Da Vinci Ignorance

The Da Vinci Code phenomenon is sort of irritating and puzzling at the same time.  The film comes out tomorrow on the heels of a long best seller run for the hardcover by Dan Browne.  As usual, the popular culture accepts it with open arms.  Especially since it attacks (under the surface) many things held sacred by Christians.  Try to put out a movie that is favorable to Christ (remember The Passion), and all you get from Hollywood is ridicule, hateful statements, and contempt.  Don't try to do that to Mohammed; I don't watch South Park, but, in a recent ep, Viacom put the nix on any images — degrading or otherwise — of Mohammed; this ep apparently spared no pain in denigrating Jesus, though.  Anyhow, The Da Vinci Code is somehow just "entertainment", while The Passion was "very controversial."

Now why its popularity is so immense, I am not totally sure.  I hear that it is supposedly a good story, but that alone would not create the interest level it has.  My supposition is that most Americans love a good conspiracy (as I have said, I know I do); and of course the book is rich with ideas tearing at "secret societies" inside the Catholic church and its patriarchal arrangement (did I just hear a feminist hiss?).  My main problem is that when it comes to the so-called "facts" that supposedly lie behind the book (did anybody read Holy Blood, Holy Grail?), for the most part, people are just ignorant about early church history, the reasons for selecting the books of the Bible, or the simple contents of the four gospels.  Our society is simply illiterate when it comes to the Bible.  This is the scary part.  Nobody even seems to have any sense when it comes to the enamorment with the Gnostic Gospels (Wheel of Fortune crowd cue …).  These books were written far later and with an ideological bent that reinforced the Gnostic view (Try reading the last of the sayings "gospel" of Thomas and you find that Jesus "says" that women must become men in order to get to heaven!!).  Astounding.  They pale in comparison with the four gospels to say the least.

To end this on a brighter note, though, the good news is that Christians are being forced to look into fundamentals that we have been lazy or complacent about learning.  There are somewhere at least into the high teens or low twenties of books debunking the claims of the Da Vinci fiction.  I am impressed with Ben Witherington as a scholar, so I read The Gospel Code, and came away realizing that TDVC is the same old rehash of ideas that some of the church fathers fought in the early days of the church.  In fact, it was typically in response to heresies that the church had to clarify its understanding of many things (take Marcion for example; the response to him gave us one of the earliest (~140 AD) lists of the books of the New Testament).  Anyhow, another excellent resource is the John Ankerberg website.  His website (and show) is just outstanding — I recommend it not only for its excellent and insightful commentary on TDVC, but for its many other resources in Christian apologetics.

I haven't decided whether I'll see TDVC movie yet (or even read the book!).  If so, it will pretty much be for the purpose of carrying on a dialogue with people.  Nevertheless, Christians have a great opportunity to use this as an open door to talk about the real Jesus.  May our lives even dimly reflect his glory!

Published in: on May 19, 2006 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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