How Christianity Succeeded As a Dominant Religion. - Part 2 - The Christians

I will now try to summarize what I set out to tell you, that is, how Christianity arose and emerged as the dominant world religion it is today.

This is a story that the late George Carlin accurately described as "The Greatest Bullshit Story Ever Told", mimicking Christianity's self-description as The Greatest Story Ever Told. It's the sad story of the birth and growth of probably the worst faith ever to plague humanity with the attempted destruction of the human mind, the human spirit, and the human body.

I begin with several generalized statements about the story. It was created by a man who suffered from poor self-esteem and held humanity in contempt because he held himself in contempt. He told people that he was simply instituting a better form of the Jewish religion and wound up creating the most anti-Semitic philosophy ever; a philosophy the effects of which we can still feel today. This man is known today as St Paul or Paul the Apostle, originally Saul of Tarsus.

In order to understand the mindset of this individual, it's necessary to understand how the people of his time, both Jews and gentiles, looked at the world they had to live in and the lives they had to lead.

Before Israel was conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians, some 500 years before the Common Era, Israel was visited by prophets who delivered the bad news that Israelites were acting sinful and the consequence of this bad behavior would be punishment by God. Israel could save itself from the coming destruction by changing its evil ways and returning to God. This was not a new message. It was an updated repetition of the message delivered to Israel in the desert by Moses. I'm referring to the so-called TOCHECHA or list of curses found in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 in which Moses warned the Israelites that if they disobeyed God's TORAH, severe punishments would come upon them; conversely, if they acted in accordance with His will, they would be blessed. In this, we see that both Moses and the prophets did not predict an absolute future for Israel but a potential future - based on Israel's behavior. The Bible records that Israel, more exactly its kings, ignored the prophets' warnings and in 586 BCE, the kingdom of Judah was invaded by the Babylonians, Jerusalem was destroyed and the elite Judahites were carried off to Babylon. This Babylonian exile began the Jewish diaspora. In fact, in Babylon, we first encounter the word "Jews" [YEHUDIM] to describe the People of Israel. Other nations had been invaded, destroyed, and their populations dispersed, ending their existence as distinct ethnic groups. But not so the Jews. They continued on as a visible religio-ethnic minority within the Babylonian Empire. Using the setting of Israel in Babylonian exile, a book later came into existence which was to affect Jewish religious thinking in a profound way. This was the Book of Daniel. Christians regard Daniel as a prophet but we Jews do not. He does not have the attributes of a prophet. He doesn't chastise the people or use any formula such as "Thus says HASHEM". Daniel is not a prophet. He is an apocalyptic visionary. He is the FIRST apocalyptic visionary. In the first part of this series, I pointed out that an APOCALYPSIS is a writing in which an individual is contacted by a divine being in a vision [or dream] who informs him of the hidden meaning of events, both present and future. The vision is meant to assure the visionary that although things are presently bad for God's people, eventually the situation will be resolved in a dynamically miraculous salvation by God and not only will Israel come out of the situation victoriously but their enemies will suffer eternal punishment for their mistreatment of the Chosen People.

"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
Daniel 7:1-3

The author of Daniel describes four beasts arising from the sea. In Daniel's vision, the sea is an impure place of filth, and the beasts that arise devour each other one after the other. These beasts are the four gentile Empires which would persecute and bring pain to the Jewish People, one after the other; Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. What distinguishes Daniel's vision from prophecy is that unlike the prophets who speak about a potential future based on Israel's behavior, Daniel speaks about an ABSOLUTE future. He is describing the future history of Israel, a future independent of whether the Jews would be good or bad, and in fact, in Babylon the Jews had cleaned up their act and were living a TORAH life. The persecution of Israel by these four gentile kingdoms had to do with their reach for power, to proclaim that THEY were the Chosen People, not the Jews, and their subjection and domination of Israel would be the proof of that for them.

But Daniel's vision is to encourage Israel to remain faithful and steadfast to God and His Law because ultimately "their thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days [God]" would appear, and "concerning the beasts, they had their dominion taken away".  

"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Daniel 7:13,14

These verses had a dynamic effect on Jews but eventually an even more dynamic effect for Christianity.

The beasts arise from the filthy sea but the figure of the human being [BAR ENOSH, son of man] comes down from the pure clouds of heaven and he is given dominion over all the nations of the earth. Every Biblical scholar will tell you that just as the gentile kingdoms are described as animals, the Jewish kingdom is described as a human being, and that is how Jews interpreted it when they first read Daniel's book. But over the course of time, more and more Jews began to see the figure of the Son of Man [capital letters] as the messiah, and in fact, in the gospels, YESHUA is referred to as the Son of Man, a synonym for messiah.

Towards the end of Daniel's book, one more problem is resolved. Yes, eventually the wicked kingdoms will be destroyed and Israel will have dominion, but what about the many innocents who suffered and died at the hands of the ungodly? Doesn't the wrong done to them need to be rectified? To answer that question, Daniel is given another final vision.

"And at that time shall [the angel] Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
Daniel 12:1-3

Daniel here echoes a verse from the prophet Isaiah:

"Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise,
 awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust,
 for thy dew is as the dew of light,
 and the earth shall bring to life the shades"

But before the time of Daniel and the prophets, Jews had not given any deep concentration to the question of what happens to people when they die. It was believed by some that the faded spirits of the dead lived somewhere beneath the surface of the earth in a place called [SHEOL] where they eventually became less and less conscious and finally disappeared altogether. For the first time in the Bible, we have a statement that the righteous, especially the martyrs, will arise from their graves at the end of this age and live an eternal life of bliss. The wicked too will arise but they will be condemned to "everlasting shame". What this "shame" means remains uncertain; possibly they live in some restricted area where their existence is miserable or perhaps they go to a place of punishment where they are never heard from again. But the resurrected righteous not only live again; they turn many to righteousness. In future time this verse may have inspired the Pharisees [rabbis] to go out to the gentiles and try to convert them to Judaism.

"Hillel and Shammai received the TORAH from [the previous generation of rabbis]. Hillel said: Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow human beings and bringing them close to the TORAH.
Mishnah Pirkei Avot 1:12

In the first Christian century, despite the advantages of living in the Roman Empire, the Greek world had fallen into despair. The Greek mind saw the universe as a place of corruption and evil, and for the majority of its citizens it was just that. Life expectancy was short, infant mortality was high' many people had to sell themselves into indentured servitude or outright slavery just to survive. People saw themselves as pawns in a powerful Empire. Although Roman rule was generally tolerant, life for most people was a struggle as it is now. Some men enlisted in the army for its benefits to themselves and their families when there was no other employment available. Others joined the numerous religious cults that abounded. Some people were attracted to the Jewish religion and associated themselves with local synagogues but did not necessarily convert. Those that did convert were mostly women who didn't have to go through the trauma of circumcision. Those who did not convert were known by the Hebrew name, YIREI SHAMAYIM, "those who fear God" or God-Fearers. In Israel, the Pharisees encouraged this and in the diaspora the local Jews also encouraged it. One major reason is that many Jews believed that the end time seen by Daniel in his vision of the Son of Man was immanent, and as many people as possible should be gathered in to the coming New Age.

Because of religious beliefs, Jews then were not as pessimistic as gentiles. The poorest, most miserable Jew thought of him and her self as a chosen representative of the one real God. But Jewish theology, the beliefs about the essence of God, had become more complex than before the coming of the Greeks and Romans.

As previously stated, the Greek world saw the physical universe as corrupted and evil. Therefore, this universe could have no intercourse with an incorruptible and sinless God. At best, the Divine could be approached by immersion in some kind of mystery cult or religion in which the worshiper was given the opportunity to experience an identification and a merging with a particular god by means of some ceremony such as a baptism in either water or blood, eating the god in a common meal as a divine cake or some other food, and drinking the god's blood as wine. Often the members of these cults would live together and share their possessions in common.

The Roman army had its own particular god cult, the cult of Mithras, originally a Persian deity born on December 25. Mithras suffered death and then later arose from the dead and became the champion of soldiers. Although much is known about the ancient mystery religions [mystery here is defined as secret knowledge known only to cult members], very little is known about the cult of Mithras except that it involved a ritual in which a bull is slaughtered and fed to the devotees. Spanish bull-fighting is probably related to this.

In an earlier time, Jewish beliefs about God were not philosophical. Jews tended to concentrate on doing God's will by following the TORAH rather than speculating on what the nature of God was all about. Contact with Greek philosophy changed that. The Talmudic tradition had early stated that "there is wisdom among the Greeks [gentiles]".

Approximately a century before YESHUA was born, the Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria, stated that because God is holy, His essential reality can't be known. Holiness means separation. The holy is separated from the ordinary. This is a strong axiom in modern Judaism. Philo said that there is the holy, wholly separated part of God that we can never know because we are physical and He is not. He called that aspect EYN SOF, the Limitless One, an expression later incorporated into KABALAH. So then, how do we know God? How did He communicate with Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and Daniel? How could a perfect holy God deliver the TORAH to Israel? The answer to the question is something like this. When God was about to create physical reality, He had to make room for it because at that time, really before time, He took up all of whatever existed before reality was created. He was "everywhere" yet nowhere because "where" did not yet exist. He had to make room for it. He therefore performed an act of TSIMTSUM, "shrinking". In some way, he shrank His essence in order to make room for physical reality. He shrunk, and when physical reality came into existence, he was "outside" of it. But God cared about the reality He had created and wanted to interact with it. Since his holy essence could not enter into it, He needed to make "extensions of Himself, emanations so to speak. These emanations He could send into created reality; He could therefore show Himself to mankind as an angel, a Spirit, a SHECHINAH [dwelling Presence]. In these manifestations, he appeared to Abraham, to Moses, and to all Israel at Mt Sinai.

"[Moses] said, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory. And He said, I will make all  My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the Name of YHWH before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And He said, thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live. And YHWH said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My hinder parts: but My face shall not be seen."
Exodus 33:18-23

So it was with every appearance of God in Scripture. Only His "hinder parts" [shadow] communicate with man; His face [holy Essence] is not seen [known].

The only Jews who really paid attention to this kind of philosophy were the more religiously sophisticated. The average Jew just took God at "face" value and followed the TORAH, leaving mysticism to the learned.

About a decade or so after YESHUA was executed, messianic groups, including the Nazarenes, in and outside of Israel had become a problem for the Roman authorities. Apparently these groups were engaging in some kind of activities which the Romans construed as subversive. They therefore called upon the Jewish police to track down these trouble-makers and bring them to justice. One Jewish policeman who found himself enrolled in this order was Saul, a man from the city of Tarsus, currently living in Jerusalem. Saul was a troubled individual who was OBSESSED with law; in other words, he had a so-called police-mentality. In one of his biographies, he claimed that he was a man learned in Jewish Law [TORAH] but many New Testament scholars doubt this.

In my essay, HOW TO TALK TO CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES, I pointed out this quote from Kaufmann Kohler, a Jewish New Testament scholar, who says that Paul was not a Hebrew scholar but a Hellenist. He writes, "Nor is there any indication in Paul's writings or arguments that he had received the rabbinical training ascribed to him by Christian writers, ancient and modern; least of all could he have acted or written as he did had he been, as is alleged (Acts xxii. 3), the disciple of Gamaliel I ... His quotations from Scripture, which are all taken, directly or from memory, from the GREEK VERSION, [LXX] BETRAY NO FAMILIARITY WITH THE ORIGINAL HEBREW TEXT. The Hellenistic literature, such as the Book of Wisdom and other Apocrypha, as well as Philo [the Greek Jewish philosopher] ... was the sole source for his eschatology and theological system. Notwithstanding the emphatic statement ... that he was 'a Hebrew of the Hebrews' - a rather unusual term, which seems to refer to his nationalistic training and conduct ... since his Jewish birth is stated in the preceding words 'of the stock of Israel' - he was, if any of the Epistles that bear his name are really his, ENTIRELY A HELLENIST IN THOUGHT AND SENTIMENT. His whole state of mind shows the influence of the theosophic or Gnostic lore of Alexandria." In other words, Kohler is telling us that Paul's outlook was thoroughly Greek.

We should keep in mind that Saul probably was familiar with the writings of Philo which probably influenced his religious thinking.

Saul was a Roman citizen, and as such, was more interested in Roman law than in Jewish, which is shown when, at the end of his life, he chose to be put on trial by Roman law rather than Jewish law. Saul's father was a tent-maker and made tents for the Roman army and presumably that's how he received citizenship.

Saul of Tarsus, the Jewish policeman, set out from Jerusalem to Damascus to bring back Judean messianists jailed there. Since other messianic groups were by this time operating in the diaspora, it's not surprising that the Nazarenes also sent out people with their message. The gospel bearing the author's name of John reports an early encounter between Nazarenes and diaspora Jews.

"There were certain Greeks [Jews] among [the pilgrims in Jerusalem] that had come up to worship for the holiday. They came to Philip who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and admired YESHUA, saying, Sir, we would like to see YESHUA. Philip told Andrew: then Andrew and Philip told YESHUA. YESHUA responded, saying,  The  hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified."
John 12:20-23

Some Jews from the diaspora ["Greeks"] come to Jerusalem for Passover and YESHUA also was there to celebrate the holiday. The Greeks hear about him and want to speak to him. Among his followers are two diaspora Jews, the brothers Philip and Andrew, who have moved to Israel. That they have Greek names rather than Hebrew ones identify them as immigrants to Israel. The Greeks approach the brothers because they share a common language. Upon questioning YESHUA, he tells them that the messianic age is about to begin shortly. With this message, the Greeks are inspired. If this happened more than once, it's possible to believe that other pilgrims visiting Israel should bring back a hopeful message to their own towns and cities.

According the the NT book called ACTS OF THE APOSTLES [Acts 9], Saul had an epiphany. He saw a bright light in the sky and heard a voice from heaven.

"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shone around him a light from heaven; and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? And he said, Who are you? And the answer came; I am  Iesous  whom you are persecuting."

Of the books in the NT, the book of Acts is a very unreliable source for anything. We'll see later that if we contrast anything in this book with the letters [epistles] that Paul himself wrote, and which constitute the bulk of the NT books, we assume that his own personal reports are more accurate than what the author of Acts has to say. The book of Acts was written by a man calling himself Luke, the supposed secretary of Paul [Saul].

Paul's own description of his introduction to Iesous is more modest. In his epistle to his followers in Corinth, after telling them to whom Iesous had appeared, he simply says, "And last of all he was seen by me also". - 1 Corinthians 15:8

His statements in his letter to his followers in Galatia are more revealing.
"When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, He called me by His grace to reveal His Son to me, that I might preach him among the gentiles. At that very time, I didn't confer with any people. Nor did I go to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me. Instead, I went to Arabia, and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and stayed with him for fifteen days. But I didn't see any other apostles except YAKOV [James] the brother of Iesous. ... And I was unknown by face to the [Nazarene congregations] in Judea."
Galatians 1:15-19,22

In Acts of the Apostles, Luke reports that Paul traveled to Jerusalem many times and was very well known as a preacher to gentiles. His own statement is that after his epiphany he didn't see anyone connected to the Nazarenes. He went to "Arabia" [actually Trans-Jordan], coming back to Syria, and only after 3 years did he go to Jerusalem to see Peter and James. And no other Nazarenes ever saw him face to face.

A note about Peter and James.

Among the disciples of YESHUA was a man named Simon [SHIMON]. This man became the chief lieutenant of YESHUA and he expected Simon to take over the reins of the group should anything happen to him. People in the time of YESHUA often had nicknames. YESHUA gave Simon the nickname of KEFA, Aramaic for Rock, or as we would call a man in the modern era, Rocky. Since the gospels were written in Greek, the story reports this nickname in its Greek form, PETROS or Peter.

"I say to you,  You  are  Peter, and upon this rock I will establish my congregations; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18

It was expected that Peter would take over as leader of the Nazarenes once YESHUA was gone but the disciples, Peter among the, elected James [YAKOV], the brother of YESHUA, as leader. Peter than became lieutenant to James. These two, and one other disciple, John [YOCHANAN], were the leaders of the sect at the time that Saul [Paul] appeared on the scene.

Saul went to Arabia and perhaps several other places to contemplate his vision. In other words, for several years he was not in touch with any of the people he had previously gone to arrest. Apparently the experience ended his career as a lawman. He now was on the way to becoming a theologian, trying to work out who God was and what he expected from people. When he had formulated the fundamentals of his ideas, he returned to Damascus where he joined himself to other Greek Nazarenes who were traveling throughout the diaspora, preaching that the messiah had arrived.

In the diaspora, Greek speaking apostles [messengers] of the Nazarenes went from town to town and city to city to tell their Greek speaking Jewish brethren about YESHUA and the coming Kingdom of God.

