The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Truth can kill the West

By M.S.N. Menon

Truth can kill the West—the truth about Christianity. It is all in the Dead Sea scrolls.

The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947. But nothing has been done to reveal their truth. In fact, the Church was so secretive about them that it made them inaccessible to even religious authorities.

The secrecy continued till 1991. On September 22, 1991 the Huntington Library of California, which had photocopies of all Dead Sea scrolls, released them. The Vatican, which was worried about the contents of the scrolls, was naturally outraged.

What is the untold story in the Dead Sea scrolls? Perhaps we will never know fully. We know now that an extremist Jewish sect, which had revolted against Jewish orthodoxy, were perhaps the authors of the scrolls. They lived in Qumran (a Palestinian mountain region). But Qumran was destroyed by the Romans during 66-74 AD. Or in an earthquake. And with that we have lost much of the story of the Essene, too, a Buddhist sect which lived in Qumran. But on them later.

The Qumran sect believed that a Messiah would be born among them with a new message. It is said that the Gospel writers were inspired by this Messiah. Perhaps Jesus is a fiction?

The Qumran scrolls, it is believed, were written 100-200 years before the birth of Christ. It even talked of a “Son of God”.

We know now that the leader of the early church of Jerusalem was not Jesus, but a man called James, the Righteous—a minor figure in the Bible. Biblical scholars say that the destruction could have been carried out by Saul (St. Paul). Latter, he got converted to the Qumran lore. Hence early Chritianity was called “Pauline Christianity”.

The scrolls reveal that Jews had nothing to do with the killing of Jesus Christ. It was all a fabricated story. If this is the truth, the Jews have a cause celebre against the Christian world for the persecution they suffered for 2,000 years. This is yet another reason why the Christian church would want the story to remain untold.

It is very clear that early Christianity was Qumranian. James was a Jew, but a revolutionary, which explains the revolutionary nature of his doctrines. He believed in ahimsa (non-violence) and said that “the Kingdom of God is within you” —an idea purely Hindu-Buddhist. They could not have come either from Greece or Jewish sources. But Pauline Christianity was anti-James. St. Paul gave it a new direction. Christianity, as it exists today, may turn out to be the greatest deception on the Christian world.

But one day the truth will be out. It cannot remain hidden for ever. Pope Leo X (1513-21) admitted centuries ago: “It has served us well this myth of Christ.” (In my article of October 9, 2005, I said that a bishops’ Commission rejected the claim that Jesus was crucified. Islam refused to acknowledge it to this day—author)

It was this myth and others of its kind that the scrolls threatened to expose. The Germans were the first to be uneasy about these tall claims of the church. Hence the revolt of Luther against Rome. “By absorbing so many elements from other religions, Christianity had come to offer more than any one of them could offer by itself”, says Northcote Parkinson. So much for the claim to originality!

According to Pliny ( Roman historian) and Josephus (Jewish historian), the Essene had existed on the banks of the Jordan and the East Bank of the Dead Sea for at least 150 years before Jesus. They were engaged in teaching Buddhism. The Jewish historian H.Graetz called Christianity “Essenism with foreign elements”. This alone can explain the non-violence they preached in a region notorious for its violence!

Pliny, the Elder, describes the Essene as “a lonely people...without any women, who have renounced human love and live quite pennilessly under the palms”. Little was known of them till the discovery of the scrolls in Qumran.

So, was there a historical figure called Jesus Christ? Was he a student of Buddhism? Was he crucified? Was there a resurrection? The future of Christianity will depend on the answers. They can change the course of human history.

Herbert Mueller writes: “The Synoptic gospels make clear that Jesus did not make open claims to divinity... he did not offer salvation through a redeeming Lord... (But) the church went on to make him equal to God and to insist that salvation was possible only through Jesus Christ.”

The gulf between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith is so wide today that Christianity is dying today in the West. It is quite evident that the Christianity we know today is a reconstruction by the church to suit its objectives. When all these and other matters will come to be known from the Qumran scrolls, the Christian world will be ready to die of shame. But the Christ of faith will perhaps live on. As a Buddhist?

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