St. Paul's Vision


#1

An agnostic friend of mine asked me a question and I’m not sure how to respond. His question was “how can we be sure that say… St. Paul wasn’t deceived by demons when he had the supposed vision?”.

Could someone help provide an answer?


#2

“By their fruits you shall know them.” Were the results of St Paul’s vision and conversion (i.e. his subsequent life as an Apostle) evil or good? I think it’s pretty clear.


#3

Another aspect that lends credibility to the inspiration being from God, is that the message is consistent with the other witnesses and Gospels, and does not contradict the messages of Jesus. If it was demonic, it would have perverted the Gospel instead.


#4

I agree with you however, this is what he had to say:

How can we know that the teachings of religions weren’t inspired by malicious lifeforms (‘aliens’, ‘extraterrestrials’ et al.) to manipulate mankind?

“You shall know them by their fruit” isn’t a solid argument because the deception may not manifest for many more years to come or may not be easily noticed.

Supposed ‘visions’ and ‘miracles’ are also not proof of a benevolent spiritual being. “Feeling” God also isn’t a solid argument.


#5

Which vision? Paul had many…


#6

Does your friend know he’s not a demon ? Do you think he is ? Can you prove he is not ? Can he ? :slight_smile: People used to think epileptics were possessed by demons. And there are some who think St. Paul was an epileptic.

We have no way of proving that he was not deceived by demons, or did not have a fit of epilepsy - but neither can we prove that he was not Elvis Presley. There is no need to do so, because there is no basis for thinking that he was. People do not usually waste their time in refuting ideas for which there is no foundation except the idea itself: & one can’t argue from the idea that “Elvis Presley is St.Paul re-incarnated” to the conclusion that he was, because ideas need to be tested in some way if they are to be judged: & having them, is no test of their truth or their rationality or of anything else about them. The same applies to your friend’s idea. Having it, does not validate it.
Presumably no one expects your friend to give proof that would convince even the most sceptical that he is a human being, & not a demon - doesn’t St. Paul deserve the same courtesy of being believed ?

One assumes your friend is not a mathematical genius: few people are, yet such people exist. One also assumes, if he is an agnostic, that he is not a Saint or a mystic: again, few people are, yet such people exist. A modest person realises that although he does not possess certain gifts of mind or body, some people do - & that he cannot argue from his lack of them, to a universal lack of them. It’s not legitimate to reason from one’s own lack of visions or other mystical gifts, to their not having being given to others. If a man born blind insisted that no one else could see either, & that vision was a myth or a wish-fulfilment fantasy, he would be thought less than wise. Yet this is what people do, when they reason from their lack of mystical graces to the non-existence or falsity of those received by the Apostle. Those without the gift of faith, are not equipped to pronounce on the graces granted to those who have received it.

The profundity of St. Paul’s writings, the fruitfulness of his missionary labours, & the completeness of his conversion from persecutor to Apostle, fit very nicely with the belief that he was converted by Christ Himself. Your friend’s theory, OTOH, doesn’t - & the same goes for the other explanation.

I hope that helps :slight_smile:


#7

Evil spirits will never lead toward truth or toward God, they lead away. They deceive. They are the spirit of division, not of unity. They are the spirit leading to worship of self, not of God; that of pleasing and serving self rather than God through others. Examine the lives that Paul lead, both before his conversion and after. Clearly, he was allied with ego and evil at the start. Although remnants of his ego are perceptible in his writings, he endeavored constantly to overcome his weaknesses.

Since “some” agnostics “tend” to be centered on self, lacking the concept of responsibility to a higher form of anything, they seldom experience a life-changing experience as Paul did. However, that is but one revelation of God’s mercy and love. If he would but read some scripture and examine Christian practices, he might at least understand why you believe what you believe.

Christ’s peace.


#8

How can we know that the teachings of religions weren’t inspired by malicious lifeforms (‘aliens’, ‘extraterrestrials’ et al.) to manipulate mankind?

These extraterrestrials would have to be able to see hundreds of years into the future with flawless accuracy, of course, if they were going to take into account the prophesies of Daniel. So they’d have to have time machines, if they were going to make up Christianity.

“You shall know them by their fruit” isn’t a solid argument because the deception may not manifest for many more years to come or may not be easily noticed.

If it’s not easily noticeable, it’s probably not going to have a big impact on how people live their lives.

Perhaps the deception didn’t manifest itself for many years . . . but Paul’s writings show his beliefs right up to his going to Rome, and we know that he died there for his beliefs.

Supposed ‘visions’ and ‘miracles’ are also not proof of a benevolent spiritual being. “Feeling” God also isn’t a solid argument.

What about Jesus dying for mankind and rising from the dead in a glorified body? There is a lot of physical evidence that he did just that. The resurrection certainly establishes both Jesus’ benevolence and his power. The power of Jesus to transform people’s lives and make them righteous also helps to establish his divinity. It shows that he triumphed over sin, which is absolutely tremendous.

Jesus chose his 12 disciples. One betrayed him; all but one of the others died for him. We know of no major disagreements about theology between the apostles. This indicates that they were faithful to Jesus. Peter, at any rate, was clearly a leader amongst the disciples.

If Peter was a leader of the disciples, one appointed by Jesus and one who died for Jesus, he’s pretty reliable. He called Paul’s writings “scripture,” which indicates he believed they were absolutely true. This makes Paul credible.


#9

This guy is obviously not interested in having a serious or rational discussion at the moment, but is rather looking to bait you.


#10

Hi

I don’t think that Paul did see such a vision. He narrated it only to have religious authority which he manouvered with it.

I respect your religion.

Thanks


#11

If Paul had no vision, and the miracles didn’t happen, then he was lying when he said that they did. If he was lying, he was breaking the commands of God purposely. Which means he probably didn’t believe in the Christian God, for making stuff up about loads of miracles and theology would end him up surely in hell, if what Jesus said was true.

Paul died for God in Rome. That is the strongest testimony possible to the certainty he felt that what he had been preaching all along was true. If he was willing to die for what he believed, he must have believed it. Nobody dies for what they don’t believe in.


#12

Calling our great saints and teachers liars does not demonstrate much respect.


#13

You will recall that Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was en route to Damascus to arrest the early Christians and lead to captivity. He was a prominent figure who already had great authority from the prevailing religious/legal leaders. When he had the conversion experience, he was blinded, as was attested to by witnesses. God commanded a complete stranger how and where to restore Paul’s sight. His conversion lead to his own persecution and eventual death. Please tell me how that can be self-serving - unless his conversion lead to eternal life.


#14

I don’t think paarsurrey ever has read the NT, nor cares to do so. I am not sure where he gets his wild ideas of Christianity,but it is certainly not from any Christian source.


#15

Hi

I have read OTBible and NTBible from cover to cover and have also read Quran so many times and the books of the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908.
You may like to read one of his books "Jesus in India"
alislam.org/library/books/jesus-in-india/index.html
then you may form your own opinion.

If one has a choice to follow Jesus’ teachings or Paul’s teachings, my truthful preference is Jesus’ teachings, you may have your own.

Without any disrespect to your faith.

Thanks


#16

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