Tolerance and truth

The lessons for countries of Asia like India are clear the Church must be treated strictly as a business empire and or a political entity interested in the growth of its secular power in the name of God. It has created markets, looted countries and financed wars in the name of Christ. It will do all these again if given the chance, for the Church's method can be summarized by the simple adage of 'the end justifies the means'. It has never backed away from a profitable venture on moral grounds....

Dead Sea Scrolls on Early Christianity

Qumran literature poses two major challenges to the official position of the Church. The first is doctrinal, and the second historical. But the two are not so easily disentangled. To the lay person, and even the Biblical scholar, Christian religion and Biblical history are all but inseparable to the believing Christian they are indistinguishable. This is further complicated by the fact that most scholars working with the Scrolls happen to come from a Catholic background. The Ecole Biblique is a...

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospels History and Propaganda

The new light shed by the Dead Sea Scrolls on the New Testament give us ground for believing that Christianity - or more accurately, Pauline Christianity - was the result of a successful power struggle waged by Paul against the sect known among other names as 'Keepers of the Covenant', 'Congregation of the Poor', and 'Ebionites'. Its leader, as we already saw, was James, known as the 'Righteous'. Jesus was, at best, peripheral to this movement and the struggle, while James was its real leader....

Shattered Foundation

In the year 1555, a Jewish physician living in southern France wrote that the Catholic Church would one day come to grief. By this he did not mean the rise of Protestant Christianity or the Reformation led by Martin Luther and John Calvin -both of which were by then accomplished facts. What he had to say was something far more ominous for the Church according to his vision of the future, Europeans in large numbers would abandon the Church 'with its shattered foundation' and return to paganism....

Jewish Wars and the Birth of Christianity

From all this it becomes evident that the Jewish Wars - more particularly the First Jewish War of AD 66-74 - occupy a pivotal position in the history of early Christianity. The question is what caused it It is not possible to give a definitive answer to that question yet, though the Dead Sea Scrolls when studied alongside the Bible and other sources allow us to shed a good deal of light. In order to understand this, it is necessary to go to several works that are not widely known outside the...

Reformer in the Vatican Pope John Paul I

Albino Luciani, Cardinal Bishop of Venice was elected to succeed Pope Paul VI on August 26 on the third ballot, or the 'third conclave' as the Curia terms it. In electing him Pope, the cardinals the world over - especially those from Third World countries - had made plain their unhappiness with the way things were being run from the Vatican. It was a vote against the establishment - the Curia. It is also possible that the officials of the Curia, living in their own insular world, had been...

Summary

Does this hold any lessons for us today The first point to note is that the Church has not changed. It has not become more tolerant as some Hindu intellectuals fondly believe individual Christians may be tolerant and willing to live at peace with their non-Christian brothers and sisters. That, however, has never been the issue Christians, as a rule, are no better or worse than any other group of human beings. The issue is not Christians as people but the ideology of Christianity and its...

Thought control The Holy Inquisition

The Inquisition has probably left a greater impression on the European psyche than any other institution of the Church. The fact that Americans on the whole are less hostile to Christianity than Europeans is to be attributed to the fact that they have escaped its horrors. The Holy Inquisition was founded by Pope Gregory IX in 1232 in response to wild reports from the clergy that there was an epidemic of witches and heretics. The honour of holding trials was a monopoly of the Dominicans who have...

Vatican Woes Paganisation of Europe

The revelations of the Dead Sea Scrolls could hardly have come at a worse time for the Church. At a time when church attendances - especially in Europe - are at historically low levels, the doctrinal foundations of Christianity have also come under a cloud, making things doubly difficult. According to some scholars, even the historicity of Jesus - something that most people including non-believers had accepted as fact - is now in doubt. More fundamentally, some of the highest officials in the...

Inquisition today the case of Allegro77

At the very outset it would be well to recognize that John Marco Allegro is not a scholar who can even remotely be compared to Galileo. And yet he posed a greater threat where Galileo was persecuted for defying the authority of the Church, the case of Allegro was different he questioned the very foundation of Christianity and Church doctrine. When in a particularly impetuous mood, he wrote one of the Catholic scholars on the International Team who had expressed the wish to become a priest - 'by...

