Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I haven't read the book. I'm working on it. But, I have seen the movie. Here are some thoughts:

Undoubtedly, it is fiction. It twists history to make a point. Mostly Brown is trying for good fiction, but I think he's scoring some political points in there as well. I don't think that's much different than the authors of Left Behind or other evangelical, apocalyptic fiction, though. They twist scripture to fit their ideological and political points of view.

I think one of the best things that could come from this book/movie is a resurgent interest in church history. Most Christians I know don't really have a solid understanding of church history. And that makes sense--it can often be a big shock, to see the power struggles, the politics, the way that things we take for granted today were socially constructed. But I think challenging and learning is part of faith. All education, good education at least, gets at the root of how and why we "know" what we "know." It always involves a good bit of shock. All good education challenges our preconceived notions, questions received wisdom. We can't sit in a bubble and have people tell us what we want to hear. How does that grow faith? How does that grow a person?

While much of Brown's "history" is not history at all (it's fiction, people!!), my hope is that it will cause interest in church history, the formation of doctrine and the canon, etc. Maybe it will cause us to reexamine our notions of "Jesus" and how he has been constructed historically. Brown's version may not be accurate, but neither is the Jesus that is dominant in today's culture. We have the filter of churches, authors, commentators, and culture telling us what Jesus should be like. Who needs the bible at all, really?

My fear is that those who might most benefit from the questioning/thinking process that could be started from this book/movie are the very ones who won't go to see it. But that's always how it is, isn't it?


Kent said...

Are you even a Christian? It’s wishy-washy people like you who don’t want to accept the truth that will end up regretting it in the end. You say faith but you just want proof and evidence but faith doesn’t need those. You don’t have to have a good education to be a good Christian. We don’t all have to be phds in religious history to understand the Bible (btw, why don’t you capitalize the word Bible, because you don’t really believe it) and the ideas that God gives us there.

You probablyu also believe in homosexuality and abortion. If u actually read the Bible, you would know what a Christian should believe about those things. I sent you an e-mail. E-mail me back if you want to talk about this.

Oh yeah, and the da vinci code is stupid. It’s just fiction, yea, but the author and lots of people say it’s real. It could actually be dangerous to people’s faiths. But I agree with you about left behind. It’s not real scripture, it’s just stupid fiction. And not very well written.

Jennifer said...

Hey Kent,

Thanks for replying! I just posted a new post replying to much of what you said. It kind of turned into a long ramble, but oh well.

Anyway, amen about the Left Behind books!!

Incidentally, I noticed you didn't capitalize Left Behind or The Da Vinci Code. Any hidden meaning behind that? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just a fact for you: in 1969 the Vatican issued a retraction of the claim that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. So, in that respect Brown is right to a degree. The extent of church corruption can be found in the fact that the Vatican acknowledged Mary was not a prostitute yet fail to protest the teaching of such slanderous claims to this date. (I can still remember being taught Mary was a prostitute and I'm only 18- there was plenty of time between the retraction and my birth to correct such a 'misunderstanding').