Sunday, November 30, 2008


 I am not a prude or a wowser by any gauge but I have got to tell you I find it repulsive the way the children of our “civilization” have been bombarded with uncensored images of war. The warnographers of this world have been given carte blanche to pervert the minds of our most vulnerable, while they diverted our attention away from the foulest of human behaviour and focused it on a campaign against the lesser of two evils pornography. The “god-fearing” leaders of the Judaeo-Christian and Muslim nations have consistently ignored the effect, of their insane lust for war, on the innocent and chosen instead to demonise anything vaguely associated with sexuality outside of the accepted norms. On a scale of one to ten how do you rate the amount collateral damage caused by war verses porn?

 If we rate the billions of people who have had their guts ripped out by war as a ten, then I would suggest by comparison the victims of porn would be less than one percent. Why are we not as outraged at finding our youth splattering heads on the internet as we would be if they were digitally engaged in on line sex. Responsible adults would understand the irony of this and no matter what your particular brand of belief is, collectively pray that the incoming new world order gets it’s priorities in place and doesn't continue on with the insanities of the outgoing warnography criminals.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Dominatrix has had her day. (the moose still stands)

I have recently had my eyes opened to statistics of current importance; Less than 50% of Americans pay more than 90% of the taxes (conservative estimate). Now I don’t claim to know a lot about the U.S.A’s business but considering I have just had it rammed down my throat for the last two years, I feel qualified to make a few comments or observations (depending on which way you look at it).

 Barak Obama (BO) has risen to the top of the pile, on a groundswell of public opinion, by representing the views of the of the united minorities who felt disadvantaged under George W Bush’s (GWB) reign. He made it his position to associate himself with the descendants of the slaves who were ‘liberated’ by the results of the Civil War and his children bare that distinction. John McCain (JMC), by comparison, failed in his attempt to become ‘fearless leader’ because less than 50% of voters, who previously had more than 90% of the influence, failed to convince the now united majority that BO was really a closet Muslim. 

Now I wouldn’t be surprised if less than 50% of disgruntled, tax paying, voting, gun totting fundamental patriots started to aim their criticisms towards the “fact” that the funding for BO’s social policies (spreading the wealth) is going to be coming out of their taxes. If I had to address their concerns, I would point out that when slavery was in fashion none of the slaves paid any tax at all but they did all the work. 

Don’t be blindsided by the rhetoric of the “right”; the largest tax payers sit on the shoulders of the ones who pay the least. Undermining them will only bring down the whole structure, as apposed to supporting them and strengthening them, which can only be for the benefit of the whole.

We here, down under, tend to follow the leads of our mates in the northern hemisphere, so it is with apprehension that I comment on the approaching new world order or coalition of the willing and pray that we don’t make the mistakes of the past by buying bi-polar policies of good guys and bad guys, tax payers and dole bludgers, Christians and Muslims and more to the point Slaves and Masters.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The funny thing about beliefs is there’s a lie at the centre of it; now I don’t know about you but I think that's ironic. If a con-man, or to be more politically correct a con-person, wants to successfully sell you a lemon on the pretence it will ripen into an orange, they lie and you believe. If you have been unfortunate enough to purchase a load of lemons and intend to hand them out at half time at the footy on Sunday, then all is not lost if I can convince you of the lie in your belief; you can still turn them into lemonade. If you refuse to admit you have been conned and want to continue on believing the lie, then you are heading for a showdown. 

When those who promote belief systems have a serious challenge aimed at them, they tend to hide behind the skirts of little old ladies saying" How can you shake our belief, when if what you are saying is true, then these little old ladies will be upset because they have lived their entire lives believing the lie”. This is were the ‘f’ an faith comes into it, fundamentally, they say: “Our oranges may look a little yellow and taste bitter but we have faith on the day they’ll be sweet, fu.” So how can you win against that type of dogma, the bigger the falsification, the bigger bad guy you become when you point out the truth. Now I know truth is subjective and one mans oranges are another mans lemons but don’t you think there’s far to many sour-pusses out there pushing yellow oranges onto people in the vain hope that you will have faith in their belief and not upset the apple cart.

