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what do atheists think happened to Saul/Paul?

#1ilsunshangxiangPosted 11/2/2011 7:56:21 PM
I have some theories:

1) even though he's a roman citizen, he was the son of a former slave so maybe he was treated badly by his employers and he wanted to betray them by joining their enemy.

2) he didnt like the emperor and wanted to overthrow him to save rome. he saw that the senate was powerless and the best chance he had was teaming up with the christians
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#2kozlo100Posted 11/2/2011 8:00:54 PM
This question actually makes me wonder a bit about what he historicity of Paul is. You hear all sorts of debate about independent verification that Jesus actually existed, but hardly ever hear such about his apostles.

Does anybody have links and such to that kind of information?
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#3the_hedonistPosted 11/2/2011 8:07:32 PM(edited)
I do not know, but I do not know of any historian, Christian or otherwise, who doubts the existence of Paul. While there are a handful of "Pauline" epistles that have dubious authorship, my understanding is that many of them (Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, etc.) are universally accepted as being written by Paul.

Like you said, the debate tends to be centered on who the historic Jesus is (or whether he actually existed). I think the existence of Paul is not in question by many historians, if any at all. But it would be interesting to see what secular historians think of what his life actually looked like.
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#4kozlo100Posted 11/2/2011 8:14:55 PM
That's what I'm thinking here.

I've never heard any doubt as to whether or not the man actually existed. Given his place in the Christian narrative, I think that's pretty interesting. I'd love to know the details of why that is.
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The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#5Hustle KongPosted 11/3/2011 4:19:11 AM(edited)
I think Paul was probably genuine in his conversion and belief that his visitation.
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#6tommytcphPosted 11/4/2011 3:48:28 PM
Kozlo, it's because we have his writings. Even if one sides with the Dutch Radicals (which is an enormously fringe position), and says that none of the letters are Pauline, that begs the question of why putting Paul's name on there meant anything.
#7OogallyPosted 11/4/2011 5:19:22 PM
ilovesunshangxiang posted...
I have some theories:

1) even though he's a roman citizen, he was the son of a former slave so maybe he was treated badly by his employers and he wanted to betray them by joining their enemy.

2) he didnt like the emperor and wanted to overthrow him to save rome. he saw that the senate was powerless and the best chance he had was teaming up with the christians


Why does being an atheist preclude the idea that prophets (and witnesses of anything divine) did not believe themselves to be genuine? Aside from a few exceptions, that seems the most reasonable explanation. Personally I doubt that Baha'u'llah really received any kind of divine inspiration, but there's no discernible reason he would just outright make it up considering the trouble it landed him in.
#8Adito99Posted 11/5/2011 12:33:45 PM
From the way I've heard his beliefs described in a few books Paul had a very mystical take on the nature of God. With those kinds of inclinations I'm not surprised he would be prone to having transformative experiences. This is common throughout the world in every religion so I don't believe any kind of special explanation is required for this one man.
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#9SSj4WingzeroPosted 11/5/2011 1:52:20 PM
I wasn't aware that there was a number of people who refused to acknowledge that Jesus as a man actually existed. I thought it was almost universally accepted that a man calling himself Yeshua ben Yosef existed at some point in time around the turn of the 1st century AD.

Whether or not he performed miracles and was the Son of God is certainly up to the eye of the beholder, but I wasn't aware that there are people out there who refused to acknowledge Jesus's existence.
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#10allinPosted 11/5/2011 5:23:01 PM
G.A. Wells is the most famous and people today who hold the view that Jesus as a person never existed all are heavily influenced by his work.
Personally I believe that Jesus existed(for reasons based on evidence, not just because it's a common view) but I don't think scholars who disagree are by any means "out there" or are ignoring/misinterpreting any of the evidence.
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