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In the Name of God بسم الله

The Truth about Paul

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I watched this video and thought it apropos to post here in this section as it is from an ex-Christian now Muslim. I thought it spoke truth. I hope this posts correctly -  I've never posted a video on this site before. Alhamdulilah


The Truth About St. Paul

 

Edited by Joshua Bin Medellin
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It is interesting that this chap quotes the Gospel accounts - using them as true - for his own ends.  But he doesn't quote verses that go against his Islamic ideas.  He suggests that the Gospel writers knew that Jesus hadn't died.  But in fact the Gospel stories focus on this as a fact. 

His claim that the Gospel accounts are corrupted mitigates agains him using them as a basis for his arguments.  How does he know which bits are true and which bits arn't?  Either you use it all or reject it all you can't have a bit of both.

He suggests Paul was the first person to say that Jesus died and no one else had none it before.  However the Acts stories talk about Peter teaching about the power of Jesus' death only a few months after it happened.  See Acts 2

22 ‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Paul's writings were early, before the Gospekls were put together but not before the stories of Jesus had been circulating for some time.   In fact the accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection were wide spread whiole people who had witnessed them were still alive.  So, people could say they weren't true but no one did that.

He suggests that the teachings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus were different.  However when the two sets of teaching are looked at together it is clear that there is agreement.  Jesus taught very clearly that God looks at the heart and not at religious actions - the keeping of the law.  This teaching is a challenge for us all.  What do we focus on our outward actions or God transforming our heart?

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

13 ‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

14 ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

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The relationship of heart and action (one's deeds and duties, ie one's works) is sacred; they rely on each other and what affects one will affect the other and vice versa. To divorce heart from action and its reciprocal is similarly like separating mother from child and child from mother, or like that of separating matter from energy/motion and vice versa, which in various circumstances may prove harmful for all involved, or a misunderstanding for all variables involved,

In the passage you cite regarding the Pharisee and Tax Collector, Jesus((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) is not criticizing the Pharisees "good works" but the very thing that nullifies or destroys his good works - the pride that makes the Pharisee look down upon the Tax Collector in terms of deeds. Maybe the Pharisee looks down on the Tax Collector for unlawful usury (which is forbidden in the law), or for taxing  heavily the very poor who have very little or no way of paying the tax collector. The Law still stands as Jesus ((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) stated in Matthew 5:17, but what is also required for the obedient is to be humbled before God. If we are not humble in our duties we fall into sin that wipes away the good we have done, it is best to obey the Law and be pious and humble, not prideful nor haughty.  These are also the teachings of Muhammad((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) and the 14 Infallibles(عليه السلام). 

The separation of things and phenomena is known as Dualism, in which things exist independently and without relation to each other - much of this philosophy was derived from the Greeks and accepted by the Romans and incorporated into Christian theological philosophy itself, and yet Jesus((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)) own words and deeds upholds and defends the unity of these interrelated things, especially that of heart relying on action and action relying on the heart. 

Edited by Joshua Bin Medellin
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5 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

It is interesting that this chap quotes the Gospel accounts - using them as true - for his own ends.  But he doesn't quote verses that go against his Islamic ideas.  He suggests that the Gospel writers knew that Jesus hadn't died.  But in fact the Gospel stories focus on this as a fact. 

His claim that the Gospel accounts are corrupted mitigates agains him using them as a basis for his arguments.  How does he know which bits are true and which bits arn't?  Either you use it all or reject it all you can't have a bit of both.

He suggests Paul was the first person to say that Jesus died and no one else had none it before.  However the Acts stories talk about Peter teaching about the power of Jesus' death only a few months after it happened.  See Acts 2

22 ‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Paul's writings were early, before the Gospekls were put together but not before the stories of Jesus had been circulating for some time.   In fact the accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection were wide spread whiole people who had witnessed them were still alive.  So, people could say they weren't true but no one did that.

He suggests that the teachings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus were different.  However when the two sets of teaching are looked at together it is clear that there is agreement.  Jesus taught very clearly that God looks at the heart and not at religious actions - the keeping of the law.  This teaching is a challenge for us all.  What do we focus on our outward actions or God transforming our heart?

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

13 ‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

14 ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

There is no way to know what you are saying, objectively. If you want to take this as an article of faith you can, but don't try to state this as if it's some sort of objective fact. Even Christians themselves claim that the authors of the Gospels were 'inspired by God' as a matter of faith, but there is nowhere in the New Testament where the authors are named. 