 I can foresee the criticism, I’ve used to many fruity metaphors and made a cocktail out of it when I should be sparing because there’s a lot of fruitcakes out there already, but you would have to admit it’s better than a ‘Rusty Salmon’ mornay. Anyway, the next time someone comes to your door handing out believer tracts, try taking the lie out of it and tell them to make beaver tracks or better still, go suck a lemon. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comments on Peter and Paul; Satans or Saints

How much do we really know about the founders of fundamental Christianity and the main contributors to the New Testament? Should we unquestionably accept their claims to be "ordained" as to speak to us through documents of uncertain origin, as the "infallible" word of GOD? Firstly, they use alias's; Peter changed his name from Simon just after Jesus said to him "Get behind me SATAN, you are a ROCK in my path, your thoughts are those of man, not God." (Mathew 16:23) and in (Mathew 26:34) before his LORD noted; when needed the most, PETER, SIMON, SATAN or whatever he wanted to call himself, would deny knowing Him three times in a row. What a sleaze-bag! Paul, on the other hand "real name" Saul, sets himself up in direct opposition to Jesus (the descendant of David) in His quest to become King of the Jews. After Saul and his best mates make sure "the Christ" is nailed to a cross "for your salvation", he then begins a ten year campaign to exterminate every follower of Jesus he could find. This man was a deluded, mass murdering, maniac who was eventually stopped by Jesus' Damascus faction and while he was rotting in jail, decided to write apologetics styled letters which eventually became the main ingredient for the doctrines of the fundamental Christian church of today. Saul, dressed as a ruling class Sadducee, would have stood out like a sore thumb in a rural setting; Peter, on the other hand dressed as a fisherman, an ideal disguise if you were try to infiltrate a peasant based cult of the day. They are almost indistinguishable in that they always seem to be in the same place, at the same time, right up their deaths in Rome as elderly men. Satan could not have done a better job in setting up a CHURCH to dominate and rule this world from. What a perfect place for an Evil Dark Lord to preside from, holding the key's that keep people locked into a subservient, judgemental, bigoted and biased, woman suppressing, gay bashing, misogynistic organization with more wealth and power than Caesar, Napoleon or even Hitler could have ever dreamed of. My opinion ,for what it's worth, is that Jesus, God bless His soul, would have been ap-paul-ed at having his name associated with that style of establishment. If they had of tried to kill Him with a Guillotine or a Gas Chamber, would you walk around with a representation of that around your neck as a sign that you have been saved by it and the actions of a bunch of evil men?

Comments by Ken Brown after I posted on his Blog Site at: in reference to David Wenham’s quote on the relationship between Jesus and Pauls teachings.
November 7, 2008 3:36 PM

Ken Brown said. ..
Wayne,I certainly do not "unquestionbly accept" the claims of the New Testament writers, but there is in fact an aweful lot of good historical evidence that they cherished and passed along the words of Jesus as best they knew them. As for your speculations about the rise of Christianity, I don't know of any concrete support to back them up.The truth is, we wouldn't know anything at all about Jesus if it weren't for Peter, Paul and the other early apostles who remembered him and shared their memories (and hopes) with others. Without a doubt, the church that grew out this has done some horrible things (as people all over the world have done horrible things for all sorts of reasons), but Christianity's admirable emphases on grace, trust in God, self-sacrifical love, and living in imitation of Jesus owe as much to Peter and Paul as to anyone. Why be hatin'? ;)
November 7, 2008 4:00 PM
Wayne said...
Dear Ken,I think you misunderstand me. Firstly; I like your blog and your open invitation to discuss things. I don't hate Paul, I just think he was one sick puppy. We are students of Theology, brothers in arms if you will and the Bible has been my constant companion for forty years, but I gota tell ya, the more I learn the more I question the legitimacy of Orthodoxy in that they have sold a lot of pork pies over the years and lived well on the proceeds.On the question of "without peter and paul we would never have known Jesus' teachings"; I disagree, the early church fathers canonized one version of events and did their best to eradicate all others, maybe we would have got a better version if it wasn't for 'Saint'Peter and his successors.
November 7, 2008 4:55 PM

