‘The Da Vinci Code’ fakes Christian history in a novel way
“The movie is “a thriller, not a religious tract,” claims Sony Pictures spin doctor Jim Kennedy, referring to his company’s movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Has Kennedy compared notes with author Dan Brown whose blockbuster undercuts Christianity’s credibility? Street corner evangelists distribute tracts, usually broadsides defending Christian faith from heresy. Brown hustles his book as a tract, too, using it to fabricate Christian history in a novel way.On a literary level, The Da Vinci Code creates a murder mystery. It’s pacing is superb. The suspense it builds makes readers rapidly turn this potboiler’s pages. Here’s a literary roller coaster readers do not want to end. We meet debonair Robert Langdon, played in the movie by Tom Hanks, who ranks as Harvard’s #1 “symbologist.” Dan Brown invents Symbology. Langdon majors in it, taking the European art world by storm. He possesses uncanny ability at deciphering codes and numerology embedded in art treasures like the Mona Lisa and The Lord’s Supper. So good is he at perceiving what others do not see in paintings by the Masters that his skills become synonymous with “symbology.” Flanked by a comely French cryptographer Sophie Neveu, Langdon rushed to the Louve in the dead of night to discover Sophie’s grandfather dead, his corpse lying in the Grand Gallery. The copse’s posture sends Langdon and Sophie jet-setting over Europe. They crack codes embedded in works of art and do battle against titanic evil-a secret society called the Priory of Sion-a devilish arm of the Roman Catholic Church.Beneath this clever, entertaining plot lies a stunning strike against the truth of orthodox Christianity. Brown asserts through a character in The Da Vinci Code how “almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” The Trinity is a sham the Roman Catholic Church perpetrates. Christ’s divinity barely survived ecclesiastical politicking at the ancient Council of Nicea. Faith in his incarnation and resurrection, which biblical writers believed in, Gnostic writers declared erroneous. These Gnostic authors who preceded biblical writers had the inside goods on Jesus’ human identity.According to Brown, the “original Gnostic disciples” didn’t believe in Christ’s divinity. They revered Jesus as a towering sage whose wisdom seemed heavenly. “Gnostic” is a transliteration from the biblical Greek for “what’s true.” What Brown claims is true about a merely human Jesus renders false orthodox Christianity’s faith in his divinity.Brown conjures up how these Gnostic disciples wrote glowingly about Jesus being strictly human. Sadly, they lost out in popularity to other disciples, like the Apostle Paul, who went on a missionary rampage to “hijack” the real gospel, as Brown dramatically writes, from Gnostic authors. Paul and others concocted, with approval from a Jewish sect called Christianity, fanciful tales of Jesus’ divinity. Mysteriously, Gnostic devotees drifted off, lost in history’s dim mists.Dan Brown is a provocative, convincing evangelist. He even has followers who identity themselves as Progressive Christians. They take Brown’s way of dismissing what is supernatural, applying it to Christ’s resurrection. These Progressives within the Christian camp treat Christ’s rising from the dead as bogus. It never actually happening.Taking Brown’s cue, Progressive Christians claim that Christ’s resurrection was an event all right. It occurred within believers but not to Jesus. What’s fostered is a story line about radical change occurring in the disciples’ outlook after Jesus’ death. They experienced a turn-about. Once despairing, they became hopeful after the resurrection. Reflecting on their dead and buried Rabbi Jesus, these disciples pledged to follow his example. They stamped his godly character upon theirs. Though dead, Jesus was revered as Lord who masterfully gave purpose to their lives. He lives-metaphorically resurrected. Jesus arises from the grave every time disciples rededicate their lives, more perfectly following him. Believers’ hopes were resurrected, so the story goes. Just as Dan Brown dupes readers to willingly accept fabrications about Christianity, these Christians who dismiss Christ’s literal resurrection hoodwink themselves. The Apostle Paul claimed a few decades after the first Easter, “…if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (I Corinthians 15:14). The vivid imagery for “vain” is a puff of smoke drifting above a campfire. It’s airy nothingness. Smoke lacks value, blocks true vision and disappears, as if never existing.Faith disappears like smoke curling over a fire when we deny Christ’s literal resurrection. What occurred on Easter Day by the power of God Almighty was an actual event in the world we live. It can not be finessed into a quasi-Christian statement of how disciples long ago experienced a change of mind. They went from sorrow to ecstasy. Jesus somehow was reborn within them. Their new outlook grew on them, becoming faith.Denying the literal resurrection has as much worth as a puff of smoke.Read The Resurrection of the Son of God (2004), over 800 pages exhaustively proving how Christ’s resurrection is more than plausible and more than possible, because it literally occurred. Written by acclaimed scholar Nicolas Thomas Wright, then Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey in London, this book cracks The Da Vinci Code’s dubious thinking. The novel lacks veracity when reporting early Christianity’s history. “The question that must be faced,” concludes Wright, “is whether the explanation of the data which the early Christians gave, that Jesus really was risen from the dead ‘explains the aggregate’ of evidence better than those sophisticated skepticisms. My claim is that it does.” Tom Wright cracks The Da Vinci Code, revealing a fraudulent tale.The Reverend Dr. Jack R. Van Ens is a Presbyterian minister who heads the tax exempt, non-profit Creative Growth Ministries, enhancing Christian worship through lively storytelling and dramatic presentations. Van Ens’ book, “How Jefferson Made the Best of Bad Messes” is available in local bookstores for $7.95.
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User