Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pseudepigrapha Psalad Psurgery II: Colossians

Also known as Ephesians Warmed Over.

The scholarly consensus seems to be that there is a connection of some kind between Ephesian and Colossians, but that at least one of the two books was definitely not written by the Apostle Paul. The connection between the two epistles is obvious even to the layperson: Colossians is a rehash of Ephesians, but it says even less, if that were possible. After reading the two, my totally wild, uninformed guess is that Ephesians is slightly more likely to be authentic, or to be more precise and not appear to lend more credence to Ephesians than I actually do, I'll say that Colossians looks like a ham-handed copy of Ephesians, which itself has a distinctly porky scent about it. Still, to give the devil Yahweh its due, I've looked through Colossians for anything that warrants comment. And as you've surely guessed by now, I did find a couple of stupid parts to spotlight.

Chapter 1
  • Verse 18: "...he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead". Wrong. The author/plagiarist obviously never read any of the gospels, in which "many" people came out of their graves, or were resurrected before anyone had a chance to bury them. However, we already knew from Romans 6:9--"Since Christ was raised from the dead he cannot die again"--that Paul never read any of the gospels either, or at least had not read any by the time he wrote Romans.
  • Verse 19, and Chapter 2, Verse 9: "God was pleased to have all [its] fullness dwell in him," and "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." Jesus is Yahweh, you say? Not if "God was pleased to" can be construed to imply "God decided to", which seems fairly safe, especially when Paul (and/or his imitators) never get right down to stating simply, Jesus is Yahweh.
  • Verse 20: "God was reconcile to itself all things". Wrong, at least according to modern, mainstream Jesusianism, in which God is reconciled only to those who kiss its ass properly. According to Jesus himself, God is reconciled only to the children of Israel, and the occasional Gentile who kisses his ass properly.
  • Verse 24: "I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions". Is the author claiming that his own suffering is somehow contributing to the same cause that Christ's suffering addressed? If not, then what is he saying? I can't make any sense out of it other than that he is saying that Christ's suffering was not the whole story, but that suffering by some of Christ's followers was also necessary to the salvation of mankind.
  • Verse 26: "...the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages..." So much for I Corinthians 13:6, "[Love] rejoices with the truth."
Chapter 2
  • Verse 4: "I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." Oh, yeah, because Romans 7:13 is more convincing for its lack of sounding fine: "Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful."
  • Verse 8: Don't depend on "human tradition". Oh, you mean like the tradition that Colossians was written by Paul? That the miracle stories are all true? That Revelation was written by John the Apostle? That a god that murders babies is a good god, while a devil that doesn't murder babies is evil? At least 90% of what Jesusianismists believe is based on tradition; very little of the bible is verified by actual knowledge, and much of the bible is utterly discredited by primary school science. And let's not forget that what was then called human tradition is now called ignorant superstition. Our knowledge and critical thinking are something completely other, completely different from what this ancient writer ever knew.
  • Verse 8 again: Don't depend on "the basic principles of this world". Oh, you mean like using our brains? I had originally inveighed against this idea, because it sounded to me like a command not to use our brains, but then I got to Verse 20, where the author equates the basic principles of this world with Yahweh's weird Pentateuchal rules. Those don't seem like the basic principles of any world except the twisted world of first-century Palestinians. Never mind.
  • Verse 11: "...circumcision done by the hands of men..." It's funny how Paul (and/or his imitators), whenever they mention circumcision, they always manage to mention the hands of men in the same breath. There seems to be a lot more closet homosexuality in the bible than Jesusianismists want to admit.
  • Verses 21 - 23: "'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These...are based on human commands and teachings...such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom...with their false humility...but they lack any value..." Funny, those commands came straight from the mouth of Yahweh last time I heard. So much for the bible never contradicting itself.
Chapter 3
  • Verse 1: "Christ is seated at the right hand of God." Ok, I've said it a million times: Jesus is not Yahweh. So I'll step outside of my own cliche here. Jesusianismists want to say that this sort of language is just metaphor, that the author never intended to mean that Christ is literally sitting, or that Yahweh actually has a right hand. But why, if this message is so important, if this tenet of Jesusianism is crucial to one's salvation, would God have its servants always using obscure, anthropomorphic metaphors? Or at least, if metaphor is required, why wouldn't God have at least one of its servants say something like, "Yeah, I know it's strange, but in a way that we don't understand, Jesus and Yahweh are the same being." Why can't the Supreme Being's most important message to mankind contain even a single, clear statement that still sounds right a mere two thousand years later?
Bullets Dodged

More commands that Jesusianismists can safely ignore, not knowing the identity or authority of the person who did a mashup of Ephesians to create this epistle.
  • Chapter 3, Verse 5: "Put to death...sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
  • Chapter 3, Verse 8: "Rid yourselves of...anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language."
  • Chapter 3, Verse 12: "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
  • Chapter 3, Verse 14: "Over all these virtues put on love." I'd say that it would be better for everyone to put love at the top, but then given Jesus' example (see my I Corinthians Supplemental YouTube video), it might be better for us to forget about love and create something new.
  • Chapter 3, Verse 18 - Chapter 4, Verse 1:  Wives submit to husbands, husbands don't be harsh with your wives, children obey your parents, fathers do not embitter your children, slaves obey your masters, masters provide your slaves with what is right and fair.

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