Ken Brown said...
Wayne,No worries, I do indeed enjoy such discussions! But I'd like to see some facts to back up your accusations. For instance, there is certainly evidence that the later imperial church sought to eliminate "unorthodox" accounts of Jesus, but I don't see how you can blame Peter and Paul for that, nor is it at all clear to me that the apocryphal works they destroyed were actually authentic. After all, we've found a significant library of this material at Nag Hammadi, and very little of it has any chance of being original (probably a few parts of the Gospel of Thomas, and perhaps a bit more), buried amidst a whole lot of gnostic thought which surely has even less in common with the teaching of Jesus than orthodoxy. To be sure there is a great deal about Jesus that has been lost to history, but as far as I can see that is despite the church's efforts to preserve his memory, rather than because of them.I do agree with you, however, that the entrenchmant of Orthodoxy (and often an "orthodoxy" that has little connection even with the Bible's own emphases on love for God and compassion for the poor) as the test of salvation has caused a great deal of harm. But I'm certainly not as willing to throw out the church as a whole simply because it (like all human institutions) has often been abused. That's just life; you take the bad with the good or you'll end up with neither.
November 7, 2008 6:59 PM
Wayne said...
The arena of what the church has destroyed over the years is certainly worthy of investigation, although I don't know how anything concrete could ever be ascertained as the saying goes "the evidence has been destroyed" but my comments on Peter and Paul's legitimacy as the rightful heirs to Jesus' legacy, still stands and is backed up by very substantial evidence.In his own words Paul admits to being the number one persecutor of Jesus and his followers. Jesus Himself is quoted as saying "Saul, Saul why do you persecute me", now my question to you is; if "Hitler had of been imprisoned for his crimes against humanity and whilst imprisoned for them, decided to write a third testament because he said he had seen the light, would we be obliged to accept his authority to do so, just on his say so, as was the case with Paul?
November 7, 2008 10:49 PM

Ken Brown said...
You're comparing Paul to Hitler? Really? Did Paul pack up the early Christians and send them off to be slaughtered? Did he raise an army and wage a war against the populations of neighboring countries? He was a persecutor of the earliest followers of Jesus (perhaps even the most active one for a few months or years), but the whole point of his conversion was that he rejected that old persecution, and all of the rest of his life (including all his letters) reflect a very different view. In fact, the whole of Paul's subsequent life is centered on a gospel based on God's grace (offered to all people, Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, male and female; cf. Gal. 3:28). Compared to this, Paul considers his old way of life "a bunch of crap" (rough translation of Phil 3:8). All of which is to say, the very violence and heresy-hunting you reject, Paul also rejected, as part of the old way of life from which Christ had redeemed him.
November 7, 2008 11:14 PM
Wayne said...
In answer to your questions. Yes Saul did round up followers of Jesus and imprison them before sanctioning their murder as in the recorded case of Steven and yes he did raise and army and invade a neighboring state. What do you think he was doing on the road to Damascus?His campaign of terror lasted ten years and because Jesus didn't believe in the death penalty he was kept as a prisoner of Jesus before he was handed over to the Roman authorities for trial because the Parthians of Damascus had an extradition treaty with them.So I'm sorry this offends you but my point is; just because Paul turned over a new leaf didn't mean he had the authority to write as if he were God.
November 8, 2008 1:01 AM

Ken Brown said...
Wayne, This is preposterous. Paul was present at (not even an active participant in) one murder. Hitler organized the sytematic extermination of 6 million people. Paul organized a brute squad and set off for Damascus (a single neighboring town) but, by all accounts, abandoned the mission before he arrived. Hitler built a massive military-industrial complex, invaded, bombed and deported neighboring civilian populations with the goal of world domination. Paul recognized his error early on and spent the rest of his life declaring the very faith he once sought to destroy. Hitler never repented of his actions and committed suicide when his plans failed. I can't believe you seriously think the two even remotely comparable. Or do you think repentance itself is inherently illegitimate, that only those perfect from birth can be genuine followers of Jesus? I think Jesus himself would have disputed that, seeing as his whole message was summed up as "the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the good news!" (e.g. Mark 1:15). Jesus counted former prostitutes, tax collectors and zealots among his closest followers; I think he would have welcomed a former persecutor like Paul.As for the rest of your "facts," they are anything but. There is no evidence that Paul perseucted the church for 10 years, most think he converted within a few months or years of Jesus' crucifixion. And this notion that he was "kept as a prisoner of Jesus before he was handed over to the Roman authorities for trial because the Parthians of Damascus had an extradition treaty with them" is pure nonsense. Jesus, of course, was already dead, so Paul surely was not his prisoner (!), and in any event, Paul spent most of his life travelling throughout the Roman empire preaching about Jesus. He was eventually arrested and sent to Rome, not in Damascus but in Jerusalem, and not until 25 or more years after he became a Christian. Moreover, his arrest appears to have been based on his disregard for the Jewish law, but it was certainly not based on opposition to Jesus! Where are you getting your information?Paul did indeed "turn over a new leaf," but he did not "write as though he were God." I'll grant that he did have a bit of an ego, and sometimes got carried away (especially in Galatians). He certainly wasn't perfect, but his whole life was built around God's love as shown in Jesus, of which--he recognized better than anyone--an old persecutor like him did not deserve. To compare him to Hitler is the height of absurdity.
November 8, 2008 12:30 PM
Wayne said...
Settle petal,your slip is showing.The basis of our faith is that Jesus was resurrected (not dead), how can you stand up for Paul if you don't even believe his own accounts of his trip to Damascus and the meeting with Jesus. The Parthians had very real treatise with Rome and had done so since the time of Augustus. The war against them was run out of Jerusalem and was waged for Three hundred years eventually ending up in the complete analyzation of their trading capital Palmyra; check your history books.Now, I agree with you that Paul never reached the heights of depravity that Hitler did, I don't think I vaguely suggested he did. I will tone down my comment that he thought he was God and just settle for Apollos but their are a lot of people who treat his writing as if they were the actual words of God.I am sorry that you and your sources think that Paul converted shortly after he and his mates crucified the Christ but I am confident that if you bother to check it out, the evidence is in Paul's actual accounts that he spent many years in the desert and was a prisoner of Jesus before he started his "missionary work" as an old man. So your assertion 'he spent most of his life preaching the word of Jesus' is the "absurdity".I am a big fan of repentance and do believe it was a corner stone of Jesus' teachings but as I search the New Testament, I fail to find the place where Paul actually says he is sorry and continually get the impression he is in denial; focusing mainly on his doctrine of Salvation by believing what he did to Jesus was for a good reason.As any good criminal psychiatrist will tell you, that's a problem when it comes to admitting crimes and a classic symptom of deluded prisoners of which Paul was one at the time of writing his Epistles.Once again I am sorry if all this upsets you, maybe we should get off the subject of Paul. How do feel about the implication that Jesus might have been married to Mary Magdalene?
November 8, 2008 5:17 PM