"So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they also had John [YOCHANAN] as their minister. And when they had gone through the island to Paphos,  ... [they were in the territory of] the [government] deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God ... Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him."
Acts 13;4-7,9

At Cyprus, Saul encountered a Roman official named Paul to whom, according to Acts, they spoke about their mission. The deputy was supposedly sufficiently impressed with their message. Saul, apparently impressed with the deputy named Paul, stopped using his Jewish name and from then on, he chose to be called by his Roman name, Paul.

As I stated, we have to be careful to believe anything reported in Acts of the Apostles, the most historically unreliable book in the NT. For one thing, the Nazarenes held James in high esteem and hardly knew Paul by his own admission to the Galatians. And yet Acts barely mentions James or his importance to the story of YESHUA, and that is because by the time Acts was finally edited and made part of the New Testament [almost a hundred years after YESHUA died], the Nazarenes and their leadership were no longer of any real interest to Christians who considered them just another Jewish heresy. Acts continues to tell a story of a mission of proselytization but its hero is Paul, not any of the Nazarenes. In fact, the Nazarene leadership is subtly and not so subtly derogated and insulted. This essay will take up with Acts later. For now, I will discuss what happened with Paul and his effect on the story of YESHUA, more properly, Iesous, according to his own statements in the various letters [epistles] he wrote to those who wound up following him rather than the true apostles of James.  

"Paul, a servant of Iesous Xristos, called to be an apostle, devoted to the gospel [good news] from God, (Which He had promised in the past by His prophets in the holy scriptures,), concerning His Son Iesous Xristos, our lord, who comes from the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, and by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name, among whom you are also called by Iesous Xristos. To all of you who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints! Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the lord Iesous Xristos."
Romans 1:1-7

Early in his missionary career, Paul wrote to an EKLESIA in Rome. Although the word EKLESIA is translated into English as "church", it only translates the Hebrew word KENESIA, "congregation"; it probably was also used to designate a synagogue. When thinking of the word "church" here, one shouldn't confuse it with the modern Christian way we think of a church. Here it only means a gathering of people who belong to a common faith. From the complete context of the letter to the church at Rome, it's evident that Paul is writing to nonJews. The sentences above need a historical context in order to be understood fully. This is the context.

After his epiphany and his sojourn in Arabia, Paul returned to Damascus to work with the Nazarenes who were traveling around the diaspora to spread the word that the messiah had come and the Kingdom of Heaven was imminent. When they came to a city or town, they'd go to the local synagogue to talk to the Jews about YESHUA to get them to join the Nazarene sect. Most Jews did not find the message particularly interesting or convincing. The first Christian century was a time in which many Jews claimed to be a messiah with disciples preaching in their name. But at the same time, the apostles would also speak to the God-Fearers, those gentiles who associated with Jews but who had not converted. Although James and the disciples living in Israel did not approach gentiles, according to the admonition of YESHUA to go only to "the lost sheep of Israel", there were some Greek-speaking Nazarenes, natives of the diaspora, who believed that amenable gentiles, and particularly those God-Fearers familiar with Jewish religion, ought also be approached and told of the good news and encouraged to become Nazarenes. But by definition, Nazarenes were Jewish, and in order to become a follower of YESHUA, it would be necessary for these gentiles to undergo circumcision and accept the TORAH. Chief among those who took this line of reasoning was Peter. The problem was that although these God fearing gentiles might have been inspired by the Nazarene message, they had no intention of converting before they heard it and were reluctant to convert after they heard it. It's easy to understand that they felt a good deal of ambivalence. But Peter and other Israeli Nazarenes were adamant about any gentile wanting to join himself to the sect had to become Jewish and perhaps many nonJewish women did. Paul, however, saw no reason for their conversion to Judaism. He felt that gentiles could become part of the KENESIA by merely acknowledging that YESHUA was the messiah and committing themselves to tell other gentiles, their families and friends.

There were God-Fearers who were impressed by Paul's message and looked to him for religious inspiration. The problem that Paul and his new gentile admirers had to solve was this. How can nonJews become Nazarenes and fellowship with Jewish Nazarenes since James and Peter would not accept them as equals and certainly would not give them any of the religious privileges accorded to fellow Jews and would not even dine with them or drink wine with them?

Paul had to justify his position logically and theologically. He first had to justify his RIGHT to put forward his position as a representative of the Nazarene community. By the time he wrote to the Romans, he had worked out his justification and it's stated in the verses in Romans above.

He calls himself a servant of Iesous Xristos. He might very well have referred to YESHUA by his real Hebrew name but as will be shown, Paul's Iesous would be a very different being from the executed YESHUA. As to Xristos, this Greek word is nothing more than a translation of the Hebrew word MESHIACH, "anointed". All kings in Israel were anointed, that is, olive oil was poured on their heads by a KOHEN when they ascended the throne. Since the Messiah is the Jewish king, par excellence, the process of anointing became his special title. But as time passed, Christians would look at the word Xristos as part of a name, with a very different meaning from the Jewish understanding of "messiah". Iesous Xristos would become the name of the Christian deity.

" ... called to be an apostle, devoted to the gospel [good news] from God, (Which He had promised in the past by His prophets"
- What he is saying is that unlike the other Nazarenes, including James the leader, who became apostles by Nazarene tradition of succession, he, Paul, was called directly by God to be an apostle via the epiphany on the way to Damascus, and in that he compares himself to a prophet. Therefore since he has a special calling as a special apostle, he claims the right to determine who can be a follower of YESHUA, but more accurately a BELIEVER in Iesous Xristos. "Follower" is different from "believer in". The latter implies a status as deity. Paul feels he has the CALLING more than the right to deliver the good news [gospel] of Iesous Xristos to whom he will. The expression gospel [good news] is a translation of the Hebrew BASORAH TOVAH, literally good news but specifically used by Jews to mean the good news that the messiah has come.

"... declared to be the Son of God ... by the resurrection from the dead"
 - Unlike the Nazarene understanding that the resurrection of YESHUA happened in order to show his power over his enemies, Paul gives it a new meaning, that the rising of Iesous transformed him into the Son of God. Many Semitic kings, not to mention Greek kings, had been called son of a god. When used by Jews, the expression meant merely that the king holds a special role as the divine representative of God whose rule is meant to ensure the upholding of the TORAH. Paul is using it with a different meaning. According to his meaning, Iesous as God's Son [capital S], is some sort of deity. This is different from the Jewish understanding of messiah. The messiah is an extraordinary man; he is not a deity. It's possible however that among certain apocalyptic-minded Jews, Daniel's Son of man, coming down from heaven with the clouds, might be divine, but mainstream, non-apocalyptic, Jews have always interpreted the Son of man figure as a representative of the people of Israel, not the messiah.

" ... by whom   we have received grace and apostleship"
- That is, Paul does not owe anything to the Nazarene apostles because they have not made him an apostle. He received his calling directly from God.

" .. for his name, among whom you are also called by Iesous Xristos."
- Not only has he, Paul, been called by God but the gentiles to whom he speaks have also been called by Iesous himself. Therefore Paul and his followers are free to engage in a ministry as they see fit. If any other Nazarene wishes to go along with them, well and good. If not, so be it.

"To all of you who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints!"
-Saints, from the Hebrew KADOSHIM, holy ones, was applied by Jews to Jews, never to gentiles. Here Paul also breaks with tradition.

" ... peace from God our Father, and the lord Iesous Xristos."
- The "lord", KYRIOS in Greek, was also the translation of YHWH in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, henceforth called the LXX, the scholarly abbreviation for the Septuagint. But KYRIOS was also a title applied to the gods of the mystery cults such as Mithras or Attis, a dying and rising god worshiped in Paul's own native city of Tarsus. The use of this title applied to Iesous furthered his identification as a deity.

As stated above, most Jews hearing Paul's message paid no attention to it or to him. This angered Paul theologically and emotionally, and removed him from the mission of the Nazarenes. He now launched his own "mission to gentiles".

"Then Paul and Barnabas become angrily impatient, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you [Jews] but seeing that you [Jews] push away it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, so we turn to the gentiles. For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set you to be a light to the gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. And when the gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord, and as many as were destined to eternal life believed."
Acts 13:46-48

"Be a light to the gentiles that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth" is a quotation from the book of the prophet Isaiah. - Isaiah 49:6

Barnabas [BAR-NABA, son of a prophet], another diaspora Nazarene, shared Paul's views and became his companion in the new mission. They now set out to establish
their own KENESIOT all through the diaspora. As we will see, Paul's mechanism for attracting God-Fearers was to tell them that by accepting Iesous as Xristos,
they were joining, not necessarily James' Nazarenes, but the chosen people of a new, perfected Israel. In fact, to his letter to the Galatians [Galatians 6:16],
he refers to his converts as "the Israel of God" as opposed to those Jews who do not believe in Iesous. But Paul would give a new meaning to who Iesous was and what his real mission was - in opposition to the Nazarenes' belief in YESHUA as simply the messiah.

Ultimately Paul did set up his own congregations in the Roman-Greek world and ACTS OF THE APOSTLES lets us know that the gentiles in his congregations received a new identity.

"Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Xristianos first at Antioch."
Acts 11:25,26

Whether Paul had a designation for his converts of not, one was given them. Xristos does mean anointed - with oil. And when people called Paul's followers "Christians", it may have been used as a derogatory name such as "oily people" but eventually and quickly Paul's followers adopted the name among themselves. Now two distinct groups were in existence, the Jewish Nazarenes who believed that YESHUA was the Jewish messiah, and a group of gentiles who practically worshiped Iesous Xristos as a dying and resurrecting deity similar to Attis, the chief god of Paul's home town, Tarsus. And Iesous Xristos shares many of the same characteristics with Attis:

Attis was born on December 25th of the Virgin Nana.
He was considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind.
His body as bread was eaten by his worshipers.
His priests were "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven."
He was both the Divine Son and the Father.
On "Black Friday," he was crucified on a tree, from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth.
He descended into the underworld.
After three days, Attis was resurrected on March 25th (as tradition held of Iesous) as the "Most High God."
Attis was represented as "a man tied to a tree, at the foot of which was a lamb, and, without doubt also as a man nailed to a tree..."
Source -</P>

Paul did set up his own congregations in the Roman-Greek world but not the one at Rome to which he wrote above. So who did? Since ACTS OF THE APOSTLES is a book set up to promote the career of Paul and not really about the Jewish followers of YESHUA, the author never tells us who established the Roman KENESIA, and neither does Paul in any of his communications recorded in the New Testament. Christian tradition, more accurately Catholic tradition, says that Peter established it, and possibly he did. Roman Catholics give him honor, calling him the first Pope but that is anachronistic. There were no Popes until the early Middle Ages, that is, after the fall of the Western Empire. If Peter DID establish the KENESIA at Rome, it had to have been a Nazarene one, that is, a Jewish "church" or Nazarene synagogue. But Paul appears to be writing to gentiles, and scholars speculate that there actually were two KENESIOT in Rome, one Jewish and a smaller gentile one. More probably Peter's Jewish KENESIA also had God-Fearer hangers on who may have been allowed to attend services but were not given Nazarene status. It's our loss that the first Christian century is clouded in terms of what was happening with people calling on the name of Iesous or YESHUA, so we are left with only guesses, some good, some in error.

But now let's look again at Paul's letter to the Romans where we will find the source of his own ideas about who Iesous Xristos is and his state of mind about it.

Romans 7
1 "Don't you know, brethren, [for I speak to those who know the TORAH,] that the TORAH has dominion over a man as long as he lives?"
- as long as a Jew lives, he must be guided by the TORAH in everything he does and every choice he makes.
"Those who know the TORAH"
- whom is he referring to here, Jews or God-Fearers? Is this KENESIA a Jewish one where some gentiles are in attendance, or not? It's not clear.

4 "So, my brethren, you also have become dead to the TORAH by the body of Xristos."
- This is subtle. According to some Jewish tradition, when messiah comes, the TORAH will be nullified since in the Kingdom of Heaven, everybody will do God's will without any contract to impose it. A person who believed that Xristos was the dying messiah, might have believed that the Kingdom began and the TORAH passed away with his death, and that Xristos became a new TORAH.

6 "But now we are released from the TORAH, having died to that by which we were bound, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter [of the law]."  
- It therefore is no longer incumbent on an individual to serve [worship] God according to how Israel has served him in the past. The letter, [the formal MISTVOT] are nullified. Our own spirit will guide us in proper service to God.

14 "For we know that the TORAH is spirit, but I am flesh, addicted to sin.
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the TORAH, confessing that the TORAH is good.
17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then a TORAH, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the TORAH of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another TORAH in my members, warring against the TORAH of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the TORAH of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who  shall   deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Iesous Xristos our lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the TORAH of God; but with the flesh the TORAH of sin."

These verses are the defining rationalization of Paul's new theology.

Remember who is writing this. Paul is a diaspora Jew whose family was given Roman citizenship, something of which he is very proud. And this pride can be contrasted with general Jewish antagonism over Roman rule in Israel. Jews look to their messiah as a leader who will rid them of the Romans and their Empire. Paul's Xristos is not interested in politics at all. In one of his letters to his gentile followers, he tells them to be loyal subjects to the Emperor and to obey his laws.

Romans 13:1-3
"Let every person be subject to the higher authorities because no power comes except from God. The authorities that exist are ordained by God. Whosoever therefore that resists [rebels against] the authorities, resists the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to law abiders but to evil-doers."

Here Paul validates the Roman law as coming from God which he did not do for Jewish law as we will see. And after all, Paul spent his adult life as a policeman, a lawman enforcing the law, Roman law and Jewish law. The issue is that Paul had problems with Jewish law [TORAH].

The problem, as he himself states it, is that he wants to obey the TORAH but he constantly fails. He does the very thing he hates, disobeying the commandments. He is a captive of "Sin" as though "Sin" is some floating, detached essence; Jews believe there are sins that are committed but we do not say that there is some abstract thing called Sin - [capital S]. There is nothing good dwelling in him because when it comes to the Law of God, he condemns himself as a criminal, something a policeman would hate to be. So if he finds himself doing "sin", then he is not the one actually doing it; the "sin" dwelling in him is the guilty party. The external TORAH has no power over the evil TORAH inside him. There is only one who can free [deliver] from this sinful state, an anointed one who dies and by doing so, nullifies the Mosaic TORAH. In his negative self-image neurosis, the anointed [MESHIACH] who comes to free Israel and the world from evil kingdoms has become the anointed [Xristos] who dies so that man will now become free from the DEMANDS of the TORAH.

But what is being nullified then? The Jewish religion without which Jews are no different from anyone else. Jewishness becomes superfluous.

But Paul already feels rejected by Jews to whom he has preached and he has no great hope of winning over Jews in general. All he can do is to make Jews and their religion  wrong , even in the process, forcing down his own Jewishness and identifying with gentiles.

Romans 8:6-9
"For to have a bodily outlook is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the one who thinks with his body is an enemy of God: for he is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can he be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if that Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man does not have the spirit of Xristos, he does not belong to him."
-  It's apparent that even at this early date, Paul begins to identify Xristos with God although he has not yet formulated clearly how that is but right at the opening of his letter to the Roman church, he has called Xristos "the son of God" as we have seen above. Paul uses the expression "Spirit of God" and immediately after that, "spirit of Xristos", and then says that whosoever does not have Xristos' spirit does not belong to him - but who is "him"? Likely he means that whosoever does not possess the spirit of Xristos does not belong to God. That lets out all non-believing Jews as well as gentile non-Christians.

Romans 9:4-6
" ... Israelites to whom the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the TORAH belong, as well as the service of God and the promises [prophecies], and whose are the ancestors, and from whom in the the flesh came Xristos, who is above everything, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel. Nor because they are the descendants of Abraham, are they all children [of Abraham]."
- Now according to Paul, even though the Jews were originally chosen of God, now not every Jew is a real Jew. Remember, as I said above, in his letter to the Galatians [Gal6:16], he refers to his gentile Christians as "the Israel of God" as opposed to those Jews who do not believe in Iesous. As Paul progressed in his mission, not only did he invalidate the religion of Israel but the People of Israel as well. Earlier on in this epistle to the Romans, he said, Rom 2:28,29]
"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh the real circumcision. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart and in the spirit. Not in the letter [of the Law]; and [the "real" Jew's] praise is not from man, but from God."  
- the "spiritual" TORAH, Jewishness, and circumcision [of Christians] are the genuine articles; those of the real Jews are not.

Romans 9:30-32
"What shall we say then? That gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by belief; but Israel, pursuing a TORAH of righteousness, did not arrive at that TORAH. Why? Because they did not pursue it by belief but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone."
- Imagine. Jews try to please God by doing MITSVOT [the letter of the law] and they cannot because the Jewish TORAH is actually a stumbling block. But gentiles who believe that Xristos is the new TORAH HAVE achieved righteousness and THEY please God.

Yet with all his ranting about how special his gentile fans are, Paul still has some hope that he can pull Jews into his new religion if only to rationalize to his gentiles why they should worship the "king of the Jews".