Paul and the Acts of the Apostles

While the Gospels are highly unreliable as history, the book of the New Testament known as the Acts of the Apostles does contain a historical core, though heavily coloured by the needs of Christian propaganda. Nevertheless, when studied alongside the Qumran documents, Acts provides an interesting picture of the struggles between the leaders of the early Church and Paul, and how the backward looking ultra-orthodox Jewish sect of early Christianity gave way to the expansionist Pauline...

Holy Land to the First Century of Christianity

Christianity is the daughter of Judaism - of militant Judaism in fact. This is one of the principal facts to emerge from the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Early Christianity of Jerusalem, the movement that was later supplanted by Pauline Christianity was born in the cauldron of discontent that led to the First Jewish War. Early Christians are sometimes referred to as 'Jewish Christians', though its leader James the Just, known in modern Christianity as James the 'Lord's brother' never saw...

Christianity Today Exclusivism in a Pluralistic World

The two passages cited at the head of the chapter - one from Moses of the Bible, and the other from Krishna of the Bhagavadgita - underscore the fundamental difference that separates an exclusivist creed from an evolved pluralistic tradition. To understand the true dimensions of the crisis that the Church is faced with, and its irrational reaction to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one must be prepared to examine the foundation of Christian faith - both its seeming fragility in the face...

Secular Vatican Mussolini to Mafia

When we examine all this, it becomes clear that the Vatican today is mainly, if not entirely, a secular organization concerned about its economic and political viability. As Baigent and Leigh observe 16 There has been a noticeable change for the worse in the Church's image in India. Indian Bishops have recently launched a campaign to have the majority of their members recognized as a 'backward caste' and even as untouchables to qualify for special government help. Mother Teresa too joined the...

Qumranians Essenes or Zealots

Before we can say anything more about the origins of orthodox Christianity, or Pauline Christianity which Eusebius helped promote in the time of Constantine , we must identify the people whom we have been calling 'Qumranians', and learn of their fate in the turbulent century that saw the birth of Christianity. The orthodox view -the view of the International Team that is - holds the inhabitants of the Qumran ruins to have been a people known as the Essenes mentioned in the works of classical...

Herod and the Herodians

Herod, though a practising Jew, was of Arab descent from both his parents. Being as concerned about his dynastic legitimacy as any of his Jewish subjects, he married a Maccabean princess in order to strengthen his position as their ruler. But once he felt secure enough, he murdered his wife along with her brother and others of their line, effectively extinguishing the Maccabean line. He then proceeded to remove the priesthood from the hold of the old families and replaced them with his own...

Puppetmaster of P2

Few know or have heard of Licio Gelli, but for nearly three decades following the Second World War, he was one of the most powerful and influential men in the world. At one time he practically owned the Italian government as well as those in several Latin American countries. He was the head of a secret international terrorist organization known as 'Propaganda Due' or in short P2. He could make or break governments in Italy and most South American countries. When General Jose Peron returned to...

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible Qumranian Heritage

A study of the Qumran texts alongside the Gospels and the Acts shows how closely they are related, and derived from the same source. Considering how little time has passed since the Qumran material has been made available to the public, the similarities found so far between the Scrolls and the New Testament must be seen as remarkable. To take just one example, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the leadership of the early Church resided in twelve apostles the most important among these were...

End to Reform Business as Usual

Who could have done it - tampering with evidence on a large scale in the hours and days following the Pope's death Any number of people, for the Vatican had no security at all worth the name it was normal practice for the night guards to sleep on duty. The main beneficiaries were Cody, Marcinkus, Villot, Gelli, Sindona and Calvi - and, of course, the P2. We can leave Cody out though David Yallop makes a case that he could have done it through his contacts in the Vatican. But it seems out of...

Sources of Pluralistic Thought Greece and India

Hindu scriptures are collections of such a-paurusheya wisdom acquired through the ages by various sages through their realized knowledge of God. It is in this sense that the Vedas - the greatest of all Hindu scriptures - are regarded as a-paurusheya. The sages themselves - the authors of the Vedic hymns - are human and historical, but the knowledge that they realized and passed on to future generations is a- paurusheya. This knowledge includes laws governing the cosmos which are clearly...