I never thought I would be writing this letter, but I feel I must respond to the hand of friendship held out to me by the Bishop of Leeds in the Radio Times. It is true that I have had a bad press; and the time has come to do something about it.
The problem, as I see it, has been that the whole case has been dominated by the (rather prejudiced) evidence of the Evangelists. I am portrayed as the ultimate nark. (Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?) And Jesus is always the centre of attention.
Seen from my perspective matters look very different.
Far from turning into a world-wide church which would last two thousand years, the Jesus movement looked played out to me. It was going nowhere. The pragmatic – and the kindest – thing to do was to bring it to a relatively painless end. Better the death of one man than the mayhem and slaughter which would almost certainly have followed. I was acting altruistically. The money business was a slanderous addition inserted to accord with some obscure Biblical ‘prophecy’, the way these people do.
Caiaphas (the old time-server) grasped that; and Pilate, in my view, acted in a practical and statesman-like manner. Everything turned out as I predicted: the so-called disciples simply melted away, and all that was left was a gaggle of the sort of neurotic women who always cling to a figure like Jesus. I had prevented a personal tragedy becoming a national crisis.
Hats off, then, to your Nick Baines for finally grasping the realities of the situation and putting in a good word for me, after all this time.
Personally I am not a joiner, but if I were, the Church of England might be just the place for me. Who knows, I might find a home at last among the open-minded and non-judgemental?