Romans 10:1-3,12,13
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I witness that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
For Xristos is the end of the TORAH for righteousness to everyone that believes.... For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [gentile], for the same lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord shall be saved."
-What a left handed compliment. Paul wants "the" Jews to be "saved" because so long as "the" Jews are not part of his cult, something is wrong. Gentiles have seen the light but Jews are blind. See below.

Romans 11:25,26
"For I don't want you, brethren, to be ignorant of this mystery, lest in any measure, you get puffed up in your pride. Blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the gentiles is gathered in. Ultimately all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
-Gentiles should not be wondering why the very people of their Xristos are not joining in. God has made them blind to the truth so that the apostles will turn to the gentiles and save them, and after all of them are saved, so will all Israel be saved.

This is especially important for Paul, to be able to tell gentiles that unlike their former gods, Attis, Mithras, Tamuz, etc., who never were real people, Iesous Xristos was a real historical person, a messiah foretold in the Hebrew scriptures, by Jews. Therefore, as universal as Paul would like to make his Xristos, he has to tie him to a specific people, an ethnic people still outside the realm of Christian belief, and he has to inform them that although, through accepting Xristos, they have become a "kind of" Jew, they still need real flesh and blood Jews to complete their salvation.

Paul uses the expression "saved" all through his writings; so then Iesous Xristos is not only lord [KYRIOS] and anointed [Xristos], he is also "savior" [SOTER].
Jews have believed that the messiah would bring them national and final salvation but Paul here presents another concept of Salvation. I am not sure that in any of his writings he specifies what exactly they are being saved from except a natural death. To those early Christians of Paul's day, they expected that Xristos would return to earth during their lifetime and they would be saved from dying. Later, "saved" took on a different meaning, being saved from eternal suffering and damnation. If Paul and his Christians were at all familiar with the Book of Daniel, and no doubt they were familiar with the Hebrew scriptures, even if only in Greek translation as the LXX, they would remember that Daniel's vision showed that at the end of time, the dead would rise, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame, their shame being that they would be somehow removed from God.

The website at states quite correctly that "The New Testament does not develop a systematic doctrine of salvation," writes Brenda Colijn. "Instead, it presents us with a variety of pictures taken from different perspectives. From one angle, the human predicament is rebellion against God. Salvation looks like living under God's universal reign. From another angle, the human predicament is bondage to both internal and external forces. Salvation looks like freedom from those forces. From yet a third angle, the human predicament looks like alienation from God, from other people, from creation and even from one's own best self. Salvation looks like the restoration of those relationships." This from a review of Brenda B. Colijn's book, IMAGES OF SALVATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

So far, we've looked at what Paul taught and how his theological perspective developed out of a personal epiphany of Iesous speaking to him out of heaven fused with his feeling of personal failure as a human being because he cannot follow the Law [TORAH] of God; against his will, he is lawless. For a policeman to tell himself that he is an outlaw is psychologically catastrophic. Perhaps had Paul understood what TORAH obligation means for Jews as opposed to what HE believed it to mean, he would not have devolved into a neurotic depression, and we might all have been saved the insanity which is the history of his religion. Paul believed that the failure to obey even one commandment of the TORAH nullified a true commitment to it. In other words, he believed that the TORAH is one responsibility composed of 613 different parts. Jews believe that the TORAH is 613 separate responsibilities, and that the willingness to engage in its instruction is sufficient to obtain God's love.

Paul's religion had to tell him and his co-coreligionists just why people were unable to carry out God's will. If Paul felt himself to be disobedient and generalized the feeling of inadequacy and disobedience to all people, he would have to look to the beginning of disobedience for the answer. If his generation was disobedient and therefore sinful, then the generations before him had to, by necessity, also have been disobedient. Going all the way to the beginning of mankind. But the scriptures said that when God created everything, He looked upon His creation as good. So what was bad? God had given humanity just one commandment, not to eat of the tree giving them the power to rebel. But they had eaten from that tree and disobeyed. Man, more specifically woman, had been goaded on by the Serpent to disobey, and man followed suit. So who was the Serpent and why had he tempted them to disobey God's one Law? The Serpent must have been, must be, an enemy and adversary of God. Satan was the adversary of God, according to one Jewish tradition, not the major tradition, but a helpful one to Paul. The Serpent must have been Satan, and once he had gotten man to disobey God's one and only Law, mankind would pass down to all future generations of people the sin of pride, that sin which gave man the knowledge that he can disobey God and commit evil. Christianity, at least Catholicism, has labeled that sin, so-called "Original Sin." It is that original sin now part of human DNA which condemns people to eternal damnation when they die. The only reason that God, in his mercy. allows men to keep living and keep reproducing children is that in this life, they have the opportunity to accept Xristos as their PERSONAL Savior and escape eternal punishment. When God's Kingdom comes; He will finally be King of the world. But now, Satan is the "Prince of this world", and the reason Iesous Xristos came into the world was to defeat Satan, NOT to deliver Israel from its enemies.

Ephesians 2:1,2
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."
-Jews see the story of Adam and Eve quite differently. As far as Jews are concerned, there cannot be a duality of deities. There can only be one God who brings about everything.

Isaiah 45:5-7
"I am YHWH, and there is no one else; there is no God beside me. I strengthened you though you had not known me.  So men may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the YHWH and there is no one else. I form the light, and create darkness, I create peace, and create evil. I YHWH do all these things."

Apparently Jews do not have a problem with their God being the source of both good AND evil. Christians have the problem. In the first human story, the serpent cannot be any devil. It is no more than an intelligent animal who can reason and speak. In fact, we do not know but that the author of Genesis believed that every animal could reason and speak. There are MIDRASHIM [folklore] which suggest just that. After the serpent used his power of reason and speech to countermand God's commandment, God obviously removed reasoning and speech from the animal kingdom.

Tom Paine, in his book, THE AGE OF REASON pointed out:
"The Nazarenes, who were the first followers of Jesus, rejected all the Epistles of Paul and regarded him as an imposter. They reported, among other things, that he was originally a pagan; that he came to Jerusalem where he lived some time; and that having a mind to marry the daughter of a high priest, he caused himself to be circumcised." (The Age of Reason' by Thomas Paine, p. 167) Source: -

I'm not sure if Paul was a born Jew or a convert. Throughout his letters, he refers to both himself and his gentile followers as "us" and 'we". The point is that the later Nazarenes did reject him and his religion. There is sufficient documentation to verify that.

Paul was more than weak. He was a consummate politician. He may have identified with gentiles but by his own admission, he identified with everyone when it suited him. In other words, he was a chameleon-like opportunist.

"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the TORAH I became like one under the TORAH though I myself am not under the TORAH, so as to win those under the TORAH. To those not having the TORAH I became like one not having the TORAH though I am not free from God's TORAH but am under Christ's TORAH, so as to win those not having the TORAH. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE so that by all possible means I might save some."
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, New International Version
-If indeed, as Paul himself says, that he was no longer "under the TORAH", then, for all intents and purposes, he had stop being Jewish.

As to Paul's own self-derogation that in him "dwells no good thing", he interestingly enough says elsewhere that he has a "thorn in his flesh".

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me."
2 Corinthians 12:7

Many have speculated what this thorn in the flesh might be and speculation has led to strong theories that Paul is talking about homosexual feelings that he cannot control or ignore.

From Wikipedia -
There are three verses in the New Testament that purportedly contain explicit references to homosexuality and are found within letters attributed to Paul.

Romans 1:26-27: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."
1 Corinthians 6:9: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."
1 Timothy 1:8-11: "We know that the TORAH is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the TORAH is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality."

The TORAH may have been written with homosexuals in mind as well as other desecrators of the law and the TORAH condemns homosexuality.

"'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
 Leviticus 20:13

We don't know if, in the first Christian century, Jews were literally killing homosexuals but the fact that the TORAH mandates the death penalty for it was sufficient for Paul to feel that he deserved death, if that was what was bothering him.

Imagine a man committed to the law to the extent that he becomes a cop only to find that he himself is a criminal when it comes to the TORAH. All Jews are but we don't create a new religion without law to escape our nature. We take responsibility for our failures, something that if the followers of Iesous Xristos had done for two thousand years, history would have been different. Certainly Jewish history would have been different.

But Paul generalized his own weakness and projected it upon the mass of humanity. If he was weak, so was everyone else, and human weakness cannot be helped by the TORAH. The TORAH only highlights human weakness.  

Now we'll look at how Paul's gentile converts, the first Christians received his teaching, emotionally and intellectually. We turn first to his letters to his church at Corinth, and later to his letter to his church at Galatia [modern Turkey].

It's important to remember to whom Paul spoke and from which ethnic pool he drew his converts. Remember that the most congenial gentiles were those familiar with the Jewish religion and the Jewish scriptures. These were the so-called YIREI SHMAYIM, God-Fearers, gentiles who were drawn to Jews and their religion, probably studied with Jewish teachers, attended synagogues, joined their hopes with Jewish hopes for the future, including looking forward to the times of the messiah, and yet would not convert to become Jewish. Paul appealed to them by massaging their egos in telling them that not only did they not need to join the Jews' religion but that THAT religion was no longer valid. Furthermore, he said, they were, by accepting Iesous Xristos, the new, TRUE Israel.

It is evident, from what he tells the gentiles in the Roman church, that some of them were now feeling arrogant regarding the Jews whom they previously admired.

"I say then, they ["the" Jews] did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles, to make them [Jews] jealous. Now if their transgression [unbelief] is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow [Jews] and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough [Jews] is holy, the lump [gentiles] is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either."
Romans 11:11-21
-This is Paul's classic analogy, long forgotten and abandoned by Christians that the Jewish People is God's original and natural Tree which He planted along ago.

But the branches of that Tree [most Jews] have broken themselves off from the tree by not accepting Iesous Xristos so that other wild branches from other trees [gentiles] might be grafted on to the God's natural Tree. And he tells his converts that if any of them become haughty and conceited so as to think that they are better than Jews because they have "salvation" and Jews do not, then they better take heed and worry about what will happen to them once "the" Jews see the error of their ways and join in the faith of Xristos.

This was the situation towards the beginning of Paul's ministry. As he moved on in the various cities in which he made converts among the God-Fearers, a situation developed which caused him to go on the offensive against Nazarenes in particular and Jews in general. The first such incident happened in the Greek city of Corinth. From Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth, it's clear that those Christians were already dividing into factions according to the various teachers arriving in Corinth and claiming to know the "truth" about Xristos. This schismatic ism opened a door for Nazarenes from Israel to come and talk to the Corinthians. Although Paul does not mention individuals by name, it is evident from the context that Peter and other Nazarenes, possibly ordered by James, visited Corinth with the aim of making full Jews of Paul's Christians. Being people who had actually known YESHUA, they were in the position of telling these gentiles the real history of their movement and their JEWISH understanding of who YESHUA was and what his actual message was.

Paul first repeats his own claim to fame, namely, that whoever speaks about Iesous cannot speak more clearly about him than Paul because Paul claimed all knowledge about Iesous comes straight from God [the Spirit], not from man. Often, in speaking, he is ego-maniacal enough to use the royal "we" when he means "I".

"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13

"I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Xristos, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Xristos Iesous I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me ... Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?"
1 Corinthians 4:14-16,18-21
-Any deviation from what Paul taught is an offense to Paul and a sign of arrogance, and deviations anger him enough so that he threatens his converts with a "rod".

It is bad enough that the Corinthians are listening to different teachers. What's worse, some of them have fallen in to bad behavior. Apparently Paul's teaching that there is no longer any moral law [TORAH] to govern their behavior, led some to believe that they were free, because they were saved, to engage in any type
of  licentious behavior since like Paul, they might like to behave well but their burning emotions lead them to sin.

 "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the [pagan] gentiles; that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.... But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler - not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."
1 Corinthians 5:1,2,11-13
-Paul's converts become even more lawless than he and it is no wonder that for most of the 2000 years that his cult has been in existence that his followers behave irresponsibly, with no shame, because they don't have the discipline or sensitivity that the TORAH might have given them.

Paul had many things to be displeased about with the Christians at Corinth, among them that they were suing each other in Roman courts of law when they should have been settling disputes among themselves.

"Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?"
1 Corinthians 6:1-6

It's doubtful that many Christians have resolved or continue to resolve matters of law within their own church communities. No, they do what Paul himself did, as we will later see, when he hypocritically took his own criminal case to Caesar rather than have it settled by a Jewish court. Contrast this with Paul's decision to go to a Roman court. [Acts 25]

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul now turns his attention to his fight with the Nazarenes. Many Christians feel embarrassed over the fact that Paul had severe differences of opinion with YESHUA's original Jewish followers because that fact interrupts the continuity which Christians want people to assume happened in the development of their religion supposedly out of a Jewish sect. But as we will see here, this heated monologue on Paul's part shows that indeed the mystery cult that he had organized WAS a religion separated from any version of Judaism.

"For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity and as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God."
2 Corinthians 1:17
-Apparently there were other preachers or teachers speaking to gentiles about either YESHUA or Xristos, and making a financial profit from this occupation. We
Can't get away from the fact that when certain people get an opportunity to make money, they will; and religion lends itself to this practice. Paul assures
his followers that his motives are pure.

"Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 2:5,6
-Paul does not refrain, all through his writings, testifying that he has received a heavenly truth that no one else has received. This much protesting must have been prompted by other men going through the diaspora and preaching about YESHUA. Paul's constant negative references to the "letter of the Law [TORAH] makes it appear that his competitors were Jewish.

"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Xristos according to the flesh, yet now we know him in this way no longer."
2 Corinthians 5:16
-Here we have a very crucial verse which seals a definite distinction between the real Jewish followers of YESHUA and the religion that Paul is preaching.
Paul's antagonists are talking about a HUMAN, "flesh and blood", Jewish messiah who will free Israel, and ultimately the world, from political oppression.
Paul now tells his gentile followers that even if there had been a Jewish man whose followers claim to be the Jewish messiah of a Jewish People, and even had Paul known or known of such a man, he knows that Jewish individual no more. From now on, he no longer acknowledges the YESHUA who walked and taught in Israel.
He only knows Iesous Xristos, a deity who died for man's sins and who spoke to him from the sky. It's obvious here that Paul has cut himself off theologically from ALL Jews, including those in Jerusalem of YESHUA's sect.

You can find this explanation backed up on the Christian site at and many others.

"But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Xristos. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds."
2 Corinthians 11:12-15

Paul now begins an attack which he will continue till the day he dies. This is the message to the Corinthians, namely, others are trying to preach about one whom he considers the Deity's proxy but he doesn't want Christians to consider their "boasting" that they know the real truth about Xristos as of any importance. Not only are these false apostles deceivers, they are AGENTS OF SATAN. We can well imagine how threatened Paul felt, knowing that Nazarenes are encroaching on his mission to gentiles.

"Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Xristos? -I speak as if insane- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the ocean. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?"  
2 Corinthians 11:22-29
-At last he names the adversaries. Hebrews! But, he cautions the Corinthians, don't let their pedigree fool you for I have the same pedigree and more; I have suffered more for my faith then they, with all kinds of tribulations that they have never known, and it's no wonder that I have become overly emotional [insane]. And even more, all you gentiles, for "I feel your pain."

It's little wonder that, over the course of his life ministry, he implanted in the consciousness of his converts, not only a feeling of superiority over Jews but a great antipathy which in time would lead to a cult imbued with dangerous antisemitism. Some Jews may have given Paul an idea for his religion based upon an historical person's life and death but that person's death, not his actual, historical life, became the chief ingredient of a cult which Jews never gave to him nor accepted from him.

"I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody."
2 Corinthians 12:11
-The Greek UPERLIAN, here translated "most eminent" is a sarcastic put-down of the Jerusalem Nazarenes, led by YESHUA's brother James [YAKOV]. The word has been variously translated as "super", "so-called super", maybe even in today's vernacular, "wannabe-special". These are either Peter and/or others sent to make Nazarenes out of the Corinthian Christians. Paul tells his followers that even though he appears to be a no-body, he is in no way inferior to James and Peter.
In fact, since HIS call was directly from Iesous and not from any other apostle, he is superior to them.

The website at has this to say regarding the verse:
"The mention of "super-apostles" is intriguing. The phrase appears nowhere else in the New Testament. To whom is Paul referring? Some think that it can scarcely be other than the Jerusalem apostles, whose authority the Corinthians invoked. Would this then be Paul's own sarcastic description of their exalted view of the apostles? Or is he merely quoting the [Corinthians'] estimate of the Twelve [disciples of YESHUA]?

I can go through all of Paul's letters to see how he addresses his various churches but for the purposes of this essay, I will just address one more epistle, that to the Galatians, because his church in Galatia experienced the same dissension as that of Corinth. His converts were visited by Nazarenes whom he said "taught another Jesus" different from his Iesous Xristos. We see in this letter how much his antagonism toward Jews in general and Nazarenes in particular increased to the point of Paul cursing them out.


"Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Iesous Xristos and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)..."
Galatians 1:1

It's amazing how Paul goes on and on about his special pedigree, having been contacted directly by Iesous and given his mission, as opposed to the Nazarenes
who "only"  knew the flesh and blood man, YESHUA. Apparently he needs to impress people with his resume over and over.

"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Xristos, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Xristos. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
Galatians 1:6-9
-Paul's ego knows no bounds. The Galatians are deserting, not so much Xristos but, Paul himself! Those teaching the alternate gospel are disturbing them? It seems that Paul is only one disturbed so that he curses the "disturbers".

"But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His son in me so that I might preach him among the gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia ... "
Galatians 1:15-17

It's important to remember that FROM THE VERY START, Paul had no contact with YESHUA's disciples and his cult was and is his SOLE creation, and NOT an outgrowth
of Nazarenism or any other type of Judaism.

In the next sentence, he reminds us that "after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and stayed with him for fifteen days. But I didn't see any other apostles except YAKOV, the brother of Iesous."

It took him three years to even think about going to Israel to meet a few of YESHUA's disciples, in fact, the so-called UPERLIAN, the "wannabe" apostles.

"Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were OF REPUTATION, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Xristos Iesous, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were of HIGH REPUTATION (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) - well, those who were OF REPUTATION contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were REPUTED to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor - the very thing I also was eager to do."
Galatians 2:2-10
-This is Paul's first hand report of a meeting that he had with James, Peter, and John, the heads of the Nazarene sect in Jerusalem. The incident is reported also in the book of Acts with less confrontational tone because the author of Acts wishes to harmonize history by playing down any conflicts between Paul and the Nazarenes.

These sentences are dripping with barely concealed sarcasm and ill-will if not outright anger.

"in private to those who were OF REPUTATION [LOKOUSIN]" means the so-called reputed ones.  They may be of high reputation but their position as leaders of the sect of YESHUA means nothing to Paul. He has no respect for them anyway. They may have required something of him but he would not yield to them to show them that he was subjected to their will. God may have given them jurisdiction over Jewish converts to their sect but not over him. Not only did he show them that they held no authority over him but they contributed nothing to him or his ministry. On the contrary, they shook hands with him in a gesture of "right on". They are only "REPUTED PILLARS" of their faith, not REAL ones. The actual event was somehow different as we'll see later on.

"We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the TORAH but through faith in Xristos Iesous, even we have believed in Xristos Iesous so that we may be justified by faith in Xristos and not by the works of the TORAH; since by the works of the TORAH no flesh will be justified. But if, while seeking to be justified in Xristos, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Xristos then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the TORAH I died to the TORAH, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Xristos; and it is no longer I who live, but Xristos lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who  loved me and gave himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the TORAH, then Xristos died needlessly."
Galatians 2:15-20
-Paul has created a cult which he calls "Israel", a new Israel in which gentiles are "Jews by nature" even though they don't act Jewishly. If any of his Galatian
followers DO want to act as Jews by following the TORAH, then for them Xristos died for nothing. Throughout his letters, Paul uses the expression of justification [justified by faith and not by the works of TORAH]. This is just another example of Paul's ignorance of the Jewish religion. And unfortunately Christians have inherited his ignorance. No one ever said that MITSVOT justify anyone. That's not what the TORAH is about. Nowhere in the TORAH is it said that obeying the commandments, we are justified before God. There are several reasons why we do MITSVOT. Justification is not one of them even though most Christians think we do them to "get into heaven." That's not it. First of all, no one is guaranteed a place in heaven. Judaism's idea of eternal life is the life after the Resurrection of the Dead, spoken about in Daniel, not that our souls go up to the sky. Jews do MITSVOT because of an agreement or contract with God to follow His commandments so that we remain alive as a distinct religio-ethnic group, and to honor God's Name. We have seen the connection between our religion and our survival as Jews throughout history, and we see it today. Any Jewish home devoid of the basic icons of Judaism is in danger of assimilation to the gentile world. The Passover SEDER, the observance of ROSH HASHANNAH and YOM KIPPUR, and CHANUKAH, and PURIM, and the confraternity and embrace by the religious community who are happy when we do even one MITSVAH, keep us Jewish. Paul had it all wrong. His understanding was that the TORAH is one responsibility made up of 613 parts and so, to disregard any MITSVAH means to disregard the whole TORAH. But Jews do not see the TORAH as one responsibility comprised of different parts. They see it as 613 separate responsibilities, each one important in and of itself.

Paul wished to wipe out the differences between Jews and nonJews. If the Jewish religion [TORAH] is nullified, so is the Jewish People, and that was Christianity's original and ultimate goal.

"Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations will be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer."
Galatians 3:6-9
-Paul's cult of Christianity is all about "justification by faith", that is, the Christian can justify himself to God even though he sins, by mere belief that
Xristos has died for his sins. If that is so, then no amount of "self-improvement" through righteous actions can justify a person. In the verses prior to the ones cited above, Paul has called the Galatians "fools" for thinking the Jewish way of TORAH can justify them. In his religion, only belief can save someone. In order to show that this was God's original path to salvation, he cites verses from the book of Genesis [Gen. 15] to show that Abraham's belief in God is what made God consider him a righteous man. One look at the context shows that Paul either didn't understand the TORAH or better yet, that he willfully misinterpreted the verses to fit his theology.

Here is the context for Genesis 15:

2 And Abram said: 'O Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go hence childless ...?'
3 And Abram said: 'Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed ...'
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying: ' ... he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be  thine  heir.'
5 And He brought him forth abroad, and said: 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them'; and He said unto him: 'So shall thy seed be.'
6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

By the time that this story takes place; Abraham has already been following God for many years. When God told Abraham to leave Sumer and to journey to Caanan,
Abraham obeyed right away. Why wasn't THAT accorded to him as righteousness? No, that's not it.

Abraham has already believed in God for a long time. Now he is simply complaining that he has no heir. God then promises him that he will have an heir. What Abraham expresses is not his belief in God but his belief that God will keep His promise, and it is THAT belief that was counted as righteousness. If all that God wanted from Abraham in order to be righteous was to believe in Him, why did He demand that Abraham and his sons should be circumcised? After all, that's exactly what the Galatians want to do, be circumcised and be Jewish. Paul's use of the Genesis promise that all nations will be blessed in the name of Abraham means that Abraham and his descendants will teach the nations that there is only one true, universal God Who demands righteous behavior, NOT that they need a dying and rising god to save them because they themselves are incapable of such behavior. If that is not an insult to gentiles, I don't know what is.

"Therefore the TORAH has become our tutor to lead us to Xristos, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Xristos Iesous. For all of you who were baptized into Xristos have clothed yourselves with Xristos. There is neither Jew nor Greek [gentile], there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Xristos Iesous. And if you belong to Xristos, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise."
Galatians 3:24-29
-We've now arrived at the point where Paul actually states his objective. If there is neither Jew nor gentile in the church of Xristos, if the line is erased so that Jewishness disappears, then that leaves the only conclusion; that this cult is for nonJews, and so long as Jews refuse to abandon their Jewishness by abandoning their religion [TORAH], they are outside God's protection, and are not the "real" Israel of God.

It is interesting that once the rabbis heard of this claim that they inserted a blessing in the morning prayers in which a Jewish man says, Thank God that He has not made me a gentile, nor a slave, nor a female. This is not a claim to male superiority but a thanksgiving of not having been seduced into worshiping a
gentile god who wishes the extermination of Jews through assimilation into the larger religious culture.

"Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Xristos will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision,  that  he is under obligation to keep the whole TORAH. You have been SEVERED FROM XRISTOS, you who are seeking to be justified by TORAH; you have fallen from grace. .... For in Xristos Iesous neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves."
Galatians 5:2-4,6,11

Paul's clever use of the phrase "SEVERED FROM XRISTOS" to imply that circumcision automatically removes a man from his Christian cult is dramatic to say the least. He had a way with words, unfortunately mostly evil words.

Paul's anger knows no bounds. The Greek word APOKOPSONTAI, here translated as "mutilate themselves" has been variously rendered by other translations as "get themselves emasculated", cut off themselves", "and castrates themselves". It's important to remember that when the Middle Eastern world turned Hellenic, circumcision became a way for gentiles to now insult and ridicule Jews. In fact, many Jews of the time who wanted to hide their ethnic identity had an operation to "restore the foreskin". Paul could not have chosen a better metaphor to incite people who already had ambivalent feelings for Jews to badmouth the
Nazarenes for whom, by now, he felt no empathy or sympathy. He saw them as competitors and enemies, and he passed this feeling of competition and enmity on to the Christian world.

"Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Xristos. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the TORAH themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our lord Iesous Xristos, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision; but a new creation [is what is the thing]. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon THE ISRAEL OF GOD.
Galatians 6:12

In other words, those who are trying to Judaize you are only doing it to show off to their fellow Jews and also to avoid persecution and reproach from other Jews who do not like the idea of a messiah presented, not as a national ethnic hero but as a universal dying and rising god like Mithras or Attis, the gods of the gentiles. Their zeal carries an ulterior motive of self-congratulation, not real concern for the converts they try to make. Paul says that in his mission he never boasts about how many people he has gotten to follow him. And who can say, he continues, if even these so-called circumcisers keep the TORAH themselves?
But even if they claim to, what is circumcision? Nothing! It's the same as uncircumcision when you get down to it. No! The thing that matters is the new creation of the salvation of Xristos. Those who have accepted that salvation by belief in the lord Iesous are the ONLY TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD.

It seems that in every era, gentiles home in on the issue of the day which makes Jews feel angry. Paul simply did what gentiles in the Greek world did to insult Jews; they badmouthed circumcision. Today when gentiles want to insult Jews, they badmouth the State of Israel.

We know from Paul's writings sent to the churches at Corinth and Galatia that Nazarenes followed on Paul's heels, so to speak, to make Jews out of his Christians. Did they show up in places other than in Corinth and Galatia? There is no direct written evidence of it but later on in his life, when Paul was Imprisoned in Rome, he wrote to his disciple Timothy that:

"You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes."
2 Timothy 1:15
And there were further complaints:

"Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia .... Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them."
2 Timothy 4:9,14-16

"For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain .... For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth."
Titus 1:10,11-13
So now it's for sordid gain, to make money, that Judaizers are plaguing his churches. It's always some ulterior motive for him, otherwise why would anyone want to pervert "the truth"?

Paul continued his mission for several years and succeeded in getting gentiles [mostly God-Fearers from local synagogues and after a while their friends and family members] to join his cult of the dying and rising god, Iesous. Since most of the people he converted were not philosophers or theologians, it's difficult
to tell exactly what they believed they were experiencing, and it is certain that they had many questions regarding their status vis-a-vis other gentiles and Jews. They were already familiar with the Jewish scriptures in Greek translation [the LXX] but now Paul may have confused them regarding how to look upon those scriptures. Were they useful to Christians in any way since they were an "old testament"? Were Christians bound by at least the Ten Commandments? Should they have any kind of intercourse with Jews or with Nazarenes? If truly the morality of the TORAH was no longer in effect, how should they behave? Were they really now the same as Jews but different, and did that make sense? Was the world really coming to an end, and if so, was it their duty to try to get others to join their cult? And what was the difference between God and Xristos? Didn't the scriptures teach that there was only one God, and if so, what was Xristos being "lord" all about?

Paul may have given his Christians too much intellectual credit when it came to theology because most of them were probably as confused 2000 years ago as they are today when it comes to the nature of God and what He expects from believers.

Take just one example.

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Xristos Iesous, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men."
Philippians 2:5-7 [New American Standard translation]

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Xristos Iesous: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."
Philippians 2:5-7 [King James translation]

Paul gave his converts a lot to think about and probably drove them to distraction. This was like nothing they had learned from Jews. The Anointed was to be a special man who would deliver the world from political oppression. Special but still human.

Paul's theology had deviated so far from what the Nazarenes taught that they not only considered him a heretic but a madman. To any rational gentile who read these lines, the question opened up would have been: Is Iesous God or not? What does it mean to be in the "form of God" [EIKON THEON] but not God because not equal to God? In humility, Xristos Iesous gives up being God's equal even though it would not be wrong to do so ["not robbery"]. But had he chosen to be God's equal, then   there would be two Gods. Yet Paul said there was only One, the Father of Xristos. On his death, Paul left Christianity as an incomplete religion in many respects, as it remains today. Christians still have too many questions to ask if they are critical thinkers. Most are not because most people are not critical thinkers and so when they run up against paradoxical axioms in their religion, they just don't ask. They rely on priests to know the answers, or ministers - just as many Jews rely on rabbis. But Jews are not confronted with a theology that is inscrutable or illogical.

After several years into his mission, he decided to go to Jerusalem to see the "so-called super" apostles, James and Peter. Why he chose to do this is a mystery since his entire career was one which could only infuriate James and the other disciples of YESHUA. In his letter to the Galatians, he spoke of a previous trip to Jerusalem during which he met with Peter and James. But time had moved on and his growing hostility to Nazarenes and Jews in general had become well known. The book of Acts [Acts 20:16] tells us that "Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of SHAVUOT."

Acts of the Apostles, as I have said, is a very unreliable document as factual history but Paul does not give us a firsthand account in any of his letters as to why he chose to go to the very City where he would put himself in jeopardy. Since he himself said that the outward [Jewish] expression of the TORAH was now void, why would he even want to go there for the holiday of SHAVUOT?

22 And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me"
Acts 20:22,23

Here Paul says that the spirit of God is compelling him to go to Jerusalem even though he anticipates that no good can come of it. Either this was his real feeling or it is just a tale made up by the author of Acts who knew the facts of Paul's end. We can't ever know.

"After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem."
Acts 21:4

This is an example of how muddled Acts is. Although Paul reports that the Spirit moved him to go to Jerusalem, Acts now tells us that the Spirit spoke through his followers telling him NOT to go there. It appears that the Spirit was as confused as Paul was. The intent however of these verses is to show that Paul and his followers were not a welcome group to Nazarenes and other Jews and that Paul was probably putting his life at risk by traveling there. But again, the author of Acts knows the outcome of the story.

"As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the gentiles.'"
Acts 21:10,11

The so-called prophet now confirms what the author of Acts knows happened. The Spirit told him to go to his doom and at the same time, told others to advise him not to go. The author of Acts appears to be as confused as we are when we read his novel, with far less justification.

"Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the lord Iesous."
Acts 21:13

The author of Acts knows well that his trip to Jerusalem led to a chain of events which ultimately DID result in his death. What may have happened is that James
and Peter, finally becoming fed up with his anti-Jewish ranting, ordered him to come to see them. If this is the case, then Paul might have declined But to do so would have made him appear to be a coward but on the other hand, it's also possible that had he refused, it would be seen as an insult to the brother of YESHUA, and James may then have sent a posse or done something else to ensure his compliance with their "request". Whatever the case was, Paul did wind up in Jerusalem.

The following verses from Acts tells of Paul's audience [confrontation] with James. The story, although it is soft-pedaled, has to have elements of truth because it completely goes against the grain of the message of Acts which is that the transition from the sect of the Nazarenes to the cult of the Xristos was a smooth one with very little quarrel and strife between the real apostles and Paul. The author of Acts had no choice. What happened in Jerusalem became well known so Acts had to make an account of it.

"After we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, 'You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the TORAH; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the TORAH. But concerning the gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.' Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the Temple, giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them."
Acts 21:17-26

How exactly did the brethren receive Paul and his delegation "gladly" and glorify God at what he said when the very same sentence is a rebuke, and a strong one, even though Acts tries hard [and fails] to mitigate it. They said, in effect, "We Jews, Nazarene or not, are ZEALOUS for the TORAH and we hear that you ain't!" They don't accuse him of discouraging gentiles from circumcision and following the TORAH because gentiles don't have to do those things. Their complaint, better ACCUSATION is that he is telling JEWS not to practice the Jewish religion. From Paul's own writings, we know he told gentiles that no one [including Jews] ought to follow the TORAH any longer. James and his crew simply intensified the derogation of Paul's anti-Jewish message. An implied threat follows -"They [the TORAH-observant Jews here] will certainly hear that you have come." - the unfinished part of the sentence is something like "And they won't be happy and they just might make you eat your words." As a matter of fact, we'll see that certain zealous Jews -

"formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who formed this plot."
Acts 23:12,13

The next few sentences show a devious plan on the part of James and the other Nazarenes to publicly humiliate Paul, which was probably pre-thought even before he got to Jerusalem. Paul is asked [really ordered] to publicly show that he upholds the very TORAH which he has denigrated by going to the Temple to make a purification sacrifice, and as if that were not bad enough, to pay for four other men's sacrifices of purification. Paul has taught that the commandments of the TORAH and especially the RITUAL commandments performed in the Temple have been nullified. Now he is ordered to publicly negate his own teachings, not by word but by deed. The intent is clear. The Nazarenes were making him eat his words. The paragraph ends in a coda to the effect that Paul shall tell his gentiles to
sexually and dietarily behave like Jews. The purpose of the coda is to soften the events in the reader's eyes. There is no evidence in the New Testament that Paul ever told his gentile companions to follow James' orders. But then, he may never have gotten the chance to tell anyone.

