Did Paul Start Christianity?


#1

The main argument that Muslims seem to make is that Paul is the one who started Christianity and “distorted” the Bibe and Jesus’s teachings. I think this is a belief that completely contradicts history, and am quoting from some past posts I made. I present the following questions to all Muslims;

  1. How could Paul have started Christianity if St. Stephen is the first martyr?

  2. If Saul approved of killing Christians, why would he deliberately suddenly support their teachings, evangelize the religion and even die for it?

Saul was present at the stoning to death of St. Stephen (the first Christian martyr). In these times the Jewish law permitted stoning to death for blasphemy, and Saul approved of the killing of him. Therefore, how could Paul have created Christianity if the first Christian martyr in history is recorded to be St Stephen.
My source; ewtn.com/library/MARY/STEPHEN2.htm

Saul hated and persecuted Christians, and even approved of stoning them to death. He strictly followed the Jewish law of his time. After he claimed that Jesus appeared to him, he converted to Christianity, preached in Greece, performed miracles (such as healing other people by touching the cloth), preached about Jesus and blessed many people. Finally, and I’m not sure if many of you knew this, Paul was beheaded 65 ad at Rome, Italy for his beliefs. Mere coincidence? Something EXTRAORDINARY had to have occured in order to change this man’s life around, and I’m pretty sure it must have been something out of the ordinary (when Jesus appeared to him, of course).

My source; catholic-forum.com/saints/saintp12.htm


#2

Ignorance of history is ignorance of the Catholic Church.

:smiley:

Pio


#3

Greetings PMV;
Through the above quote I understand that the followers of Jesus existed when Paul (Saul at that time) did not yet convert to Christianity; they were not called Christians yet.

Before going any further, may I ask you a simple question: what did those followers believe as far as the nature of Jesus is concerned? Did they believe in his divinity, his son ship to God and in the trinity?
We should keep in mind that the verses used today to prove Jesus’ divinity, his son ship to God and the trinity are extracted from Paul’s epistles, the synoptic gospels and the gospel of John. None of those documents were available to the first Christians Saul is reported to have hated and persecuted (St Stephen being one of them). The epistles of Paul did not obviously exist at that time since he did not convert yet and the Synoptic gospels and the gospel of John were written at a later date.

Thank you.
Joseph.


#4

Before going any further, may I ask you a simple question: what did those followers believe as far as the nature of Jesus is concerned? Did they believe in his divinity, his son ship to God and in the trinity?

May I answer your question, if you please.

First of all, I don’t know if you read the Sacred Scriptures. The fact alone that Saul persecuted the Christians because of their belief in Christ is a testimony of the veracity of Paul’s writings when he converted to Christianity.

On the other hand, it is not only Paul who witness to the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you forgotten the 12 Apostles? Their testimonies were written in the Gospels. The oral testimonies predates the written Gospels. It is the same Gospel message. The Gospels gives witness to the identity of Christ Jesus.

Pio


#5

[quote=hlgomez]On the other hand, it is not only Paul who witness to the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you forgotten the 12 Apostles? Their testimonies were written in the Gospels, besides the oral testimoniest that were handed down. The Gospels gives witness to the identity of Christ Jesus.

Pio
[/quote]

That’s why he also mentions that apparently all of the gospels were written at a later date than Paul’s epistles (don’t know if that’s even true or not)… to attempt to discredit them also. As if the people who knew Jesus first-hand were somehow fooled by this so-called “false teaching” of Paul as well. What does he think? That Paul somehow got his hands of all of the gospels later on and changed them? :rolleyes:

Anyway, didn’t at least some of the apostles outlive Paul? He and Peter died at about the same time for one thing.


#6

Mark was Peter’s scribe, so the Gospel of Mark is Peter’s recounting. The Gospel of Matthew was recorded very early on in Aramaic, it’s the Greek version that has a later date. Luke and John were apparently later, though only Luke can definately be said to be so. John is considered later mostly because it is so thorough, but there is no hard evidence putting it at a later time.

In short, at least two of the Synoptics either predate Paul’s letters, or are concurrent with them, and come from two different Apostles, one of whom is Peter himself, who we know did a LOT of work spreading the faith, perhaps more than Paul. Even a very basic historical study indicates that Paul simply joined up with a movement already in progress. The fact that we have more of his writings simply indicates that he wrote more, which is entirely consistant with our knowledge of him as one of the few, if not the only, highly educated Apostles.

Furthermore, if Paul were trying to push a new faith, why didn’t he make more of a personal claim to it? On the contrary, it is clear in his writings that he is a relative late-comer to the faith, albeit one with a knack for using a pen. He makes no claims of any new personal revelations. On the contrary, he makes claims asserting what has apparently already been taught by the other Apostles. Absolutely nothing, inside or outside of Scripture, indicates that Paul had any kind originating part in the Christian faith.


#7

[quote=Joseph_Alison]Greetings PMV;
Through the above quote I understand that the followers of Jesus existed when Paul (Saul at that time) did not yet convert to Christianity; they were not called Christians yet.

