Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Questioning Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code is in its 129th week on the New York Times Bestseller List. With more than 25 million copies in print in 44 different languages, it has been on the cover of Newsweek and Time magazines, won the Book Sense book of the year award and is being developed into a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard.

The main character in the novel is Robert Langdon -- 40-something, gray-haired, very bright, dashing, attractive Harvard professor who stumbled onto some amazing secrets:

  • Jesus isn't like the four Gospels present him at all. He was married to Mary Magdalene, and they had a child whose descendents may still be alive.
  • Jesus intended Mary Magdalene to be the head of the church after he died.
  • This made Peter jealous, so he covered it all up after Jesus died.
  • The early church engaged in a massive cover-up to conceal Jesus' marriage and his humanity in order to put men in control.
  • Jesus was not considered divine until centuries after his death when the Emperor Constantine suppressed the ancient documents that tell the real story and had the Council of Nicea cobble together what we have today as the New Testament.

This book raises lots of questions for lots of people:

  • Are there other ancient documents about Jesus besides the New Testament?
  • Are they more reliable than what we have in the Scriptures?
  • Was Jesus married?
  • Was his wife Mary Magdalene?
  • Did they have a child?
  • Was Leonardo Da Vinci part of a secret organization that knew all about this?
  • Do we know why the New Testament includes only the books that it does?
  • Was Jesus human or divine?
  • What was the Holy Grail really?
  • How much time would it take for us to sort all this out?

Yes. No. No. No. No. No. Yes. Both. Who knows? About 45 minutes.

Don't worry. I'm not going to go into all these questions. I'm not going to talk about art criticism or literary criticism. But I do want to know what kinds of questions the book prompted in you. And I do want to get at what I think is the main issue: Does the Christian faith and our understanding of Jesus have a solid leg to stand on?

After all, Christians claim to want to build their lives on Truth. But in order to do that, we actually have to think -- and that is something a lot of Christians would rather not do.

So, as we go through some questions about the Christian faith and see how Dan Brown has distorted history, I may periodically ask if you're still with me. If you are, I'd like you to answer, "Yes."

Are you still with me?