"When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the Temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, "Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the TORAH and this [Temple]; and besides he has even brought [gentiles] into the Temple and has defiled this holy place." For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the Temple. Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the Temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.  At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. When he got to the stairs, he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, "Away with him!"
Acts 21:27-35

It's apparent this was a setup by James and the Nazarenes although Acts cannot say that. But "Jews from Asia" certainly knew him and I don't doubt they were in cahoots with James. After this incident, nowhere in Acts or anywhere else does it say that the Nazarenes came to assist him or bail him out. They just let him stew in the pot they had boiling for him. The New American Translation says "Jerusalem was in confusion". Other versions say "was rioting", "was in an uproar", "was out of control". So a contingent of Roman soldiers came to forestall a lynching, and took charge of him.

According to the story in Acts, Paul tries to quell the crowd by telling them of his epiphany and his mission. But it does no good.

"They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!"
Acts 22:22

Acts continues the story. The officer in charge decided to scourge [whip with a multi-thong lash] Paul in order for him to confess why he caused a riot. But before the torture can begin, Paul tells the officer that he is a Roman citizen and that it is unlawful to scourge a Roman citizen who has not been found guilty of anything in a court of law. The soldiers waited till the next day and brought Paul before the Sanhedrin, the Jerusalem Supreme Court to see if he would be officially charged with anything. Luke, the author of Acts is unclear about what happened at that disposition but when the Romans find out that there is a plot, on the part of some Jewish zealots, to kidnap and kill Paul [Acts 23:12,13], they hurry him away and send him to the city of Caesarea to see the Roman governor, Felix. At the same time, a party of Jews, including a lawyer, came to Caesarea to the governor, saying: -

"We have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world ... And he even tried to desecrate the Temple. So
we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. But ... the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you."
Acts 24:5-8

Felix listened to the bickering between Paul and his Jewish accusers. Felix's wife was Jewish and he asked her what he should do but she had as much insight into what was going on as he, none. Not being able to make heads or tails of the argument, or not having the patience but not wanting to stir up an emotional controversy with the Jewish population he was governing, he did the same thing that many men in his position have done; Felix left Paul imprisoned in Caesarea
for two years without trying him, until he was succeeded by Porcius  Festus, the next governor, and washed his hands of the whole business.

When the case was brought before him, Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial on the charges brought against him. Paul answered that as a Roman citizen, no one could hand him over to a nonRoman [Jewish] court. He then made an appeal to go to Rome and put his case before Caesar. Festus said that any Roman citizen had a right to take his case to the Emperor, and he ordered Paul taken to Rome.

Among the other things that Paul did to make himself an enemy of Jews is that he chose a gentile court rather than a Jewish one to hear his case. When we remember that he had told his own Christians to settle things among themselves rather than take each other to court, we can see his hypocrisy at work.
[ see 1 Corinthians 6:1-6 above]

When Paul finally arrived in Rome, while he was awaiting his audience with Caesar, he was allowed to rent an apartment but was put under house arrest. Some curious Roman Jews came to visit him to find out what his imprisonment was all about. He told them his story and his beliefs but they either didn't understand what he was talking about or thought he was simply ranting.

"And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken ..."
Acts 27:25

"So he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him".
Acts 27:30

So ends Luke's story of the Acts of Paul, incorrectly called Acts of the Apostles. Luke does not tell the reader of his letter what happened to Paul but most historians of the New Testament think that his case was never heard by the Emperor, and that after the two years of his house arrest, he was set free.

My thoughts about Paul's end can be read in the 25th chapter of my essay, "Jesus the Nazarene and his Jewish Followers. I quote:


"Finally Paul came to Rome and was placed under a minimum security house arrest where he maintained his own dwelling and was guarded by Roman soldiers. He could not leave the house while his trial was pending but he could receive friends. There were in Rome at that time two Jewish communities, one the long standing Jewish community of Rome since the days of Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, and the other a newer Jewish Nazarene community, probably established by Peter. It is interesting to note that after Paul came to Rome under arrest, members of the old established Jewish community came to visit him, YET NO MEMBER OF THE NAZARENE COMMUNITY OF ROME EXPRESSED ANY INTEREST IN HIM NOR OFFERED HIM ANY ASSISTANCE. Those Jews who DID come to speak with him merely came out of curiosity to interview him regarding the belief in YESHUA as the messiah. They told him that they knew of the existence of Nazarenes in Rome, and since he was recently arrived from the Holy Land where the sect had its headquarters, perhaps he could fill them in about the sect in more detail. They also indicated to him that they were aware that the Romans were ill-disposed to the Nazarenes much as they were ill-disposed to Jewish messianism in general. Paul attempted to prove to them that his Iesous Xristos was the long awaited messiah by means of Biblical teachings; but those Jews remained largely unimpressed by these teachings, which frustrated Paul so much that, as before, he excoriated them by saying that salvation would be given not to them, but to non-Jews."

"The most ironic thing about this entire episode of Paul's near brush with death and his subsequent imprisonment was that once he was removed from the Land of Israel, neither Jews nor Nazarenes bothered about him any longer. The accusers of Jerusalem did not follow up their persecution of him. They sent no delegation to Rome to appeal to Caesar about Paul. Therefore he merely sat in his jail-house for two years waiting for Caesar to become aware of him. But as Caesar was not pressed about his case by anyone, Caesar simply attended to more immediate cases, thereby effectively ignoring Paul. In the meanwhile, with Paul in a state of check, the Judaizing Nazarenes had the opportunity to travel throughout the communities Paul had planted in the east and in Macedonia and to undo the "gentilization" of YESHUA and the Christian religion that he had brought about. One by one, they brought over each of these originally Pauline communities to the true original form of belief in YESHUA as the messiah of the Jews who demanded full Jewish involvement, including circumcision, to become followers of the Nazarene YESHUA. Paul, receiving reports of this from several of his coverts who remained loyal to him, knew that his Judaizing opponents were going throughout his mission field teaching "another Iesous that I have not taught" and that from his place of confinement, he was powerless to do anything about it. He felt he had planted and others were eating up the fruits of his labors. His life was nearing its end and he sat in Rome abandoned. The tenor of his mind is revealed by the words he wrote to his friend Timothy, "This thou knowest, that all the believers in Asia have turned away from me" (2 Timothy 1:15). It appeared to him, and to all, that the world would accept a Jewish YESHUA as its messiah, and that very shortly the gentiles would be gathered to the TORAH of Moses by throwing in their lot with Israel and its king-messiah in the soon to come Kingdom of G-d on earth."


Somewhere between the years CE 62 and 64, Jewish messianists, Nazarenes, and Christians in Rome were caught up in a Roman police dragnet due to anti-social behavior of some sort, or even outright violence. Several years earlier, the Emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome because of incessant messianism by certain of their sects. However, after a short interval, under pledge from Jewish leaders that they would ensure Jewish civil behavior, Claudius canceled his expulsion order. But in CE 64, some person or persons set fire to Rome which destroyed much of the slum area. The Romans blamed the Nazarenes and the Christians
for  this. As many leaders of these sects that they could find were arrested and executed. The early Church Father Eusebius wrote a history of that time and reported that in the same year, CE 64, Peter was crucified and Paul was beheaded by the Romans, ending their leadership roles. Two years earlier, James, the brother of YESHUA was killed by an assassin in Jerusalem.

From chapter 26 of my above mentioned essay, I quote:


"Josephus [the Jewish historian of the day] tells us that the people of Jerusalem loved James, and that they gave him the appellation, James the Just (YAKOV HA-TSADIK), not only because he was scrupulous in his observance of the TORAH but because he had a genuine love for the Jewish people and manifested it in his life. Further, we are informed that not only the downtrodden classes and the Zealots felt close to him but that he was admired very much by the Pharisees.

It therefore came as a shock to the people when, in the year 62 CE, James was brought up on charges of breaking the Law by the High Priest Ananus. Josephus is not clear on the exact nature of the charge but he reports that Ananus managed to have James stoned to death. Based upon what we know of James, it is safe to assume that the charge, whatever its nature was entire trumped up, and that the legal proceedings were not quite as they should have been. Josephus reports that Ananus was accused by the Pharisees of convening the Sanhedrin in an improper manner and that they (the Pharisees) reported his actions to King Agrippa. In fact, the Pharisees were so outraged at the murder of the TSADIK that they did something not ordinarily done by them. They sent a delegation to the new Roman governor to complain to him of the incident. Josephus also informs us that Ananus felt free to carry out the execution of James because Festus had died and the new governor Albinus had not yet reached Jerusalem. When the deputation of Pharisees met him on route and explained that a righteous man, loved by all, had been mercilessly murdered by Ananus, Albinus became so enraged that he sent Ananus a strongly worded warning against ever doing such a thing again. But Albinus' warning was not necessary. King Agrippa, when informed of the crime, immediately had Ananus removed from the High Priesthood and replaced by another.

There is another version of the story of the death of the TSADIK, a Christian version told by the Church father Hegesippus and quoted by the third century historian of the Roman Catholic Church, Eusebius. This one I believe to be historically less accurate than that told by Josephus, yet I relate it in order to point out classical Christianity's view of James and the relationship between his death and later events in Jewish history.

According to Hegesippus, James was asked by "certain Jewish heretics": 'Tell us, what is the door of YESHUA'? James replied that YESHUA was the messiah ... These heretics then became agitated at this reply and ordered James to dissuade the people from believing in YESHUA. They thereby grabbed hold of James and brought him up to "a high wall of the Temple" where they again asked him to explain the expression, "the door of YESHUA". James, seeing their mocking attitude, replied to them, "Why do you ask me regarding the Son of Man who will shortly return to judge the living and the dead?" At which point, they flung him from the wall so that he fell and was mortally wounded. While he lay there dying, he said a prayer for the people. One of the cronies of the "heretics" then approached him and clubbed him on the head so that he died. Immediately, Hegesippus informs us, God put it in the mind of Vespasian [Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, the Roman Emperor] to go and war against Jerusalem to destroy it and the Temple. Jewish tradition, of course, has a different account of why the Temple was destroyed."

I mention the second story more for what James did not say than for what he did say. All that James says is that his brother is the messiah and will return to finish the messianic work. He does NOT say that YESHUA is some sort of world savior or dying and rising god whose death atones for the sins of people. And since he was the brother of YESHUA, he should have known best. The "heretics" are not named and it is anyone's guess who is meant."


The third pillar of the Jerusalem KENESIA, John, called "the beloved disciple", appears to fade into the background. He is credited with writing at least 2 books of the New Testament, the gospel bearing his name and the final book of the New Testament, Revelation. Both of these books are undoubtedly NOT the work of the said John but were written late by a gentile Christian.

Eusebius, in his History of the Church, reports that the leadership of the Nazarenes passed on to 15 relatives of YESHUA, one succeeding the other.  

Paul probably was being overly dramatic when he claimed that his converts were turning away from him. Certainly many may have but after his death, there remained a sufficient number of Christians throughout the Empire that remained loyal to him. His religion had spread far during his lifetime. By the end, it was not only God-Fearers that were becoming members of his faith but now even gentiles who knew very little of the Jewish religion or who not necessarily understood what the origins of his beliefs were.

In his letter to the Philippians, he wrote: "All the rest of God's people send you greetings too, especially those in Caesar's household."
Philippians 4:22

Paul's cult had even penetrated into the Imperial palace!

In the year 66 CE, the Galilean Zealots had had enough of Roman rule. The Zealots and their sympathizers broke out into open rebellion and launched a war on the Roman occupiers. The war lasted 4 years. Finally the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem, broke through the walls in the year 70 CE, killed the defenders, laid the City waste, and burned down the Temple, chasing the remaining Jews out of the City, disallowing them to re-enter, and sacrificing to their gods amid the Temple ruins.
With no Temple and a non-functioning priesthood, Jews turned to the Pharisees [rabbis] for leadership. Most of the Jews who had been Nazarenes deserted the sect, feeling betrayed at YESHUA's failure to appear and save them. Jews who remained in the Nazarene sect became marginalized and excommunicated. Not only did they lose status among Jews but Christian leaders were now in a position to tell their people the proof that Paul had been correct in his judgment of his fellow Jews could be seen in the destruction of the very place in which the Nazarenes had humiliated him.

Xristos had been a Jew but his own people turned away from him and God had finally punished them for this. The Jews were finished. They were abandoned by God and were no longer the Chosen People. They had been replaced by the real Israel of God, the Christians. And who were the Nazarenes other than merely Jews who preached a false Xristos. They also had been abandoned by God and their doctrine was to be ignored and disparaged by the faithful. They would have no influence on the evolution of the Christian religion.

About the year 75 CE, a book called the Gospel According to Mark appeared. This is the first life of Iesous composed to later be canonized in the New Testament. Mark's object is to show that Iesous was not a political rebel and that he did not teach his followers to attack the Empire like the Jews had attacked. In fact, he taught his followers to be loyal to Caesar so that Rome should not confuse peaceful Christians with Jewish gangsters. Throughout Mark's book, Iesous distances himself from the Jewish People, and tells his disciples to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Mark 12:17

Mark has no Nativity story. In his gospel, Iesous is a natural born human who becomes adopted by God as his son and messiah when he begins his mission as a Nazarene. By this time, the origin of the name Nazarene is already lost on Christians and interpreted to be a citizen of Nazareth. [see Part One of this essay for the meaning of the term "Nazarene".]

About the year 80 CE, another gospel appeared, written by someone using the name Matthew. This gospel drew upon an original document written by a Jewish follower of YESHUA, and was probably composed by a Jew, later heavily edited by gentile Christians. The original document contains YESHUA's order to his followers to only missionize among Jews. It also contains the so-called Sermon On The Mount which is an encapsulation of YEHSUA's teaching. The later editors of Matthew have added
a nativity story whereby Iesous is born in Bethlehem and is God's son by virtue of God impregnating his mother, Mary [Miriam]

About the year 90 CE, a third gospel appeared supposedly written by Paul's companion Luke who also wrote Acts of the Apostles. Luke is clearly a Greek who tries to synthesize the stories of Iesous presented by both Mark and Matthew. Luke retains the Jewishness of Iesous but also adds a Nativity story similar to that of Matthew. Luke says that Jews will only be downtrodden until "the time of the Gentiles is finished" at which time Iesous will return and save a remnant of Israel who receive him as messiah.

Finally, About the year 100 CE, a fourth gospel was written by a man named John who poses as YESHUA's favorite disciple YOCHANAN, the third pillar, or super-apostle, of the Jerusalem KENESIA. In this gospel, Iesous Xristos is barely Jewish and barely human as we will see below. John is the most anti-Semitic gospel of the four, and condemns Jews with, not only the charge of "killing Christ" but of being the children of the devil. In this gospel, Jews have lost all hope for all time.

Even before his death, Paul had succeeded in making Christians, not only of ordinary people but even of members of the Emperor's family. But Paul's death left his theology unfinished. Now the faith needed sophisticated leaders who would be able to answer the questions and straighten out the confusion of the believers. And the leadership would come from various and far ranging sources. In effect, with Paul's passing, Christianity became an open vessel into which various philosophies flowed.

Christians were bound to ask:

Who is Xristos actually?
What is his relationship to God?
Were Christians to have any intercourse with Jews, and if so, what sort?
Just where did Jews fit in to the Christian scheme?
What is the relationship of Christians to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem?
Are Christians to completely ignore the Jews' TORAH?
How are Christians to conduct themselves without a written TORAH to guide them?
Are Christians really worshiping the same God that the Jews worship?

Paul had written to the Philippians that: Xristos was in the image of God, and if he had wished, COULD have been equal with God but lowered himself to the status  of a servant, and chose to be made in the image of men. [Philippians 2:5-7] So it was Xristos' choice to be somehow potentially God or somehow separated from God.

The author of the gospel according to John deals with this problem and expects his readers to be intelligent and sophisticated enough to understand what he writes
about it:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.... He came to his own but his own did not receive him...... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father ..."
John 1:1-3,11,14

John's book was written about the end of the first Christian century and already Iesous Xristos has been transformed from a real historical Jewish person into the
per-existing Son of God who is the instrument through which all reality was created. Not merely the savior of the faithful but someone who is "with God" from the beginning and also God Himself. What's this about?

