The fairy tale continues... Yesterday, I received the a link to an audio recording in which a section of the Gospel of Barnabas, page 97 it claims, is read by a computer reader. The sound is eerie, the images Orwellian, the message clear. "The church has duped the world by hiding the truth about Mohammed." The Vimeo account belongs to wawin fauzani and the whole video is only 2.24 minutes long.

The permanence of a lie and the fragility of the truth are indeed amazing. The truth seems to fall out of favor at the slightest hint of scandal while a lie can brazenly continue to exist and assert its relevance in the face of overwhelming proof that it is false.

Take this article I found today on the "Arab news" website by someone who calls himself Dr. Afnan Hussein Fatani. The reason I say "who calls himself..." is because it is hard to believe anyone with even a modicum of training in research, and I assume someone with a PhD has more than a 'modicum', could string together such an incredible list of lies, misrepresentations and twisted facts.

The article contains so many fallacies it is impossible to debunk them all here in a short blog post, which is, of course, the whole point of the Turkish proverb. "Sling the mud. Even if it doesn't stick the stain will remain." The point is to create doubt.

1) The author begins by correcting an error he made in a previous article which was pointed out by a reader. The error? He had given the date of the Gospel of Barnabas as the 2nd century BC. That's right. A gospel containing the message of Jesus before Jesus was born! 

He claims to have made this error inadvertently, that it was a "copy-paste" error. Fair enough. We're all human. But then he proves his lack of breadth on the topic by saying further down, "The Gospel of Barnabas and the Dead Sea Scrolls have often been associated and confused since they do have something in common apart from the overlapping of dates." What? Whatever...

It gets worse.

He goes on to say, "The Gospel of Barnabas is believed by many historians to be part of the collection of Dead Sea scrolls. According to early sources of the 1950s and early 60s before the 1967 Israeli invasion of Palestine when the Archeological museum was overrun and all the publication of scrolls were blocked, a copy of the Barnabas Bible was discovered by Bedouin shepherds in the Qumran caves along with 30 other scrolls which included handwritten gospels, religious writings, as well as lengthy accounts of buried treasures such as the famous Copper Scrolls."

The drivel continues.

"Unfortunately, this historic discovery of the Barnabas Gospel among the Qumran scrolls cannot be fully collaborated today since direct access to the scrolls, most of which has still not been published, is limited to members of the International Team of Scroll Editors who currently work under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)."

I knew it. I knew it. The Jews are behind this evil plot. They are behind everything!

But why is it only a Saudi Arabian with no access to the Dead Sea Scrolls is the only person on the planet claiming that the Gospel of Barnabas is among them? Does make one wonder...

2) The author does get some things right though. For example, he knows that a list of banned books dating back to the 5th century does include a work called the "Gospel of Barnabas" but then he blows it by making the following claim.

"Iranaeus, an Early Church Father (130-200), quoted extensively from it."

Now, the problem with this statement is simple and unfortunate for him. It isn't true. There are no quotations from the supposed Gospel of Barnabas preserved anywhere, and that is too bad. Many researchers like myself would love to see one. This spurious piece of "information" is wishful fabrication based on the introduction to the 15th century Gospel of Barnabas, which merely refers to Iranaeus.

3) The following paragraph is so torturous I hardly know where to begin. One would have to write 1000 words to enumerate and debunk all of the mistakes here.  I'll be brief.

"As many historians have pointed out, the gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the churches of Alexandria up until 325 A.D. when hundreds of original Gospels in Hebrew script were destroyed by the Nicene Council under the auspices of the Pagan Emperor Constantine. An Edict was issued that any one in possession of these Gospels would be put to death. Fortunately, the Pope secured a copy of the Barnabas Gospel in 383 A.D. and kept it in his private library. This Italian manuscript passed through different hands till it reached Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1713. It now rests in Hofbibliothek in Vienna. Another copy of the Barnabas Gospel was discovered in 478 A.D. when the remains of Barnabas were discovered and a copy written by his own hand was found placed upon his breast.."

a. The gospel of Barnabas was never in a canonical list
b. There is no record of hundreds of Hebrew scripts being destroyed by the Nicene Council, which as convened to discuss the nature of Jesus not the cannon. Besides, the scripts would have been in Aramaic :-) (a fact he referenced earlier but forgot in his rush to judgment).
c. A manuscript written in 383 AD couldn't be in Italian. The language didn't even exist yet.
d. The supposed "remains of Barnabas" are based on legend and a priests "dream" and even then the Gospel found on his breast is the Gospel of Matthew, not the Gospel of Barnabas.

I thought mind-altering drugs were forbidden in Saudi Arabia... What is this guy smoking?

Then, I got to thinking about it and realized they must be mandatory. The entire population is fed a steady diet of the most dangerous drug of all - 'ideology' blended with unadulterated 'bigotry' and 'willful ignorance'.

