Paul literally likens the Jews with Satan in his first epistle to the Thessalonians

The Christian persecution complex goes way, way back. Even in Paul’s day, he blamed the Jews for his difficulties in spreading Jesus’ words. We must look to 1 Thessalonians 2 to understand how frustrated Paul was. Skip to the end, beginning with verse 13. First, Paul reminds his readers that the Jews killed the son of god. And it’s these Jews who also go out of their way to stop Jesus’ teachings from reaching a wider audience. This sets up the basic premise of this letter to the Thessalonians; Paul cannot make it to them on account of the anti-Christian Jewish police force.

But worry not. As we see in verse 16, god is working on a plan to smite his chosen people once and for all. (Some crazies out there might say that this was foreshadowing for the Holocaust.)

While Paul waits for god’s wrath to fall upon the Jews, Paul laments in verse 18, ” For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way.” But just two verses earlier Paul said it was the Jews? So which is it, the Jews or Satan who stopped Paul from reaching the gentiles? It seems to me that Paul was comparing the two. The Jew is Satan.

This is evidence of what might be called racism (they were all of the same race, so it’s not exactly racism, but we don’t have a word for this in english). In other words, Paul constructs an enemy that must be overcome. And this enemy is both Satan and the Jews at the same time.

Perhaps these verses are historically accurate. There’s no reason to not think that Jewish-gentile relations in Paul’s time were tense. They probably were. But this is no different than using race or religion as a justification to slaughter people, wage war against them, or anything else. This is pure racism, plain and simple. Paul is likening the entire Jewish population (who murdered Jesus, by the way) to the very essence of “evil.”

That doesn’t sound very Christ-like to me.

Why put stock in Paul? He’s quite the bigot.

About Rayan Zehn

I'm a political scientist.
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1 Response to Paul literally likens the Jews with Satan in his first epistle to the Thessalonians

  1. Pingback: Paul literally likens the Jews with Satan in his first epistle to the Thessalonians | Christians Anonymous

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