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Switch to Forum Live View How did Paul know it was Jesus?
2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 1:34PM #1
Kwinters
Posts: 21,010
Paul never knew the earthly Jesus, so how would he know it was Jesus who appeared to him?

He might have thought it was Jesus, he might have believed it was Jesus.  But why should anyone have confidence that the thing that Paul experienced was, in fact, Jesus and not something or someone else pretending to be him? 
Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 1:51PM #2
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,776

May 8, 2012 -- 1:34PM, Kwinters wrote:

Paul never knew the earthly Jesus, so how would he know it was Jesus who appeared to him?

He might have thought it was Jesus, he might have believed it was Jesus.  But why should anyone have confidence that the thing that Paul experienced was, in fact, Jesus and not something or someone else pretending to be him? 



This is an excellent question. I doubt you'll get a straight answer.


If he actually saw something, it could have been hallucination. OR it could have been any number of other things. Or nothing at all.


It could have been a different god all together. There are many options, he took the one that he thought would give him the most power.


What always stuns me is how people follow this other human being.  Someone they have never met and argue he was right.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:05PM #3
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

May 8, 2012 -- 1:34PM, Kwinters wrote:

Paul never knew the earthly Jesus, so how would he know it was Jesus who appeared to him?

He might have thought it was Jesus, he might have believed it was Jesus.  But why should anyone have confidence that the thing that Paul experienced was, in fact, Jesus and not something or someone else pretending to be him? 



According to the story in Acts, Paul is struck blind during the roadside visitation. Meanwhile, a guy named Ananias in Damascus receives a vision from Jesus telling him to go find Paul and heal him in Jesus's name, which he does.


So, can we assume that "know" means "have a justified true belief?"


If "things we believe regardless of whether or not they are really true" is one circle and "things  that are true regardless of whether anyone believes them" is another, then "things we know" is the part of the Venn diagram where those two circles overlap.


Paul believed that it was Jesus, and for those who accept such evidence Ananias's vision and healing in Jesus's name would back that up and provide justification and evidence for that belief, making is a "justified true belief" and allowing Paul to know that it was Jesus.


Why should anyone else have confidence that  this was the case? As with most things, it boils down to trust and faith. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to. Judging the tree by the fruit it bears, the church has generally considered that Paul's ministry was valid.

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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:06PM #4
Kwinters
Posts: 21,010

May 8, 2012 -- 1:51PM, mainecaptain wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 1:34PM, Kwinters wrote:

Paul never knew the earthly Jesus, so how would he know it was Jesus who appeared to him?

He might have thought it was Jesus, he might have believed it was Jesus.  But why should anyone have confidence that the thing that Paul experienced was, in fact, Jesus and not something or someone else pretending to be him? 



This is an excellent question. I doubt you'll get a straight answer.


If he actually saw something, it could have been hallucination. OR it could have been any number of other things. Or nothing at all.


It could have been a different god all together. There are many options, he took the one that he thought would give him the most power.


What always stuns me is how people follow this other human being.  Someone they have never met and argue he was right.




Agreed, it could also have been a vision or an hallucination.  These are certainly valid alternatives to an appearance by the actual Jesus. They are variations on the same key theme, though: why should we trust that Paul's claims were accurate. 


If we examine the possibilities there are many (and probably many I have not listed)


1. Paul was lying.


2. Paul was delusional, but not deceitful.


3. Paul had an hallucination, but was not deceitful.


4. Paul had a vision of a spiritual nature and interpreted it to be Jesus.


5. Paul had a vision inspired by Satan pretending to be Jesus.


6. Paul had a real experience of Jesus.



That's not great odds: 1 in 6 chance, if we go on probability.  And of course with each new, discrete category the odds that Paul's experience was of the real Jesus goes down.


So what evidence exists for accepting the idea that Paul had accurate knowledge of what he saw, and that it was real?

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:08PM #5
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

May 8, 2012 -- 1:51PM, mainecaptain wrote:


It could have been a different god all together. There are many options, he took the one that he thought would give him the most power.





Why do you assume that he was being cynical and self-serving? Is it really impossible for a Christian to be sincere? What "power" did Paul get from this? Not enough to keep him from being executed by Rome.


I like you, maincaptain, but I really don't understand your hostility to Christianity and Christians.

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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:08PM #6
Kwinters
Posts: 21,010

May 8, 2012 -- 2:05PM, nieciedo wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 1:34PM, Kwinters wrote:

Paul never knew the earthly Jesus, so how would he know it was Jesus who appeared to him?

He might have thought it was Jesus, he might have believed it was Jesus.  But why should anyone have confidence that the thing that Paul experienced was, in fact, Jesus and not something or someone else pretending to be him? 



According to the story in Acts, Paul is struck blind during the roadside visitation. Meanwhile, a guy named Ananias in Damascus receives a vision from Jesus telling him to go find Paul and heal him in Jesus's name, which he does.


So, can we assume that "know" means "have a justified true belief?"


If "things we believe regardless of whether or not they are really true" is one circle and "things  that are true regardless of whether anyone believes them" is another, then "things we know" is the part of the Venn diagram where those two circles overlap.


Paul believed that it was Jesus, and for those who accept such evidence Ananias's vision and healing in Jesus's name would back that up and provide justification and evidence for that belief, making is a "justified true belief" and allowing Paul to know that it was Jesus.


