Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Refudenounce the Roots I: Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 1 - 17

Part I of my "Refudenounce the Roots" Series, in which I intend to refute and denounce Paul's hideous framework of human existence, the root of which can be found in Romans Chapter 3, Verse 23, "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". The human race would be a lot better off without concepts such as "sin," "evil," "deserve," "punish," "justice," "righteousness," and related ideas that form the foundation of Paul's benighted and pernicious world-view. Let's demolish this rotting, unsafe structure before someone gets hurt. Let's see Paul's epistle to the Romans for the filth that it is, and discard it with the rest of the garbage.

Romans is quite the systematic elucidation of Pauline Jesusianism. I'll attempt in this series to organize my comments along the same lines as Paul seems to have organized his.

Chapter 1, Verses 1 - 15: Not much more than a long-winded "Hello", but there is one verse that stands out, Verse 4: Jesus, "through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead". My NIV footnote says that this instead might be translated that Jesus was appointed rather than declared.

I am absolutely shocked. From the very beginning of the Old Testament, we have polytheism, in spite of rabid claims of monotheism among Yahwists going all the way back to Mount Sinai; from all four gospels we have statements all over the place showing that neither Jesus nor any of his initial followers thought of him as Yahweh, in spite of rabid, almost unanimous claims of Trinitarianism from modern Jesusianismists; now, in the very first apostolic epistle, we have Paul very clearly saying that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, said declaration having been indicated by the fact that God resurrected him from the dead. A group of Jesusianismists known as the Ebionites explicitly held the belief that Jesus was simply a human whom God adopted. Although they were vilified by the group that eventually set the tone for Jesusianism as we know it today, the Ebionites were not evil corrupters and certainly did not think of themselves so. They genuinely loved Jesus and sincerely prayed to God just as much as any other of his followers.

Verses 16 - 17: A theme central to Jesusianism: righteousness comes only from God, through the choice of having faith in God, rather than by any righteous act we might perform, or by strictly observing God's weird, arbitrary laws. Paul expresses the idea in the words of the Prophet Habakkuk (2:4): "The righteous will live by faith."

Jesusianismists accuse atheismists of taking verses out of context and twisting their meaning. I have to say that Paul seems pretty good at this too. Going back to the prophet, we find that he is lamenting the power that the wicked have over the righteous, asking Yahweh why it tolerates treacherous people. Yahweh's response is that greedy extorters will get their comeuppance, and as a nearly inaudible aside, it mentions that "the righteous will live by his faith", or, depending on how you translate, "the righteous will live by his faithfulness". Yahweh is talking about something completely different from what Paul is saying. Yahweh is talking about justice for ruthless oppressors, while Paul is emphasizing the fact that even people trying their best to follow Yahweh's law are bound to fail.

It seems very clear to me that Paul has put a lot of thought into this new religion he has invented, and has had plenty of time (some 30-odd years) to cherry-pick. If he had been so inclined, he could have skipped ahead to Habakkuk 2:8 and concluded that the Jews are screwed, because this deity seems to have changed its mind about how it wants them to interact with other nations, and now intends to punish them for not knowing in advance that the change was to occur: "Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed man's blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them" (emphasis mine). Isn't this exactly what Joshua and pals did over and over by Yahweh's explicit orders? The passage from Habakkuk is so full of moral holes on its own that Paul would have done better not to attempt to use it at all, much less to use this tiny parenthesis to shoehorn the Gentiles into Jesusianism.

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