Inspirations: Relax, it’s just our values

As Sony Pictures releases The Da Vinci Code this weekend, the story’s controversial claims will also be unleashed to a broader audience. Already the movie based on Dan Brown’s bestselling book is prompting a worldwide response. In India, the movie’s release has been put on hold, censors in Britain have required film makers to make changes, in the Philippines the movie’s been given an adults only rating, and some Christian leaders including the Vatican have called for a boycott.
The Da Vinci Code isn’t controversial merely in the breathtaking way it displaces documented history, recklessly discarding it for Brown’s fictitious one. The real scandal here is in how our sacred values, the accurate account of Christianity which has come to us by the blood of the saints, and our respect for the dependable telling of history are offered up so carelessly for something the film makers thought more important: Entertainment, yes and of course, money.
In defense of the controversy, and its possible negative impact at the box office, actor Tom Hanks responded that ” . . . the story we tell is loaded with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense.”
When Hollywood gives us heroes battling off an army of space aliens, we know it’s all hooey. But the plot of the Da Vinci Code doesn’t stop at merely being a who-done-it murder mystery for entertainment’s sake. Its story purports to unravel real historical truth: Everything you’ve heard about Jesus is a lie, and the Church has hidden this from you since its origin. How did the film makers fail to recognize that this is more than just hooey and fun? Apparently, no one thought it mattered that the story they were telling casually denies the deity of Christ, claims the Bible can’t be trusted, and proposes a real and epic Christian conspiracy.
Dr. Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University notes that “Readers [and moviegoers] expect the background to be credible and accurate. They just assume that.” And the story’s proving to have an effect beyond entertainment. A National Geographic commissioned survey reports that 32% of Canadians who read The Da Vinci Code believe its basic thesis is true. A British survey shows that readers are twice as likely to believe Jesus fathered children after reading the book.
Dan Brown’s history is a fictional one, easily disproven with facts. Here are just a few to prove the point:
Claim: Jesus was married. Fact: Nowhere in the Bible – or even in the accounts Dan Brown references – is there any mention of Jesus being married.
Claim: Leonardo Da Vinci was a member of a secret society, The Priory of Sion, which protected special knowledge through the centuries. Fact: The Priory of Sion was established in 1956 by French con man Pierre Plantard who produced false historical documents later proved a hoax.
Claim: Jesus never said He was divine, and the early Church didn’t start believing it until the year 325 AD. Fact: Jesus speaks of His divinity numerous times in scripture. In John’s Gospel Jesus states “I and the Father are one.” To which some hearers picked up stones to kill Him. Jesus asks for which of His miracles do they want to stone Him to death, and they reply “We are not stoning you for any of these, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:30-33)
The ultimate irony is that the Christian church hasn’t fought to cover up truth for centuries, but its labor has been to reveal it. Perhaps the Da Vinci Code will crack open a discussion the church has long wanted to have with those sitting on faith’s fence. Who is Jesus and is the Bible trustworthy? Great questions, but the only role the Da Vinci Code can play in answering them is to lead us to the demand the Truth.
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