Ken Brown said...
Heh. This nonsense doesn't upset me; it makes me laugh. By all means, let's talk about Paul, but how about offering some actual sources to back up your outlandish claims. Preferably primary sources, though at this point I'd even accept a reference to a specific secondary source.How about Galatians 1 and 2? Here Paul admits his previous presecution of the church, but that on the road to Damascus (actually, he never says where he was when it happened; this detail is drawn exclusively from Acts), he recieved a revelation from Christ and a call to preach to the Gentiles. This was when he converted, and it was after this that he spent three years in the desert, then visited Jerusalem briefly, then spent fourteen years preaching the Gospel before returning to Jerusalem for another short trip (it is unclear whether this trip was that recorded in Acts 15 or a previous one), but regardless Paul was certainly not persecuting the church (let alone waging war against Damascus!) during this time. At the least, it is certain that he was already doing mission work, planting churches and preaching Christ well before he wrote Galatians, which is dated to the late-40s CE(at the earliest) and the mid-50s CE (at the latest). Even if we accept the late date, that still leaves nearly 10 more years before he was killed in Rome, and yes he did indeed spend that time (if not also much of the previous 17 years), founding churches and writing letters, all the while preaching about the love of God in Christ.
November 8, 2008 6:45 PM
Wayne said...
Orthodoxy hates to be challenged and considers it's position on all topic's as the only one, all other explanations are ridiculed. It patronizingly takes the position of one who knows the truth and has to convert the unwashed. Without a "Primary" or "Secondary" reference, most people instinctively know that Orthodoxy has all it's arguments boxed and categorized with reams of information gathered to support it's case and puts everything else in the "unauthorized" basket. So when dealing with dissenters, the flat earth society has traditionally given a "fair" hearing to the "nonsense" of one who dares to challenge their established views. Only then do they burn them at the stake even if later they take on the new truth.In my case I have given the primary source as the very words Orthodoxy has purported to be the "guardians" of, purposely steering clear of any "unauthorized" sources, but you refuse to deal with those points that are completely verifiable in the New Testament documents, choosing instead to pretend they have no validity because they differ with your interpretation. My choice to converse with you on these maters is not conditional to your acceptance of my interpretation. It is not my job to educate you nor give you specific answers to your questions like you are my inquisitor. If you choose to research what I am saying or not makes no difference to me but If you wanted to, I would recommend that you reread the material like you actually have an open mind towards what I am saying and then make of it as you will.If you ever come to the conclusion that what I've been saying about Paul has some place in the evolution of Jesus' Church of Truth, then you might find some of my secondary sources useful; but some how I doubt it. Never the less here's a beauty, "The Bible is full of texts which take up previous biblical ideas and modify, extend, or call them into question." Ken Brown (What does it mean to trust the bible.)
November 8, 2008 8:54 PM