This is from a Christian Source

So did Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John write the gospels?  Is the sacred author also the saint?  Remember only St. Matthew and St. John were among the twelve apostles.  We must keep in mind that in the ancient world, authorship was designated in several ways:  First, the author was clearly the individual who actually wrote the text with his own pen.  Second, the individual who dictated the text to a secretary or scribe was still considered the author.  Third, the individual was still considered the author if he only provided the ideas or if the text were written in accord with his thought and in his spirit even though a “ghost writer” did the actual composition.  In the broadest sense, the individual was even considered the author if the work was written in his tradition; for example, David is given credit for the psalms even though clearly he did not write all of them.

Whether the final version of the gospels we have is the word-for-word work of the saints is hard to say

https://catholicstraightanswers.com/who-wrote-the-gospels/

This is from the History Channel, a non Christian Source but one considered credible by a large number of Christians

But for more than a century, scholars have generally agreed that the Gospels, like many of the books of the New Testament, were not actually written by the people to whom they are attributed. In fact, it seems clear that the stories that form the basis of Christianity were first communicated orally, and passed down from generation to generation, before they were collected and written down.

https://www.history.com/news/who-wrote-the-bible

So the bottom line regarding the bible (this is from Christian as as well as academic sources which are widely respected), the New Testament, is that saying the Gospels were 'inspired by God' is an article of faith that has no objective proof, because we don't know who actually wrote the Gospels. What we do know, as a fact, is that the first Christian Church was established by Paul, it says this in the Book of Acts and history also confirms this. So Paul is the founder of the Christian Church, and so obviously his interpretation of the many teachings of Jesus that were circulating at the time, some oral and some in written form, and the ones he chose to propagate and also the ones he chose to ignore is what shaped the current understanding of who Jesus was, in the Christian Church, not the actual authentic (objectively) teachings of Jesus, or the first hand accounts of the disciples. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

There is no way to know what you are saying, objectively. If you want to take this as an article of faith you can, but don't try to state this as if it's some sort of objective fact. Even Christians themselves claim that the authors of the Gospels were 'inspired by God' as a matter of faith, but there is nowhere in the New Testament where the authors are named. 

This is from a Christian Source

So did Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John write the gospels?  Is the sacred author also the saint?  Remember only St. Matthew and St. John were among the twelve apostles.  We must keep in mind that in the ancient world, authorship was designated in several ways:  First, the author was clearly the individual who actually wrote the text with his own pen.  Second, the individual who dictated the text to a secretary or scribe was still considered the author.  Third, the individual was still considered the author if he only provided the ideas or if the text were written in accord with his thought and in his spirit even though a “ghost writer” did the actual composition.  In the broadest sense, the individual was even considered the author if the work was written in his tradition; for example, David is given credit for the psalms even though clearly he did not write all of them.

Whether the final version of the gospels we have is the word-for-word work of the saints is hard to say

https://catholicstraightanswers.com/who-wrote-the-gospels/

This is from the History Channel, a non Christian Source but one considered credible by a large number of Christians

But for more than a century, scholars have generally agreed that the Gospels, like many of the books of the New Testament, were not actually written by the people to whom they are attributed. In fact, it seems clear that the stories that form the basis of Christianity were first communicated orally, and passed down from generation to generation, before they were collected and written down.

https://www.history.com/news/who-wrote-the-bible

So the bottom line regarding the bible (this is from Christian as as well as academic sources which are widely respected), the New Testament, is that saying the Gospels were 'inspired by God' is an article of faith that has no objective proof, because we don't know who actually wrote the Gospels. What we do know, as a fact, is that the first Christian Church was established by Paul, it says this in the Book of Acts and history also confirms this. So Paul is the founder of the Christian Church, and so obviously his interpretation of the many teachings of Jesus that were circulating at the time, some oral and some in written form, and the ones he chose to propagate and also the ones he chose to ignore is what shaped the current understanding of who Jesus was, in the Christian Church, not the actual authentic (objectively) teachings of Jesus, or the first hand accounts of the disciples. 

I wouldn't say Paul founded the first church. Paul was influenced and became a missionary by the church before him. But he didn't found the first church. And his teachings, I would say reflect what Jesus is said to have taught in books that Paul didn't write.

Personally I think that Paul's letters make a great deal of sense and I'd say he hit the nail on the head with his teachings. For example, could anyone really read through a book like Romans and deny some of the obvious truths spoken of on unity? 

I would love to hear anyone who denies Paul's credibility to actually try critiquing something like the book of Romans. But oftentimes I think Muslims oftentimes take what many westerners view as an aggressive conservative approach on Christianity, and focus on theological contradictions (which all religions have in some area), rather than focusing on the Bibles overall message that love is above all other commandments and is the greatest commandment.