Before going any further, may I ask you a simple question: what did those followers believe as far as the nature of Jesus is concerned? Did they believe in his divinity, his son ship to God and in the trinity?

[/quote]

Yes they believed in His divinity. That’s why the Jews said it was blasphemy worthy of stoning.


#8

The following is an excerpt from the Didache, dated 70 A.D. There is no known connection between St. Paul and the author of the Didache:

… And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit

Next, from the Epistle of Barnabas - 80-120 A.D. (again…not canonical and has no known connection to St. Paul):

Barnabas 12:10 Behold again it is Jesus, not a son of man, but the Son of God, and
He was revealed in the flesh in a figure.

You are going to have to debunk a whole lot more than the Gospels if you are going to claim that 1st Century Christians *only *received what they knew about the divinity of Jesus from St. Paul!

earlychristianwritings.com/

By the way, here’s a link to the dating of the Gospels (from errantskeptics.com):
errantskeptics.org/Dating_the_NT.htm

When you keep in mind that communication was neither perfect nor instantaneous, it’s hard to argue that a lone rogue Pharasee was able to pop up out of nowhere and convince tens of thousands (and subsequently billions) that he knew the “real Jesus” without ever having laid eyes on Him…well…actually… I ***can ***think of one guy who pulled this off…(but he didn’t have eye-witnesses to compete with…)

Shalom,
RyanL


#9

Yes I do. I have a very good Bible search software in my computer and it has the possibility to search from numerous Bibles translations from its database.

On the other hand, it is not only Paul who witness to the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you forgotten the 12 Apostles? Their testimonies were written in the Gospels. The oral testimonies predates the written Gospels. It is the same Gospel message. The Gospels gives witness to the identity of Christ Jesus.

We can’t speculate about the countenance of the oral testimonies that predated the written Gospels, so we are left to look at the written ones.
Among the apostles you mentioned, I think Peter was the closest to Jesus Christ. So what did Peter believe about the nature of Jesus?
There is an instance in the Bible where Jesus asked his companions who they think he was. That instance is reported in the three synoptic Gospels: Mark, Mathew and Luke; would the apostles have answered incorrectly, Jesus would have certainly been very swift to correct them.

MT 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mt 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Mk 8:29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

Lk 9:20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

As you can see above it was Peter who answered Jesus, and the three gospels show three different answers, which one is correct? And please notice that none of the gospels reports that Peter said “you are God”, If Jesus was God, he would have immediately corrected Peter as he would have omitted one very important aspect of the supposed nature of his master.

Only Mt 16:16 states that Peter mentioned the son ship of Jesus to God, but son was also used to mean “servant” in those times. The ongoing verses Mt 16:17 to 19 shows a reaction to Peter’s answer from Jesus, but that reaction is not found in Luke or Mark. Jesus said to Peter: Mat 16:17 “17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” If it was the Father who inspired the answer of Peter, then the Father omitted to reveal to him a very important thing, mainly the supposed divinity of Jesus.

The fact alone that Saul persecuted the Christians because of their belief in Christ is a testimony of the veracity of Paul’s writings when he converted to Christianity.

How do you know he persecuted them because of their belief in the nature of Jesus Christ as being God or His son? It could well be that Saul persecuted them simply because they were his (Jesus) followers. Jesus was hated and so were his followers. Moreover, Paul himself gave a hint to why he persecuted Jesus followers when he wrote to the Galatians saying:
“GAL 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
GAL 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers”
As you can see, he persecuted the early Christians because he said he was “exceedingly zealous" of the traditions of his fathers, it was all about traditions; the early Christians deviated from the traditions of the fathers of Saul (and their fathers, those followers were Jews after all) and it was enough reason to persecute them. They believed that Jesus was the Christ (the Messiah) as show above in Peter’s answer to the question of Jesus, a belief the Jews could not cope with, they are still waiting for the Messiah to come, while he was among them 2000 years ago.

Muslims also believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) was the Messiah as well as a prophet of God. He, as well as his mother, are held in high esteem by Muslims and if my memory does not fail me, his mother is the only woman ever cited in the whole Quran.

PS: Not being a Christian, I tend not to approach the Christian scriptures with the same feeling of holiness as my Christian friends. I ask forgiveness from anyone who feels offended by what I wrote. It is not my intent to offend anyone.

Best Regards.
Joseph.


#10

No, we don’t speculate about the oral testimonies. We don’t have to. The Church has preserved them and passed them down to us.


#11

Warm greetings geezerbob;
I found your bottom quote nice and inspiring. It reminded me of something of the same nature we have in Islam and it goes like this: Work for your earthy life as if you will live forever, and work for your hereafter as if you will die tomorrow.
You know, in Islam we believe that paradise is achieved through faith and good works, hence the second part of the above quote.

Regards.
Joseph.


#12

[quote=PMV]The main argument that Muslims seem to make is that Paul is the one who started Christianity and “distorted” the Bibe and Jesus’s teachings. I think this is a belief that completely contradicts history, and am quoting from some past posts I made. I present the following questions to all Muslims;

  1. How could Paul have started Christianity if St. Stephen is the first martyr?

  2. If Saul approved of killing Christians, why would he deliberately suddenly support their teachings, evangelize the religion and even die for it?

