"Believe in God" and synonymous constructions

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Dear friends!

Some time ago we discussed a matter connected with St.Paul's conversion from paganism to Christianity, which is depicted in many canvases that are now in different museums of the world http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1829490.

One more thing interests me, though. I would like to convey the idea of Paul's believing in Christ after that Conversion. Below I have given several versions; most of them were taken from my dictionary, but some very unusual ones have been heard quite recently. I would like to know which options sound best to you:

http://www.shafe.co.uk/art/Caravaggio-_Conversion_of_Saul_%28S-M-_del_Popolo%29.asp

1)"... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul believe" ("believe" is used intransitively here. I have not found such usage in the dictionary but I heard a similar phrase said by Simon Schama, who is my favorite BBC presenter)

2) "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul put his faith in Christ"

3) "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul receive/accept Christ"

4) "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul come to Christ"

5) "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul come to know Christ/the Lord"

6) "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul make a commitment to Christ"

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What is the most intriguing here for me is whether or not we can use "believe" intransitively like in example #1.

Thanks!
 
  • kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "Believe" and "believer" are fairly often used as shorthand for "believe in God/Jesus." So I would say in this case, although "believe" looks instransitive,it's really more like a truncated phrase where the object is implicit.
     
    "Believe" and "believer" are fairly often used as shorthand for "believe in God/Jesus." So I would say in this case, although "believe" looks instransitive,it's really more like a truncated phrase where the object is implicit.
    Thanks! Thus, "believe" is used correctly in the sentence above, isn't is? Which sentences best convey the idea behind the painting described?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Dmitry. One good verb just occurred to me that I didn't see on your list. This is no extraordinary verb, yet it conveys Paul's new relationship with Christ effectively:
    ...because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul turn to Christ.

    To me the most vivid part of your whole extraordinary statement is the absolute phrase ".., his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation,..."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Some time ago we discussed a matter connected with St.Paul's conversion from paganism to Christianity
    I did a double-take there. Before Paul's conversion, he was an avid Jew - not pagan, surely!

    (1) ... which makes Paul believe. (Acceptable, as kalamazoo indicated: not intransitive, but with the object 'understood'.)
    (2) ... which makes Paul put his faith in Christ. (A fairly standard way of expressing this.)
    (3) - (5) Are fine. But I think owlman's 'turn to Christ' works very well.
    (6) I'm not sure whether this is correct in terms of meaning. The commitment would come later - perhaps in Damascus, after his discussion with Ananias. Paul is a bewildered man at this point, confronted with the fact that his zealous actions have been futile.

    Nat
     
    By the way, I forgot to ask you about one more possibility similar to "to believe" without an object, which is implicit here. How about

    "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul come to believe"?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    By the way, I forgot to ask you about one more possibility similar to "to believe" without an object, which is implicit here. How about

    "... Here is St.Paul flat on his back, his eyeballs scorched yellow because of the blinding light of Revelation, which makes Paul come to believe"?
    This one also sounds good, Dmitry. :)
     
    One more idea crossed my mind today: is it possible to ask "Do you believe?" or "Have you ever believed?" without an object, whereas we actually want to say "Do you believe in God" and "Have you ever believed in God", respectively?

    Thanks!
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    'Do you believe?' could be OK depending on the context, if it were clear from the conversation what the question referred to.
    You could also ask 'Are you a believer?'
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    'Do you believe?' could be OK depending on the context, if it were clear from the conversation what the question referred to.
    You could also ask 'Are you a believer?'
    Speaking as one who spends a lot of time with a three-year-old girl, my default understanding of the topic of these questions is fairies.

    In an adult context and in my part of the world, the topic is absolutely tied to Christianity.
    In the context of Dmitry's tourists, I think it would be prudent not to assume anything. They may be, for all we know, acolytes of Offler, the crocodile god.
     
    Speaking as one who spends a lot of time with a three-year-old girl, my default understanding of the topic of these questions is fairies.

    In an adult context and in my part of the world, the topic is absolutely tied to Christianity.
    In the context of Dmitry's tourists, I think it would be prudent not to assume anything. They may be, for all we know, acolytes of Offler, the crocodile god.
    This question has nothing to do with tourism or any other jobs. I just wanted to know what such a phrase suggests to you and what you want to say in response when you have heard it said to you by someone.

    All the best
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Sorry, Dmitry, I'm used to your threads relating to your tourists :)

    To be more general, what you are asking about in the questions "Do you believe?" depends entirely on the context. In my part of the world, adults would assume you were asking about the Christian God. If you were asking the question in another context, there may well be other assumptions.

    My response to the question would depend entirely on the context.
     
    Sorry, Dmitry, I'm used to your threads relating to your tourists :)

    To be more general, what you are asking about in the questions "Do you believe?" depends entirely on the context. In my part of the world, adults would assume you were asking about the Christian God. If you were asking the question in another context, there may well be other assumptions.

    My response to the question would depend entirely on the context.
    This is no surprise because as we have found out earlier the object of "believe" is implicit here though it is understood. There is a vivid example by Simon Schama, which I heard in his film about Caravaggio when he was telling us the story about "Conversion of Saul". There it was definitely clear what "believe" means and you all agreed with me. If this question were asked without any context, people might have understood it differently. Anyway, we can always specify what we want to say and hear in response, but I was wondering about what is the first idea coming to you on hearing such a question. As I supposed, it is religion. I would think similarly if I had this question asked in Russian.

    Best
     
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