Edited by iCenozoic
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16 hours ago, Joshua Bin Medellin said:

blockquote widget

 

19 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

It is interesting that this chap quotes the Gospel accounts - using them as true - for his own ends.  But he doesn't quote verses that go against his Islamic ideas.  He suggests that the Gospel writers knew that Jesus hadn't died.  But in fact the Gospel stories focus on this as a fact. 

His claim that the Gospel accounts are corrupted mitigates agains him using them as a basis for his arguments.  How does he know which bits are true and which bits arn't?  Either you use it all or reject it all you can't have a bit of both.

He suggests Paul was the first person to say that Jesus died and no one else had none it before.  However the Acts stories talk about Peter teaching about the power of Jesus' death only a few months after it happened.  See Acts 2

22 ‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Paul's writings were early, before the Gospekls were put together but not before the stories of Jesus had been circulating for some time.   In fact the accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection were wide spread whiole people who had witnessed them were still alive.  So, people could say they weren't true but no one did that.

He suggests that the teachings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus were different.  However when the two sets of teaching are looked at together it is clear that there is agreement.  Jesus taught very clearly that God looks at the heart and not at religious actions - the keeping of the law.  This teaching is a challenge for us all.  What do we focus on our outward actions or God transforming our heart?

 

 

If the speaker didnt think that Jesus died, did he simply deny all the verses about Thomas sticking his hand in Jesus' abdomen? Or on the transfiguration?

That's another thing that's always seemed odd to me, when there are critiques who say that Jesus wasn't crucified. Well, if we are just going to reject what the Bible says, then I guess we could very well reject any particular detail of it on a whim.

 

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So when I heard the bit about how the Gospels were created later than many of Paul's letters i wanted to see for myself what may depict the True chronological order of the New testament books, rather than the accepted order in which they are in today.  I followed more or less this website which also shows when they were written.  The conclusion being is that many of the Epistles and letters of Paul set up the culture & ideology that would inform how to shape the bulk of the Gospels.

1. The Book of James (which unsurprisingly many Muslims who read this say is closest to Islam in terms of its teachings and of course James being the Brother of Jesus, for those who believe that)

2. 1 Thessalonians
3. 2 Thessalonians
4. Galatians
5. 1 Corinthians
6. 2 Corinthians
7. Romans
8. Philippians
9. Colossians
10. Philemon
11. Ephesians
12. Luke
13. The Acts
14. 1 Timothy
15. Titus
16. 2 Timothy
17. Mark
18. Matthew 
19. Hebrews
20. 1 Peter
21. 2 Peter
22. Jude
23. Revelations
24. John
25. 1 John
26. 2 John
27. 3 John

Edited by Joshua Bin Medellin
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22 hours ago, Joshua Bin Medellin said:

The relationship of heart and action (one's deeds and duties, ie one's works) is sacred; they rely on each other and what affects one will affect the other and vice versa. To divorce heart from action and its reciprocal is similarly like separating mother from child and child from mother, or like that of separating matter from energy/motion and vice versa, which in various circumstances may prove harmful for all involved, or a misunderstanding for all variables involved,

Joshua  Thanks for this helpful corrective.  I'm sorry if my post made it look like I see a separation like this, or suggested that Jesus the Messiah taught such a dichotomy.

Heart and action are intertwined.  We need to be careful that we don't put faith and works into separate boxes.  Each one our belief and our actions work together.

Jesus the Messiah gave an illustration reported by Luke Chapter 6

43 ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

This challenges me to look at my heart and get that sorted out before God in order to live a life which makes a difference in society.  Without minimalising good works, I don't see how what I do changes my heart or my beliefs.  Maybe you could explain if you see this as different.  Thank you.

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20 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

There is no way to know what you are saying, objectively. If you want to take this as an article of faith you can, but don't try to state this as if it's some sort of objective fact. Even Christians themselves claim that the authors of the Gospels were 'inspired by God' as a matter of faith, but there is nowhere in the New Testament where the authors are named. 

Accepting that the Torah, Zebur, Injil, Gospels, Qur'an are inspired by God is an act of faith - We all have to make that call.  Muslims are no different than Christians or Jews.

The fact that an author is not named doesn't take away its credibility or truthfulness nor whether or not it was inspired by God.

20 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

In fact, it seems clear that the stories that form the basis of Christianity were first communicated orally, and passed down from generation to generation, before they were collected and written down.

I'm not certain what this author means by generation to generation.  But Paul writing early c55CE (20 years after Jesus' life, death and resurection) before the Gospels were collected says in 1Corinthians 15

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

Notice he says what I recieved.  He didn't invent it - the stories were circulating before.

Notice too he says that most of the witnesses of the resurection are still living making it imposible to prefabricate a story.

