Potter says "Like
most fanatical celibates,
Paul is frequently obsessed with sexual
Anonymous says "The Bible is the world's finest guide to ethical
conduct" whereas Freud promoted irresponsibility and "denigration of
Thoughts on PAUL, CHRIST and LUTHER
(Investigator 149, 2013
Truth" article (#147) intended no
Paul's 'ignorance' of the life events of Jesus – rather, his perceived
'disinterest' in the life and teaching of Christ, thus highlighting the
most astounding aspect of Paul's writing; his letters contain not a
single sentence regarding the life and teaching of Christ outside the
last supper, the crucifixion and the ascension. Only one thing about
Christ matters to Paul; Christ is not only the Son of God – but that
Christ's death was 'a ransom', atoning for the crime of the first
Adam. (So far as we know, it was Paul who first declared this
'atonement' doctrine – which is arguably not accepted by
occasions, Paul met with disciples who had known Jesus, in
person, who would have presumably been aware of the details that were
to be written into the gospel accounts. He must therefore have had
ample opportunity to hear their first-hand accounts – yet he
surprisingly chooses to completely ignore the extraordinary details
surrounding the conception and birth of Jesus, his ministry, his
sayings, his miracles and parables — or any of the numerous other
incidents filling the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
help if we had more information about Paul the man; there is
little in today's Scriptures of much help, although possible clues can
be found in extant gospels and epistles, suppressed by the Nicene
Council. The Acts of St Paul and Thecla provides some source
the eleven chapters present a portrait of Paul and his activities
reminding one of the adventures of a celibate Casanova, possibly penned
by Rabelais (?). [Thecla was a nubile nineteen year old, an object of
lust to every male she encounters, frequently suffering public
'punishment' – frequently displaying her stunning nudity on her way to
punishment – regularly (and reliably) rescued by Paul.] The various
miracles involving Paul and Thecla are no more 'far-fetched' than
comparative Biblical tales; however, its failure to find acceptance
with the Nicene Bishops might have been anticipated by the late Mary
rejected Gospel, Paul is described as "a man of little
thin-haired upon the head, crooked in the legs, of good state of body,
with eye-brows joining and nose somewhat hooked". As we know, he
Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, living in Tarsus – he spoke Greek and
Aramaic, described himself "a Hebrew of the Hebrews" while emphasizing
his Roman citizenship, which he had from his birth. The
product of a very strict Jewish home, well read in history – probably
going to Jerusalem to study in his teenage years. In his earliest
manuscript he boasts of his Jewish heritage.
we treat his writings as data for a practicing psychiatrist,
examining his description of his hystero-epileptic seizure on the road
to Damascus, speaking "in an unknown tongue unto God", labelling
emotional disturbance as "a messenger of Satan" and "a
the flesh" -- describing his sufferings as 'tortures of the
terrors of annihilation, while enjoying visions given only to those
called by the Lord', most practitioners would diagnose our patient
suffering from onerously frustrated sexual drives.
extensive writings, not only does he ignore the teachings of the
Nazarine, he arguably traduces them. In place of the tolerant, gentle
morality of Jesus, Paul erects the cruel and puritanical ethics of his
own morose bigotry. While Christ could forgive the prostitute who
showed herself capable of love and repentance; Paul recommends a man
committing a technical infringement of the law against incest should be
'delivered to Satan'. Christ, who seems to have ascribed equal rights
to men and women in the Kingdom of God, now has a propagandist who is a
narrow-minded misogynist, holding that women should not speak in church
and regard themselves as chattels of their husbands.
examine what Paul does say about Christ, as
opposed to what he
significantly does not, we discover the central idea of all his
epistles is that sin is death while Christ is life and deliverance.
Throughout the sixth and seventh chapters of his letter to the Romans,
the theme of death equated with sin tolls like a bell:
wages of sin is death … while we were living in the flesh, our
sinful passions … were at work in our members to bear the fruit of
death … I was once apart from the law, but when the commandment came,
sin revived and I died; the very commandment which promised life proved
to be death to me. For sin…deceived me…and killed me. It
was sin, working death in me… Wretched man that I am, who will deliver
me from this body of death?"
Those familiar with the
detail of the texts will recall that Paul
'died' on the road to Damascus, very much as Dostoevsky described
himself as 'dying' in his epileptic fits. Paul also was thrown down
unconscious, blinded (symbolically castrated: think of Oedipus et al)
by Christ. Paul rationalized his mystical experience in
terms of his personal theological 'hostility' to Christianity; that
dying on the cross, Christ died for all mortals; his conception of the
'mystical body of Christ' (developed and elaborated in all his
epistles) whereby all Christians form the 'body' of the Church as
organs do in a body, "so we, though many, are one body in Christ".
