All this highlights the fact that from the earliest times, the Church has been acutely aware of the value of aggressive propaganda and entirely unscrupulous about tampering with records and fabricating myths as needed. The Roman Catholic Church has probably been the most successful propaganda outfit in the history of the world. Already in the Gospels, we see in motion a systematic effort to shift the blame for the crucifixion of Christ away from the Romans to the Jews. Church
57 Ishwar Sharan, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. (Second edition), New Delhi. Voice of India, 1995.
propagandists recognized that it was not in their interest to antagonise the mighty Rome. In consequence, Jesus the orthodox Jew was turned into Jesus the rebel and heretic, persecuted by his own people. And one of the most successful propagandists in history was Paul, the true creator of Christianity as we know it. It was Paul who gave the world the dictum: "I am made all things to all men" - to be faithfully followed by politicians everywhere.
Paul also correctly saw that the Qumranian brand of Christianity - narrow and backward looking - had little chance of success in the rest of the Roman Empire. Where the Qumranian vision was inward-looking and conservative, Paul's vision was broad and cosmopolitan. While the Qumranians regarded Rome as the enemy to be driven out of Palestine, Paul knew something that the Zealots living in their cloistered world did not: Rome was invincible. His plan was to use the stirrings within Judaism to create a new world ideology modeled on the expansionist Roman Empire. He succeeded in creating a theological empire within the empire that later went on to subvert Rome itself.
As with Prophet Muhammad half a millennium later, religion for Paul was to serve the needs of politics; he did not see the two as separate. Just as the Prophet used Allah as the source of his authority in extending his political influence, Paul invoked the name of Jesus - the only Son of God - to propagate his expansionist ideology. Paul's vision was fully vindicated when the Roman emperor Constantine himself extended recognition to Christianity in AD 325 as part of a political bargain; until that time Christians had been regarded with justification as a motley group composed mainly of unruly and anti-social elements. And the transformation was complete when Theodosius banned all forms of public worship other than the Christian on November 8, AD 392. With this, the secular and free-spirited Roman Empire was turned into a theocracy of the narrowest kind, soon to plunge Europe into a Dark Age from which it did not begin to come out for a thousand years.
It is now time to take a look at this remarkable man and how he managed to bring off this coup. For this we need to look at the ACIS of the Apostles and the epistles of Paul.
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