In het programma Flogiston zat de pas afgestudeerde Thijs Voskuilen die in een omvangrijke scriptie beweert dat het Nieuwe Testament is geschreven door een agent van de romeinse geheime dienst. De apostel Paul zou deze geheim-agent zijn geweest.
Geweldig als religieuze sprookjes worden teruggeredeneerd naar aardse gebeurtenissen! Of zoals Wim T. Schippers zei: “Laatst waren ze bang dat drie atheïsten in mijn talkshow beledigende dingen over gelovigen zouden zeggen. Terwijl gelovigen zelf met het grootste kletsverhaal aankomen wat wij dan maar moeten slikken?!”
Waarschijnlijk gaat Voskuilen zijn scriptie nog uitgeven, maar hij staat nu al online, ik ben zo vrij om uit de introductie een paar essentiële passages te citeren:
“This paper is an analysis of the possibility of the New Testament-kind of Christianity being one great prank. A prank thought up by one brilliant man in Rome, or wherever he lived when he thought of it. A prank that is a great parody of Jewish faith. A prank that is so subtle and brilliantly phrased, that it is almost impossible to see it. Yet the possibility is laid on so thickly, that I cannot help but wonder why nobody thought of it before.
Paul is at least as important when it comes to the origins of the different kinds of Jesus-worship that we know today. As far as we know, he was the first one to proclaim that the Messiah had to die for our sins. As far as we know, he was the first leading Christian to preach total obedience to the Roman authorities.
The apostle was not always called Paul. He was born Saul, a religious Jew who persecuted the original followers of Joshua’s in Jerusalem. He claimed to have seen the resurrected Joshua in a vision, and from then on he devoted his life to spreading the gospel as he saw it.
The book of Acts tells a story of a converted man who travels around the Empire, spreading the word of Joshua by word-of-mouth and by letter. Some of those letters were preserved and taken up into the New Testament, the Christian part of the Bible. These letters are the oldest writings in the New Testament. They laid the ideological groundwork for today’s Christianity, so to speak.
Few people know that Paul never met Joshua while he was still alive. Few people know that Joshua’s original followers, the people who had known Joshua personally, disagreed with Paul. They didn’t recognize the Joshua as Paul sketched him.
Not surprisingly, Paul was not trusted by the people he used to persecute. They threatened to kill him and he fled. His ultimate destination was Rome, the capital of the Empire. He lived under house arrest and that’s where the story ends.
One day the phrase ‘was Paul a secret agent for the Romans?’ entered my mind.