'mystical unity' arises because he, in a manner entirely in
accordance with his dictatorial self-righteousness, assumes that, by
definition, all other Christians must participate in a similar
'conversion experience' such as his own on the Damascus
road. If all identify with Christ, as Paul has
will die with Christ and all will rise with him ….
fanatical celibates, Paul is frequently obsessed with sexual
relationships, although it's difficult, sometimes, to follow his
logic. For example, we are told that "he who joins
himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her…but he who is united
with the Lord becomes one spirit with him…do you not know that your
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you". It is certainly
evident how joining oneself with a prostitute one becomes 'one body'
with her… If we combine this assertion with, "as the Church is
to Christ, so let wives be subject to their husbands", wives and
husbands, using Paul's metaphor, are 'one body', and both, if members
of the church (which is collectively, Christ's 'bride') we are left in
a mire of fantasies of incestuous and homosexual self-prostitution.
These, of course, are just some of the concerns that also faced Martin
Luther; his 'conversion experience' was very similar to that of Paul on
his Damascus Road – so a few words on the founder of Protestantism can
be usefully added -–
happened on the road to Erfurt – narrowly missed by lightning, the
young Luther had a vision. Something in him made him pronounce a vow
'before the rest of him knew what he was saying' – the vow was to
become a monk. The parallel with Paul is even closer when we learn that
his 'thunderstorm experience' was associated with an earlier one, also
on the road to Erfurt, where he accidentally ran a sword through his
thigh, severed an artery and very nearly bled to death. (do
people generally wander around playing with swords? but the
relationship between 'castration' and 'blinding' seems
obvious). Is it just a co-incidence Luther was later to be introduced
to the nuns of the Muhlhausen convent as 'a second Paul'?!
taking of holy orders was strongly opposed by his father,
although he grudgingly attended his son's first Mass, during which
Martin was convinced he was 'alone with God', speaking to him directly
– when he described his experience to the still-hostile parent, he was
told it must have been Satan speaking to him – a remark that would
remain indelibly impressed on the young convert's mind, for the
remainder of his life.
followed another 'celebrated incident' — Luther became
'possessed' during a Mass at Erfurt. The presiding priest was reading
Mark's account of the Devil-possessed youth suffering from muteness and
epileptic attacks," … a dumb spirit and whenever it seizes him, it
dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid."
As the text was read, Luther fell to the ground, raving and roaring in
a loud voice, "It isn't me!".
convinced his dialogues were with the Heavenly Father; not,
as his parent again suggested, with the Devil – his loud denial at
Mass, of what perhaps he unconsciously 'half-believed' (?) was an
attempt to prevent a second thunderbolt. God had revealed
himself! Arguably, his father's words, suggesting his
revealing experiences came from Satan, set up a neurotic conflict
within the young monk's mind -- eventually to be become a cause of the
Reformation. His fit was the form his vehement denial of
his life, Luther remained convinced of the ever-present
Satan, never far distant. God's major opponent frequently 'appeared' at
the writer's desk — Luther's writings offer many suggestions as to how
one should irritate the unwelcome guest; ideally, "to fart in his
face"…although, more convincingly, 'to shit in one's pants and
the defiled garment about the intruder's neck, wiping his mouth in the
excrement'. All his life, Martin absorbed such superstitions
learned, in infancy, from his mother)…a few days before his death,
Luther saw the Devil sitting on a rain-pipe outside his window,
exposing his behind to him. Such 'reality' always existed for Martin
Luther, alongside Aristotle, St Augustine, Paul and the Scriptures.
the point is frequently made that the contents of any text
should be evaluated on the basis of the text itself rather than the
'personality' of the writer. Having said that, it's of interest to note
the similarities between the 'mystical experiences' of Paul and Luther
and the contents of their writings. Both believed they spoke with God,
both believed they were 'in the Truth'.
reminded of Andre Gide's aphorism: "Believe those who are
the truth --- doubt those who have found it."
PAUL THE APOSTLE VERSUS DR POTTER AND SIGMUND FREUD
(Investigator 151, 2013
Potter's article Thoughts on Paul, Christ and Luther (#149)
has some dubious claims.
the first to declare the atonement doctrine of Christ's death
a "ransom"? No — Jesus said it earlier: "For the Son of Man came…to
give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28)
implies Paul disagrees with the four gospels since Paul
"completely ignores the extraordinary details surrounding the
conception and birth of Jesus, his ministry…" Paul, however, alludes to
these "extraordinary details" in Philippians 2:5-8.
that most Bible books "ignore" most details in previous Bible
books. Such "ignoring", however, occurs not just in the Bible. Every
book in my library on World War II "ignores" most details about World
War I. This is how things are — authors specialize and don't reproduce
all previous knowledge. Potter implies that brief reference without
repeating all details indicates ignorance, disagreement or fabrication.
