June 22nd, 2011

reading list

New Testament...part 3?

Picking up from yesterday, the second leg of the trip...

This is still acts of the apostles.

My guess with Paul and his vision, is that he was already having second thoughts about what he was doing, perhaps not willing to admit those doubts to himself, or feeling compelled for some reason to stay the course, so when he had his vision, it articulated those doubts better than he was able to do on his own, and so he felt permission to do what he was already inclined to do anyway, which was quit his job. He certainly wouldn't be the first person to go from one end of the debate to the other. In the modern health care debate, for instance, look at a guy like Wendell Potter. Once the guy that did the enforcing and helped to screw people out of their coverage, now advocating strongly against everything health insurance companies stand for, having seen it on the inside.

Now in Romans.

Other than saying that Jesus was the only thing you needed for salvation, what was the motivation for Christians to give up sacrifices? Don't want to sacrifice to false dieties, but Jews sacrifice to the their god, why give it up to be Christian? I don't remember anything in particular except to say that it wasn't necessary. Is this another case of they wanted to stop doing it for other reasons, and Christianity just gave them an excuse to do exactly what they wanted anyway?

They also say that circumcision isn't necessary, but is recommended. Why is it that one was kept and one was abandonned?

The arbitrariness of god's mercy is, in fact, arbitrary. Romans admits that, and they think that's actually good. To people with morals, this is hideous. But that's how they make sense of good things happening to bad people. But how can you say god is good if he's arbitrary?

Corinthians now.

If you are married to a nonbeliever if they want to stay, because they are sanctified through being married to a believer. But, if they wish to leave, let them leave.... okay. So, if you want divorce to be okay, you just need to marry a nonbeliever. I guess nonbelievers are good for something.

Give not offense to neither Jews nor Gentiles? Another piece of advice not taken by Christians.

Isn't it a shame how they follows the rules that are pretty crappy, but ignore the good ones. They are talking about women being covered, and they basically just say the local custom holds. Men should not be covered.

I have to pick this up later... guests have arrived.

Continuing the next day:

Women should have long hair because it helps to cover them, but men should not.

The three greatest virtues, according to Paul, are faith, hope and charity. But of these, charity is the greatest virtue. Not faith.

Speaking in tongues is good, according to Saul, but better if you prophesy, and better still if you "speak with knowledge". Not something most Christians come even close to. He also says that, even in Church, if no interpreter is present, you should keep your speaking in tongues to yourself. If no one understands it, you may lead them astray.

Women should not be teachers, and if she wants to know anything, she should ask her husband. God, what a sexist. Consistent with the culture, but still.

Asking questions about what body will be resurrected, etc. means that you really don't understand what the resurrection is about. He seems to be suggested that you will be resurrected in an incorruptible heavenly body, not a corruptible earthly body. So what happens to the Earthly body is beside the point. Catholics! Donate your organs!

(II Corinthians)

How did the apostles decide who to write letters to and who to travel to. Why the Corinthians, for instance, and not the Athenians? Couldn't stand the philosophical arguments?

Galatians now.

Paul talks about meeting the brother of Jesus, James, a child of Mary by Joseph, who was therefore younger than Jesus? Or is this a child of Joseph by a previous wife (in that case, not actually related to Jesus at all by blood)?

It's easy to see why the Romans wouldn't have been very impressed by the Jews. All this talk about not wanting to eat with the uncircumcised makes them seem like "we're special and you're disgusting"... and given who the Romans were, you can see how that would fly in the face of their own cultural expectations... well, and really anyone's self-respect.

Paul here argues against aseticism. These people won't inherit the kindgom of god, only those about love and peace.


Pick up here on the next long drive. Almost done!!