Ken Brown said...
Wayne,I'm not trying to be patronizing, but you can't expect these outlandish theories to be taken seriously if you are unwilling to offer proof. I'm a historian; I want to see evidence. I have little patience for bald assertion, whether in defense of orthodoxy or heresy, but especially when it comes to unconventional theories. Yet when I ask you for evidence, you claim that it's my job to find it. That makes it kinda hard to have a meaningful conversation.
November 9, 2008 9:34 AM
Ken Brown said...
Wayne,We agree that the Bible should not be accepted unquestioningly. Don't you agree that speculative historical reconstructions deserve equal scrutiny?
November 9, 2008 9:45 AM
Wayne said...
What is this outlandish theory you speak of? All I have tried to say here is that Peter and Paul (Alias Simon and Saul) were of dubious character and totally unqualified to be advisers to the modern world. I have backed this up with Quotes and reference points from the most reliable sources but you seem to be incapable of dealing with it, choosing instead to manipulate the conversation away from the subject at hand and create dispersions about my legitimacy to make such assertions.You are the one who makes it difficult to have a serious conversation. You have discredited yourself by demonstrating your basic misunderstandings of the tenets of Jesus' Resurrection and go back on yourself via a mish mash of misunderstandings of the road to Damascus incident.I really don't think you know anything about the Parthians and their long struggle with the Greek speaking Romans from Jerusalem (of which Paul was one) but that is were you could come up to speed if we were to bother. There is plenty of information on the Internet easily accessible for your convenience. www
November 9, 2008 12:15 PM

Ken Brown said...
"What is this outlandish theory you speak of?" How about these:"After Saul and his best mates make sure "the Christ" is nailed to a cross "for your salvation", he then begins a ten year campaign to exterminate every follower of Jesus he could find. This man was a deluded, mass murdering, maniac who was eventually stopped by Jesus' Damascus faction and while he was rotting in jail, decided to write apologetics styled letters which eventually became the main ingredient for the doctrines of the fundamental Christian church of today."I'm curious: If Paul didn't convert until he was an old man "rotting in jail," how did he manage to found Christian churches in Galatia, Corinth, Philadelphia, Thessolonica, and throughout Asia Minor? Or is he "deluded" on this point?"if Hitler had of been imprisoned for his crimes against humanity and whilst imprisoned for them, decided to write a third testament because he said he had seen the light, would we be obliged to accept his authority to do so, just on his say so, as was the case with Paul?"Comparing Paul to Hitler is about as outlandish as it gets. Where is your evidence that Paul was a "mass-murdering, maniac"?"His campaign of terror lasted ten years and because Jesus didn't believe in the death penalty he was kept as a prisoner of Jesus before he was handed over to the Roman authorities for trial because the Parthians of Damascus had an extradition treaty with them."This sounds like you're saying that after his resurrection, Jesus didn't return to the Father but stuck around for 10+ years, imprisoned Paul (after the "Damascus faction" arrested him? Is this your interpretation of the Damascus Road incident?) then extradited him to Rome (forgive me but my math doesn't add up: Jesus died in the 30s CE; Paul died in the 60s. If Paul persecuted Christians for 10 years, what about the other 20?). Perhaps this is not what you mean (I sure hope it's not!), but I find it ironic that you are accusing me of "basic misunderstandings of the tenets of Jesus' Resurrection." Which tenets would those be?"I am sorry that you and your sources think that Paul converted shortly after he and his mates crucified the Christ but I am confident that if you bother to check it out, the evidence is in Paul's actual accounts that he spent many years in the desert and was a prisoner of Jesus before he started his "missionary work" as an old man."Where is your evidence that Paul was complicit in the crucifixion of Jesus? And how do you explain Galatians 1-2, where Paul claims his call to minister to the Gentiles in the name of Christ came fully 17 years prior to the writing of the letter (only 3 of which were spent "in the desert")? And when do you think Galatians was written, anyway? More to the point, even if you are right that Paul persecuted the church for 10 years (which you have given no reason to accept), that still leaves at least 20 more years until Paul's death; what was he doing during that time, if not missionary work? Which of Paul's accounts do you have in mind, anyway?Frankly, you've made a whole lot of assertions, but provided zero evidence. You claim you have backed up your claims with "Quotes and reference points from the most reliable sources" but other than referencing Matt 16:23 and 26:34 in the first comment, I cannot find among your comments a single quote or reference to any source, reliable or otherwise. Perhaps you can point some out to me.Yet when I ask you for evidence or challenge your assertions, you claim I am the one "manipulating the conversation away from the subject at hand." I fail to see how I have done so, considering "the subject at hand" is how much Paul knew about Jesus and his teachings. To be honest, I don't see where you have even addressed "the issue at hand."You claim Paul's own letters support your claim that he spent most of his life exterminating Christians (and waging war against the Parthians?), but you have not provided a single reference to support this contention (whether to Paul's letters, another primary source, modern scholarly literature, or even a website). Instead you accuse me of patronizing, changing the subject, ignorance, and misunderstanding. And you say I'm the one making it difficult to hold a meaningful conversation?
November 9, 2008 9:42 PM
Wayne said...
Well done Ken,Now that I have you attention and you have actually stated what your concerns are, we can go through them step by step, if your up for it.First on the agenda "Saul and his mates"; I know what I think of them but I am unsure of who you think that they were. The Sadducees, you must agree, were the ones who Jesus was continually referring to as a brood of Vipers (or do I have to back that up with a quote, pending your condemnation as an outrageous theory),were the main sect in control of the Temple at Jerusalem who formed the Sanhedrin, of which Saul was a member (as above), to stone people to death (as above).They were the ones who insisted that Jesus be crucified(as above) and even though Pontius Pilot washed his hands of their deluded, murderous, mania (and again I am sorry if this offends you but I am sure most decent people would agree with me) Complied with their request for fear of the ramifications of denying them.Now before I go any further do you have a problem with my "theory" so far.Wayne
November 10, 2008 6:27 AM

