[The notes from which I have assembled the transcript, below, are too fragmentary for their images to be reproduced here. Glosses in the text and recent notes are indicated by brackets […].]
There’s a conspiracy afoot — to undermine the authority of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and to thus remove the foundation of redemptive religion.
He is left as an important religious teacher — his ethical and moral teachings still stand. For this is not a threat to the conspiracy — in fact it is necessary to retain these.
…The best established doctrine of Historical Philosophy was, that in all the power, prosperity, and mental energy of a Race or Nation sprang from and lived by its Religion; … when its Religion ceased to be its Faith — that is, its energising principle — the intellect, power, vigour, and prosperity of that Race or Nation died away in proportion, and ultimately perished, both mentally and physically.[In fact, this is a quotation from Ferrar Fenton, The Complete Bible in Modern English, seventh edition, Explanatory Note, xx (London: S.W. Partridge & Co. Ltd, 1922).]
By all means let people retain a faith so as to keep their energising principle — the purpose of the conspiracy is to deprive people of saving faith for eternal life.
The teaching of the Christian life as a way can be retained by all means — it is the mode of entry to that way which must be removed — the core of Christian teaching — the redemption.
The conspiracy works in two ways — to make us unsure about Him — and to make us unsure about the writings concerning him. A person is saved through trusting in Jesus Christ. Suppose you want to deprive people of salvation, how do you set about it? By showing Jesus Christ to be untrustworthy.
[Jesus quoted Moses and Daniel as authoritative. Therefore, to undermine the authority of Jesus Christ, one has to] discredit Moses [and] Daniel.
Before the books of Moses were discredited by the Higher Critics the creation stories were held to be inspired and the cognate stories in Babylonian and Sumerian legends to be corruptions of the original Truth. Since then the latter have acquired the status of being originals, and the Biblical accounts relegated to being “monotheisations” of dubious quality of the “original” polytheistic Babylonian–Sumerian legends.
The evangelical thus, with his back to the wall, is forced to recant his earlier assertion that the Biblical story is true, historical and scientifically accurate,* and to make excuses, saying that the early chapters of Genesis are to be understood not as scientific documents but as writings of a religious value. This is all very well, but these words don’t carry much meaning — not for me anyway.
*[A note, added] 13 May 1975, [says:] It can however be argued that he has had to change his interpretation many times before this e.g. in the matter of the geocentric universe. He is thus on the defensive continually, and slowly and gradually his position is being chipped away — till his back is to the wall. Then what?
This is not to say that the arguments of Driver et al don’t carry a ponderable weight of credibility. But I’m not after credibility, I’m after truth; and the truth is “in Jesus”. So whatever the critics say, I must let Jesus have the last say.
The case against Daniel seems to be a bit stronger — after all, what he said was going to happen didn’t. Also, what Jesus is held to have said didn’t happen either. Well, we can save His face by saying that the eschatological sayings purporting to come from His lips were in fact inventions of His followers. But that assertion comes under the second part of my alleged conspiracy — to undermine the writings concerning Him.
While we’re at it, we might as well get rid of Satan as well. It appears to me that he is the motive power behind the conspiracy, since he is the only one who stands to gain anything out of it, so it only seems sensible that if we are not going to twig that he is behind it all, he will have to disappear. And how better to disappear, than to show that he never existed in the first place?
[A note, added] 13 May 1975, [says:] It’s got to look like a genuine finding based on scientific fact that Jesus isn’t the Saviour and that all the things belonging to the discrediting of him are true — so it must be undetectable that conspiracy has taken place. A helpful contribution to this would be the disappearance of the arch-conspirator! That’s more or less what I was trying to say above.
Well, I suppose that since redemption through Jesus’ blood is an uncomfortable, rather unsophisticated doctrine, the detractors from it stand to gain something from the conspiracy also.
But the fact of the matter is that the conspiracy doesn’t exist as a conscious effort of men — I can’t imagine a committee of theologians, scientists, textual critics etc. sitting round a table and plotting the downfall of Christian faith. It can only acquire meaning when one views it in terms of a Satanic manoeuvre.
[Make Satan disappear]
This can easily be done by identifying the concept of Satan with that of Ahriman from Zoroastrianism. Then all you have to do is bring the Jews (who hitherto, you say, have no concept of Satan as the malignant spirit who sets himself up against God to destroy His purposes) into contact with Zoroastrianism — this is conveniently done by putting them in exile among the Persians — and you’ve cracked it!
(Quotation from Pears Cyclopaedia)…
[The conception of a supreme source of evil (the Devil or Satan)… took shape among the Jews during their sojourn in Babylon under the influence of Zoroastrianism, a religion in which the struggle between the two spirits, Good and Evil, reached its height in the imagination of the ancient world. The Satan of the Old Testament was first regarded as one of God’s servants (in the Book of Job he goes up and down the earth to see whether God’s commands are obeyed), but when the Jews returned from their captivity he had become identified with Ahriman, the spirit of evil, who was in continual conflict with Ahura Mazda, the spirit of good.I’ve also checked this reference in Encyclopaedia Britannica and it says much the same thing.
You even have some Jewish scriptures to which you can attach the significance of a Satanic personality — for example, the serpent in the garden (a commonplace in Babylonian mythology) is now developed into a manifestation of Satan. Similarly, that being in the Book of Job — hitherto a ministering spirit of God, no less — is now invested with the personality of anti-godhood.
[A note, added] 13 May 1975, [says:] Thus Satan is made not to exist — i.e. he is made into a figment of Jewish and Persian imagination.
The evidence can now be called overwhelming: after all, we can trace only slight allusions to an adversary of God in pre-exilic scriptures, and no really developed ideas as to his nature; but post-exilic writings teem with mentions of his being, and a well-developed theory as to his nature appears. Very plausible.
This will further serve to discredit Jesus Christ since he claimed to see a nonentity fall from heaven, and again discredit the writings about him, for they claim that he was tempted by Satan.
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