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This Christmas brought more of the same old battle over whether Jesus was the founder of Christianity. It’s a spurious dispute. The fact that the Apostle Paul and not Jesus was the founder of Christianity seems incontrovertible to me. Jesus died before the religion began. Yes, he sent out his disciples to spread his teachings after his death, but those teachings on love and forgiveness had nothing to do with the doctrine of sacrificial redemption upon which Paul’s Christianity is based.

 In trying to put the notion to rest that Christianity actually was founded by Paul, the author of the article linked above makes arguments that miss the point. He says, Every year, it seems, an attempt is made, usually around the Christian holidays, to debunk some aspect of Christian belief— usually involving the Virgin birth, or Jesus’ resurrection, or his relationship with women. This year features an effort to depose Jesus as the founder of the Christian church, replacing him with the apostle Paul.” I don’t see comparing the Gospel words of Jesus with the dogmas of the religion that bears his name to be an attempt to depose anyone. Rather, it is an attempt to better understand what actually happened. The author above insists that the notion that Paul and not Jesus founded Christianity “is a reheated version of an old theory that has been exhaustively debated, and basically put to rest among serious scholars of Christianity.” But then the author makes no attempt whatsoever to support this statement.

So, what does Jesus have to say about religions? First, here is his opinion of clergymen:

“Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” (MK 12:38-40)

Read more of this Roberta Grimes blog article.


Roberta Grimes

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