Ken Brown said...
Wayne,That's a good start, but yes, I would prefer if you gave exact sources; generalizations are too easily manipulated and difficult to nail down. Thus:The Sadducees, you must agree, were the ones who Jesus was continually referring to as a brood of Vipers (or do I have to back that up with a quote, pending your condemnation as an outrageous theory), were the main sect in control of the Temple at Jerusalem who formed the Sanhedrin...I don't know about "continually" (there are only four references to "brood of vipers" in the gospels, two of which are quoting John the Baptist: Matt 3:7 and Luke 3:7), but certainly Jesus was at odds with the Temple authorities, including the Sadducees, and sharply criticized them. No argument there. Here however:...of which Saul was a member (as above), to stone people to death (as above). They were the ones who insisted that Jesus be crucified(as above) and even though Pontius Pilot washed his hands of their deluded, murderous, mania (and again I am sorry if this offends you but I am sure most decent people would agree with me) Complied with their request for fear of the ramifications of denying them.You're gonna have to back this one up. First, the purpose of the Sanhedrin was not to stone people to death. That may have sometimes happened (as in the case of Stephen), but it was not their purpose in existing, nor was it even within their legal right to do it. Most stonings seem to have been conducted by angry mobs, not officially sanctioned by the Sanhedrin (indeed, this is even true of the stoning of Stephen; and it is certainly true of the several times Jesus was almost stoned). Second, where is your evidence that Saul/Paul was even a member? He was not a Sadducee but a Pharisee (Phil 3, Acts 23), and that was a large group, only a small portion of which were members of the Sanhedrin. Paul appears at the Sanhedrin twice according to Acts: in ch. 7 at the death of Stephen, where (I have already admitted) he was present, though it is unclear in what capacity. This is the only murder to which he can be specifically tied, so if you've got evidence that he was also complicit in Jesus' death, you're gonna have to be explicit about it (and give references). As far as I know, there is no conclusive evidence that he was a member of the Sanhedrin itself, but even if he was I fail to see how that would prove him a "mass-murderer," nor how his (surely you agree: former!) membership would disqualify him as a follower of Jesus. After all, we know of at least one man who was explicitly identified as a member of the Sanherdin (Nicodemus; John 3:1) who, if John is to be believed, was welcomed by Jesus and later became a disciple. The question, of course, was not what he had done, but whether he would turn and follow Jesus. And of course, according to Acts, it is shortly after the death of Stephen that Paul had his Damascus Road experience and rejected his previous life (Acts 9; or do you dispute this?). Thus, the only other time Paul appears in the context of the Sanhedrin is in Acts 22-23, where he is certainly not a member but a prisoner. While there, he specifically declares himself a Pharisee over against the Sadducees, who are accusing him of defiling the Temple (much as they previously accused Jesus). And of course, between Acts 9 and 22, Paul has had a complete transformation from persecutor to missionary. He has travelled throughout the eastern half of the Roman empire planting Christian churches (and suffering his own persecution for it), and preaching the very same self-sacrifice as Jesus taught. In fact, the only reason he is back in Jerusalem at all is to bring an offering collected from his Gentile churches "for the poor of Jerusalem" (Romans 15:25-27). It is this Paul who we meet in all his letters, not some "mass-murdering maniac."Therefore, yes, I find the notion that Paul was a "mass-murderer," culpable for the actions of the Sanhedrin, outlandish. He wasn't even living in Jerusalem for the last 20-30 years of his life, let alone participating in the actions of its ruling council.
November 10, 2008 11:07 AM
Wayne said...
Dear Ken,A simple "no" would have sufficed but I appreciate all the assistance you have provided and the Quotes are really handy. So back to the task at hand.Now that we have agreed on the fact that the Sadducees and the Sanhedrin in particular, were not a very nice bunch of men, we can move on all the way to the next controversial outrageous theory of mine that "Saul (Paul) was a member".Sadly, I can't find out weather he actually paid his Union Dues that year, as they had a little problem with the records department when Rome Leveled the place, but then again all we really have to do is ascertain that he was known to be hanging around with the more radical types who were prone to stoning people at a moments notice.Luckily, we have some excellent evidence in the N.T(Acts CH:7)when after Steven eloquently tried to explain to them some basic truths at an oficial "fair" hearing he was "stoned to death" because I think burning at the stake was out of fashon that year.As you so wisely point out, Paul was just doing an impersonation of a coat rack at the time and as you point out it was just one tiny little murder.So how am I doing? Can we move on to the next point yet or would you like an hours dissertation of the distinction between a Pharisee and a Sadducee (personally I don't see much difference seeing they were rarely not mentioned in the same breath)? Wayne
November 10, 2008 3:28 PM

