Was Paul Really Converted by the VEGAN Christ? By Dr. Chapman Chen
Updated: Jun 25
Summary: In Acts of the Apostle, Paul gave three mutually conflicting accounts of how, while traveling to Damascus as a secret police with his colleagues with a view to hunting down Jewish Christians, he encountered an apparition of Jesus Christ. In a court of law, such kind of inconsistent evidence would never be admitted. Equally puzzlingly, after Paul was converted and blinded by the "vision", his police-companions kindly escorted him to a Jewish house without persecuting them at all. The only plausible explanation is that Paul was a spy sent by the Roman Empire to infiltrate Jesus's church and destroy it from within, especially when we see that Paul's teachings often directly cancel out Jesus's, notably in terms of veganism, among others.
1. A Synopsis of the Three Accounts
In the first account, Paul's "conversion" is narrated when it supposedly took place. At that time, Paul saw a "light from heaven", "fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...I am Jesus..." "The men which journeyed with him... hear[d] a voice, but [saw] no man." (Acts 9:3-7 KJV).
In the second account, Paul was defending himself before a group of Jews angry with his violation of the Law of Moses. According to Paul, on his way to Damascus, "a great light" from heaven "shone round about" him, "And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...I am Jesus..." Those who were with Paul "saw indeed the light...but they heard not the voice..." (Acts 22:6-10 KJV).
In neither the first account nor the second account did Paul mention that Jesus instructed him to convert the Gentiles on his (Paul's) way to Damascus. In both narrations, the message was related to Paul by Ananias in Judas's house in Damascus, where Paul was recuperating from his blindness caused by the vision. Nonetheless, in the second narration, the message was allegedly confirmed by Jesus Christ to Paul when the latter was praying in the temple in Jerusalem (Acts 22:17-21).
In the third account, Paul was testifying in his own defense before the Judean King Agrippa and his Gentile Court:- "a light from heaven" shone round about Paul and his companions. And they ALL fell to the earth (whilst in the 1st and 2nd accounts, ONLY Paul fell to the earth). Then Paul alone heard a voice speaking unto him in Hebrew, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?... I am Jesus...Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes..." (Acts 26:12-20 KJV).
2. Discrepancies Analyzed
Parts of the three accounts are so incompatible with each other that they appear to have come out of the mouth of a unreliable witness.
2. 1. Make up your Mind, Paul, about Voice and Light!
In the first account (Acts 9:1-8), Paul's companions heard Christ's voice but did not see the light which Paul saw. In the second account (Acts 22), Paul's companions saw the light but did not hear Christ's voice. Which one's true? Make up your mind, Paul! Well, obviously, in both instances, Paul wanted to highlight his status in relation to Christ compared with the others. The second account is supposed to be an improvement upon the first from Paul's point of view for when only Paul heard Christ's voice, he could make up whatever he wanted.
2.2. Everybody Fell to the Ground?!
In the third account (Acts 26), Paul claimed that everybody fell to the ground (while in the two previous accounts, only he, Paul, fell to the ground upon encountering Christ), probably for the sake of dramatizing the vision and showing the immense impact this event had on not only himself but also those in his presence. And Jesus Christ allegedly directly commanded Paul to preach the good news to the gentiles, without Ananias subsequently forwarding this message of God to Paul. This is probably because here Paul was giving evidence to King Agrippa's Gentile Court and he wanted to boost his authority and credibility by having Christ giving him the mission to convert the gentiles without any mediation by a Jew.
In a court of law, such incongruous evidence can never be deemed admissible (cf. The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies n.d.)
3. Compassionate Gestapo-companions?
Equally importantly, in the first and second accounts, Paul was blinded by a light and was escorted by his companions to the Jewish house of Judas in Damascus, where Ananias later came, and healed him, baptized him, and delivered to him Christ's message that he (Paul) was supposed to proclaim God's name to the gentiles.
However, we must not forget that Paul, in his own words, was a Gestapo-like man who set out with his colleagues to Damascus with a view to persecuting Jewish Christians. As questioned by Voskuilen (2005), how come, when Paul was suddenly converted on the way, his police colleagues, instead of beating him up, torturing him, and putting him in jail, actually compassionately escorted him to the house of a Jewish Christian and did not arrest/kill the Christians there? Does not make sense, does it? The only plausible explanation is that Paul was a double agent assigned by the Roman Empire to infiltrate and corrupt Jesus's vegan church.
