I want to thank The High Tide and the Turn for the interview. It was a lot of fun but then I do love intelligent discussion about writing, politics, religion and the direction of our society. The first part was published here. And the second part is available here.

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. 
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Bob Unruh of World Net Daily yesterday and share more about the Iranian claims that the collapse of Christianity is imminent. These claims, of course, are based on the Gospel of Barnabas, a 15th century Muslim conspiracy. In fairness, we shouldn't blame the Iranians for believing something that seems to support their faith, for they are most likely ignorant of where this whole thing originated.. If there is any blame for the contemporary stories circulating about this gospel, it lies with the Turkish elements who keep fabricating these so-called discoveries, first in 1986 and then again in 2012. Read more about this here.

Today, WND published an article allegedly written by former CIA operative Reza Kahlili on the infamous Gospel of Barnabas. Apparently, the Iranian mullahs are claiming that this gospel hidden by the church is about to cause the total collapse of the Christian faith as it records Jesus prophesying the coming of Mohammed and the Muslim Messiah.

For those of us who know the truth, it is a ridiculous bit of grandstanding and buffoonery. However, I have no doubt that it plays well in the Middle East and has plenty of pious followers puffing out their chest in anticipation of the imminent victory of their faith.

The sad fact, however, is that this little "factoid" about the evil church suppressing the Gospel of Barnabas and covering up the fact that Jesus predicted the coming of Mohammed has been trotted out with amazing regularity for decades. Of course, the intent is clear. Keep the "us" versus "them" game going and constantly sling mud at the only monotheistic faith that could possibly compete with Islam.

In one respect, Muslims are no different from people anywhere. They are predisposed to believe any report that confirms what they already believe and will do no research to verify the authenticity of the claims being made.

Maybe the question for us today is what have we believed without conducting proper intellectual due diligence?
It is amazing that this website for a simple novel is still being blocked in Turkey. It is also hard for my friends in the US to understand why because they haven't lived there and don't fully comprehend the mindset or the political sensitivities in that country. The obsession some governments have with controlling information they don't approve of is mind-boggling, especially given the fact that in the end, this is doomed to fail. The penetrating power of ideas is far greater than that of water and air. You can water-proof something, but idea-proofing a society is much more difficult. Ideas are pesky, pernicious little things, you know. 
After yesterday's post about the Gospel of Barnabas, I was informed today that this website is not accessible from the country of Turkey! This is fascinating. Less than a week after Turkish newspapers report that the Vatican has requested permission to view what the Turkish government claims is an ancient Aramaic manuscript about the life of Christ, this website you are reading now is blocked by Turkey! I suppose it should be taken as a compliment. Obviously, somebody somewhere thinks this is important. Unfortunately, it is also a sign of paranoia and a lack of commitment to individual liberties.

Dozens of Turkish journalists now languish in Turkish prisons because of this government's desire to control the press and the flow of information. For example, Ahmet Şık, a journalist who wrote a book entitled Imamın Ordusu (The Imam's Army), has been in prison for over a year. He was arrested before the book was even published.

Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code, is extremely popular in Turkey as many people there believe that the Vatican is the nexus of all evil, and are happy to see Christian values undermined. This says a lot about the predominant paradigm, doesn't it? Still, as a person who loves Turkey and the Turkish people, it is difficult to imagine why a work of fiction would be perceived as a threat, especially when the novel says so many good things about the country and their culture. 
As many of you may have heard the Vatican has officially asked for permission to examine a copy of the Gospel which the Turkish government has had for 12 years. Star newspaper is claiming that this may be an ancient copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, and the whole country is abuzz. I have seen hundreds of comments from Turks and Muslims across the world commenting on this story.

These claims are another example of how history repeats itself. In 1986, the Turkish military said it had found a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas. In the end, it turned out to be the canonical New Testament, and so it retracted its claim, but the retraction never received the press coverage that the initial discovery did, so even today many Turks will claim that the Army found the Gospel of Barnabas in 1986, but is being pressured by the Vatican to keep a lid on it.

Now, we have another one. What is the Turkish obsession with the Gospel of Barnabas?

The Turks have a proverb, Dilin kemiği yoktur, which translated means, 'the tongue has no bone.' In other words, people can SAY anything; there are absolutely no limits. Another Turkish proverb says, Çamuru at, yapışmasa da izi kalır.  This means "sling the mud; even if it doesn't stick, the stain will remain." The "discovery" in 1986 was, in fact, just that - mud slinging, propaganda, manipulation of religious sentiment to control the people. Having lived there for over a decade, I saw first-hand just how crucial religion is to political control.

This new "discovery" is being received with much jubilation in the Islamic world and has been carried by major news networks. For example, http://www.emirates247.com/news/world/jesus-predicted-advent-of-prophet-mohammed-pbuh-in-bible-found-in-turkey-2012-02-27-1.445391

Is any of this related to my book?  Yes! But, I can't ruin the plot by going into detail. I will only say that the news this week proves that the more-than-400-year-old conspiracy is alive and well. However, the novel contains more factual information about what is really happening than anything you're likely to read in the politically correct press... 

It is amazing that a story like this is breaking on the eve of the novel's publication...  The Kindle version will be available this week.