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13 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

43 ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Quote

Seest thou not how Allah coineth a similitude: A goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven, (24)

Giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord? Allah coineth the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect. (25) And the similitude of a bad saying is as a bad tree, uprooted from upon the earth, possessing no stability. (26)

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.pickthall/14:24

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.pickthall/14:25

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.pickthall/14:26

Quote

Have you not regarded how Allah has drawn a parable? A good word is like a good tree: its roots are steady and its branches are in the sky. (24)

It gives its fruit every season by the leave of its Lord. Allah draws these parables for mankind so that they may take admonition. (25) And the parable of a bad word is that of a bad tree: uprooted from the ground, it has no stability. (26)

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qarai/14:24

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qarai/14:25

https://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qarai/14:26

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On 11/7/2021 at 7:36 AM, Ashvazdanghe said:

Seest thou not how Allah coineth a similitude: A goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven, (24)

Giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord? Allah coineth the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect. (25) And the similitude of a bad saying is as a bad tree, uprooted from upon the earth, possessing no stability. (26)

Thanks for these verses from the Qur'an.  They challenge us to really take care of what we say and make sure our words bring glory to God.  Unfortunatly, so offten bad words don't just wither away.  They can linger and continue to hurt long after they have been spoken.

Here is a prayer from the Zebur (Pslam 141:3)  Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lips.

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1 hour ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

Here is a prayer from the Zebur (Pslam 141:3)  Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lip

The Messenger of Allah (s) says:

“Blessed is the man who speaks good and is triumphant; or keeps silent in the face of evil and is secure”1

Tabrasi, Mashkat al-Anwar, p. 175, 2nd Edition.

https://www.al-islam.org/characteristics-muslim/controlling-tongue

Quote

“The hypocrite speaks whatever comes to his tongue, without knowing what is in his favor and what goes against him.”[^3]

In contrast to a believer who:

“When a believer intends to say something, he thinks it over in his mind. If it is good he discloses it, but if it is bad he lets it remain concealed.”^4

 

Quote

. As the Noble Prophet (S) states:

“Every person who keeps silent attains redemption.”[^5]

In another hadith, he states:

“The faith of man does not become firm until his heart becomes resolute and his heart does not become resolute until his tongue becomes unwavering.”[^6]

 

Quote

The Qur’an states:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلاَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لاَ نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

“And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it and say, ‘Our deeds belong to us, and your deeds belong to you. Peace be upon you, we do not court the ignorant’.”[^11]

“The servants of the All-beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace!’”[^8]

“Let the two of you go to Pharaoh. Indeed he has rebelled. Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear.”[^9]

By carefully studying history, we realize that in the early days of Islam too the enemies, in order to restrain the Muslims from supporting the Noble Prophet (S) and frustrate their endurance in the way of religion, used to make use of false rumors and gossip with the intention of creating fear and anxiety in their hearts. In this regard Allah, the Exalted, states:

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِن الأَمْنِ أَو الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ...

“When a report of safety or alarm comes to them, they immediately broadcast it, but had they referred it to the Apostle or to those vested with authority among them, those of them who investigate would have ascertained it…”[^18]

https://www.shiavault.com/books/provisions-for-the-journey-mishkat-volume-2/chapters/8-lesson-31-the-tongue-a-means-of-guidance-or-misdirection/

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On 11/6/2021 at 6:33 AM, iCenozoic said:

I wouldn't say Paul founded the first church. Paul was influenced and became a missionary by the church before him. But he didn't found the first church. And his teachings, I would say reflect what Jesus is said to have taught in books that Paul didn't write.

Personally I think that Paul's letters make a great deal of sense and I'd say he hit the nail on the head with his teachings. For example, could anyone really read through a book like Romans and deny some of the obvious truths spoken of on unity? 

I would love to hear anyone who denies Paul's credibility to actually try critiquing something like the book of Romans. But oftentimes I think Muslims oftentimes take what many westerners view as an aggressive conservative approach on Christianity, and focus on theological contradictions (which all religions have in some area), rather than focusing on the Bibles overall message that love is above all other commandments and is the greatest commandment.

Just more on this, Paul describes bringing the message to people who had not received it, but he also describes not travelling to places where churches were already established. Romans 15:14 is an example of Paul acknowledging the teachings of the church before he even arrives and describes the members of the church of Rome as full of knowledge and able to instruct one another. Though he had never spoken to them before.

Then in Romans 15:20, he says "in order that I will not build on the foundation belonging to someone else", referring to other pre existing churches with biblical leadership.

Just more reason to understand that Paul didn't found the first church.

Acts 1:13 further describes meeting of the apostles. Paul just later tagged in and conducted missionary work.

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