In 1965 a book – The Passover Plot by author Hugh J. Schonfield was published and became an international multimillion-copy bestseller. Intended to rock the establishment view on the life of Jesus Christ, it attempted to present historical evidence suggesting that Jesus was merely a mortal man. A young genius, he believed himself to be the Messiah and deliberately and brilliantly planned his entire ministry according to Old Testament prophecies—even to the extent of plotting his own arrest, crucifixion and resurrection.
The focus of this Article is not to denounce the book, although the ‘evidence’ it presents has been thoroughly debunked by many credible scholars. Neither is this to serve as an endorsement. A recent post to a blog questioning the source of numerous unsubstantiated news reports is the stimulus. It, like the Schonfield book, proposes an alternative view of certain facts, not recognizing the lack of objective support for the mere subjective points.
Accurate historical texts align well with narratives presented in Scripture. Critics of this fact usually attempt to disprove such reality by attacking merely interpretations of Scripture. Rather than researching the actual original texts to establish the genuine message, they too often simply reiterate what they have been told. Sadly, such carelessness is increasingly common and adds daily to the numbers who embrace what is recognized in today’s politics as leftist ideology.
William James, the father of modern Psychology is credited with the origin of this quote: “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” Radical progressive propaganda embraces a similar idea – any lie told often enough becomes the truth. Upon such a premise, mere subjective ideas are equated with FACTS. Currently, there is much evidence that the ‘liberal media’ endorses this philosophy and can be quite hostile to those who oppose it. Ironically, this idea of promoting a lie consistently until it is accepted as fact was a prominent strategy against Christianity from the beginning. Also paradoxical is the fear that the truth must be kept secret.
Although the Schonfield book is a product of this past century, the ideas contained within it were first proposed within days of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem in 33AD, memorialized by Christendom as Palm Sunday. Scripture records the events that led to the original Passover plot in John Chapter 12. A complete prayerful reading of the whole narrative is advised. These excerpts pose a good summary:
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead … Mary took very costly oil and anointed the feet of Jesus … Judas Iscariot protested, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold … and given to the poor?” … not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box… the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him … His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him … that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled … when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.”
Of the four Gospel writers, Matthew provides particular insight into the perceived plot. A contemplative reading of the 27th chapter of his book describes how the enemies of Christ were afraid that the disciples would scheme to present false reports. Not fearing the reality of a resurrected Christ, because they would not believe it. They feared instead, the spreading of ‘lies’ that HE was indeed raised.
“… and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed … the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” … Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”
The misrepresentation of facts surrounding an event is a recurring problem. Sometimes it is merely a matter of physical perspective. Two witnesses observing the same thing may give conflicting reports due to their individual vantage points. One from an unobstructed place a few inches away, the other from several feet behind an obstacle, tell dissimilar versions. Even two seated side-by-side can give slightly different accounts. Depending on the more believable the story and popular acceptance of it, false reports too often are passed on as factual. When the actual truth is hostile to, or disproves one’s personal belief system, fierce resistance to it erupts into all kinds of dissent.
Following the recent (2016) presidential election, Americans were able to witness this kind of resistance on the nightly news. The results established FACTS that have been disputed by opponents of the elected. Some infer that fraudulent tactics were employed to win. Many contend that illegal collusion with non-Americans aided and abetted the results. A special council has been investigating ever since, now half-way through its second year. Quite like the original Passover Plot, conspiracy theories abound, while the truth remains largely unaccepted or appreciated.
Those with the most to lose instigate an illegitimate distortion of the factual record. In attempting to revise the past, illegitimate historical revisionism uses techniques inadmissible in a proper historical discourse. Now, as then, similar tactics are employed by those who insist on opposing views of current events. They present known forged documents as genuine, invent ingenious but implausible reasons for distrusting genuine documents, and attribute conclusions to sources that report the opposite. They manipulate statistical series to support their given point of view.
Did this impede the progress of the Gospel’s spread? It has been preached in all the world, just as Christ commissioned. Has the newly elected president’s agenda been impeded? Some would think so, and defiantly continue to purposely block any progress. Indeed, delay tactics are slowing down the process of appointments and legislation, but many historic gains have never the less been achieved. As with religious beliefs, politics now mirrors the motivation behind dogma.
Those who sincerely seek the truth accept the FACTS and are stigmatized by those who will not. Those who dispute the facts, who hold fast to their personal views and ideologies, and advance their desires above the truth, continue to doubt the facts and resist any propagation related to them. As this ensues an interesting phenomenon is occurring. The very things that those rejecting the facts accuse their opponents of, they themselves are being found guilty.
“Professing to be wise, they became fools” – Ro. 1:22.
Of course, there is a great difference between religion and politics. When people treat political ideologies like religious convictions the variance is slight. Where political ideologies replace religious beliefs, those principles become ingrained as an acceptable new world order. In the name of unity and tolerance, dissension and intolerance becomes the model. While they look for ‘Christ-like’ behavior, and criticizing the lack of it, they deny its very Architect.
Another obstacle to overcome is the established historic record. There have always been mere stories that have no foundation in reality. Myths are NOT fact. They may contain some facts to promote good ethics, but most of the characters and places mentioned are purely fictional. Distinction between fact and fiction has always been based on credible evidence. Many select or interpret events from the past in a way that suits one’s own particular purposes in an attempt to rewrite History. The removal of memorials and slogans from public places is a contemporary tactic.
“Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie” – Ro.1:25.
In closing, please notice: no specific political parties were mentioned; neither were any religious denominations. While it may be obvious regarding election results who the dissenting faction is, there is no indictment against specific parties in general. Not every member of a group is as devoted to, or convinced by the claims of the group. This applies equally to ALL groups – political or religious. If however, you identify with a particular persuasion that you feel is unfairly represented in this Article, please leave a reply in the Comments Form below.