First of all, "John" has taken an idea from the Jewish religion and Christologized it. The rabbis teach that the TORAH, the supernal TORAH was always in existence, having been an emanation of the unknowable, transcendent God, EYN SOF. As we have seen above, this concept is spoken of by the Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria, and by the KABALLAH. In that sense, the TORAH was never created, it was generated out of Himself, and then God consulted it as a blueprint to create reality. So through the supernal TORAH, "all things were made; without which nothing was made that has been made." In Judaism, the TORAH does not become flesh, does not become human but is brought into the world through Moses and is presented to the children of Israel as a written contract, thereby creating the Jewish People as a separate, holy people, a "Kingdom of Priests"  -  "And you shall be unto  Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." [Exodus 19:6]

Secondly, we saw that in the Greek world, the belief was wide spread that people cannot know the real, essence of God, the aspect of God called EYN SOF by Jewish mystics. When physical reality came into existence, EYN SOF was "outside" of it, and "God" could only reveal Himself to the world in the form of an angel, a Spirit, a SHECHINAH, that is by EMANATIONS. Christian theology said that Xristos COULD be God as an emanation. He was with God as the Word of God [like the TOARH] but he emerged out of God as the Xristos emanation. In effect, Xristos is the Christian TORAH. His initial mission was to teach men but the mission was superseded
to be the dying and rising god through whom the world gains salvation [eternal life].

By the middle of the second century, Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire yet there was no central leadership or central religious authority to impose a uniformity of belief and practice on Christians. So belief in God and more importantly ABOUT God and what He expects varied with each community.

Christian leadership agreed on several points:

.God had been the God of the Jews and now was God of the Christians.
.God was difficult to know but His worshipers could communicate with Him through His son, Iesous Xristos, who was His image, an emanation of Him and they could communicate with Him and/or with Xristos through the Spirit of God - which was also an emanation, the Sprit was another form of Xristos.
.Iesous Xristos had been born as a human to a human Jewish virginal mother.
.Christians had to be baptized in order to join the faith just as gentiles had to be immersed in order to join the Jewish Community. The forms of baptism varied from Christian community to Christian community.
.Christians were to shun Jews; Jews were the enemies because they knew Xristos best and rejected him.

In many towns and villages where Christians constituted a significant percentage of the population, former local pagan temples and shrines were turned into churches and if those temples had contained statues or images of gods, the images were now regarded as Christian objects of worship and veneration such as Iesous or Mary or some saint or other. Whatever was religiously familiar to pagans was incorporated by the priests of Iesous Xristos to facilitate the conversion of these pagans. The more Christianity evolved, the more of an expression of pure gentile religion it became. By now, most ordinary Christians were ignorant of the Jewish religion unlike the first Christians whom Paul picked up at the local synagogues he visited.

As greater numbers of people became Christian and antipathetic to Jews, the rabbis lamented that the day the Jewish scriptures had been translated into the language of the gentiles was a dark day for Israel. Some Jewish communities observed the 8th day of the Hebrew month of TEVET as a fast day since it was held that on that day the LXX was completed. Christians continued to use the LXX as their "Old Testament" for several centuries. In the West, the LXX was translated into Latin and became known as the Vulgate, the official Bible of the later Roman Catholic Church.

By the end of the 3rd century, Christians were confused about whom it was that they were worshiping. Were they worshiping One God or three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Arian Christians, followers of the priest named Arius, did not have this problem since they believed that there was only One God who was
the Father of the savior Xristos. They worshiped God and prayed to Him in the name of Xristos. Xristos was their savior, not their God. They may have been adoptionists like Mark had been, believing that Iesous had been born a natural human who later in his life was adopted by God as His son. Orthodox Christians taught that Xristos was begotten by God [came forth from Him], and not created. Arians taught that Xristos was created just like everything else so being a creation, he could not be equal to God or be a part of God.

Then there were the Gnostic Christians whose sect was formed by the Greek bishop Marcion. The word Gnosticism comes from the Greek GNOSIS, "knowledge", and the followers of Marcion claimed to have a secret knowledge of what the true Christianity was all about.

Gnosticism has been defined in the Christian context as the absolute Hellenization, or gentilization of Christianity. Marcion affirmed Iesous to be the savior sent by a heavenly Father other than the God whom the Jews worshiped. Marcion's god was an altogether different being, a universal god of compassion and love who looks upon humanity with benevolence and mercy. He stated that anything Jewish had nothing to do with Xristos or Christianity and that believers should discard the books of the Hebrew Bible and cut themselves off from whomever the Jews claimed that YESHUA was.

Marcion became one of the first declared heretics in the year 144 for his deviations from the more conservative theological viewpoints of the main body of bishops who declared that the only way that Iesous could be the verified Xristos was by Biblical prophecies promising that God would send a messiah to the world through the undeserving Jews, and that the Jews would not accept him so that his later prophet, Paul, would carry the message of his salvation to the gentiles. More conservative bishops needed HISTORY to guarantee the authenticity of faith. Marcion's gnosticism was declared anathema to believers who would be excommunicated from the faith if they chose gnosticism as their religion.

But many conservative Christians who considered Iesous Xristos equal to God needed clarification. Thus was born the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine was formulated by priests to avoid the faithful from becoming polytheists. No, Christians were NOT worshiping three Gods; they were worshiping One under different aspects; there was God the Father and God the Son and God the Spirit but all three Persons were united as One God. Iesous Xristos had advanced from being the son of God to God the Son.

The bishops of the various sects of Christianity quarreled among themselves as did their followers, oftentimes the sects clashing with one another in open physical violence as well as on-going disputes of rhetoric. This situation continued until the advent of Constantine the Great who was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. He is best known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. During his reign, civil wars broke out and Constantine had to fight against pretenders to the throne. On the eve of one great battle against his rivals, he reports that he had a dream in which he saw a great cross spread out across the sky and a voice from above called to him, saying, "In this sign will you conquer!"

In February 313, Constantine developed the Edict of Milan, the edict of toleration. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow their faith without oppression. This removed penalties for professing Christianity, which was the opposite of what had gone on before when many had been martyred in persecutions of Christians. Chief complaints against Christianity by sophisticated Romans were that Christians were intolerant to nonChristians and that they rejected the world and its enjoyments, both observably true.

The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity he chose. The Edict of Milan included several clauses which stated that all confiscated churches and their possessions would be returned as well as other provisions for previously persecuted Christians.

Throughout his rule, Constantine supported churches financially, built new churches, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), and promoted Christians to high office. But until the day of his death, he worshiped Xristos along with several Roman gods.

In 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the Day of the Sun, thereby establishing Sunday as the official day of rest for the entire Empire.

The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions going on within the newly emerging Catholic Church; such as the dispute over Arianism [the belief that Iesous was not the equal of God but was subservient]. Constantine believed the quarreling and squabbling among the various Christian sects would cause societal disruption. To ensure religious stability, he sought to establish an orthodoxy
which meant that he saw the emperor's duty was to ensure the proper worship of God, and that proper worship would be determined by the Church.

The constant warring among the sects finally drove Constantine's patience to exhaustion. In 325, he summoned the famous Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council. The Council of Nicaea is best known for its dealing with Arianism, which from then on became officially regarded as a heresy, and for instituting the Nicene Creed. Constantine also enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord's Supper [the last meal YESHUA shared with his disciples on the eve of Passover immediately before he was executed]. This marked a definite break of Christianity from Jewish tradition. From then on the Roman Julian solar Calendar was given precedence over the Hebrew lunar Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire.

The Nicene Creed - Traditional Wording

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Iesous Xristos,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost
of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried;
and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son];
who with the Father and the Son together
is worshiped and glorified;
who spoke by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

It was at this point in history that the original edict of tolerance, so desired by the formerly persecuted Christians, fell into disuse and the lowering of all nonChristians, pagans and Jews, to second class status began. Christians had wanted equality for themselves and wanted to deprive others of it once they assumed power. Rather than cause dissension, Constantine gave into the wishes of his bishops. Constantine made new laws regarding Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. Conversion to Judaism become a state crime with heavy penalties. Bishops and priests began to deliver antisemitic sermons in their churches. The rights of Jews were eroded and pagans became more and more pressured to become Christian. Within a century, by law and by persuasion, the majority of Roman subjects had accepted the Trinitarian Christian religion.

Constantine is also known for dividing the Empire. He built the city of Constantinople near the Greek city of Byzantium, and named it Constantinopolis [Constantine's City]. It is the modern city of Istanbul in Turkey. Constantine moved there and made it a second capital of the Empire which would be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople".

In 380, the Roman Empire officially adopted Trinitarian Christianity as its state religion. Prior to this date, Arian-forms of Christianity had been favored.
In May of 337, Constantine was on his deathbed. It's been speculated that he put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. He chose the Arianizing bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia as his baptizer. It's interesting that at the time of his death, he gave the privilege of performing his last rites to a heretical Arian rather than to any one of his Catholic bishops.  

The "Fall" of the Roman Empire

The Western Empire lasted long enough to Christianize Europe but Rome's power was in steady decline from the time of the splitting of the Empire. It's ironic that this happened only after Christianity became the Empire. But at the time Rome was going through a series of devastating economic depressions and the army was becoming weaker - due perhaps to Rome's inability to pay soldiers.

In 476, the army of the barbarian Germanic king, Odoacer, entered Rome and deposed the last Roman emperor to rule the western part of the Roman Empire, declaring that Rome already had an emperor in Constantinople and didn't need a second one in the West. As far as most historians are concerned, 476 marks the official date for the end of the Western Roman Empire.

To some extent people didn't know that it was the end. Because for a while, things seemed to go on as before. People were speaking Latin, they were living in cities, the cities were much less populated, but nevertheless, they were still there; there were still rich people; there were still poor people. But things really did change. Now there was a decline in the culture including a more primitive architecture, the end of grand civic projects like aqueducts, coliseums, theaters, and baths, a more isolated society without these urban centers, a diminished population spread across the countryside, mostly engaged in subsistence, and the radical diminution of trade.

The Roman political order collapsed in terms of staffing by lay people and military people but the bishops were now the rulers of the City. The bishops would now do things like ensure the food supply, rally the local population against barbarian invasions, educate the populace. The bishops temporarily became the leaders of what had been the Western Empire and was now becoming Western Europe.

But if we ask why the Western Empire collapsed, the simple, most immediate answer is it was taken over by German confederations of tribes . They came not so much as conquerors as people wanting to integrate themselves as much as possible into a fading Empire. Most of the tribes were already Christianized through contact with Rome; most were Arians, not orthodox Catholics.

The Roman elite accommodated themselves to, compromised with, negotiated with, their new rulers. They found the barbarians uncouth, hard to deal with, not knowledgeable in the Latin classics, but not very frightening, either.

By the sixth century, just about the only nonChristians in Western Europe were Jews. By then, the Christians there realized that Roman law was no longer capable of protecting minorities, and the local rulers, guided by the local bishops and priests, laid down a succession of laws over the next centuries that severely restricted Jewish life.

Germanic tribes settled down and formed towns and cities. In order to maintain favor with the clergy, the rulers and their people slowly gave up Arianism and adopted Roman Catholicism. By this time, by mutual acknowledgment, the bishop of Rome had become the chief priest of Western Christendom, being called the supreme
Papa of the Church, the Pope. The Pope took the title that the Roman Emperors claimed, Pontifex Maximus [shortened to Pontiff], the Great Bridge Builder. The Emperors claimed to build their empire as a bridge of peace across populations. The Popes claimed to do the same across Western Christianity.

In 800, on Christmas Day, Charlemagne was crowned in Rome as Roman Emperor by the pope. The Holy Roman Empire was thus born.

But while the West changed from Empire to distinct kingdoms, What we call the Eastern Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire, continued on. They called themselves the Roman Empire, no adjective, no qualification. They were the successor to, and the only successor to what had once been a great worldwide Empire, stretching from Britain to the Middle East.

In that Eastern Empire, Christological controversies also raged, about the nature of Christ [our more familiar spelling of Xristos], about the relationship of his human to divine nature, one sect emphasizing Christ's divine nature, and another, Christ's human nature. Such was the legacy left to them by Paul.

In the Council of Chalcedon, from 451 to 454, the Eastern bishops declared that Christ has two natures, both perfect, both indivisible but separate, which comprise a hypostasis. A "hypostasis" is a thing that exists in its own right. Not everyone in the East accepted this solution so the Emperor Zeno issued a document called the Henotikon in 482. The Henotikon basically says, one Person of the Trinity was made flesh and blood, and we're not going to discuss it anymore. It outlawed any further discussion. Nobody liked this. Even today, there are serious divisions of belief among Christians in the East, never resolved.

In the late sixth century and early seven century, the Byzantine Empire started experiencing frontier incursions, attacks from the Balkans, invasions from Slavs and from Persians in the East.

The first Arab attacks against the Eastern Empire occurred in 634. By 636, the Empire lost Syria, by 638, Jerusalem, by 645, Egypt. What remained was a truncated
Empire, the Balkans and Anatolia, with some Armenian and some Slavic elements. With the loss of all this territory, Christianity was virtually driven out of the Middle East and north Africa. There were still Christians living in those places but they were a shamed minority.

This period, the 7th century, marks the end of what we call Antiquity. Tribal rulers became kings under the direction of Christian clergy. Towns were becoming cities, and kingdoms were beginning to take the shape of nations that we are familiar with. After the collapse of Charlemagne's kingdom, modern Christian Europe began to emerge.

Till the year 1000 CE, Christian Europe behaved fairly "civilized", not treating heretics and dissidents too harshly. But after that year, Christian Europe became demonic in its attitudes and treatment of people who were not "true believers."

For the 6000 years of human civilization, societies, whether tribes, towns, cities, or states, have been held together by rules. In pre-modern times, rules were believed to be handed down from Above and administered by the ruler who acted as the human viceroy for the deity. But the deity made his wishes known to the priests who then told and taught the ruler how to rule according to the will of the deity. So for 6000 years, the state and the church have been tied together as one functioning unit. The church has been the state and the unity was made more so in Rome by Constantine's desire for unity. In the West, Rome fell apart and was replaced by European kingdoms presided over by kings and the Roman Catholic Church. The Church demanded unity to impose its DOCTRINE upon Europe as the will of God. Anything outside its doctrine was heresy or diabolical controversial philosophy. No one in pre-modern times had his or her opinion. Everyone's opinion was the opinion of the Church. Augustine, an early Church father, said that the original sin of Satan was pride. Satan thought for himself rather than just submitting to being a servant. In effect, Satan sinned when he told God, "I have freewill therefore I will not serve."

Before the end of the 15th century, three Catholic kingdoms had expelled all Jews from their territories. In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England. In 1492, Spain expelled its Jews. In 1497, Portugal also expelled Jews. Whatever the official reason anyone has given, THE reason is intolerance toward the "other". Unity cannot tolerate differences. Since Jews refused to assimilate, they were cast out.

The Black Death, a plague, beginning in 1347, spread throughout Europe, and killed between a third and more than half of its inhabitants. Jews were blamed as the cause of the disease, and this was only one other reason for the expulsions, namely, Christian countries ought not abide the killers of Christ in their midst, and
hence God had sent the plague as punishment for toleration of the other.

When the institutions of the Church felt themselves threatened by what they perceived as the heresy, they reacted. Paul III [Pope from 1534 to 1549] established a system of tribunals, staffed by cardinals and other Church officials. This system would later become known as the Inquisition. The first Inquisition was established in Languedoc (south of France) in 1184.

In the 12th century, Catharism arose. It is the name given to a Christian religious movement with dualistic and gnostic elements that appeared in certain areas of France and other parts of Europe in the 11th century. The movement was extinguished in the early decades of the thirteenth century by order of the Pope. The Cathars were persecuted and massacred and the Inquisition was set up to finish the job.

The Pope sent his mercenaries to France to kill all the Cathars. When the captain of his army asked the Pope how he would distinguish the heretics from the true Catholics, the Pope's response was reported to be, "Kill everyone. God will sort out His faithful."

What was the heresy of the Cathars. It's difficult to say exactly because the Church succeeded in destroying most of their documents. Its report said that
"They talk to the common people about the evil lives of the priests and prelates of the Roman Church. They attack all the sacraments of the Church, especially the sacrament of the communion bread, saying that it cannot contain the body of Christ. Of baptism, they assert that it cannot sanctify the soul. They claim that confession made to the priests of the Roman Church is useless. They say that the cross of Christ should not be worshiped or adored. Moreover they read from the gospels and the scriptures in the vulgar [native] language, interpreting them in their favor and against the Roman Church."

During the 11th, 12th and 13th century, the Crusades were a series of religious military campaigns or expeditionary wars blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church, with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. The Crusades had initial success. The European Christians
did capture and control areas of Israel along the Mediterranean coast but ultimately these areas were lost to Muslim armies once again. However the Crusaders did
succeed in murdering thousands of Jews along the way and in Israel. The Crusades had major political, economic, and social impact on Western Europe. It resulted in substantially weakening of the Christian Byzantine Empire, which fell several centuries later to the Muslim Turks.

On 2 April 1453, Sultan Mehmed's army of some 80,000 men and large numbers of irregulars laid siege to Constantinople. Despite a desperate last-ditch defense of the city by the massively outnumbered Christian forces [ca 7,000 men, 2,000 of whom were foreign], Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans after a two-month siege on May 29, 1453. The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, was last seen casting off his imperial regalia and throwing himself into hand-to-hand combat after the walls of the city were taken. The Eastern Empire was stripped of its geography and what was left became modern Greece.

