Laura's Book "From Paul to Mark" is out!!!!

Recto

Jedi
I've just finished FPTM and I must say it was a very enlightening and entertaining read! I thought the book was very well paced and the argumentative/narrative thread was easy to follow even for someone like me who is usually lost when reading about history and/or religion. Compared to Secret History of the World vol.1, I've managed this time to follow along the detective-like inquiry from beginning to end.

Now the concepts of Faith, Love and Grace are clearer to me. This clarity will probably increase in my mind as I'll go read some chapters again. The chapters 5 (Paul's Mission), 7 (Paul and The Gospel of Mark) and 8 (Christ Under Caesar), as well as the Analysis of The Epistle to the Romans, really helped me sort things out in that regard. I'm a bit ashamed to get a firmer grasp on PaleoChristianity only after being a member of FOTCM for a few months. I'll do my best to study the material contained in this book and the recommended reading list in order to truly take part in the Fellowship, as it was originally intended.

Thank you Laura for making such an important work accessible to laymen like myself. I know it is something hard to pull off, especially with this kind of research involving myriads of threads and fragmented information. A Christian UFT like no other.
 

ryu

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I just finished reading FPTM. My mind has been blown away so many times by the sheer amount of work Laura put into this book to untangle all those lies and deceptions. I have no word to express my gratitude. By giving us a accurate depiction of what was, we can look forward to the future. It gives hope in a better world if only we work for it, even if we don't get to see it ourselves.

I read the New testament as a child and understood them as stories with a morale that had been passed down to us by Jesus. I will never forget having been told once that nobody could ever become like Jesus. We just had to believe and be obediant servants of God.

By reading this book, one learns that not only we could become like Jesus - aka Julius Ceasar - but that is what Paul expected from his disciples and probably from himself.

Each and everyone can return "home" if we work for it, no matter how long it takes. Each and everyone has it in him or her to become a human being in the fullest sense by having the same faith Jesus had.

This book could renew faith in the Christian world, a real faith based on work on the self, on truth, on mercy, on compassion, on loyalty and love. God knows we need those today.

Another thing this book manages to do is taking us back in time and making us understand why people acted this way. It made men like Paul and Ceasar so human, that I could imagine how alone they must have felt, how desperate they were to help their people and how grief-stricken they must have been when they saw their efforts were in vain. At least almost in vain.

The fact that their teachings survived so long after they left this world, even in a diluted form, that before and after them, others came, to remind people of "the way home" is humbling and heartwarming.

God never abandonned humanity. We were never left alone. We were simply to blind to see.
 

seeker2seer

Jedi
FOTCM Member
I finished reading Laura’s new book and this thread this week. Words cannot express my deep and heartfelt gratitude for her monumental effort researching and writing this book. Ever since she started sharing what she was finding from her readings and the C session back in 2014, I have eagerly awaited the current book.

However, since this topic is so large and complex with staggering implications, one book cannot contain all the knowledge and thoughts on the subject. I see this first book as defining and expounding on the problem of true Christianity from the historical viewpoint using the available evidence and the proper historical methodology of thinking about the historian’s thoughts. This book also serves as a deprogramming effort of literally “slaying the sacred cows” to help us see and understand the past and present more objectively.

For me personally, this is a major milestone in my journey of the past 25 years of searching for the truth and roots of my faith. To make a long story short, after almost being lured into a Christian cult, I ended up researching Christian denominations starting from the modern age through the Reformation and back to what I thought was the original roots of the faith, Messianic Judaism. Because I was raised not to question the inerrancy of the Bible I used it as my foundation and I think because of the end-times mania in the late 90’s and 2000’s I decided to join a local Messianic Judaic congregation and actually live by the Torah (Law) with faith in Jesus (Yeshua) as the Messiah who was returning to establish the kingdom on earth from Jerusalem! Wouldn’t Paul admonish me in a letter today! At the time, I was also serving in the U.S. military and was about to be deployed to help to defend Israel in the lead up to the second Iraq War. Yes, I was under the delusion of the post 9/11 holy war against Islam and was now God’s chosen warrior ready to give my life to defend His holy people and land.

Well, the deployment was canceled for no reason given and because of that I felt a great disappointment because I thought it was my purpose to be God’s Holy Warrior (a Zealot in retrospective) and fell into a deep depression and dark night of the soul, coming face to face with what I had been running from and denying, my true sexual orientation. That is a subject for another time. But because of this, it led to me to do a complete re-evaluation of my religious/political beliefs and eventually led me here reading Laura’s books and joining FOTCM.

Now I truly understand what grace was offered to me back then and now for sparing me from living and possibly dying for a lie. So many questions remain which I think we will be addressed in the upcoming book on Caesar and the one to follow. I know there are spiritual truths revealed in the milk of Paul’s words in his letters and what is used in Mark. But, as the C’s have said, Paul gave the meat in person. Hopefully, Laura will be able to find and share that “holy cow” and meat with us to deepen and strengthen our faith as the world around us devolves into more chaos because of all the lies. As Laura said in this book “Lies create chaos.” Truly we are seeing the results of the lies of the past 2,000 years or more playing out all around us which is why the truth is being revealed now, because we “shall the know the truth and be set free.”
 

iamthatis

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
One conversation I think is worth having, now that I've read the book, is whether the term 'Paleochristianity' is really worth adopting.

It seems that there's essentially nothing in the Bible that is either true or original. The Old Testament is entirely fabricated, and is composed entirely of ripped off bits and pieces of Zoroastrian and Hellenic history, mythology, and philosophy. In the New Testament, the gospels are entirely fake, as is the book of Acts. The only part of the NT (and, it seems, the entire Bible) that isn't just made up nonsense are Paul's letters, and even there we have to be careful due to all the interpolations. Further, Paul's letters aren't history per se, but rather spiritual and philosophical doctrine. So it seems to me that the only part of the Bible that really has any value whatsoever are Paul's letters. One could argue that Mark is of literary value, but only as an allegorical work ... I have to admit that when seen as satire, it really is piercingly funny (e.g. in making Judas the apostle who betrays Jesus). But it gives no real insight into the nature of the saviour.

I must confess to feeling a sense of outrage the more I learn about the origins of the biblical narratives. It would be one thing if they were just made up ... and that wouldn't even really annoy me so much: I don't get angry about The Lord of the Rings, and much that is true at a higher level can be communicated in stories that aren't strictly speaking true on the mundane level (so long as you remember the distinction). The source of my annoyance is more a sense of theft:

- the Old Testament is ripped off from Classical and Hellenistic history and philosophy
- the New Testament is ripped off from Caesar

In both cases, the actual history, philosophy, and spirituality of my people were appropriated by an alien tribe, who fabricated fictions shamelessly stolen from what we actually did, and then substituted those fictions for the truth, thereby in effect making themselves out to be of far greater importance in human history than they really are. The more I think about it the more indignant I become. They've convinced the entire world of their crucial historical importance, when it's all stolen valour. In actual reality, it seems like they're just grifters and con-men. They've added absolutely nothing of value and their influence has been, to the contrary, entirely detrimental.

So that goes back to the term 'Paleochristianity'. Both 'Jesus' and 'Christ' are titles, rather than names, and they serve mainly to obscure the identity of the true universal saviour - Julius Caesar. Furthermore, both of these titles are steeped in Jewish thought, in particular the apocalyptic messianism of the 1st centuries BC and AD. This wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself if it weren't for the fact that 'Jewish thought' is practically a misnomer ... their entire religious corpus is just Classical, Hellenic, and Zoroastrian thought with the serial numbers filed off. Their only contribution has been to run a long con.

Honestly, I'm even a little annoyed with Paul: his whole thing of being solely concerned with the spirit realm, and seeing the physical life and identity of his Christ as being of no real importance, is awfully convenient considering that his project was essentially to convert the 'Christian' (i.e. Caesarian) cult to his version of messianism, which so far as I can tell comes down to appropriating Caesar as the son of the Jewish God. And even that wouldn't be so bad, if Yaweh were truly the origin of the monotheistic idea ... except it's not! The pagans were quite aware of the Logos or Prime Mover, a unitary supreme deity under whom the Olympic pantheon were mere administrators or caretakers; and the Zoroastrians likewise acknowledged a supreme being. So even this idea that Yahweh was some sort of unique discovery on the part of the Israelites is just one more example of intellectual perfidy. From that perspective, Paul's appropriation of Caesar as messiah in Jewish terms doesn't really seem to add a whole lot.

Now, I suppose an argument could be made for running with Paleochristianity because, after all, society is Christian (or post-Christian, really, though still based loosely on Christian ideology), and people need to be met where they are and spoken to in a language they understand. Even non-Christians generally take the New Testament narrative more or less at face value, and while they might not buy the miracles they go along with the vague idea that there was this nice hippy guy in sandals wandering around Palestine being nice to people for a few years, which extraordinary niceness somehow started a major world religion. But I guess the problem with the term Paleochristian is that it reinforces this myth, and in using it, one will constantly have to clarify, "well actually, we don't think anything in the Bible really happened, also the saviour of mankind was really Julius Caesar". But then why use any term referring to Christianity at all? Certainly no believing Christian would consider this stance to be anything they recognize as Christianity, and nor would a non-believer, once it's explained to them. So why not use a different term, which accurately reflects the actual beliefs, doctrine, and history, and its actual origin not in Palestine but in Graeco-Roman antiquity?

I don't have an actual suggestion for the term ('Caesarism' doesn't really get it across, plus it already has a meaning, which isn't really the meaning we'd want....) But I'd be interested to know what others think.

