Any reason for no comments?.
If the author doesn't get this right, why pay any attention to the rest?
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Xone, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Please allow me to explain my reasoning.
I do believe that, in all likelihood, it happened exactly as Paul described. I’m a Christian with no reason to doubt the account.
But I’m writing as a political commentator, not as a theologian, so on the rare occasions when I cite a scriptural moment in an article, I try to write it so that I don’t automatically turn off non-Christians.
I’m appealing, after all, to Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, and atheists too... to anyone who might be open to the Founders’ message of limited government.
If I say with conviction that God spoke to Paul, I fear that I might turn off all but the fundamentalist Christian readers, unnecessarily diminishing my argument. So I attempted to have it both ways, as they say - it might have been an instantaneous miracle, or he might have imagined the miracle, or used literary license to exaggerate it a bit, after having reconsidered the errors of his ways and finally come to the right conclusion on that road.
I DID agonize over this question... and feel free to fault my choice. I’m always uncomfortable pulling my punches, as I did here. I may well have been wrong to do it this way... or heck, maybe there was a more artful way of doing what I was attempting.
But I knew the analogy was a decent enough one to be worth drawing, and I HAVE always believed that Saul had already begun to doubt his choice before he reached the road to Damascus. However literal the description may have been, I still think he had been nursing doubts for some time beforehand. I personally think that’s why the Lord was so angry at him; the man was unsure of the rightness of his position, and still, he kept on persecuting Christians, because that’s just what he did.
If that’s the case, as I believe it may be, then it makes my analogy that much stronger... because I believe there are plenty of Democrat politicians who’ve seen the error of their ways for some time now, and they’re still doing the wrong thing because habit, bosses and fear hold them back from speaking out. And that makes them that much more guilty, and in need of a powerful moment like this unjustifiable Syria effort to give them cover for doing a 180.
In my opinion, anyway.