But he is wrong.
seeks extra information about Paul from "suppressed…gospels".
These extra "gospels" were written after the 1st century and do not
match the criteria for canonicity I presented in New Testament Canon
in Investigator 127.
and movie makers commonly attach fiction to historical
persons. One recent movie makes America's 16th president a vampire
hunter. But if a student presented Abraham Lincoln's vampire hunts as
fact in an essay the teacher would "suppress" his viewpoint. Ancient
authors, likewise, sometimes attached fiction to real persons and even
presented such fiction as fact.
Christianity had criteria for accepting writings into the New
Testament Canon. Canon means "measuring rod" and refers to the original
writings that measure and limit what Christians accept as "inspired of
God". I listed six criteria for "Canonicity" in #127 and therefore
object to calling post-New-Testament writings "gospels" as if they are
of equal validity.
refers to Paul's vision on the Damascus Road as a
"hystero-epileptic seizure". Epileptic attacks, however, tend to recur
whereas the Damascus Road event occurred once.
writings include amazing predictions — for example that
Christians would outnumber the Jews (Galatians 4:27) and Paul would be
God's "witness to all the world". (Acts 22:15) Outnumbering the Jews
took about 300 years, and Paul as "witness to all the world" looks like
taking over 2000 years.
it's normal for "hystero-epileptic seizures" to produce
accurate, world-changing predictions Potter's hypothesis should be
rejected. The Bible attributes its accurate predictions to God (Isaiah
46:9-10) rather than epilepsy and this is more plausible.
says Paul labels his "emotional disturbance" a "thorn in the
flesh". However, "thorn" and "flesh" suggest a physical affliction
rather than emotional.
experienced many physical stresses — floggings, whippings,
imprisonments, three shipwrecks, malnourishment, dehydration, an
attempt to kill him by stoning, sleepless nights outdoors, three
beatings with rods, and "often near death". (II Corinthians 11)
these could have left Paul with permanent physical problems.
accusing Paul of an "onerously frustrated sexual drive" and
"symbolically castrated" Potter apparently relies on Sigmund Freud
(1856-1939) and Freudian psychoanalysis.
(1998) writes: "Psychoanalysis is based on Freudian dogma and
doctrine. There was no scientific studies, no critical analysis, no
rigorous testing… Psychoanalysis became more akin to religion, with Freud
being the God-like figure."
(1996) writes: "Every year yields more books, such as Why
Freud Was Wrong and Freudian Fraud."
(1996) notes: "Freud kept swapping his theoretical foundation
stones every five years — drifting aimlessly among genitals, breasts,
mouths, anuses and so on. Worse, he excommunicated anyone who…wanted to
criticise parents. John Bowlby bitterly complained about being
prevented from examining child abuse…"
about child sexual abuse but dismissed his patients'
testimonies as fantasy. (Masson 1985; Schatzman 1992) He invented the
"oedipus complex" whereby children sexually desire the parent of
opposite sex and fantasize being seduced. Florence Rush (1980)
estimated that 25% of girls and 9% of boys suffer sexual abuse and
wrote: "the world listened to Freud and paid little heed to the sexual
abuse of the young." Psychoanalysts with vested interests denied
Freud's error and 1000 million 20th-century children suffered sexual
abuse, many by parents.
Freud is disconfirmed — a false idol.
in sexual matters is not "frustration" just as
self-control in other areas need not be frustrating. Self-control
implies success whereas "frustration" implies failure.
correctly mentions Christ's "tolerant, gentle morality" but
falsely calls Paul's ethics "cruel and puritanical".
a man who had sex with his mother "to Satan" (I Corinthians
5:1-5) implies excommunication. To tolerate immoralities that even
"pagans" don't tolerate would belie everything Christianity stands for.
The Bible says "a little leaven ferments the whole lump", meaning that
evil can spread and corrupt everyone. Persistent offenders should
therefore be removed from church, or ignored until they "repent" and
can be welcomed back. (II Corinthians 2:5-11)
women, as Potter claims, "regard themselves as chattels of their
states: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ
loved the church and gave himself up for her… In the same way, husbands
should love their wives as they do their own bodies." (Ephesians
5:25-33) In other words a man's wife should be more precious to him
than his life.
(1994) reviews Torrey's (1992) book and lists some
"liabilities" of Freudian theory:
most important is Freud's contribution to the "Me" generation, one's
own happiness is the greatest good. Another major liability has been
its promotion of irresponsibility. Men and women are seen as
puppets of their psyches. The corollary of "don't blame me" is "blame
my parents". A third deleterious effect has been its denigration of
women…Freud's view of women was to have as their main function to
be ministering angels to the needs and comforts of men. This has led to
an epidemic of mother-blaming and women-bashing among health
Paul taught that
people can change:
"And this is what some of you used to be…" (I Corinthians 6:11)
responsible conduct not "irresponsibility".
