the Law of Moses here, especially prohibitions in Leviticus on eating shrimp, lobster, pork, clothes from mixed fabrics, tattoos or same-sex equality.

          Whatever the contradiction between Paul and Jesus (and James) means to homosexuals, the point is that Jesus contradicted Paul. While my personal preference in their many disagreements usually comes down in favor of Jesus over Paul, the fact is that they repeatedly contradicted on numerous points of doctrine, theology, law, morality and ethics.

  45. maybe these aren’t contradictions.
    what if you put your faith in God and God’s word, wouldn’t that cause your actions to change.
    Like, I believe in gravity, so I don’t jump out of planes without a parachute.

    how about the “be like a child”/ “Mature grouches” part. it would seem as if you’re saying that your sincerely held beliefs, have no effect on your actions. I think if you put your FAITH in Christ you will DO as he said, to the best of your ability, though no man is/ will be perfect.

    • You can try to explain why the passages don’t really mean what they so clearly, obviously and in fully-examined context say, but that does not change the fact that they say what they say.

      I cited chapter and verse for each of the many examples provided. You cited … nothing.

      As for faith leading to action, that is addressed in the article. Paul, Jesus and James all extol the virtues of both faith and deeds. The contradictory difference, which you ignore, is that Paul says that works are nice but reflect faith, which is the mechanism of salvation, while Jesus and James assert that (as you state) faith is wonderful because it inspires good deeds, but universal compassionate love, expressed actively in actions, is the mechanism of salvation. Again, extensive chapter and verse documentation is provided in the article.

      As for “God’s word,” assuming you are referring to the Bible, please understand that it was written decades after the events it describes occurs and is replete with extensive internal contradictions, factual errors, atrocities supposedly commanded by your god, and failed prophecies. While it also contains much inspiration and the best wisdom of a primitive tribal community, it is not to be taken literally. I address this subject in much greater depth in another article, at:

  46. I thank you so much for your disturbing contributions! I have read in a few minutes this article and the previous one (I guess: sorry if I’m wrong) on the contradictions and cruelties in the Bible.

    I will have to return to these and read them again carefully because I find them most stimulating.

    It’s like I have lifted up the veil and now many things seem to make much more sense: I never fully accepted the idea that faith alone is what leads us to Heaven (I was also thinking of the passages of the two children, the one who refuses to go to work in his father’s vineyard but eventually goes and the passage “Not those who say “O my Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but those who do my Father’s will” (sorry for mistakes, I am quoting by heart and translating in the process).

    Since I am Catholic, I would like to ask you: why is so that (at least in the Catholic rite) we end every reading from the Bible with “the Word of God”? Is it cherry-picking? 😀

    Also, what do you think of Luther’s thought? Western Christianity might have never broken if there had not been Paul!… The thought leaves me in despair: have we let a lie destroy us after all? Thank you very much for your posts: I think I will have a go at your other contributions… 🙂

  47. I have to disagree with the part about Adam and Eve and our “original sin” when God put the curse on Eve he made good on it. The pain is just as bad now as it was for her! I do like this post very much. I was brought up Christian and as I began to really understand what I was hearing I began to question things and always thought “this Paul guy makes everything sound sucky while Jesus makes things sound so good.”

    • Got it that you disagree with my points.

      The fact that you disagree does nothing to explain:

      1. Why eating a lousy fruit merits the death of the entire human species.

      2. Why god can’t think of any better response than to curse his creation and doesn’t have the grace, decency and understanding to help his imperfect creation improve.

      3. Why the rest of the human race has to inherit “original sin” for something that someone else did. How is it “justice” for anyone else to be punished for something they didn’t do — something someone else did?

      4. How does torturing and killing an innocent HUMAN SACRIFICE do anything to make someone else’s “sins” magically disappear?

      I discuss this whole subject in much more specific detail in a separate article on this site dedicated solely to this issue. If you wish to pursue this subject further, your comments would be more appropriate on that page.

  48. 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.

    • Some are willing to accept evidence. Many others are not.
      Sad for the latter.

    • Grace is easier. Humans are animals. Animals are natural. Nature takes the path of least resistance. That has been my hypothesis.

      • Exactly, Putresvigil — as noted in the article, Paul appealed to the lazy “Christians” who want to take the easy way or, as you put it, “the path of least resistance.”

        In contrast, Jesus called his way a burden and a cross. You can’t just nail your sins to someone else’s cross, you have to take up your own. You have do DO something.

        And he was very clear as to what that “something” is: universal compassionate love expressed actively through deeds.

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

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. thefightingmonk

    Well done. Very well done.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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….

  68. 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”.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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

  80. 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.

  81. 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:

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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:

  85. 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:

  86. 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?

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. “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.

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

  91. 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. 🙂

  92. 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.”

  93. 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.”

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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:

  99. 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.

  100. “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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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:

  105. 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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. 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.”

  110. 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.

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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.


  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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.

  117. Patricia McLaughlin

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

    u too. J IMHO.

  118. Patricia McLa