Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           May 28, 2006                           NO. 19

 In Case You Thought There Were Facts

Behind "The Da Vinci Code"

    The April 8, 2006 issue of the Omaha World-Herald contained an interesting follow-up on the lawsuit by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, against Dan Brown, the author of the very popular The Da Vinci Code. The article contained some very telling conclusions by the judge in the case.

    London High Court Judge Peter Smith was impressed by the success of The Da Vinci Code, but he noted that "Brown was so dependent on the research of his wife, Blythe, that he was unable to offer clear answers on the stand about when they first read Holy Blood, Holy Grail. 'I do not believe he consciously lied,' Smith wrote, 'His failure to address these points in my view shows once again that the reality of his research is that it is superficial.' The judge could not help pointing out, too, that the author's ideas were less than divinely inspired. He noted that Brown 'wishes to create 'gray' areas, not black and white. He simply needs therefore a mystery and a series of unanswered questions. He can do that without deep research, and that he has done."

    Mr. Brown's work is a work of fiction based on shallow research, according to a learned judge. He sat out to write a mystery story and succeeded very well, but it remains a fictional story that promotes a very warped view of history and Christianity. The fact that millions have flocked to it just echoes Paul's statement: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9).

---Jeffrey W. Hamilton

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    A popular novelist seeks to undermine the faith of those who believe the Gospels are the Word of God. The Da Vinci Code, a novel by Dan Brown, has been at the top of the best seller lists for over two years. I finally read it a few months ago and found it to be a 454 page thriller. It is filled with suspense, breakneck action, and unexpected twists It is quite a clean and decent work, as modern novels go, with little objectionable language or episodes. It is also a book that is deeply anti-Christian. It characterizes the New Testament Gospels as "fabrications," and the deity of Christ as a fable.

    "Well, after all, it is a novel," many have said; "just a work of fiction." Surely no one will take it as a serious historical study. The problem is that it purports to be a historical novel. In this genre we expect the characters, circumstances, and perhaps the places to be fictional. But we assume the historical context to be factual. This is precisely what Brown alleges in the foreword of his book. Herein lie the concerns of so many. Historian Paul L. Maier has likened The Da Vinci Code to a WWII novel in which Germany wins the war, and Churchill is tried in London and Roosevelt in Washington as war criminals.

    Evidence abounds that non-believers have been confirmed in their unbelief, and many seekers and believers have been confused and disillusioned by this novel. Mark Twain just about had it right when he said that a lie will run around the world while the truth is getting its shoes laced up!

    The Da Vinci Code begins with the murder of a Museum Curator at the Louvre in Paris. A Harvard professor who is an Indiana Jones type character, and a French code breaker who happens to be the curator's estranged granddaughter, are mistakenly implicated in the murder and set out together to unravel the mystery as they try to stay a step ahead of the authorities.

    The deeper theme is that the curator had evidence to disprove the deity of Christ. He was one of a select group of pagans that had harbored a great secret for many generations. This information had been recorded in documents buried beneath the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem. The documents had been found and since 1099 had been in the custody of a secret European society called "The Priory of Sion." They were awaiting the correct time to make this secret public.

    What was this great secret? It was that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, they had a daughter named Sarah, and there are descendants of Jesus upon the earth today. Many clues to the "truth" had been planted by great artists and thinkers. These may be found in paintings by Da Vinci, operas by Wagner, the architecture of cathedrals and even in Disney cartoons. The Church (Roman Catholic) is aware of the "truth" and is making every effort to seize the evidence and destroy it.

    The "truth" is, we are assured, the heretics in the early church, those who denied the deity of Christ, were speaking the truth. The Church banned their teaching, for the "truth" would have destroyed its power base. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are unreliable. It was the Gnostic gospels, books rejected by the early church, that are historically accurate and tell the truth about Jesus. The truth according to Dan Brown is that Jesus was just an ordinary human being with strong leanings toward goddess worship. You can forget any notion that He was resurrected from the dead or that His death has any benefit for you or me.

    The Da Vinci Code is not only a runaway best seller in this country but is being translated into 40 languages and is now being made into a movie with Ron Howard directing. Brown has been lauded as a brilliant historian. Literary Journal described his work as "a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense," a "masterpiece" that "should be mandatory reading." Publisher's Weekly called it "an exhaustively researched page-turner about religious societies, ancient cover-ups and savage vengeance."

    Does Dan Brown really believe this nutty conspiracy theory that he proposes in his fictional work? He says he does. When asked by Charles Gibson on Good Morning America (Nov. 3, 2003) if his work would have been different were he writing a nonfiction book, he replied, "I don't think it would have. I began the research for 'The Da Vinci Code' as a skeptic. I entirely expected, as I researched the book, to disprove this theory. And after numerous trips to Europe, about two years of research, I really became a believer." Which only goes to show that people, even highly intelligent people, will believe whatever they want to, whether there is an iota of evidence for it or not!

    It will be interesting to see how the critics deal with the movie, won't it? Of course we don't have to wait. We know. We may be sure it will not be with the same viciousness with which they took after Mel Gibson's The Passion Of Christ. The New Republic called that movie "a repulsive, masochistic fantasy, a sacred snuff film" that is "without any doubt an anti-Semitic movie." The New York Times accused Gibson of "courting bigotry in the name of sanctity." Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes said that Gibson was "a real nut case" whose true motive was making money. I will predict that this film will be praised to high heaven by critics and receive multiple awards.

    In the next few articles we shall review some of the major claims of The Da Vinci Code. I make little claim to originality in these. I have drawn upon a number of good rebuttals that have been published.

---Ken Green

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