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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Da Vinci Crock," I Mean "Code"

I was so delighted when I heard a while back that the Anglican officials refused to give permission for Ron Howard to make his newest movie in Westminster Abbey. The Da Vinci Code movie, based on the Dan Brown book of the same name will star Tom Hanks and seems to be nearing completion. Then I read this bit from Mere Comments by James Kushiner.

Apparently, not all Anglicans are willing to turn revisionistic, historically illiterate hacks away from using their church properties to slander Jesus. At least not when 100,000 British pounds come into the picture. Yes, a Rev. Alec Knight has allowed the filmmakers to use Lincoln Cathedral. And, of course, the church will be rewarded handsomely.

Sadly, the modern Church of England - as a whole - is not particularly known for its concern for getting the Jesus stuff right, but I was encouraged by a rare bit of backbone shown by the caretakers of Westminster Abbey. [There's the old joke: Why does the bishop lay his hands on the head of the new ordinand? It's easier to remove his spine.] Then I read about this Lincoln Cathedral business. After all, what's integrity when you've got to pay the gas bills each month?

I have read The Da Vinci Code. I have also read other books by Dan Brown. Assuming Ron Howard's film follows the book at all, it will be a horrible movie. It makes me sad, frankly. The people the Church is called to minister to, and the world in which this takes place, is increasingly ignorant of Biblical content. 'Tis a fact. And we're even less well-informed, I think, about the history of Western Civilization. I have spoken to far too many people whose primary (or secondary) source of religious information is T.V. and film. People figure, why do I need to go to Bible study or get my kids involved in church? We go on X-mas and Easter, sorta.

It's one thing to write a novel. It's quite another to write a novel about actual historical subjects without evidence of genuine research and filled with errors any 9th grader a hundred years ago would've been able to spot and then publicly claim to be writing true stuff. Someone said, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Dan Brown is the poster boy for that slogan. He takes a bit of fact and goes bonkers with it. Gee, buy an encyclopedia already.

Y'know those people who watch Battlestar Gallactica on television and soak in its underlying mythology of how ancient space aliens populated the earth and built the pyramids - - and believe it's true? That's what The Da Vinci Code is doing for many people concerning the historical person of Jesus Christ.

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Anonymous said...

Doesn't it say somewhere that there will be a famine of *hearing*
the Word?
I think that is happening...big time!


The Cubicle Reverend said...

And the state of affairs are not as good here in america as well. Between Bishop Spong denying the deity of Christ (from the pulpit), the Olsteen teaching the gospel of me, me, me, and Mclaren teaching wishy-washiness, does it really suprise you? Keep up your good work.

Anonymous said...

I have heard people ask, hey, what's the big deal? It's only a novel!

However, I know well-educated, lifelong church-going people, including my own mother, who are amazingly convinced that this book is historical fact. She tells me that the ladies in her "book group" all think that The Da Vinci Code is one of the best books they've ever read. These retirement-aged women are either anti-Roman Catholic (like my mother) or disgruntled Roman Catholics; their reasoning is that if the Roman Catholic Church is riled up about this book, then it must be true. And everyone else who objects to it are just ignorant "Bible-thumpers."

These DVC devotees also defend the book's credibility by saying, "you can't trust what's in the Bible; you just don't know where it comes from!" How ironic, then, that these same people will so eagerly accept the writings of some guy named Dan Brown as unchallenged "gospel" truth.

I have tried reasoning with my mother. Her Lutheran pastor son has tried educating her. She will simply not hear it. This isn't limited to retirement-aged women. We've heard the same from our peers - parents of young children.

For quite some time, many of our churches have been failing to provide their members with a sound Biblical education. And for many denominations, church has been about everything but spreading the Gospel. Faith has obviously fallen by the wayside as well. This is the sad result: people believing anything & everything else that comes down the pike.

Anonymous said...

Happy 16K on your Blog

Sus said...

Sometimes it's interesting how little it takes to get someone back on track (must be God's hand in it)... This last year I was teaching a Bible study, & one of the men who didn't have a lot of Biblical knowledge asked something which tipped me off that he might be referring to that book. I don't remember the question, but I remember my answer included something about how the Church is called the bride of Christ. The man just looked at me and said "Oh. So Christ couldn't have been married to Mary Magdalene, because He was already married!"

I have my own "novel rant" right now that I'll probably post about over the weekend.

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