(The Last Secret)
Interview for Diário de Notícias
Portugal, October 2011
1. This is a book that violently questions the beginnings of the Catholic Church. Isn’t this dangerous to the author?
JRS: I actually don’t think that the novel questions the beginnings of the Church, much less the Catholic Church. This novel is not about the Church or Catholicism, it’s about Jesus. Who was Jesus? What was his true identity? What did he actually preach? The answers to these questions are different than we thought. The gospels contradict much of what the Church says. The New Testament is filled with texts of questionable origins. Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew, nor did Luke or John write the gospels under their names. No author of the New Testament ever met Jesus personally. The gospels tell us that Mary thought her son was out of his mind. Furthermore, Jesus segregated people. It’s even doubtful that love was his main message. These are things that we can find in the gospels, it’s not my imagination. The Last Secret contradicts the teachings of the Church using the words written in the New Testament. Jesus was a different person than the one we were told since kids. The novel presents proof of this.
2.Did you deliberately intend from the outset to criticize the Church or did this approach grow as you were writing the novel?
JRS: I never intended to criticize the Church, and I didn’t do it. I simply presented Jesus as he is introduced by the New Testament and other historical sources. I must say this was unintended from the outset. The true identity of Jesus rose whilst researching the historical sources, when I gradually became aware that people do not know who Jesus really was. The public has a wrong perception of him.
3. Do you expect a reaction for this book stronger than the one you got with The Wrath of God?
JRS: Christian culture is non-violent and any Christian person that uses violence is acting against the teachings of his/her religion. Before deciding that I’m right or wrong, people must read the book and weigh the evidence I present. Only after that can readers reach a conclusion. Anything in life can be questioned, since the pursuit of truth is a natural human impulse. I believe this novel presents the truth about Jesus and I thought I should write it, no matter how shocking the book would turn out to be.
4. Aren’t you afraid of losing many thousands of your readers?
JRS: To write is to be free. Literature should question established truths, regardless of how popular these truths are. I shall not lose a single reader who is open minded and who seeks knowledge, even when he feels uncomfortable with what he finds.
5. Are you a Catholic?
JRS: I’m not a religious man. But I know God exists because science has already found evidence of that, as I explained in my novel The Einstein Enigma. Many atheists did not like that book because it demonstrated something they do not believe. Atheism is a belief of sorts in itself – the belief that God does not exist. Just as I asked atheists to keep an open mind when reading The Einstein Enigma, I’m now asking Christians to keep an open mind when they read The Last Secret. It’s not because it’s shocking that a truth stops to be true.
6. Some people compare this book to The Da Vinci Code. Did Dan Brown influence you?
JRS: I accept that if there is a novel of mine that is close to a Dan Brown novel, this is it. It’s the same subject. The difference is that mister Brown made up a bunch of things and distorted others. In The Last Secret, the historical, religious and scientific information is all genuine. I would be very surprised if Christian theologists denied the facts I present in the book. The only thing they can question is the interpretation. But what are the hard facts? You can learn them in the novel.