Monday, May 22, 2006

The Da Vinci Code: A Fiction Masquerading as a Historical Fact

I watched the movie on the big screen, not for entertainment reasons but to discern the impact of the movies’ claims on the viewing public (thanks to my brother who gave me complimentary tickets). The visual media is the most effective instrument to entice people to embrace a position. What they see, they often believe. After watching the 2.5 hour movie, I can put forth two observations. First, the movie must not be interpreted and appreciated beyond its fictional character. Second, the movie’s presentation can never ruin the faith of even a nominal Christian.

I would like to scrutinize the film using two lenses: as a simple movie-goer and as a minister. The presentation of the long journey of Robert Langdon has made the movie a real yawner. I was expecting to see a fast-paced story and a good cinematography as Dan Brown presents the mystery in the written form. The long conversations on church controversies among Langdon, Teabing and Sophia, in one way or the other, did a great disservice to moviegoers who expect more adventures. The action scenes are confined to car chases and hide and seek scenarios. To the extreme, it would be better to just get a copy of the book which is more challenging to examine (although I won't endorse that...). However, I am with the view that banning the movie from many cinemas can only enflame the growing curiosity of the people. Let the adults see the film. I am confident that they shall treat the movie as another product of imagination.

As a minister of the Gospel, I can never succumb to the author’s flawed claims and misguided theories. The issues which he put forth in the novel have long been settled by the leaders of the universal Christian church. Topics of counterfeit gospels (i.e. Gospels of Judas and Philip) are never new and have been settled by various Bible scholars both in the Catholic and Protestant circles. Dan Brown succeeded in using these issues to arouse the interests of non-religious people whose minds have been blinded by many socio-political and religious persuasions. He, in fact, as his words in an interview revealed, is a man of many religions. When asked if he is a Christian, he answered:

Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as absolute historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious--that is, that we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress. (http://www.danbrown.com/novels/davinci_code/faqs.html)

The movie posits (through Teabing and Langdon) that the nature of Christ should never be big deal. Divine or human, it does not make a difference. On the contrary, relegating Christ to a mere human being is a straightforward blasphemy. Apostle John warned everyone of Gnostic, anti-Christ teachings which explain that that Christ did not become human, hence can never be divine or a God. 2 John 1:7 states that, “ For many deceivers have entered into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-christ.”

As Christian apologists CS Lewis wrote, Jesus can either be a liar, a lunatic or a real LORD. The truth is, He is Lord and God. The claims of the false gospels can never outweigh the claims of the canonized Gospels of the current Bible. God will always protect His word. He can never let a single novel destroy His name. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but his Words shall remain forever (Mark 13:31). The Bible is still the best-selling book of all time. It continues to change lives because it is inspired by the Christ and His Holy Spirit. It does not take a complex code for a person to understand that truth.

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