Did Paul Invent/Manipulate Christianity?

I’ve seen some argue that Paul was the driving force of the spread of Christianity, and he may have came up with the idea of Jesus being the Messiah and promoted the rejection of the Torah; and the concept of the Trinity only came out of Nicaea because the Pauline branch was the loudest/most prominent.

I have no idea. But lately, I’ve been learning to take comfort in the CCC and Church teaching on items such as this. Otherwise, you’ll go nuts with all the consipracy/Dan Brown type theories.

Pax Christi.

It really wouldn’t make sense if you think about it. Paul is introduced as a man who takes pride in zealously persecuting the early church, so why would he suddenly flip sides if not for the intervention of Christ (such intervention not being possible if he “just made it up”)? He would be going from one group where he already had an esteemed position to one that was (at best) reluctant to receive him. Sure, he became a big shot later, but there was no guarantee of that early on. Also Paul would have no real motive to start inventing doctrines for them if he believed that the ones they had to begin with were already wrong.

I’ve seen some argue that Paul was the driving force of the spread of Christianity

This is true, but we have ample evidence that the other Apostles were also driving forces.

and he may have came up with the idea of Jesus being the Messiah

The earliest writings we have from Paul mention the other apostles Apostles. Likely around 20 years after the death of Christ. For example, in the letter to the Galatians, Paul mentions Cephas and James. Here is what he says:

they only kept hearing that the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.

This shows that they had a common faith.

and promoted the rejection of the Torah;

I wouldn’t say it that way. See Galatians 2 where he mentions the council of Jerusalem.

The Council of Jerusalem.

1 Then after fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas,* taking Titus along also.
2 I went up in accord with a revelation,* and I presented to them the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles—but privately to those of repute—so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.

Paul presents this as a decision that was made together with the leaders of the church. I don’t see why we should not believe him.

and the concept of the Trinity only came out of Nicaea because the Pauline branch was the loudest/most prominent.

That’s a big 300 year jump being made there and neglects all the church fathers that came in between. There were definitely controversies before Nicaea. And the documents from Paul were certainly primary in evidence. But the I think the Trinity is most clearly displayed in the Gospel of John, who shows no dependence on Paul’s writings.

God bless,
Ut

That is pretty much the single biggest stretch I have ever come across. If these types of accusations are all that the anti-religion atheists can come up with then we have no fear of them causing too much trouble.:rolleyes:

Or it could be possible that Paul’s conversion story was simply made up to give him/his cause more credibility.

No.

For a good understanding of Paul I think you will find these audiences of Pope Benedict XVI interesting…

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061025_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061108_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061115_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061122_en.html

Series from the Year of St. Paul

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20080702_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20080827_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20080903_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20080910_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20080924_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081001_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081008_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081015_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081022_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081029_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081105_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081112_en.html

Faith and works in these two:

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081126_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081203_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081210_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090107_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090114_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090128_en.html

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20090204_en.html

books that contain them:

ignatius.com/Products/SPAUL-H/saint-paul.aspx

ignatius.com/Products/JAEC-H/jesus-the-apostles-and-the-early-church.aspx

Whatever we believe, there’s no doubt that Paul was instrumental in the spread of Christianity, and it’s changing from a sect of Judaism into a separate religion.

The fact that Paulus occupies so much of the new testament, gives the wrong impression that he also occupied so much of Christianity. If you look outside of the Bible you would see that the early Catholic Church did not depend that much on Paulus. After all he was only one of over more than 12 apostles and most churches have been founded by other Apostles, in fact I am not aware of any church that has a apostolic succession that is based on Paulus and most churches have never been visited by him at all.

The truth is that Christianity was invented by the second Vatican council!:eek:

This is important. We have Ignatius of Antioch and others with connection to John the Apostle; then we have the church at Rome with its dependency on Peter’s (and Paul’s) preaching. And then there are traditions about where the other apostles went.

The truth is that Christianity was invented by the second Vatican council!:eek:

I don’t know what that means.

I ask again, why? Why would he join a cause that he had until then vehemently hate? Why would he intentionally add false doctrine to what he thought was already a bunch of false doctrines?

And I’ll reiterate again, maybe Paul never vehemently hated Christians/Christianity. Maybe that was cooked up to lend more credibility towards his movement.

Its like when people fake conversion stories today. They claim to be professors, scientists, ex-militant atheists, doctors, etc. and speak of their conversion, as if their title or image as a “smart person” gives credibility. The thinking of, “well if a vehement militant atheist scientist found it to be true after all, then there is a good possibility it is true” or “A militant atheist scientist has nothing to gain from converting, so his testimony shows that the power of God is true and powerful if even he can be changed.”

Not to be pedantic or anything, but you aren’t reiterating because you didn’t technically say that. When I hear “Paul’s conversion” I think of when Paul had a vision of Christ, went blind and may or may not have fallen off his horse. You made a pretty big assumption that all of the earlier stuff would be naturally grouped in with the phrase. Anyway . …

Its like when people fake conversion stories today. They claim to be professors, scientists, ex-militant atheists, doctors, etc. and speak of their conversion, as if their title or image as a “smart person” gives credibility. The thinking of, “well if a vehement militant atheist scientist found it to be true after all, then there is a good possibility it is true” or “A militant atheist scientist has nothing to gain from converting, so his testimony shows that the power of God is true and powerful if even he can be changed.”

The problem is that with your example is if someone were to pull that, it would only work if their supposed former non-belief was very private. Paul’s was not. He had a reputation for persecuting Christians. Acts 9 tells us that when Ananias was first asked to baptize Paul, his first reaction was basically “But Lord, I’ve heard about that guy. He hates our guts.” When Paul went back to Jerusalem, most of the disciples were afraid of him because, y’know, persecution. They were reacting to something that they had firsthand knowledge of.

Acts and the Pauline epistles were written when Paul and people who knew him were still alive. If he were making up his former hate of Christianity, then surely someone would say “Wait a minute. I don’t seem to remember Paul physically dragging people out of their homes to have them imprisoned” and called him out on it

How do you know that Paul’s was not? He may have never persecuted a single Christian and the story cooked up to lend credibility and to showcase the power of God and conversion.

Acts 9 tells us…

Exactly. You’re using the Bible to prove itself. Circular reasoning.

Well… Not really at all. The Bible at that time wasn’t a single book that people read all in one sitting. It’s made up of many books by many different authors. Saying that Acts mentions Paul is really no different than finding that two historical records in a library mention George Washington. Saying it’s circular reasoning to use the Bible as a source is like saying it’s circular reasoning to use a library or an encyclopedia.

It was all written by the same movement.

Talk about prejudice! :slight_smile:

God bless,
Ut

Its prejudice to point out the fact that the books of the Bible were all written by Christians?

That would require everyone, including the non-Christians he knew before his conversion, to be in on it. Dozens or even hundreds of people would have to go along with something that flew in the face of public knowledge. Paul went around getting people thrown into prison, threatening people and even ask for (and receiving) approval from the high priest. These are public things that the general population would notice and remember. If he said he did these things but no one remembered him doing them, then surely somebody, particularly the Jews or some of Paul’s opponents within Christianity, would challenge him.

Exactly. You’re using the Bible to prove itself. Circular reasoning.

And what sources do you have? None, just a conspiracy theory backed only by “well maybe . . .”

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