Ken Brown said...
Wayne,You are welcome to move on to the next point, but I do not consider such details unnecessay. After all, look how they have changed the picture. Compare your last two comments with the first one you left on this thread: You go from calling Paul a "deluded, mass-murdering, maniac" and true forebear to all that has ever gone wrong in the Church, to admitting that we have no direct evidence of his involvement in any but one murder, and even there his precise involvement is uncertain (he was present and approving, but there is no evidence he actually committed the deed). Perhaps it's just me, but there seems a pretty significant difference between the two positions. The first, I maintain, is outlandish and unprovable, the second is not. Can we agree?In any even, please note that my point is not, and never has been, to absolve Paul of guilt. As 1 Timothy 1:12-15 (likely pseudepigraphal) rightly puts it, he was "a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man" but the emphasis there is (rightly) on the past tense: that is what he was before Christ, but everything changed when he experienced Christ's "grace" for himself. I am certainly not suggesting that Paul's involvement in Stephen's death (or persecution more generally) should be ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. I am merely challenging your earlier comments that violence and murder characterized his life as a whole, rendering even his later apostolic ministry suspect. Please, reread your first comment on this post and tell me it isn't over the top.
November 10, 2008 9:27 PM
Wayne said...
Thank You Ken for allowing me to move on to my next point."Saul (Paul) a deluded, mass murdering maniac".I can see where you need to have every little point clarified and please excuse my broad vision, when I should have realised tunnel vision was what was required. Properly expressed, with all that we know now, it should have read; Saul (Paul) who was known to hang around with deluded mass murdering maniacs, was a Blaspheming, Persecuting, Violent man and an author of outrage by his own admission in 1 Tim 1:13.This was before he raised a "Brute Squad" and headed off for Damascus as stated in Acts 9:1-3 "Saul, with every breath he drew, still threatened the disciples of the Lord with MASSACRE; he went to the High Priest (Head Sadducee)for letters of commendation to the synagogues at Damascus, so that he could arrest them all, every man and woman belonging to The Way, and drag them back to Jerusalem."Where, according to his profile on wikipedia, he centered his life for the rest of the 30's before he started his missionary work in the 40's.Is that better, Wayne
November 11, 2008 1:27 AM
Ken Brown said...
Wayne,That, at least, is not "outlandish," though I would still have some serious objections to it (for starters, you left Acts 9:3 out of your quote, which is a pretty significant omission!).Unfortunately, at this point I am going to have to beg off the conversation. In the next week I need to finish a term paper (on, as a matter of fact, Paul's knowledge of and attitude towards Jesus' life and teaching) and get ready for a conference, and I have a great deal too much to do for both. Perhaps we can take this up again in a couple weeks?God bless,Ken
November 11, 2008 5:11 PM
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Thursday, November 6, 2008


Today we begin a new era in world affairs as Barak Obama takes over the reins and people everywhere, who have not been happy with the way George Bush has been running things, look forward to seeing improvements. Will this be the outcome, or will we all be disappointed? Analysing what we are looking for in new management, might not be as difficult as the actual implementation of it; so let’s give it ago.

