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Friday, May 12, 2006

The DaVinci Nonsense

I have recently (as in yesterday) finished reading The DaVinci Code for the first time. Not because the movie will be coming out a week from tomorrow, but because my English teacher assigned it. Tomorrow we will meet him in front of the school where he will divide us into our assigned groups and give us clues to follow so we can find the test. Once we find it, we have to run back to the classroom so that we have time to take it before the bell rings. Unfortunately, none of the people in my group are quite as intelligent as I would have liked them to be. But I am getting off the point.

What I wanted to say is, I really don't understand what all the Christians are freaking out about in this book--and that's coming from a rather devout Charismatic. I see what they would be so concerned about if this book were either non-fiction or being passed off as non-fiction, but it's not. The cover clearly states under the title: A NOVEL. The three statements at the beginning of the FICTITIOUS STORY are the only things that are true about the book. All other things can be assumed or proven false and/or fabricated. Sure, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic Gospels exist. And sure, Mary Magdalene was a real person and she had a close enough relationship with Jesus to be one of the first people to see Him alive after His crucifixion. But just because there are facts embeded in the story does not make it true. And keep this in mind, also: a fact is a statement but is not necessarily a truth.

--spoiler warning--
For those who haven't read the novel and therefore have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the basic run-down from memory. (Keep in mind as you read that this is fiction, not non-fiction.) The prominent curator of the Louvre (and later revealed as the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion [a group that protects the location of the Holy Grail]) Jacques Saunière is murdered by a man named Silas (an albino numerary in the Catholic sect Opus Dei who is following orders from a nameless and faceless "Teacher" [who later turns out to be Sir Leigh Teabing]) who has also murdered the other 3 top officials of the Priory in search of the keystone (which was supposedly created by the Priory around the 1980s as a way to locate the Grail). Saunière's estranged granddaughter (whom he raised) Sophie Neveu and American Harvard Religious Symbology Professor Robert Langdon get sucked into the murder as they try to simultaneously solve the murder and the mystery of the Holy Grail while on the run from the DCPJ (the French equivalent of the FBI). At the end, everything turns out right. The killer dies, the Teacher is arrested, Robert and Sophie are cleared and possibly in love, and Robert finds the Holy Grail in the very place the search started--the Louvre. (You can learn more about the novel here.)

The controversy comes from claims made by different (and more than one) characters in the book that the Christian (and more specifically Catholic) church is a maniacal, scheming organization that maliciously tried to stifle goddess and mother nature worship by falsly smearing the image of women and re-writing the Gospels to make Mary Magdalene look like a prostitute. While there is a glimmer of truth in the latter part of the statement, this is still a ridiculous thing to be upset over. I don't let it bother me. I have my faith and I have my truth, and I still have my God.

There was nothing in the book that offended me as a Christian. Maybe as a woman (sorry, I don't think I'd like to be worshipped), but it didn't hurt my faith. The only book I ever read that shook my faith was Conversations with God, the book with possibly most misleading title in the history of the universe. The DaVinci Code was just a good mystery, and the kind of puzzle I like to solve in my free time. I think I may have actually grown closer to God as a result of reading this book. It made me realize how blessed I am to have a personal relationship with Him that helps me discern the truth in the things I see and hear around me. One of my favorites phrases to remember: Satan can only tell you lies.

People are mad about the degrading depiction of the Catholic church and Opus Dei, and that's understandable. I get angry when people start saying things like, "Those tongue-speaking Charismatics are just making noise. You're not supposed to dance in church! They're lunatics!" But hey, what can we do about free speech? If we want it, everybody else's got to have it, too. Write a book about atheists and mystics and we'll call it even.

Case and point: chill out, my fellow God-loving Jesus-knowing truth-lovers! Faith is stronger than a best-selling novel. Robert Langdon says so himself, the Bible is the #1 best-seller of all time. If you haven't read the book, read it. Amuse yourself by pointing out all of the innaccuracies, discrepancies, lies, things you don't believe in, etc. and make yourself a blog entry about this.

God is bigger than the air we breathe, and God is bigger than Leonardo DaVinci.

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