Although Russia never officially became part of the Empire, its rulers were converted to Eastern Christianity by a Byzantine monk named Cyril in the 9th century.
At the death of Palaiologos, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was claimed by Ivan III, Grand Duke of Muscovy. He had married Andreas' sister, Sophia Paleologue, whose grandson, Ivan IV, would become the first Czar [Caesar] of Russia. Their successors supported the idea that Moscow was the proper heir to Rome and Constantinople. The idea of the Russian Empire as the new, Third Rome was kept alive until its demise with the Russian Revolution of 1917.  

The sixteenth century saw a new evolution in Christianity. The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century schism within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther and other early Protestants.

A confluence of events led to the Reformation; the Black Death, schisms caused by various men claiming to be Pope, the invention of the printing press, the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, the end of the Middle Ages, and the beginning of the modern era were some of the factors contributing to the creation of Protestantism.

In general, northern Europe, with the exception of Ireland and pockets of Britain, turned Protestant. Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while fierce battles which turned into warfare took place in central Europe.

The largest of the new churches were the Lutherans [mostly in Germany and Scandinavia] and the Reformed churches [mostly in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scotland]. There were many smaller bodies as well. The most common dating for the start of the Protestant Reformation is in 1517, when Luther published the Ninety-Five Theses, and the conclusion in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars.

The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice, especially the sale of indulgences [documents that guaranteed the buyer a place in heaven] and the selling and buying of clerical offices that included the Pope. In Germany, reformation ideals developed in 1520 when Martin Luther expressed doubts over the legitimacy of indulgences and the plenitudo potestatis [full jurisdictional power] of the Pope. Martin Luther's excommunication on January 3, 1521, from the Catholic Church, was a main cause for the Protestant Reformation.

On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote a letter which he posted on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The Ninety-Five Theses. Luther also protested the sale of relics such as vials of the milk from the Virgin Mary and straw from the manger where Jesus was allegedly born.

The Reformation was a triumph of literacy. The newly invented printing press facilitated Luther's translation of the Bible into German, a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets. From 1517 onward religious pamphlets flooded Germany and much of Europe.

The political separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII when the Pope refused to grant Henry a divorce from his first wife, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1536, brought England alongside this broad Reformed movement

In rejecting the Catholic Church, Luther hoped to win over the Jews who had suffered from a history of violence from Catholics. But the rejection of Catholics by the Protestants only reinforced the belief in Jews that they had been right all along to reject Catholicism as well, and they continued to reject Christianity in its new form which earned them the enmity of Luther. Before his death, Luther became one of Europe's most vicious antisemites. Much of his ideas and writings were later incorporated into the Laws of Nazi Germany.

In 1492, the discovery of North and South America brought Catholicism to the Western Hemisphere where Spain and Portugal established colonies where Catholic Christianity was virtually forced upon the hapless natives.

During the next century, Netherlands, France and Britain established their own colonies and exported their own Protestant brands of Christianity in North America and the Caribbean. These colonizers did not initially attempt to Christianize the natives but they did bring African slaves with them who did take Christian baptism upon themselves. This proved a good way for the slave masters to pacify their slaves, telling them to pay no mind to the suffering of this age when, after all, they would have eternal life with Jesus after they dropped dead from heat exhaustion and overwork.

The New England episode known as the Salem witch trials involved prosecutions of women accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Although we know them today as the Salem witch trials, they actually occurred in a variety of towns across Massachusetts.

In 1628, the British crown, weighed down with economic difficulties, granted Massachusetts colony autonomous political control, allowing the colony to establish its own government and laws free of English law. The descendants of the Pilgrims and Puritans immediately established a theocracy where life was strictly regulated according to the English Protestant understanding of what God requires. The theocracy lasted until the English king decided to bring the colony back under English control in 1691. The leaders of the colony looked upon the ending of their theocracy as a punishment from God. Now the only way to get their religious government back was to discover exactly what sin was being done to cause the catastrophe. Most Christians throughout their history have blamed the devil for evil and misfortune. What needed to be determined was how the devil was active in Massachusetts and what he was up to.

In Salem there lived a family named Parris who owned a Caribbean slave named Tituba. This woman obviously practiced some form of Voodoo or Santeria or other island
religion. Tituba, as a slave with no rights, became the target for accusations. She was accused of attracting young girls like Betty Parris and her friends with enchanting stories about sexual encounters with demons, as well as other anti-Christian practices. At first the girls were required to act as witnesses against the slave, and eventually the situation escalated quickly in a search for as many witches as existed in the town and surrounding areas. Malice, spite, and teen age female jealousy led to a series of accusations and counter accusations, and the ball was soon rolling and unstoppable. In the space of a year and a half, approximately 33 women of all ages, and at least one man, were arrested, tortured until they confessed to what the torturers demanded, and forced to give more and more names. Most of the accused were put to death until the craze blew itself out.

Originating about 1650 to 1700, the Age of Enlightenment [or Age of Reason] was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe and America, whose purpose was to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition, intolerance and abuses in church and state. At its height, it flourished until about 1790-1800. This new intellectual movement spread to urban centers across Europe, notably England, Scotland, the German states, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Austria, and Spain, then jumped the Atlantic to the European colonies, where it influenced Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among many others, and played a major role in the American Revolution.

The ideas of the Enlightenment were something new in the world. In taught that men and women were born free and innocent, NOT as miserable sinners as Christianity had taught since its beginnings. One of the major tenets of Europe's religion was the Divine Right of Kings, that is, kings were kings because God found them worthy to rule and therefore whatever they declared had to be righteous and right. In this they were abetted by the clergy. The Enlightenment viewed kings as humans no more divinely inspired than anyone else. Mostly, they were kings for no other reason than that they were lucky enough to be the sons of kings. And when they acted unjustly, they had to challenged. The spirit of the Enlightenment attracted the men who made America. These men were NOMINAL Christians, all of whom received higher education and were attracted more to Freemasonry than Christianity. Since the Masons comprise a so-called "secret society", it's always been difficult to know exactly what their agenda is other than the promotion of ethical behavior and acts of charity and appreciation of knowledge.

The men known as Founders of the American Republic, wary of marrying state and religion, invested in an experiment in government for the first time in history.
The first amendment to the formal Constitution stated that the government cannot establish a state religion and that every citizen's faith deserves equal respect.
Further, Article Six of the Constitution forbids a religious test as a requirement for holding a governmental position. No other country, at the time, separated civil government and religion, and long after the establishment of the United States, various countries around the globe mandated being a member of a specific faith as a requirement to hold public office.

As noble as this document was [and is], it could not prevent the ordinary citizens from acting as their European ancestors had acted because it could not erase the
ingrained religious attitudes of Europe. Moreover, the Founders were university educated men while the mass of Americans were largely uneducated and unexposed to new philosophical ideas. Therefore, although the federal government could have no established religion, many of the states did have state religions for the first few decades of the nation's existence. The only states which never had an official religion were New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

As a young man during the American Revolutionary War, James Madison served in the Virginia state legislature [1776-1779], where he became known as a protégé of the delegate Thomas Jefferson.

Madison had witnessed the persecution of Baptists in a state which had the Anglican Church [later renamed the Episcopalian Church once independence from England was accomplished] as its official religion. He personally saw Baptists being beaten and spit upon in the streets with impunity. He saw bee hives and snakes being thrown into their churches on Sunday while they were worshiping, and he even saw men riding into their churches on horseback, whipping the worshipers as they sat in the pews. Madison demanded of his political friends, including Jefferson that a constitution be drawn up for Virginia which would include making religious discrimination a crime. He worked with Jefferson to draft the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was finally passed in 1786. It disestablished the Church of England and disclaimed any power of state compulsion in religious matters.

Madison did not believe in drafting a bill of rights. His argument was that the Constitution needed no amendments simply because whatever was not written into the Constitution did not need defining in further writing. If the Constitution did not specifically say that the government could take your gun away, that the police could search your house without a warrant, that you had to belong to a certain religion in order to avoid persecution, why did those things need to be specified in writing? However, after he saw that his opinion was in the minority, he worked with Jefferson to draft the Bill of Rights and insisted that the first amendment specify that the nation was not to have a specific religion.

When John Adams suggested that the United States ought to have an annual Day of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, Madison opposed the idea. He thought that if Americans were encouraged to thank God officially one day a year, where would it end? Would Americans then be encouraged to say certain prayers? Would it be right to legislate that Americans thank God? Which God would they be thanking since there were so many denominations with so many differing creeds? Madison saw Thanksgiving Day as a threatening intrusion of government into the private and personal faith of citizens.

Madison had many reasons for objecting to government interference in religion but an over-riding one was immigration. Madison correctly foresaw waves of immigrants
coming to America and he believed that most of the immigrants would settle in the South which was a logical belief. The South has a more congenial climate, is more verdant, and has better soil for growing crops. So why would the immigrants want to live in the north with uncongenial winters? But immigrants escaping European religious discrimination would not want to live in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia if these states threatened their freedom of religion. As Madison aged, he was at a loss as to why most immigrants chose to live in the North and face harsh winters and poorer soil? Of course, the reason was slavery. An immigrant farmer or entrepreneur would have to hire workers. Native Americans would have to hire no one. They had slaves to do the work. The prospect of unfair competition persuaded immigrants to stay in Pennsylvania and Ohio, with harsh winters, rather than in Kentucky and Virginia. And after all, Madison never gave up his own slaves.

Madison later became president and led the nation in the War of 1812 and oversaw the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the geographic area of the country.

But even the Founders were not able to overcome centuries of belief in first and second class people. Madison himself continued to own slaves. Much of this had to do with the New Testament, and specifically Paul's, attitude and instructions to his Christians.

Paul's Views -

As mentioned above, Paul had already stated, in his letter to the Galatians, "There is neither Jew nor Greek [gentile], there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Xristos Iesous." [Galatians 3:24-29] Paul repeated this idea at least twice more in his letters. This idea that
one's status as a believer over-rides one's status in ethnicity, gender, and social position led to expressed statements regarding these statuses - which, according to Paul, took second place in the lives of Christians since they believed the Age was coming to an end.


During the first century New Testament times, slaves converted to Christianity, were regarded as freedman brothers in Christ and included in Christ's kingdom inheritance. These slaves were told to serve their masters as if they were serving Christ, with morals, faithfulness, and respectfulness [Ephesians 6:5-8].
Furthermore, slaves were told that their suffering was similar to the suffering that Christ endured. And finally, Paul also put forward that "There is neither slave nor free; for all are one in Christ."

In several Pauline epistles, and the First Epistle of Peter, slaves are admonished to obey their masters, as they obey God:
 Ephesians 6:5-8
 Colossians 3:22-25
 1 Timothy 6:1
 Titus 2:9-10
 1 Peter 2:18

In the Epistle of Paul to Titus, Paul appears to support the servitude of slaves: "Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior."

Paul held the view of women commonly held in antiquity both by Greeks and Jews, namely, females should be seen and not heard, and they should NEVER be in positions of leadership.

"Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."[1 Cor. 14:34-35]


"Now for the matters you wrote about: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I SAY THIS AS A CONCESSION, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God [of self-control]. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
1 Corinthians 7:1-9

Paul had said that he had "a thorn in his flesh".
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me."
2 Corinthians 12:7

Many have speculated that this thorn in the flesh were homosexual feelings that he couldn't control. It's also possible that they were just ordinary heterosexual feelings that made him uncomfortable. He said that in him "there dwells no good thing." Whatever the situation was, it's evident that Paul had problems about intimacy with women. He wished chastity for himself, and also for others. But he allowed his followers marital sex AS A CONCESSION. To him, marital sex was the lesser of the two evils between the marriage bed and uncontrollable burning desire.

And so ....

Not only did the Confederacy use Paul's statements on slavery to justify its "peculiar institution", but to this day, the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis use them to justify white supremacy. After all, the Founders, including Tom Jefferson, continued to own slaves even after the creation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in which the Founders proclaimed that "all men are created equal." What was good enough for Washington and Jefferson and the Bible was and is good enough for people who don't think that everyone is created equal.

And of course, Christianity in no way prevented the pious white man from cheating and killing the American aborigines whom they also missionized.

As enlightened as the Founders were, they did not trust women with the vote since they judged women too emotional to use good sense and judgment at the ballot box. No one gave women the vote in America. They had to wrest it away from men by law. Till very recent times, women were not allowed in restaurants or bars unaccompanied by a man. Neither orthodox Christianity nor Orthodox Judaism allows women to be clergy. For the first few centuries, in the United States, women didn't even attempt to run for office. Women were barred from police departments, fire departments, and the military. Whatever women have achieved here has been brought about by liberal, non-religious feminists.

Women have been over-protected and treated like children. They have been divided between "good girls" and "easy girls". Giving up their virginity put them almost in the sub-status of ladies of the night. They were not allowed to hear words which pertain to passion. Lenny Bruce was hounded because he "used words publicly in mixed company." Abortion was denied them in order to punish them for expressing passion without protection. In fact, protection was not their domain. It was the domain of men. President Reagan was quoted as saying that unmarried females who get pregnant while "having fun" deserve what they get. Until the invention of the pill and the acceptance of female sexuality in the 1960s, women were expected to marry young so as to prevent passionate acting out in an inappropriate manner. From colonial times to the present, enthusiastic Christians accept married sex as a concession. This may be changing now but statistically many women who style themselves "evangelical" or "Fundamentalists" or "Pentecostal" find themselves pregnant outside of marriage because to use contraceptives "is a sin."

Despite the Enlightenment and the godless Constitution, Americans have been very religious, and have developed the myth that America was founded on the Bible and the Christian religion, and that America is a Christian nation "under God."

Prohibition of alcohol was in place from 1920 to 1933. But alcohol had been a contentious topic in America since the colonial period. Drunkenness was condemned and punished as an abuse of a God-given gift. The so-called "dry", movement came into effect in the early 1800s, spearheaded by Protestant religious denominations.
The late 19th century saw the temperance movement broaden its focus from abstinence to all behavior and institutions related to alcohol consumption. Preachers
linked liquor-dispensing saloons with prostitution.

Prohibition represented a conflict between urban and rural values emerging in the United States. Given the mass influx of immigrants to the urban dwellings of the United States, many individuals within the prohibition movement associated the crime and morally corrupt behavior of the cities of America with their large immigrant populations. In a backlash to the new emerging realities of the American demographic, many prohibitionists subscribed to the doctrine of "nativism" in which they endorsed the notion that America was made great as a result of its white Anglo-Saxon ancestry. This fostered xenophobic sentiments towards urban immigrant communities who typically argued in favor of abolishing prohibition.

Gangsters, including Al Capone and Bugs Moran, made millions of dollars through illegal alcohol sales. Numerous crimes, including theft and murder, were directly linked to criminal activities in Chicago and elsewhere in violation of prohibition.

Repealing prohibition was not easy.  Mississippi, which had made alcohol illegal in 1907, was the last state to repeal Prohibition in 1966. Kansas did not allow sale of liquor "by the drink" [on-premises] until 1987. To the present day, there are still numerous "dry" counties and towns in America. The greater the prevalence of revival religion within a population, the greater was support for Prohibition within that population.

Various laws were first enacted by Puritan colonies in the 17th century that prohibited various activities on Sunday. Known as "Sunday laws" or "Blue laws", these ordinances remained in effect after the United States came into existence. These were clearly unconstitutional, especially during the period of the 6 day work week
because they caused economic hardships on citizens who gave no religious significance to the first day of the week. Most of them have been repealed, declared unconstitutional, or are simply unenforced; though prohibitions on the sale of alcoholic beverages during certain times of day on Sunday are enforced.
At the time of America's founding, Sunday mail delivery was common practice. In a nation separating church from state, Sunday was treated like other days from the perspective of government. Post offices - first established in 1775 in the Second Continental Congress - were typically open for at least part of the day both Saturday and Sunday.

By 1815, the government had received over one hundred petitions from angry Christians demanding the cessation of Sunday mail delivery. While the petitions were relatively few in number at that time, they typically voiced a new - and false - argument kindled by the revival fervor of the early nineteenth century: America was a Christian nation, and the U.S. government a Christian government.

As revival fires spread throughout New England, upstate New York and to the Western frontier, church attendance increased dramatically, while opposition to Sunday mail delivery grew proportionally. In 1828, the General Union for the Promotion of the Christian Sabbath was formed in New York City for the purpose of boycotting businesses that operated on Sundays. Within a year, nearly 500 petitions against working on Sundays had been submitted to Congress.

Sunday post office operations continued until 1912. Because of opposition from a coalition of various Protestant ministers and postal clerks who wanted one day a week off of work, 1912 saw the closing of all post offices on Sundays.

