Jozef Banáš: If they want to prohibit Code 1, they have to prohibit the Gospels first

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Since its introduction onto the Slovak book market on September 12th, 2013, the newest novel Code 1 written by the bestselling author Jozef Banáš has been vividly discussed. His earlier documentary novel Code 9 published three years ago has sold by the end of the year 2013 over 40.000 copies, an unprecedented amount in Slovakia, and has already stirred the water of Slovak literature as well as Slovak social and above all religious lives. The front cover of Code 1 itself, raises questions already; it shows a meditating and not a crucified Christ, as usually depicted by Christians. The novel has been introduced with massive media support due to the fact that one of the most controversial personalities of Czech culture, the rock singer and song writer Dan Landa, did not hesitate to arrive from Prague and support his similarly free-thinking friend Jozef Banáš. As the host of the official ceremony has mentioned, the Cultural Centre in Bratislava´s Vajnorska street experienced such a massive audience only during the concert of the superstar Karel Gott. The novel gives rise to a wave of supportive reactions. Readers refer to it as a great motivational book, manifest of free people, or even as Christ´s Gospel. The author takes an uncompromising stand against the leadership of the Catholic Church in Slovakia by placing the Slovak Bishops´ Conference in the Middle ages and pronouncing, similarly as earlier Dostoyevsky in his Grand Inquisitor: “If today, Christ came to a meeting of the Slovak bishop´s conference they would chase him away because his ideas would only be in their way.” On one hand, these strong words find immense support among the modern thinking Catholics, who still have not recovered from the shocking unsubstantiated removal of the popular archbishop of Trnava, Róbert Bezák. On the other hand, they cause fierce and even threatening reactions from those, whom Banáš refers to as the owners of the truth. And the author defends himself very effectively. He has even proclaimed that if any of the church representatives should prove just a single argument in his book to be false, he is ready to withdraw the novel from the market. He says: “We live difficult times and man is in search of light to show him the way in his life. We Christians have the light in form of a wonderful man Jesus Christ who has been displaced by the theologians to some imaginary heavens, they have turned him into an unreachable ideal of perfection and thus Jesus has lost the motivating aspect for Christians. I do not understand neither why they have been imposing on us some absurd dogmas about mortal sin, everlasting Christian suffering; constantly they bring us Christians to our knees. All of it is depicted in the image of a crucified Christ although he suffered on the cross for three hours, but his whole life had been beautiful, full of joy. Why do not they show us a joyful Christ? How is it possible that Christians do not mind that they do not learn anything about Christ from the Gospels? Not even his day of crucifixion, and that despite the thousands of witnesses in Jerusalem? Where was he during the eighteen years which the Gospels do not mention at all? I am attempting to offer a reconstruction of his life. It is almost certain that he gained his healing abilities in India. I went there three times and stayed also in Kashmir; I publish pictures as well as maps. These are difficult to argue with. I want to give Christ back to people, we need him badly! Thus I answer those who claim that Banáš is provoking, that it is Christ provoking, because I do nothing else than cite the Gospel in Code 1. The problem is that Christians know the Gospel only from the interpretations, or misinterpretations of their priests. If they want to prohibit the novel Code 1, they have to prohibit the Gospels first.”
Extract od slovak and foreign media

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