Saul was present at the stoning to death of St. Stephen (the first Christian martyr). In these times the Jewish law permitted stoning to death for blasphemy, and Saul approved of the killing of him. Therefore, how could Paul have created Christianity if the first Christian martyr in history is recorded to be St Stephen.
My source; ewtn.com/library/MARY/STEPHEN2.htm

Saul hated and persecuted Christians, and even approved of stoning them to death. He strictly followed the Jewish law of his time. After he claimed that Jesus appeared to him, he converted to Christianity, preached in Greece, performed miracles (such as healing other people by touching the cloth), preached about Jesus and blessed many people. Finally, and I’m not sure if many of you knew this, Paul was beheaded 65 ad at Rome, Italy for his beliefs. Mere coincidence? Something EXTRAORDINARY had to have occured in order to change this man’s life around, and I’m pretty sure it must have been something out of the ordinary (when Jesus appeared to him, of course).

My source; catholic-forum.com/saints/saintp12.htm
[/quote]

Greetings PMV;
I suggest for your reading the following article and it is not written by a Muslim.Click HERE

Regards.
Joseph


#13

Joseph,

I read some of that site, but quit once I realized that it had only a minimal basis in reality and quite a large basis in pure speculation. Here’s an example:

Questions concerning II Thessalonians, would bring doubt as to Paul’s authorship. The eschatology is way off and there is also a prophecy of the advent of Evil. The anti-Christ who has all power evidences an ‘anti-religion’ theme rather than an ‘anti-Christian’ motif. It is certainly not Pauline.

Here the author makes no attempt at determining how the Church understands St. Paul’s eschatology, and presents only one side. To conclude, he determines that it is “certainly not” without having given any scholarly foundation for why he believes the ‘anti-religion / anti-Christ’ dichotomy is as he claims. He simply claims that it is, and that’s that.

A growing number of scholars now believe that the epistle [Ephesians] is pseudonymous, but it must also be noted that this feeling is not unanimous; a number of excellent critics are not convinced that the letter is not Paul’s.

Here he claims that because a “growing number of scholars” believe this, we should as well. Well…a growing number of scholars believe that there is no God, a growing number of scholars believe that Jesus never existed at all, and a growing number of scholars believe that Christianity is to be firmly believed. This argument cuts both ways, and he only presents one side then declares the matter closed.

Bottom line - this site is bunk. I recommend that no one else waste their time there.

Peace,
RyanL


#14

if your only way of disproving Christianity is by suggesting some conspiracy theory then you need to stop. No one in the right frame of mind will buy any of this stuff. Its rediculous, and is not consistant to begin with. What you are basicly saying is for 2000 years schalors and historian were getting wrong.


#15

[quote=chb03c]if your only way of disproving Christianity is by suggesting some conspiracy theory then you need to stop. No one in the right frame of mind will buy any of this stuff. Its rediculous, and is not consistant to begin with. What you are basicly saying is for 2000 years schalors and historian were getting wrong.
[/quote]

Greetings chb03c;
It took me almost five hours to read the article and check the references it points to and I am not finished yet. In a time gap of one hour -from 5:42PM the time I posted my reply to 6:44PM the time of your reply- you had your mind setup: conspiracy theory! Please take time to read the article you have nothing to loose; I did not write it, a Christian did.

Regards.
Joseph.


#16

The twelve Apostles weren’t martyred for St Paul, they were martyred for Jesus.


#17

[quote=buffalo]The twelve Apostles weren’t martyred for St Paul, they were martyred for Jesus.
[/quote]

Well, 11 of them at least. I think Saint John was the only apostle who wasn’t martyred.


#18

[quote=exoflare]Well, 11 of them at least. I think Saint John was the only apostle who wasn’t martyred.
[/quote]

Technically, Judas (#12) isn’t a martyr either. He committed suicide because he knew he had betrayed the Son of God. SO…10 of 11 faithful followers were martyred for what they believed. The 11th was spared the same fate by the grace and will of God, who allowed him to live so that he might protect Jesus’ Blessed Mother. The 12th wasn’t a martyr, but did die because of what he believed about Jesus…

Peace,
RyanL


#19

[quote=RyanL]Technically, Judas (#12) isn’t a martyr either. He committed suicide because he knew he had betrayed the Son of God. SO…10 of 11 faithful followers were martyred for what they believed. The 11th was spared the same fate by the grace and will of God, who allowed him to live so that he might protect Jesus’ Blessed Mother. The 12th wasn’t a martyr, but did die because of what he believed about Jesus…

Peace,
RyanL
[/quote]

Yeah but I’m referring to the 12 as including Matthias, who replaced Judas later on as one of the 12. I think he was martyred too.


#20

[quote=exoflare]Yeah but I’m referring to the 12 as including Matthias, who replaced Judas later on as one of the 12. I think he was martyred too.
[/quote]

Roger, copy all. My bad!

Peace,
RyanL


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