A great question. For me, a good inroads to understanding my own position is to reflect on Nietzsche's aphorism 'Only as Creators!':
Only as creators!—This has given me the greatest difficulty and goes on being my greatest difficulty: to recognize that unspeakably more depends on what things are called than on what they are. The fame, name, and appearance of a thing, what it counts as, its customary measure and weight—which in the beginning is an arbitrary error for the most part, thrown over things like a garment and alien to their essence, even to their skin—due to the continuous growth of belief in it from generation to generation, this gradually grows, as it were, onto and into the thing, and turns into its very body. The initial appearance almost always becomes the essence in the end and acts as essence! But only a fool would think it was enough to point to this beginning and to this misty mantle of illusion in order to destroy the world that counts as essential, so-called "reality"! Only as creators can we destroy! But we should also not forget this: creating new names and assessments and apparent truths is eventually enough to create new "things".”

This book is like a medical record of the messy birth of Christianity. As with any birth, there has been the labour and the, pain, a rupture, blood, a scream, and a new emergence.

But over the years, Christianity has undergone exactly what Nietzsche describes - 'the fame, name and appearance of the thing' wrapped like a shroud over what might be called the true body of Christ.

We all belong to families. We always will belong to our families. And all families have issues. Sometimes, we just gotta get outta the house. Particularly if there is a toxic dynamic. The time away can give one time to sort out who they are independent of the circumstances of their birth. Distance alone gives perspective - whether it be distance of time, or of space.

We all start out from the child-like stage of "me, me, me", which is dependent and energetically centripetal (or in-gathering). Under the correct conditions, we begin the process of growing up, finding our real "I", which is independent and centrifugal (or outward-moving). This is the arrival of subjectivity. The fruit of human maturity and potential is the interdependent community of conscious individuals, whose operative pronoun is "we" - those who have found objectivity, made a choice to sacrifice their own self-importance and bond themselves to one another in practical acts of love and service, which is what I understand to be Paul's way of freedom, whose highest principle is responsibility.

When we get outta the house, we don't always return to our families. It is sometimes vitally important to go away, and stay away. They are not always the 'we' that we choose as adults. But they are the 'we' that we belong to, like it or not.

We all have ancestors, too - many of whom survived wars, earth changes, genocides, famines, all manner of untold catastrophes. Many of whom also undoubtedly lived well and knew something about the pursuit of virtue, who could See, and renounced a life of the flesh for one of the Spirit, in their own ways, in their own place and time. And here we are - beneficiaries, and singular examples, of their prayers for the continuation of Life itself.

We belong to the family of Christianity. Although the ancestors of this family do 'have issues' (and that's putting it lightly, as I have been learning!), it is still possible to understand that we would not be where we are today without them. Although the fam is not ideal, it is ours.

Part of growing up is learning to love life as it is, not as what we would want it to be. We can understand an alcoholic father, a violent uncle, or an absent mother in terms of wishful thinking, often leading to what Nietzsche calls ressentiment. This is a subjective assessment of bitterness and indignation - which only makes more of itself in our hearts and minds and bodies. But growing in Knowledge and Being, we can come to See, and more fully understand our Christian progenitors. In so doing, we can also relate to the past with sentiment, which still indicates a depth of feeling, but one that is grounded in an objective acceptance of our inheritance.

Knowing the past is crucial to knowing where we are. Only then can we chart a course forwards. This is borne out in the lifelong processing of personal family dynamics, and their effects on our neurobiology - and destiny, if you will. I'd say this is just as true in ideational, religious, or archetypal family dynamics. To reject the shadow only means it will continue to haunt us, and the family line.

And so Paleochristianity, as a kind of surname, rightfully gestures to and includes all the darkness of our family's emergence. The inclusion, acceptance, and right relationship to our darkness is the means by which we find the light.

This book is perhaps one of the 'new assessments' spoken of by Nietzsche - one that may yet clear the path to 'a realm of service to others and sharing the boundless beauty of Creation'. Only as creators may we destroy - and so Paleochristianity will be what 'we' make of it.
 

Seamus

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I've been slowly reading on my kindle and I'm really enjoying the scholarly tone. I started with the introduction and last chapter and a quick skim (that's how I usually read non-fiction) and I got the sense that you build a really solid case. I don't know anything about the history of the bible outside of this book, Paul's Necessary Sin and your (Laura) other books, so I don't have many preconceptions and I'm guessing that's probably helpful. I'm slowly working through a more thorough read and I'm really impressed by the depth of research that you've done, I really get the sense that you left no stone unturned. I have been looking forward to the short time I get to myself to read each week to find out what happens next.
 

Domagoj

Jedi Master
I'm sorry for barging into a discussion but it seems of relevance to me for people to deepen their understanding of christianity and theology in general and beyond this book so I thought I'd share that recently I've read "The Life of Christ" by venerable Fulton J. Sheen, an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and oratory skills who apperead on television and radio with a massive audience.

It's both a biography of the character known as Christ but also a marvelous exposition of the metaphysical significance of his life and death written in passionate, descriptive but also beautifully readable language. Good tip for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the christian Christ beyond a just being a "nice guy".

It certainly made me appreciate the ingenuity and inspiration behind the creation of this system of religion even though I know it's fake.
 
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