“St” Paul’s Curious Book of Romans

“Saint” Paul is credited with formulating the language and systematizing of doctrines of Christian theology.  His epistles are claimed to have been written to congregations of the outlying churches he is said to have founded, and these communications dealt with theology, church procedures and discipline.  The uncertain time of his birth, given as “about 3 BCE”, and the alleged time of his death in the coliseum in Rome in 68 CE do not seem to fit snugly within that particular timeframe of all writings attributed to him–especially the book of Romans.

The New Testament book of Romans has an aura of a slightly later period–most likely c. 98-100 CE. But Paul, remember, is said to have died in 68 CE.  The Jesus cult that existed in that later 98-100 timeframe was then being vigorously directed toward regimented practice, and was being cunningly implemented among the poor, slaves, soldiers and misfits.  In the later historic events Marcus Ulpius Trajanus (Trajan) became emperor in 98, and the Jews in Palestine were once again rebelling against the Empire.  The content of the book of Romans does not fit in comfortably with known historic events of c. 60+ CE, but Paul from Corinth is nonetheless credited with the work which was put in place as the sixth text in theoretical chronological order of the Epistles.  The book of Romans is the longest of the “letters” supposedly written by Paul, and is the only one in which no companion or co-author is mentioned.  From this particular text Paul is credited with having formulated the language, doctrinal system and theology which then became the game plan for the Jesus cult after 100 CE.

The promotional line regarding this Christian organizer, doctrinaire and missionary is that Paul, a Jew from Tarsus, was on his way to Damascus in Syria to track down Jews who had abandoned Judaism and turned to the Jesus cult.  On his journey he is depicted as having experienced a remarkable phenomenon–a blinding light vision of the crucified Jesus.  The incident so traumatized him that he became a passionate servant.  This encounter, which had no verifying witnesses, has an eerie similarity to Moses getting God’s message from a burning bush.

The book of Romans is described as being in seven parts, exclusive of the introduction.  The tenor of the first parts is the crafty establishment of intimidation with the theme put forth that the whole world (meaning the Roman world) stands guilty before the Creator God.  Everything which then follows is like a concentrated sales pitch for the faith system that was being completely restructured in that 100 CE timeframe and which spells out the terms for the offer which amounts to little more than a contract for salvation insuranceT

The book of Romans, like the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, seems jarringly out of place with the general flow of the story line.  Indeed, many who read the NT find themselves wondering about contradiction in Romans in regard to what Jesus is depicted as teaching in the earlier Gospel texts (Mark and Matthew).  Whether this epistle was written in c. 60 or 100 CE, the writer claims that he had never visited the Christian community in Rome although he had long desired to do so.  From chapter one, verse 18 onward, Paul deliberately stirs up fear and, quite unlike the peaceful Jesus of earliest books who he allegedly honored, Paul launches into comments on the “wrath of God”!   The pattern is thereby set in place for passing judgement upon God’s intended diversity of life and Paul then fondles his ego with self-righteousness.  Even stranger, the assertions made in Romans actually contradict much of what is included in other letters attributed to him, such as in Corinthians, Thessalonians, Galatians, Colossians and Ephesians.  Chapter nine, for example, denies free will.  Chapter ten distorts the claim of salvation.  Chapter thirteen actually justifies rulers, even the wicked ones, as being divinely infallible, and as serving as “ministers of God.”   There is an un-Gospel flavor to the book of Romans which carries an audacious power-based inflection that is more in character with Roman Empire ideology.

Remembering the Jewish insurgency during the 98-100 CE timeframe, there is sly warning behind the author’s alleged holy assertions in chapter thirteen of Romans, as mentioned.  Here is what is said:  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be ordained by God.  2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves  damnation.  3)  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  4)  For he (implying any ruler, king, etc.) is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not a sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Keep in mind the Jewish problem to Rome in 98-100 timeframe when reading the rest of this Pauline propaganda.  5) “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  6) For this cause pay ye tribute also; for they (the rulers) are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to who tribute is due; custom to who custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

At this point in this empirical-political spiel, anxiety is then craftily directed to the Ten Commandments as though those directives accented the claims just made for honoring the political top dog.  By these verses, which proclaim that “all rulers are ordained by God,” the hellish action of such “rulers” as Attila, Hitler, Anytolya Kamanni, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, etc. etc. can be excused as “ministers of God.”

Strangely, as noted here, the book of Romans presents strong contradictions to the earlier teachings that Jesus was portrayed as teaching, and the book of Romans account is not exactly in “perfect flow and harmony” with other Gospels as it is accepted by naive believers.  For example, condemnation and practiced hatreds was not a message in the earliest Mark-Matthew books of the Christian movement.

Christians of today should give pause to remember that it is an absolute certainty that “St” Paul could never have read what we know as the canonical Gospels.  However, if Paul was indeed a real person, Saul/Paul of Tarsus would likely have been familiar with the Gnostic texts from which the general ideas conveyed in the Gospels originated.  Pagan and Gnostic influences color the whole of Paul’s literary works.  And the “letters” credited to Paul are more properly defined as preachments of the newly manufactured doctrine than defined as actual correspondence.

As with the attraction of the ancient mystery schools which flourished in the earlier and general timeframe of Paul, Paul did not preach of a physical Jesus as being Christ: rather the point of the Pauline approach was in regard to the attainment of Christhood, meaning the deified consciousness which must evolve within each individual.  As Christianity is widely accepted and practiced today, however, such personal attainment is made nearly impossible to achieve.  The inference which lingers in what has become traditional Christian practice is that one’s consciousness can achieve deified status only through delegated representatives (priests, preachers, pastors, ministers, etc).  Rightfully, the purpose of any faith system should be to guide seekers in developing principled qualities throughout each person’s life.  However, that noble goal is not achievable when faith systems are persistently used as discriminatory indulgences for material power plays.  Finding “sin” in everyone else but finding little in yourself makes for easy fertilizer to use in a hierarchical faith system, but it only nourishes such things as ignorance, poverty, egocentric disdain for life diversities, unremitting warfare, etc. etc.  Such is not the avowed “narrow path” into higher consciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: