Paul taught that the whole function of Jesus centred on his death which released the faithful from the burden of their sins, their misery and the power of Satan. In fact not a single word Paul wrote in the Epistles gives the actual teaching of Jesus, nor does he mention even one of his parables; instead he spreads his own philosophy and his own ideas.
Paul tends to characterise all people as children of anger, ie. as subject to the wrath of God (see Eph. 2,3). All are (without exception) quite lost (eg. Romans 5,18; Cor. 15,18), without hope and without God (Eph. 2,12), for Satan has power over everyone (without exception) (eg. Rom. 3,9; Gal. 3,22; Col 2,14). A sentence of damnation hangs like a sword of Damocles over all people (eg. Rom. 5,16).
Thus Paul as a human teacher made out of the joyous tidings his threatening tidings and implied that only he could show the path to salvation. Of course with such an attitude one can hardly arrive at a natural view of death, for it makes death a solution to sin.
In no other religion do we find such cultivation of the fear of death as in the Pauline Christianity. With Paul Christianity became a religion in which Christians, beset by fears, would bow docilely under the yoke of threats. The religion was already veering away from the concept of the kind and loving, all-forgiving God of Jesus, and reverting to the crudities of the wrathful Old Testament God, as borne out by Paul's words.
The point comes home best when one considers Paul's explicit statement that the human individual can do nothing himself to secure salvation, "Š(cf. Rom. 3,24; 3,28; 9,11; 9,16; 1.Cor. 1,29; Gal. 2,16). For according to Paul salvation depends solely on the Grace of GodŠ" (Eph. 2, 8-9).
Thus the Pauline doctrine makes salvation a one-sided matter for God; people on earth have their hands bound (cf. Rom. 3,24; 4,16; Eph. 2,5; 2,8-9; 2. Tim. 1,9; Tit. 3,5-7). What Paul says here is of course quite attractive, because it is comfortable. By joining the fold, salvation ensues "automatically". No effort on one's own part is then necessary to arrive at the goal of life, for every Christian is saved once and for all by the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross at Golgotha.
It means that one has only to sign up with this "institution", pay the "membership fee", and (lo and behold!) everything is settled for securing a seat in paradise for all eternity. Naturally such a teaching attracted many supporters and spread rapidly. After all it is easier to believe in something that can be had safely and comfortably.
Simply by the simple act of conversion a person is then redeemed, saved, made a child of God, and becomes a completely new person. According to this teaching, every attempt on one's own part to work towards salvation plays down Jesus' role, is even a deadly sin. And conversely, every person, however exemplary and good his or her life may have been, is declared by his teaching to be lost if he or she does not gratefully acknowledge the sacrifice of the cross as constituting their entire personal salvation.
Most Christians think the greatness and uniqueness of Christianity stands and falls with the truth of his teaching. On closer inspection, however, it is found to be a fabrication, far removed from the real ideas of Jesus. There is no hint of the so called Christian doctrine of salvation in the gospels, either in the sermon on the mount - the quintessence of Jesus' message - or in the Our Father, or the traditional parables of Jesus!
Jesus did not supply theories to be ground in the mills of academia, about his path and message -- he just lived his teaching!
After intensive and extensive research, the psychiatrist Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum was able to recreate a detailed portrait of Paul's character in his well-known work 'Genius, Madness and Fame'. Paul was frail, plain and small, yet at the same time harsh, rejecting, impetuous and passionate. His Zeal in the persecution of Christians was a compensation for his own feelings of inadequacy. The vast attraction of Paulinism is the idea of redemption and release from inner crises. Paul had boundless energy and matching ego. He suffered from severe attacks, which he blamed on demons. The latest sources have shown that there may have been a cause for what he often described as "a thorn in the flesh", his own personal cross. He might have suffered tragically from his own homosexuality. His problem caused him great antipathy towards sexuality altogether, and was decisive in his development of an ascetic doctrine of marriage, which has been of formative influence in the base image of sexuality and of woman that continued to dominate Christian thinking.
* The editors are not homophobes; we merely suggest that Paul's antisexual, woman hating attitudes may have arisen from his own inability to come to terms with his homosexuality. An alternative interpretation might be that Paul was an epileptic whose 'Vision' was a pre-seizure sensory phenomenon.
In almost all the Greek manuscripts Jesus bears the title "The Nazarene", which is generally falsely translated as "Jesus of Nazareth". Thus in many editions, Paul hears a voice that allegedly says, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you shall follow." In fact the Greek manuscripts contain no such statement. The correct version, contained in the Jerusalem Bible, is "I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you shall follow."
Was there perhaps some definite intention behind the alteration? If one intended to call Jesus according to his place of origin, one would have to call him "Jesus of Bethlehem" (none of the sources support the claim that Jesus lived in Nazareth). According to Saint Mark's gospel, his followers lived on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias), probably in Capernaum.
