The release of The Da Vinci Code movie is nearing, and therefore the anti-DC (Da Vinci Code) proclamations by the Catholic church and other Christians have been stepped up a notch. While I have no problem with refuting the fanciful conspiracy theory of The Da Vinci Code, I cannot seem to get a statement, from over a week ago, by the Catholic Church out of my head. Here’s the article: link.
First of all, let me point out what I’m cool with:
Archbishop “Amato, addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, called the book “‘stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church.'”
Ouch! Now tell me how you really feel about it. Harsh though his statement was, I think that Amato is right on. Here is where he gets off track though:
He added: “I hope that you all will boycott the film.”
That is where the Church has historically always messed things up, and it’s once again abusing its power and influence to suppress an opposing point of view. Though a call for a boycott is gentle in comparison with other past offenses, it sends a message to the church and to the world: if you’re really a faithful disciple of Jesus, you should not see this movie. This lays on some unnecessary guilt and stifles the opportunity for open dialogue and critique of the movie.
In addition, I am convinced that a boycott sends a far more disturbing message: clearly the church doesn’t want you to see this movie because it cannot stand up against the attacks to Christianity. Boycotts and bans are a tactic employed by the losers, those on their way out, those who are planted on the sand and feel vulnerable, those who have met a superior opponent and cannot survive a face-to-face encounter. The church is only hurting itself by calling on a boycott of the film.
Once again, I must emphasize that the church can and should refute the DC. It’s a poorly researched work of fiction that has captivated the fawning minds of the masses who want to be on the inside of a big secret, who want to cheer for the underdog, and who want a new way to explain the world. Perhaps one of the better responses to the DC is by Darrell Bock. He’s a first-rate New Testament scholar who writes very clearly. In addition, Biblical Seminary sponsored a seminar on the DC two years ago and the DVD is still available on the seminary’s web site. And remember this, Dan Brown set out to write a work of fiction. He has no credentials as a historian. He only did enough research to put together a fascinating plot for a story. Technically speaking, with two Bachelor degrees and a Master of Divinity, even I am more qualified than Brown to write a book about religion.
My Own Conspiracy Theory:
Who knows how it all happened, but I would guess that the following happened: Dan Brown, a skeptic and probably an agnostic of some sort, was doing research to write a popular work of fiction. He strung together some conspiracy theories, sprinkled on some speculation, and took a few shots at the church. Suddenly the book took off. People actually took it seriously, and the more serious people became about the material, the faster the books jumped off the shelves. Letters and e-mails poured in to Dan Brown: “Do you believe this?”
Put yourself in Brown’s shoes. He has no religious affiliation. He doesn’t really care about the church. He has a chance to make A LOT of money. He may as well believe the stuff he wrote about, and besides, it can’t hurt sales. Advocating for the truth of his book will stir a little controversy, get Christians up in arms, and then he won’t ever have to spend a nickle on marketing. So, possibly with a few reservations, he goes public about his belief in the fictional book. He has bought into it. In one moment he has saved the credibility of his fans, while also stirring up more controversy and catching the attention of more readers. Claiming to believe in the book was his best marketing move yet.
And so, it’s a conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theory for sure, but at least I have this going for me: it’s far more plausible than Dan Brown’s theory about the Holy Grail.