For some reason I'm struggling with the proper response to the following claim and would appreciate the input of others. How would you respond to the claim that the Christian scripture is self-authenticating? For example, in 2 Cor. 12:12 Paul reminds the Corinthians about the "signs and wonders and mighty works" he performed in their presence. Why would Paul say this unless it were true? If it was false, the Corinthians he was writing to would reject him as an imposter and charlatan. As for equating whatever miracles he performed with something like what Benny Hinn does, I'm having trouble comparing Paul with Benny Hinn.

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Nothing is "self authenticating"


I don't get the struggle, that's about the stupidest thing I've heard all day.  Charlie Manson claimed to be God.  People bought it and didn't reject him like your opponent says they would.  Sai Babba...same deal.  I could come up with dozens of examples without even trying.


What you have there is a fine example of circular reasoning.  That's all.  It's stupid on the face of it.  Don't get bogged down in details, and call stupid what it is.

Thanks Gazoo, but I'm not sure how the comparison with Charlie Manson applies. Did he perform miracles in front of people and later refer to them in public letters where his claim could be easily refuted if it was false? And Paul's writings, at least the ones the scholars attribute to him, don't sound like the rantings of a madman do they?

Thanks Karen. It's not just them (modern Christians) relying on whether Paul is a whacko or not, it also involves the recipients of his letters, e.g. the Corinthians, the letters being public documents, that supposedly observed the miracles Paul references. If Paul was a whacko, wouldn't the numerous recipients call foul and have exposed him? Although I guess I could ask the same thing about the gazillions of people who don't appear to be whacko but still believe in Benny Hinn's miracles and give him gobs of cash.

So far, I don't think anyone really gets what Yossarian is saying - why would Paul write to the Corinthians regarding things that didn't happen?

Uncle Bob comes over to your house, and in conversation, you ask Uncle bob if he remembers the vacation he went on with you and your family last year - if in fact, you and he never went on vacation together, you know before the words are out of your mouth, that he's gonna say, "What in the hell are you talking about? We never went on vacation together!"

The question is, why would Paul write of, "signs, wonders and mighty works" to a crowd who could quickly say they never happened. But MY question would have to be, a) exactly what were these signs, wonders and mighty works? To the uneducated, seeming to pull a coin out of one's ear could well seem like a "mighty work"! And b) since we know that much of the scriptures have been messed with by translators, redactors and copyists, could that part have been added, after the fact, when none of the Corinthinians in question were still living?

The only honest answer I can give to your question, is that a lot more information would have to be known, before anyone can give an honest answer to your question.

And for the record, I've always found Benny Hill a lot funnier than Benny Hinn --

Thanks. Your answer seems to indicate you understood my question. :) At any rate, here's a link where somebody is probably explaining it better.
http://www.retrochristianity.org/2007/06/30/proof-of-pauls-miracles...

I don't know, Benny Hinn can also be a riot to watch. ;)

Yes, your line of thinking is where I was heading too, i.e., whatever they observed could have rational, naturalistic explanations.

Yossarian, I think you just need to spend a lot of time around more charismatic churches.  Religious people consider that miracles have happened far too easily.  This is true for pastors and laypersons.   Many charismatic pastors are convinced they performed miracles and their congregation is equally convinced as well.

Yes, you're right. My background was conservative Presbyterianism, which basically doesn't accept any signs or miracles since the apostolic era. I forgot about the Charismatics. Shoot, the very scenario I raised is happening all over the place- not just at Benny Hinn crusades!

Yeah, I can understand the desire to forget about Charismatics lol!  Just remember that there are many of us who have made it through what you are going though.  Take your time and understand that it is worth examining everything completely.  Consider everything carefully.  You will get through this and be okay.  You also need to go through this at your own pace.  

Good point about the aliens. There are plenty of people today, with access to the internet, modern science & education who can't tell true stories from false, and can be misled by the wildest claims by con-men, frauds & hucksters, or even by the well-meaning but misinformed. Why would 1st century Judea or Corinth be any different, except to be even more credulous?

Manson's followers say he did.  Seriously.  Same thing.  Squeaky Fromm is still sitting in prison almost entirely because she won't say anything different even now.

Paul comes off as a self hating homosexual to me.  I'm not sure that's how he was...but that's my impression. He also doesn't seem to know much of the Jesus story the way it's present now.  No virgin birth, no crucifixion, heck he even says "if he was on Earth" at one point.  I'm not sure Paul ever thought he even was a human.

Finally this was all decades after the fact.  There never was a way to check. Who are you kidding?

It could just be that they took something he did to be some sort of "sign" or "wonder" and he is merely referencing their experience in a way they already described it. It doesn't mean that the "signs" were performed were miraculous in nature.

...

I just finished reading chapters 10-13. Oh man! The Bible is so much more fun when you take the sanctity out of it. Reading between the lines here, Paul seems to have been sent away from the Corinthians for not being an awesome enough disciple in the opinion of the Corinthians. He's writing with a seriously bruised ego. He's also defending himself against being called a freeloader and asks if Titus has "exploited" any of them. Apparently, they were regretting being so generous with their gifts in chapters 8 and 9, which was probably a strong impetus for kicking him out of there.

Like all quotes, they go better in context.

Great point about the signs and wonders. Thanks.

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