Societies are shaped by their beliefs, "faith" is shaped by "revelation", and so the king who forges a nation must rely heavily on the "forgerers of Scripture".
 
 
  Great News! A Deceit to Die For made Amazon's Top 100 Bestseller List this week. 
 
 
The life of a writer is not a glamorous one. He or she generally labors in isolation - gathering relevant facts, rewriting, developing the tedious details of plot and character, rewriting some more, preparing chapter synopses, poring over editor comments, and did I mention rewriting?

For a good book, the process often takes years, that is years without reward and or fruit, except for that intensely personal satisfaction derived from the completion of each chapter.

What crowns the finished product is the appreciation of the book's readers. In that respect, I have been amply rewarded. Hardly a day goes by that I don't receive an email or personal message from someone who has read the book and was challenged.

Today's comments, however, were surprisingly long. 781 words long to be exact. And because they come from a Turkish reader written for an English language publication in Turkey, I was eager to share them with you.

Y.E. was also gracious enough to give me permission to do so. Thank you!

Review below.

Luke Montgomery’s “A Deceit to Die For”:

With all its intricacy and deceit, Turkish politics already reads like a page turner. It was about time someone created a skillful and intelligent page turner using Turkey and its politics as the base.  Luke Montgomery has done exactly that.

Montgomery’s well-researched book draws from the incredible but real affairs in Turkey:  The quiet suffering of the Turkish people during the last 10 years from the Orwellian policies of a regime with overt Islamic tendencies, one during which journalists are jailed for criticizing the government, the right to free speech is stifled by intimidating the public and where the government is the Big Brother who monitors private conversations and limits web access.   The Western World’s reaction has been to declare the ruling Islamic party an example of a new and convenient concept they coined “Moderate Islam”.   Meanwhile, the Turkish government has eliminated the internal checks and balances that are supposed to keep it under control so that it can reign without consequences:  The fictitious “Balyoz”  case eliminated the opposing Military echelon while another manufactured plot called “Ergenekon” implicated intellectuals critical of the regime.  

Meanwhile, the common Turk is aware of Imam Gulen who lives in PA, USA who owns Turkish media channels, whose network infiltrated bureaucracy.  Gulen operates hundreds of schools globally, including in the US via his organization and network.  

Luke Montgomery uses these very real ailments and parasites feeding off the Turkish nation as the  background in his newly released “A Deceit to Die For” which is available on Amazon.com and is being translated into Turkish.   Montgomery then weaves a compelling and modern human tale intertwined with a religious historic secret. The result is a page turner which engages and entertains while challenging the reader to conduct additional research on both the historical intrigue and the modern day politics of Turkey.   To a Turkish reader, it presents a uniting mosaic, joining the snapshots of real events in Turkish daily news.  To someone who may be less familiar with Turkey, it provides a framework for better understanding the parasites affecting Turkey today.   If I were planning a trip to Turkey this summer, this would be the one book I’d pick up.

A Deceit to Die For takes the reader on a whirlwind journey from the UK to the USA, from Egypt to Turkey over and over again.  The novel is based on the story of a document found in a collection of letters and books acquired by a UK professor which someone wants to keep a secret no matter what the cost.   The professor’s family in the US find themselves with the concealed document and confronted with an international organization on a quest to forever bury the 16th century secret this document reveals.  This dangerous organization does not hesitate to remove anything or anyone in their way, prompting the professor’s children to flee for their lives while trying to research the historic secret.  

The story unfolds a mystique that leaves the reader breathless.  The author offers clues revealing that the he is not only someone who loves Turkish culture but has also spent a long time in Istanbul.  This insight is skillfully scattered throughout the book as a treat to any enthusiast of Turkish culture, it is found buried in the intimate and very real slices of life from modern Istanbul such as the crowded backstreets of Beyoglu and Tunel, or the flavor of a kebap meal enjoyed by the characters with afternoon tea.

The plot rolls and the pace is fast, still the multitude of characters have been developed to a certain degree so that the reader can identify with them.  More importantly, there are no presumptions and stereotyping.  Judgments of good and evil are there but are not divided evenly based on nationality or religion.  Instead, the moral compasses of the main characters and their internal dilemmas are revealed to the reader, making “A Deceit to Die For’ a helpful instrument to better understand the mindset of the various interest groups in Turkish politics.

An aspect Luke Montgomery seems to have meticulously researched is the contemporary dynamics between government institutions and social classes.  He provides the level of observation and detail a native of Turkey would be intimate with, offering realistic snapshots and the private mindset of a suicide bomber, of Hizbullah terrorists and human traffickers, even of government sympathizers with veiled wives.  

If you are in Turkey, do not bother looking for the author’s web site www.lukemontgomery.net which is censored.  We hear a translation is underway and will be curious to see the government’s reaction to it.  So until the Turkish edition is printed, look for this book on Amazon.com.