The Power to Suppress and My Own Conspiracy Theory About Dan Brown

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.

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2 thoughts on “The Power to Suppress and My Own Conspiracy Theory About Dan Brown

  1. Andy Smith

    Ed: I have been" lurking" about your blog for awhile and have finally decided to comment. You are doing a great job and reading many books to inform your views. Keep up the good work!
    I can’t say I always agree with you but I often do. I must say your take on Sola Scriptura was provacative, particularly coming from a Protestant . I tend to agree with you, but I might add Transubstantiation as another"best doctrine Jesus never heard of" I think that in the development of doctrine many denominations go to places that may be beyond what God intends. On to the Da Vinci Code!
    I also read Dan Brown’s book and Bock’s reply and agree with your views on the pseudo-history, conspracy theory and bad theology that Brown puts forth. I disagree that a boycott is an indication that Christianity is insecure or on the losing side. I think an attempt to prohibit production or distribution would indicate that but not a boycott. In a capitalist and consumer society how we as Christians spend our money can serve to mold the marketplace. I love movies and books and am annoyed that my money goes to support people and businesses that hold political and religious opinions obnoxious to me. But I am not willing to give up seeing good movies just because the actors or studios take different positions than me. However I do draw some lines. I try to avoid Chinese products because of the poltical and religious oppression in China and Tibet and i will not fund Hugo Chavez or greedy executives by buying gas at Citgo or Exxon. The Da Vinci Code, since it claims to present "facts" that even secular historians can refute, falls into this category for me. I cannot in good conscience materially support this blasphemy. I borrowed the book and will watch the movie when it comes on cable but reward the author with my dollar- no way. There is a move on for an "other-cott" seeing the animated movie "Over the Hedge" which opens the same weekend. So i will vote with my dollar and laugh at animated raccoons instead of growling at fictional albino assassins on opening weekend. Andy Smith

  2. Ed Post author

    Andy, thanks for dropping by. I think you’ve made some very valid points. I still wonder if the church is using its power and influence to suppress dissenting voices, but in any case, I trust that your motivations for boycotting Brownie’s book are very legit and reasonable.

    I also agree in that I don’t want to send Dan Brown a nickle of my money. I bought the DC used and then sold it for a dollar more!

    Perhaps I’m overreacting here. Maybe my critique would be more appropriate if Christians were trying to ban Brown’s book. In light of this, a boycott seems like small potatoes. Alright, I concede, you’ve won.

    But you have to admit that my conspiracy theory is right on. In fact, after sharing my wonderful theory with my wife, she looked at me with this puzzled expression and said, "That’s what I said last night when my parents were over for dinner." Shoot. I need to listen better. At least I have to be right if she’s on my side.

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