4. A Spouter of Lies!
In fact, quite a few scholars have regarded Paul as The Antichrist and a mole of Rome. For example, Robert Eisenman (1993) in his groundbreaking book James the Brother of Jesus argues with compelling evidence that in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Habakkuk Commentary's "spouter of lies" is Paul, that the stoning of Stephen in the 40s, in which Paul was complicit (Acts 7:54-8:1-2; Acts 22:20), is actually a rewrite of the stoning of James in the 60s. Similarly, Thijs Voskuilen (2005) in his article "Operation Messiah: Did Christianity Start as a Roman Psychological Counterinsurgency Operation?", and Baigent and Leigh (1991) in their Deception and the Dead Sea Scrolls logically deduct that Paul was a double agent, faking conversion, yet working for the Roman Empire, and it is difficult not to come to these conclusions when one sees that Paul condones or even advocates eating innocent sentient beings, consuming food sacrificed to idols, justification by faith alone, debasement of Moses' Law, slavery, submission to the authorities, sexual discrimination, and bigotry against homosexuals. These vices are at odds with Jesus the Vegan Christ's teachings in the Ebionite Gospel of the Nazarenes and in the New Testament.
5. The First Corrupter of Jesus' Vegan Church
No wonder, according to US President Thomas Jefferson, St. Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus" (Washington 1854). As pointed out by Albert Schweitzer (1910) in The Quest for the Historical Jesus, Paul perverted the discourse of Jesus and "displace[d]" it in various domains as mentioned above. Here, we will confine our discussion to the first two domains only (For more details, see Aribisala 2016 ; Chen 2021b):-
5.1. Eating Food Sacrificed to Idols
In I Corinthians 8:4-13, Paul argues that eating meat offered to an idol is not immoral, because “an idol is nothing at all” (I Cor. 8:4 NIV). “Food,” he asserts, “does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do” (I Cor. 8:8 NIV). "To the pure, all things are pure" (Titus 1:15 NIV).
On the other hand, in the letter to the church of Thyatira, Jesus rebukes them for tolerating a prophetess who "seduce[s] my servants to ... eat things sacrificed unto idols" (Revelation 2:20 KJV). And The Jerusalem Council led by James the Just, Jesus' natural brother, wrote to Gentile converts the Council's "decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals" (Acts 21:25 NIV).
5.2. Eating Animal Flesh
Most importantly, while Paul encourages eating the flesh of innocent animals, Jesus, contrary to mainstream churches' belief, exemplified compassionate veganism.
5.2.1. Paul Arbitrarily Removed the Guilt from Meatism
Eating anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience" (1 Corinthians 10:25 NIV), advises Paul. For two thousand years, this has (mis)led numerous Christians to think that it is alright to slaughter innocent animals and eat their flesh.
Paul even defames vegans as weaklings in terms of faith:- "One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables" (Romans 14:2 NIV).
5.2.2. Jesus Desired Mercy, NOT Sacrifice
In contrast, Jesus warns against meat-eating:- “Be on guard, so that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh" (Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the New Testament Gospels). And He admonishes the Pharisees, quoting Hosea 6:6, "Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13 CSB).
In Saying 87, the Gospel of Thomas, as translated and edited by Stevan Davies (2002), Jesus said, "Wretched is a body depending on a body". How can a body be dependent on another body? Only if the body eats the other body. Hence, Davies (2002) comes to the conclusion that Thomas is not stating that all bodies are "wretched", just bodies which are dependent on other dead bodies, in other words, meat, for food.
In the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus condemns animal sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem:- “I have come to abolish the sacrifices, and if you cease not from sacrificing, my wrath will not cease from you” (Panarion 30.16.5). Jesus also rejected the Passover meal :“I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you” (The Gospel of the Ebionites 22.4).
As a matter of fact, Jesus even died for animal liberation. In driving out from the HolyTemple those vendors who were buying and selling animals for cruel sacrifice (Matthew 21:12), Jesus offended the chief priests and teachers of the law, for the reason that he was disrupting their revenue stream. Immediately afterwards, "the chief priests and the teachers of the law heard about this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him because the whole crowd was amazed at his teachings."(Mark 11:18)
In this regard, The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity by Keith Akers (2000) argues that the central event of the Christian faith, the Crucifixion, was predicated upon Christ's readiness to struggle for animal rights. Jesus Christ's rejection of animal sacrifice brought him into direct confrontation with the TemplePriests, resulting in his arrest, trial under Pontius Pilate, and crucifixion (Akers 2000).
As for the counter-arguments that Jesus distributed fish to 5000 people in the Five Loaves and Two Fish miracle; that He ate lamb at Passover; that He ate fish in front of His disciples after resurrection, etc., they are either mistranslation or falsification (Chen 2020).
6. The Major Obstacle to Vegan Christianity
In conclusion, Paul is the major obstacle to Christian veganism. The original vegan features of Jesus Christ cannot be restored without debunking the treachery of Paul and his fake conversion.
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Pic credit: Conversione di San Paolo by Artgate Fondalazione Carpio