This day I heard Saul of Tarsus preaching the Christ unto the Jews of this city. He calls himself Paul now, the apostle to the Gentiles. I knew him in my youth, and in those days he persecuted the friends of the Nazarene. Well do I remember his satisfaction when his fellows stoned the radiant youth called Stephen. This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. At times he seems like an animal in the forest, hunted and wounded, seeking a cave wherein he would hide his pain from the world. He speaks not of Jesus, nor does he repeat His words. He preaches the Messiah whom the prophets of old had foretold. And though he himself is a learned Jew, he addresses his fellow Jews in Greek; and his Greek halting, and he ill chooses his words. But he is a man of hidden powers and his presence is affirmed by those who gather around him. And at times he assures them of what he himself is not assured. We who knew Jesus and heard His discourses say that. He taught man how to break the chains of his bondage that he might be free from his yesterdays. But Paul is forging chains for the man of tomorrow. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the name of one whom he does not know. The Nazarene would have us live the hour in passion and ecstasy. The man of Tarsus would have us be mindful of laws recorded in the ancient books. Jesus gave His breath to the breathless dead. And in my lone nights I believe and I understand. When He sat at the board, He told stories that gave happiness to the feasters, and spiced with His joy the meat and the wine. But Paul would prescribe our loaf and our cup. Suffer me now to turn my eyes the other way.
At the end of 1992 a book was published titled, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered" by Eisenman and Wise (Element books). This book offers fifty excerpts from long suppressed segments of these historic documents, placed in caves almost 2000 years ago and not discovered until 1947 and 1952.
In 1952 a team of scholars was appointed to piece together and decipher this wealth of material. But, instead of disseminating it to the world, these men withheld it, publishing only skeleton portions.
In autumn of 1991 this monopoly was broken by the Huntington's Library in California. The library announced that it would release photographs of the scrolls, which it had secured from authorities at the time of the 1967 six day war. They had argued that at such an unstable time the scrolls could be in jeopardy of destruction and that photograph copies should be held in America for safe-keeping.
The series of scholars, Catholics and Jewish, who previously had held exclusive control over the scrolls, long maintained that there was nothing of interest in the unreleased materials. They said that no light would be shed on the early days of Christianity. They were wrong.
One portion, numbered 40266, is titled by Eisenman and Wise, "The Foundation of Righteousness (The End of the Damascus Document: An excommunication text)."
It appears to be the excommunication of Paul from the Christian Community. The document was prepared for a convocation of the followers of Christ at the time of the Pentecost, "to curse those who depart to the right (or to the left) of the Torah," that is, the law of Moses.
The scroll fragments praise God. "You are all, everything is in your hand and (You are) the maker of everything, who established the peoples according to their families and their national languages."
They praise God and speak of the maryadas or "boundary markers laid down for us." Those who over-step these boundaries are those whose "soul has rejected the Foundations of Righteousness."
Paul was such a man. Elsewhere he is described as "the Lying adversary," and the "Lying Spouter" who "rejects the law in the midst of the whole congregation", "the Tongue" and the "Scoffer/Comedian" who "poured over Israel the waters of lying."
The authors of the book believe that "the priest commanding the Many" who delivers this excommunication judgement was James, the apostle often referred to as James the Just, the bishop of Jerusalem and the brother of Jesus.
In twisted logic involving blessing and cursing, Paul defends himself in his letters to the Galatians (3:11-13). Paul argues that he is redeemed in his transgressions against the teachings of Jesus, because Christ himself became cursed by the law . Paul is confusing the law of Moses with the law of the Romans and his own law.
In the Acts of the Apostles Paul writes of hurrying off to Jerusalem to be on time for an annual Pentecostal meeting as described in the scrolls. Eisenman and Wise state that "the Acts' picture of the Pentecost can be seen as the mirror reversal of the Pentecost being pictured here." Rather than taking his contribution to Jerusalem Paul was actually about to face excommunication from the community he sought to control.
The authors conclude saying, "The implications are quite startling and far-reaching. One thing is sure: one has in these texts a better exposition of what was really going on in 'the wilderness' in these times so pivotal for Western civilisation, than in any other parallel accounts."
The following two excerpts from an earlier book, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception" also raise doubts as to the legitimacy of Paul's role within the early church:
by Michael Bajgent and Richard Leigh (Corgi Books, London, 1991)
"... Paul is in effect the first Christian heretic, and his teachings, which become the foundation of later Christianity, are a flagrant deviation from the 'Original' or 'pure' form extolled by the leadership. Whether James, the 'Lord's brother,' was literally Jesus' blood kin or not (and everything suggests he was), it is clear that he knew Jesus...personally. So did most of the other members of the community or 'early Church,' in Jerusalem, including of course, Peter. When they spoke, they did so with first hand authority. Paul had never had such personal aquaintance with the figure he'd begun to regard as his 'Saviour.' He had only his quasi-mystical experience in the desert and the sound of a disembodied voice. For him to arrogate authority to himself on this basis is, to say the least, presumptuous. It also leads him to distort Jesus' teachings beyond recognition, to formulate, in fact, his own highly individual and idiosyncratic theology, and then to legitimise it by spuriously ascribing it to Jesus."
"As things transpired, however, the mainstream of the new movement gradually coalesced, during the next theree centuries, around Paul and his teachings. Thus, to the undoubted posthumous horror of James and his associates, an entirely new religion was indeed born, a religion that came to have less and less to do with its supposed founder."