"These are the ways you once followed…" (Colossians 3:7-8)
"denigration of women" by Freud!
says: "Like most fanatical celibates, Paul is frequently
obsessed with sexual relationships…" Potter notes Paul uses the term
"one body" for union with prostitutes, and unity in the church, and
that Christians are "one spirit" with Christ, and sees "a mire of
fantasies of incestuous and homosexual self-prostitution."
being "obsessed" Paul is consistent with Proverbs which
teaches that God's standards including morality, promote health,
prosperity, security, good relationships and life. (Proverbs 13:14; 18;
12:28; 6:23-35; 4:22; 2:1-22; 1:33)
needs to remember that the 20th century saw billions of cases of
sexually transmitted disease of whom 200 million died. Other aspects of
immorality are AIDS (about 30 million deaths), child sexual abuse
(about 1000 million victims), abortions (possibly 2000 million), rape
(hundreds of millions), child marriages, sexual slavery, and polygamy.
Immorality and sexual jealousy are also motives behind millions of
murders. Immorality demonstrates "The wages of sin is death."
prostitution Paul wrote:
know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take
the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do
you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body
with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone
united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every
sin that a man commits is outside the body: but the fornicator sins
against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple
of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you
are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify
God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:15-20)
There are no
"incestuous fantasies" here. Becoming "one body" with a
prostitute refers to sexual intercourse, the same as "one flesh". Such
conduct contradicts being "members of Christ", "bought with a price",
and one's body being a "temple of the Holy Spirit" — three comparisons
emphasizing closeness to God. Avoiding sex with prostitutes is a
specific example of "whatever you do, do everything for the glory of
governments used accusations of mental instability and
forced-detention in asylums against dissidents.
Cribb (1993) writes: "Madness is one of society's most feared
afflictions. If you can establish that someone is unbalanced, his
credibility is forever damaged, his opinions rendered worthless…"
argued that it's sometimes similar in Australia:
of Whistleblowers Anonymous, psychologist Dr Jean Lenane, claims
psychology and psychiatry are systematically misused by governments in
all states to rid themselves of whistleblowers. She knows of at least
25 cases… government departments use two main tactics… a "tame
psychiatrist" who can be relied on to produce an unfavourable report on
the patient, and a string of referrals aimed at eventually procuring a
bad report and the suppression of any good reports.
Dr Potter by
accusing Paul of mental instability employed Communist
tactics to create prejudice.
has demonstrated that feeling and acknowledging gratitude
promotes mental health. And gratitude was part of Paul's psychological
makeup. He taught "thankfulness" and advocated: "give thanks to God the
father at all times…" (Ephesians 5:20)
Paul was a
"whistleblower" — he "blew the whistle" on idolatry,
immorality, slavery, prostitution and much more. His concern for the
poor is a basis of countless Christian ministries; his chapter on
"love" guides millions of people.
Potter's misinformed attacks on the Bible denigrate the world's
finest guide to ethical conduct — guidance that has empowered millions
of people to give up personal demons and inspired countless helping
Dr Potter, the Bible is The Book That Made Your World
(Mangalwadi 2011). It inspired opposition to infanticide, slaughter in
Roman amphitheatres, mutilating of children for careers as beggars,
torture, and religious prostitution. It inspired the start of
universities, modern science and medicine, and numerous social reforms.
objective ethics, better health and "renewing of your mind" (Romans
12:2) reject Freud and take counsel from Paul:
of the flesh are obvious: fornication, immorality, licentiousness,
idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels,
dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like
these. I am warming you: those who do such things will not inherit the
kingdom of God.
contrast, the fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5)
Bockner, S. The rise and
demise of psychoanalysis, The Skeptic,
1998, Volume 18, Number 1
Cribb, J. Committed To
Truth, The Australian, September 8,
1993, p. 11
Gerrand, J. No Scientific
Basis for Freud's Theory, The Skeptic,
1994, Volume 14, Number 2
Gray, P. The Assault On
Freud, Time, November 29, 1993, 57-67
Horgan, J. Why Freud Isn't
Dead, Scientific American, December
Johnson, B. Collected
works, New Scientist, 27 April, 1996, p.
Mangalwadi, V. 2011 The
Book That Made Your World, Thomas Nelson
Masson, J.M. 1985 Assault
on Truth, Penguin
Masson, J.M. 1990 Final
Rush, F. 1980 The Best
Kept Secret, Prentice-Hall
Schatzman, M. Freud: who
seduced whom? New Scientist, 21 March,
Torrey, E.F. 1992 Freudian
Fraud: The Malignant Effect of Freud's
Theory, Harper Collins
Torrey, E.F. (1974) The
Death of Psychiatry, Chilton.
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