Firstly, as stated in his election campaign, CHANGE is the ability to move from one state to another. We’ve been in a polarized conundrum for far to long; Republicans hating Democrats, Rich Bankers profiteering from Sub- Prime borrowers, Muslims bombing Christians, Blacks resenting Whites, Good guys against Bad guys, men over women. I have faith we are moving to a more multi-dimensional place where, regardless of your particular handle or field of dreams, you can get a better deal.

Secondly, as eluded to by his anti- war (in Iraq) rhetoric, PEACE comes with a cessation of hostilities. We do not need to solve the world’s problems to arrive at this much prayed for destination, just stop killing one another. We don’t seem to have a problem banning drugs in our communities because they kill people and ruin lives but we seem unable or unwilling to put bullets in the same category. Let’s all keep pushing for a relaxation of hardline policies in the hope it eases tensions and saves lives.

Last but not least on my list, is a MORAL CODE, that doesn’t place the emphasis on critisizing people for their sexual preferences or views on medical procedures, nor looks to Gordon Gecko as a saviour but begins, to value kindness to one another when dealing with people’s rights of opinion or dignity regardless of financial status. Mending fences is an honourable profession as long as it’s done to promote good will between neighbours and not to segregate and sanction. Paternalistic attitudes can be antagonistic when served up by big brother with no humility.

Set your course to travel the road to a better future by adjusting your moral compass to the headings of, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. Have faith that change will come, hope that peace will prevail and that charity will once again become fashionable.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Here we are poised on the brink of, yet another, New World Order with its particular problems, solutions and policy slants. While we can be ecstatic about getting rid of the ones who got us into our present dilemmas, it is understandable that people are nervous about the incoming regime. For Australian's the Bush-Blair-Howodd years came with a certain narcotic effect, pleasantly numbing one's sensibilities to the inevitable cost of empowering money hungry, unecological war mongers and now we are not sure whether an Obama-Rudd coalition of the willing, are going to be able to pull us out of the mire.
Maybe the change we should be looking for is not a new order to the old system but a new system of order? One that is more applicable to the constant changes of modern life in the Twenty first century; not an out dated, dictator producing, paper shuffling bureaucracy that seem to produce an ongoing supply of stumble bums who eloquently brainwash us into what a good job they are doing.
Never before in the history of this planet have the peoples of the world had the opportunities that we have today to initiate and endorse a system that is run for the people, by the people; yet we continue to prop up a style of government that tends to favour the ones that run it. An educational based Internet voting system could provide us with the tools we need to participate in the decision making process that determines how we operate as a society. Any attempt to deride that possibility is an attack on the concept of real democracy; although people I come across continually allude to the 'fact' that the masses aren't intelligent enough to really participate.
This conundrum stands before us like a monolithic obscurity, towering in its potential yet ignored because of its implications. More than any other human trait, bravery stands head and shoulders above all others in shaping that which we all admire in the achievements of our species and maybe, yet again, the quality needed to take the quantum leap forward towards a future we can all contribute to.
There is no valid reason why, with the technology at hand, mankind cannot seize the moment, take the reins and proceed towards a form of self government that could leave anything we have ever had before sadly lacking by comparison. If we actually took this step it would not be without its pitfalls and difficulties, in application ,but as with all things worthwhile its overall value could be directly proportional to this factor and in itself. should not be a reason for inaction.
Now I don't pretend to have a consummate formula to solve the worlds problems but that doesn't negate the premise that just because the whole, perfected program doesn't exist at the moment we shouldn't pursue the ideal. Only when a committed, sustained, combined effort has been attempted would a feasible alternative emerge and with the enormous potential on tap, it would be a shame if our young talent wasn't give the encouragement to at least attempt a prototype.
My plea, in attempting to rattle the cage of our existing system, is that you don't dismiss a possible improvement in Democracy by the use of Cyber techniques just because the ones who are perfectly happy with the flawed version we are stuck with now, don't want change. Expand your horizons, broaden your mind, allow the room for improvement to permeate your tendency to leave well enough alone. If we all settled for near enough is good enough then you'd still be driving a model T and the landlords would have wedding night rights to your matrimonial bed.