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The Da Vinci Code: Sorting Fact From Fiction (1)

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

“Why should we pay attention to The Da Vinci Code? Isn’t it simply a novel?” Many Christians may have this attitude toward this bestselling novel. This book has been out since 2003, but I did not pay attention to it until this year. For all of that time I simply figured that this book was one among thousands of fiction books that have tried to recast Jesus and the Bible in a different light than what the scriptures teach. The Da Vinci Code has sold millions of copies. Ask your friends at work and school and you will find that they have either read the book or have heard about the hype surrounding the book.

But I personally took notice of The Da Vinci Code when the announcement was made that Sony Pictures was releasing this novel as a major motion picture. To make matters worse, popular actors have participated in the creation of the upcoming movie. Ron Howard is the director of The Da Vinci Code movie and the main character of the book is played by the loveable Tom Hanks. It became immediately apparent to me that this movie, with this cast and crew, is a guaranteed blockbuster. Millions have read the book, but millions more will see this movie, released on May 19, 2006. Just as Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of Christ became the talking point of major networks, believers, and unbelievers, this movie will also be a global phenomenon. Knowing the movie was coming, I decided I needed to get to know this book better. After reading the book, I believe it is important for every Christian to be aware of the teaching of the book and make preparations to give a defense against the charges made by The Da Vinci Code. Peter tells believers that they need to be ready to give a defense to any who ask of us (1 Peter 3:15). There is no doubt that this movie will cause many questions to be asked about our faith.

The first reason why we need to know the book and be ready to give a defense is because the novel claims to be historically accurate and true. The first page of the book opens with:

FACT: All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.

With this sentence, people are left to decipher for themselves what is historical fact and what is merely fiction. Unfortunately, most people are accepting every theory proposed in the novel as historical fact, rather than checking history to see if the doctrines are true. This is a serious problem. Fiction novels do not claim to have any truth in them. They are simply stories. But The Da Vinci Code is different. Dan Brown claims that the characters and the plot are fiction, but his assessment of history and charges made against Jesus and the Bible are true.

This is why we cannot simply pass over this book as a fiction novel. It is being treated as a historical novel. This problem is increased because many reviewers are declaring the information in the book to be historically accurate. The New York Daily News says, “His research is impeccable.”? The Library Journal calls the novel, “a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense.”? Others declare the book is “full of historical detail.”? However, for all of the novel’s “historical detail,”? the book never cites any historical documents to prove the theories and charges advanced. The characters in the book simply state these outlandish theories as obvious facts that every scholar knows. Thus, the reader is compelled to believe that the historical world accept these things as fact and the reader should as well.

The second reason Christians ought to know about The Da Vinci Code is because of the charges the book makes against Jesus and the Bible. The novel is not an innocent piece of fiction. There is a clear agenda pushed throughout its pages. If you have not read the book, allow me to reveal to you just a few of the “historical truths”? The Da Vinci Code declares:

1. “The marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record”? (245).

2. Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine moved it to Sunday (232).

3. “Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal”? (233). “Any gospels that described earthly aspects of Jesus’ life had to be omitted from the Bible”? (244).

4. The Council of Nicaea established Jesus as the Son of God (233).

5. “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned”? (234).

6. “The modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda– to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base”? (234).

7. “The Bible represents a fundamental guidepost for millions of people on the planet, in much the same way the Koran, Torah, and Pali Canon offer guidance to people of other religions”? (342)

8. The stories in the Bible are metaphorical and should not be understood literally (342).

9. “The New Testament is false testimony”? (342). “The Bible is a product of man, not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book”? (231).

10. The Gnostic Gospels, like the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Philip, are the “unaltered gospels”? (248) and “the earliest Christian records”? (245).

11. “According to these unaltered gospels, it was not Peter to whom Christ gave directions with which to establish the Christian Church. It was Mary Magdalene. … Jesus was the original feminist. He intended for the future of His Church to be in the hands of Mary Magdalene”? (248).

These are just a few of the charges against Jesus and the Bible. We need to be aware of these charges and be ready to make a defense so we can teach our friends and neighbors the truth.