The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in any state-funded school. The trial was a legal success for the devoted Christians of Tennessee, even though it violated the Constitution's ban on wedding state and religion.

Socially it was an abysmal failure for those same Christians. The trial created such widespread national condemnation and RIDICULE that it caused religious Christians to withdraw from voicing their opinions politically for half a century.

But in terms of its attack on science, the Scopes trial was a victory for Christian creationists. After the trial, public schools throughout the country were
hesitant to include evolution theory in their textbooks. The Christian attack on evolution theory was more than just an attack on evolution. By its reasoning it also attacked physics, astronomy, cosmology, geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, and all life scientists. Most Americans chose to believe in fairy tales rather than in reality based on hard evidence. Of course this changed to a degree in 1957 after the godless Soviets launched Sputnik and scared many of us back into science.

The 1950s were the high tide of civic religion.

The anxieties of World War Two renewed American interest in religion that had waned in 1920s and 1930s. This interest was concentrated among people in their 20s although all generations participated.

Men who were born in the 1920s, survived the Great Depression, and served in the military during WWII, together with their wives led the new surge in church-going. This surge was not connected to politics. It was connected to American middle-class respectability. Huge numbers of young families living in new suburbs joined their local churches. It wasn't just private religiosity that brought mid-century people to church. It was also social pressure, obedience to convention, sense of duty. Most people who were not religiously interested would have been embarrassed if their neighbors had asked them, "Which church do you go to?" Speaking favorably about God meant affirming "the American way of life."

In 1954, "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance, and in 1956, "In God we trust" was stamped on our money. President Eisenhower said, "Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith - and I don't care what it is."

Ike wasn't the only American who fervently believed in VAGUE religion. In general, the very citizens who were dutifully going to church cared little for the traditional CONTENT of their faith. Some generic, vanilla Protestantism was America's favorite religion. Catholicism and Judaism were still considered "immigrant" religions and the only attention paid to them was negative attention.

Billy Graham became a spokesman for the vapid mid-century American religion. While he and others like him preached about obedience to God, Women, Negroes, Jews and other assorted ignored Americans stayed "in their place." Homosexuals kept their mouths shut. This is the era that older white people call "the good old days" when they send around nostalgic God-inspired email drivel. Actually the TV series, HAPPY DAYS, celebrated the era. But I don't remember seeing Fonzie interacting with any Jewish or black friends.

Under the surface, American smug self-satisfaction with their religion was causing a polarization between conservative church-goers and liberal people more interested in social justice than their place in heaven.

In the next decade, the killing of JFK and Martin Luther King, sexual repression, cold war anxieties, and the war in Vietnam brought about a revolution initiated by young people. The direction for many of the young was away from the church-going respectability of their parents and toward music, sex, drugs, and a philosophy that "God is dead."

It isn't that hippies and other young people in the 1960s completely abandoned religion. It's that they substituted Buddha and Hari Krishna for Christ.

The behavior of the young angered many Americans who saw in their behavior, lack of patriotism and decency, sexual impropriety, godlessness; and this fertilized the soil for what later became known as The Silent Majority who would bring back religion to America with a vengeance.

But before that, whatever disappointment was felt by the young revolutionaries drove them to look for new solutions, no longer in politics or revolution, but in Jesus. The country went from getting high on drugs to getting high on God.

In the 1970s, the country emerged from the hippie era, holding on to greater social equality and free sex. Freer sex was now accepted in real life and on the silver screen. Divorce, cohabitation, and sex outside of marriage became a norm. Parents may have been uncomfortable with their children's open sexuality but now they counseled "be careful" instead of "sinner, you're headed to hell."

In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a self-styled Evangelical Christian, ran for president and most Americans appeared not to have a problem with this. But perhaps the fallout from Watergate also steered America to the Democratic Party. Within a decade or decade and a half later, the mood of America changed and the majority of us resented politicians thrusting their faith into their politics.

But before that, a miracle occurred. Right wing Christians who had stayed out of public politics helped elect Ronald Reagan. Many of his supporters were poor people, many former Dixiecrats, whose economic situation was out of sync with the Republican agenda. What happened? The so-called "culture wars" brought a personal conservative social worldview into Republican politics. Religious Christians were fed up with what they considered the paganization of America, including the proliferation of drugs, the legalization of abortion, the acceptance of homosexuals, the breakup of traditional family structure brought about the greater participation of females in the work force. The correct assessment of Jimmy Carter as a weak leader did not help the Democrats either. But the over-riding issue that angered enthusiastic Christians was the acceptance and practice of sex outside of marriage, and the widespread use of marijuana. The Reagan team was clever enough to tell serious Christian voters that the Democratic Party did not share their family values and that Republicans would be paying more attention to those issues that concern God's people. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson became spokesmen for the Republican social conservative shift.

To tell the truth, Democrats and liberals have shied away and still shy away from anything smacking of "values", "family values", and God - because they perceive, and rightly so, that these are the things that fueled past intolerance and prejudice. The "values" folks have been the ones who want to take away women's reproductive prerogatives and deprive homosexuals of their rights, even the homosexuals defending us in the military. As to economics, the truth is that poor people's situation does not change no matter which Party is in power. At least Republicans are not afraid of the G word.

By the end of the 1980s, the Christian Right's concern with pre-marital sex had made itself felt among many high school and college youth. Many of them took vows of chastity.

However among teenagers who pledged not to have sex before marriage, a majority did not live up to their vows, according to a national study. The teenagers also developed sexually transmitted diseases at about the same rate as adolescents who had not made such pledges. But a pledge to refrain from premarital sex, the researchers found, did tend to delay the start of sexual intercourse by 18 months. The adolescents who took virginity pledges also married earlier and had fewer sexual partners than the other teenagers surveyed, said Dr. Peter Bearman, the chairman of the sociology department at Columbia University and the lead author of the study. Of the 12,000 teenagers included in the federal study, 88 percent of those who pledged chastity reported having had sexual intercourse before they married, Dr. Bearman said at a scientific meeting in Philadelphia on preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
- from the website at

During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, religious enthusiasm waned in America. Strident evangelical Christian voices turned off young, educated Americans.
New young voters were not about to give up sex and the old antipathy toward homosexuals previously felt by older Americans before the 1980s was no longer felt by most Americans by the 1990s. Many gay people coming out of the closet and the high incidence of AIDS in the gay community elicited feelings of sympathy among many people who now regarded homosexuals as human beings deserving respect. Christians telling America that gays deserved punishment and that the wizard Harry Potter
deserved death did not help their cause.

The next generation after the Boomers saw the emergence of the Nones. Suddenly, polls asking Americans which religion they are part of elicited the response, "none". The Nones may claim many atheists and agnostics but not all Nones reject religious belief. Many of them surveyed reported that they do believe in God but that they are more spiritual than religious, and do not feel the need to attend church or declare themselves as members of the religion of their parents. Nones also are, in general, more liberal and left-leaning than declared Christians, and are against the imposition on America of the Religious Right's agenda. Those Nones who profess a religiosity have been placed by sociologists into a sub-category called Liminals, from the Latin word for "threshold".

When asked in a survey for the reasons that they become Nones, two responses were typical. The Nones are turned off by the Christian Right's intrusion into politics, and the Religious Right's constant attack on modern sexual liberty, per-marital sex, abortion, and homosexual rights. Of all three, the attack on sexual liberty arouses the most antipathy among Nones.

In this, Nones might become interested in Emerging Christianity. The phenomenon of Emerging Christianity arises out of the abandonment of Protestants from the
mainline churches due to alignment of these churches with the "wrong" side of the "culture wars". In response, many mainline, non-evangelical, churches are keeping their mouths shut regarding personal sexuality, abortion, the feminist struggle, and homosexual rights. It's not that these churches are in agreement with the new
morality and the new acceptance of differences. They are not. But they refuse to talk about these issues unless pressed, and then mostly to say that one's personal Christian conscience ought to be the guide. This is the new philosophy of Emerging Christian churches.

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen the intensification of the intrusion of Christianity into American politics. Some contributing factors may be
economic uncertainty, the realization that younger generations will not achieve the same degree of the American Dream as their parents achieved, the loss of jobs, the loss of homes, the perception that non-whites are getting away with legal robbery, the fear of new immigrants, the fear of Muslim terrorism, the perceived betrayal of old-fashioned family values on the part of liberals and Democrats, otherwise known as the "culture war".

But these enthusiastic Christians are fighting a losing battle. Most Americans are centrists and fear the strident, demanding voices of the Religious Right that we return to an earlier time, to the "good old days." That cannot happen. We are witnessing the last halleluiah. Atheism, or at least non theism, is a growing philosophy among many Americans.

Even as I am composing this essay, there is a news report that a recent survey shows that 1 out of 3 young people [millennials] doubt the existence of God. This is
quite a leap from 2000 when a similar survey showed the number to be 1 in 7.

When it comes to the Nones, what is the reason given by most young adults when asked why they are abandoning the church [not necessarily the faith] of their elders? They report that it is due to the usurpation of politics and government by Christianity.

Both mainline Protestantism and Catholicism are losing membership at a high rate. American Catholicism will probably be saved by the influx of Latino immigrants who may become a Catholic majority in the near future. As Catholicism becomes  more Latino in America, it may become infused with certain Hispanic attitudes, namely, political liberalism, lack of sympathy for the state of Israel, and old world Iberian anti-Semitism. Of all ethnic groups in America, Latinos express the least empathy with Jews or Jewish concerns, possibly a legacy from the Inquisition

A society cannot live in the past, especially a past in which the majority religion has imposed a less than loving philosophical attitude on the nation, telling people that everyone except members of THEIR faith are bound for hell. Or maybe things will not turn out as this essay says. We've seen periods of pendulum swing before. The next few years will show whether we march forward or backward. This is a pivotal year [2012] for America in that regard.

Surprisingly, there is a Christian sect that has been the exception to the rule in America. Pentecostalism began through three church gatherings; one in 1906 at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California led by William J. Seymour, a black preacher; the second at a Holiness gatherings in Topeka, Kansas, in 1901, and a third  in Cherokee County, North Carolina, in 1896. Pentecostals have often been as stern as other fundamentalists about social behavior. In addition to banning traditional vices like alcohol, tobacco, and the movies, they have targeted chewing gum, short-sleeved dresses, soft drinks, and neckties. Though most early Pentecostals came out of the blue-collar working class, the movement thrived among the poor and marginalized of society. Early Pentecostals taught a "theology of the poor," interpreting their remarkable growth as God's special favor upon the poor. Racial harmony marked the earliest stage of the movement; the Azusa Street Revival was led by a black, William Seymour, and blacks and whites worshiped and shared leadership in the church. As one Pentecostal historian of the day remarked, "The color line was washed away in the blood of Jesus." There were many women preachers and pastors in the early years of the movement, and the most well-known Pentecostal of the twentieth century was evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Another early preacher of fame was Maria Woodworth-Etter, who once argued, "It is high time for women to let their lights shine; to bring out their talents that have been hidden away rusting, and use them for the glory of God." Pentecostalism has become the fastest growing family of world Christianity. It is growing at a rate of 13 million a year, or 35,000 a day. With nearly a half billion adherents, it is, after Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian tradition. Pentecostalism blended into the stream of what is called Christian Fundamentalism or Evangelism.

Unfair treatment of second class citizens, sexual discrimination of women, demonization of sexuality, mindless prohibition of alcohol, unfair Blue laws, and intrusion of unscientific, unsubstantiated, and unprovable Intelligent Design into our public schools resulted from the imposition of the majority's religious beliefs, enforced by politics. De facto, in America, Christian religion has bypassed the Constitution and become the state.
That militant Muslims call us Crusaders is not far off the mark. The only responses to 21st century terrorism that has punished terrorists have been Onward Christian Soldiers and Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. But maybe, if these murderers had not injected religion into their hatred, we would not have had to either.

Today's American super-Christians are aware that they are losing the so-called "Culture War", and their reaction [not their response] has been to mythologize the nation's history and its Founders, claiming that the United States is founded on Christian principles and that the Founders were devout Christians, and therefore that America is a Christian nation. If this truly were a Christian nation, then every nonChristian citizen would be second class. As it is, enthusiastic Christians
do treat and have treated nonChristians as though we weren't even present as part of the country and its history.

The whole idea of a Christian Nation [capital N] in a global sense has always been a dream that failed. Paul may have imagined Christians as a nation or peoplehood much like the Jewish nation or peoplehood. In fact, some early writers described Christianity as a new nation or peoplehood. But history has shown that Christians constitute neither a Jewishness nor a real "nation" similar to Jews. Jews have always had the TORAH as a special LINK to ethnic identity with a divine Constitution. Christians have had Jesus Christ as a dying and rising god [similar to Attis] who has not only NOT united them but has inspired schismatic murder among them due to differences of opinion about who Christ is.

Twenty one centuries have passed since Paul the Apostate saw his so-called vision of Xristos and we still feel the affects of his epiphany. Paul died and passed on a religion to his gentile followers that has been very misunderstood by most of them through the ages. He did not really succeed in planting in them a love of God so much as a hatred of Jews and a suspicion and disparagement of Judaism. He has done this very well. We might point the finger of blame for 6 million dead to Hitler. But if we go further back, we can also point to Paul who told his coverts in Thessalonia that ...

"For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Xristos Iesous that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the lord Iesous and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins."
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

Well if Jews are not pleasing to God and hostile to ALL men, why not be hostile to Jews? The worst thing Jews do is prevent gentiles from being saved. This is laughable since the Pharisees had an ongoing program for centuries to bring gentiles into the Jewish People. That is, before triumphant Christianity put an end to
Jewish proselytism and made it a crime punishable by death. And by the way, Christians turned "Pharisee" into a dirty word. Read Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23. You can Google it.

Christians pride themselves as being the new, true Israel but what is Jewish about them? Nothing. Yes, they have hijacked the religious language of Judaism and have hijacked the Jewish scriptures as well [in bad translations] but all they really have desired to do is use our scriptures to show that Jesus was prophesied a long time ago as the messiah, and also to show how sinful Israel has always been.

And while I have mentioned the Holocaust, know that Paul's work in that area is not finished. Barely 67 years have passed since the concentration camps were liberated and yet according to an early 21st century Roper survey, 22% of all Americans believe that perhaps the Holocaust never happened, and 12% of all Americans say that they just don't know.

But why should shabby treatment by Christians towards their nonChristian neighbors be surprising? Throughout their history, Christians haven't treated each other well so why should we be surprised at the way they treat others?

I have concentrated on religion in America because America is probably one of the most religious nations in the Western world. But in this century, religiosity has intensified all over the globe; in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The one place where religion is waning is in Europe, the place in which religious hatred was spawned. Although the European continent is in decline and religion there is becoming weaker, Jew hatred remains and is getting stronger, under the influence of Paul, catholic priests, and Martin Luther. The theological basis of hatred has passed but the emotion has been passed down from a Christian past.

In America, moderate, clear-thinking Christians have thrown off the legacy of Europe and have interacted with Jews socially and in business. But Right Wing Christian types who have never even seen a Jew still hold to old stereotypes, with a distorted Pauline view of Judaism.

Judaism does not teach that the TORAH justifies anyone in the mind of God. Jews are not interested in so-called "salvation" by the death and resurrection of a god.
Judaism is about an on-going RELATIONSHIP with God and especially with PEOPLE, both Jews and gentiles. Jews know that people, including us, do sin but we are on a continuous path to TESHUVAH, repentance, and we achieve it by following Hillel's rule not to do things to others that are hateful to ourselves.

In this essay I've tried to explain how Christianity developed and how it became a dominant world power and how through most of its history, it has abused that power. Well, what's the light at the end of the tunnel, at least for America?

Despite all the bad news, there is good news!

America is unlike other places where Christianity is the major religion. Recent surveys by the Faith Matters polls reveal that 87% of all Americans believe that people of faiths other than their own will go to heaven. Shockingly even 40% of evangelicals believe that non evangelicals can go to heaven. In contrast to what their clergy teach them, the laity are more willing to believe that good people do not go to hell. Why is this? It is based upon what the Faith Matters surveys call the Aunt Susan/friend Al principle. In other places and other times, people have associated only with their "own kind." Americans are different. We have welcomed into our lives friends and family who are of different faiths from ourselves. Most of us have an aunt Susan or a best friend Al whom we love and whom we know are decent people, and because of the affections we Americans have for other Americans not of our faith, we wish to continue our relationships with them after this life is over. Despite how religion divides America, we, unlike others, invite the friend of another faith to our backyard barbecue, and we don't care where he worships or Whom. That is America's TRUE saving Grace.

Statistics for Holocaust denial and Creationism come from WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS by Michael Shermer. Shermer is a scientist whose field of expertise is
the investigation of faulty human thinking.

Statistics regarding how religion divides and unites America come from AMERICAN GRACE by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell. The Faith Matters surveys were
conducted, beginning in 2006, by the International Communications Research Foundation. Their complete questionnaires are available at

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