Why should anyone else have confidence that  this was the case? As with most things, it boils down to trust and faith. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to. Judging the tree by the fruit it bears, the church has generally considered that Paul's ministry was valid.





I tend to prefer Paul's own words to the stories told about him much later.  Paul does not describe this road to Damascus incident anywhere in his letters.  


And citing other people's acceptance of his story does not validate it.  In fact we have evidence from Paul's own letters that his gospel produced conflict, counter missionaries and hostility in the early church.

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:20PM #7
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

May 8, 2012 -- 2:08PM, Kwinters wrote:


I tend to prefer Paul's own words to the stories told about him much later.  Paul does not describe this road to Damascus incident anywhere in his letters.  


And citing other people's acceptance of his story does not validate it.  In fact we have evidence from Paul's own letters that his gospel produced conflict, counter missionaries and hostility in the early church.




Fair enough. If you don't want to believe it, then you don't have to.


The Pauline corpus does not contradict the Luke/Acts community's story, which very easily could have been derived from Paul himself. That's the limit of the evidence we have. If that's not enough for you, then, don't be a Christian I guess?

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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:33PM #8
tfvespasianus
Posts: 2,028
I don't think the idea that it wasn't Jesus Christ (i.e. St. Paul could have been mistaken) is really going to have legs as any kind of convincing argument to a christian. I say that because iterations could be used for any revelation for numerous faiths. For example, how did Joseph Smith/Mohammed know it was an angel? How did Hilkiah know it was the right book? What about Bahaullah?

 

I think any given faith takes certain things as axiomatic (as an aside, that precludes the authenticity of other revelations) and moves from there.
Ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant - Tacitus
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:49PM #9
Kwinters
Posts: 21,010

May 8, 2012 -- 2:20PM, nieciedo wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 2:08PM, Kwinters wrote:


I tend to prefer Paul's own words to the stories told about him much later.  Paul does not describe this road to Damascus incident anywhere in his letters.  


And citing other people's acceptance of his story does not validate it.  In fact we have evidence from Paul's own letters that his gospel produced conflict, counter missionaries and hostility in the early church.




Fair enough. If you don't want to believe it, then you don't have to.


The Pauline corpus does not contradict the Luke/Acts community's story, which very easily could have been derived from Paul himself. That's the limit of the evidence we have. If that's not enough for you, then, don't be a Christian I guess?





Did you actually check what Acts and Paul each say before you wrote that?



Sacrificing Paul's Credibility to Rescue Acts


In Galatians it is clearly stated by Paul that after his conversion he went once to Jerusalem to see Peter and then again 14 years later. Yet Acts has him going to Jerusalem three times during this same period of time. .


Galatians 1:18 ... after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter ... 


Galatians 2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem ... 



Acts 9:26 ... when Saul was come to Jerusalem ... 


Acts 11:30 & 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry ... 


Acts 15:2 ... they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem ... 




To argue that Galatians 2:1-10 occurred during Paul's alleged Jerusalem visit in Acts 11:27-30 & 12:25 is to completely dismiss what was agreed to in Galatians 2:1-10. For after that alleged visit the Paul of Acts continues to go unto the circumcision, a clear violation to what is agreed to in Galatians 2:9. On top of that, if the agreement had occurred during that alleged visit, why would the Gentiles have needed to plead with the Paul of Acts to preach to them?


Galatians 2:9 ... that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision (Observers of the law)... 



Acts 13:5 ... (Barnabas and Saul) preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews... 


Acts 13:14 ... they (Paul and Barnabas) came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue ... 


Acts 14:1 ... (Paul and Barnabas) went both together into the synagogue of the Jews ... 


Acts 13:42 ... when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought (Paul) that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 




To claim that the revelation in Acts 11:27-30 and Galatians 2:2 are the same is avoiding what Paul says he did after he refers to the revelation in Galatians 2:2. For it is self-evident that the revelation is concerning the gospel that he preached to the Gentiles. Nothing is in it that would infer that Paul was being told to bring relief to Jerusalem because of a famine.


Whereas the alleged reason in Acts 11 is to deliver relief to Jerusalem because of a dearth throughout all the world, period! A dearth which did not exist!


Galatians 2: 2 ... I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles ... 


Acts 11:27 ... in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 28: And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29: Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.





Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 2:52PM #10
Kwinters
Posts: 21,010

May 8, 2012 -- 2:33PM, tfvespasianus wrote:


I don't think the idea that it wasn't Jesus Christ (i.e. St. Paul could have been mistaken) is really going to have legs as any kind of convincing argument to a christian. I say that because iterations could be used for any revelation for numerous faiths. For example, how did Joseph Smith/Mohammed know it was an angel? How did Hilkiah know it was the right book? What about Bahaullah?

 

I think any given faith takes certain things as axiomatic (as an aside, that precludes the authenticity of other revelations) and moves from there.




Of course, anyone can believe anything simply because they want to believe it.


What is at issue is whether or not they have a good reason (other than wanting it to be true) to accept it as true and whether they can answer the question with anything more substantive than 'well if you don't want to believe it then you don't have to.'


But that must ring hollow in their ears. Not for a religion that asserts it is the truth.  THE truth.

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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