| RECENT EDITORIAL in my local newspaper advised readers to feel free to be entertained by The Da Vinci Code, "but don't expect to be educated," because "it's a work of fiction."|
Indeed it is a work of fiction, but Dan Brown, the Code's author, would have us believe otherwise. On the first page of the novel he starts with the word "FACT" -- in bold-faced, caps. And then lies from there on. He talks about the Priory of Sion which, he says, was founded in 1099.
Wrong. It was founded in the mid-20th century, and the documents which Brown trumpets as showing Leonardo da Vinci, and others, were members, have been conclusively proven to be forgeries -- and decades before Brown wrote his best-selling novel.
"All descriptions of artwork ... in this novel are accurate," he says.
Other than the titles of the artwork, Brown has gotten nothing else right. He doesn't even know the name of the artist who painted "The Last Supper," "Mona Lisa," or "The Virgin of the Rocks." He frequently calls him "Da Vinci." That was his address. His name was Leonardo.
Dan Brown loudly, and frequently, points to historians, art critics, et al., who back up his work. Then he boldly lists his historians (actually, he does not name the writers, but only their works): Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, Margaret Starbird, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.
None of these authors are, in fact, historians. Starbird holds an M.A. in comparative literature and German. Baigent has an undergraduate degree in psychology and has recently been pursuing an M.A. in Mysticism and Religious Experience. Leigh is primarily a novelist and writer of short stories. Lincoln is a BBC television personality and scriptwriter.
And Picknett and Prince are actually conspiracy theorists with a penchant for occultism, the paranormal, and UFOs. Expert historians? Hardly!
Dan Brown says the Council of Nicaea voted, by a close vote, to declare that Jesus is the Divine Son of God. Actually the Council did no such thing. It affirmed the historic position of the Church that Jesus is the Divine Son of God, and rejected the heresy of Arianism that was beginning to teach otherwise. And the "close vote" was 312-2! It may have been 317-2; the actual whereabouts of five participants is uncertain. Florida in the 2000 presidential elections was close. Nicaea was a landslide.
Again, Brown says that councils voted on which books of the New Testament would be included in the Canon of Scripture, and which books would be included out. He credits the Emperor Constantine with that accomplishment. The various councils (Constantinople and Hippo) never voted on which to include; they always ratified what the Church had already established by their constant use and trust. And those councils met decades after the timeline Brown gives to Constantine -- the authoritative ratification coming hundreds of years after Constantine.
Appearing on the "Today Show" in 2003 with Matt Lauer, Dan Brown was asked, "How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred?" Brown answered, "All of it!"
Leigh Teabing, one of the major characters in the book says, "Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false!" Dan Brown says there are thousands of known documents which prove that Christianity is false. Christians should challenge him -- produce them!
Dan Brown set out to write a book that would de-bunk Christianity and set up a new world religion. Fifty-three percent of the people who have read The Da Vinci Code, according to a poll by George Barna, said their spiritual growth and understanding increased -- because of reading the novel.
Barna also said that among adults who are aligned with a Christian church, 59 percent do not believe that Satan exists, 42 percent contend that Jesus Christ committed sins during his earthly tenure, and just 11 percent believe that the Bible is the source of absolute moral truth. Thirty-nine percent flatly state that the Bible cannot be trusted -- and that is among adults who are aligned with a Christian church!
It is into that fertile field the bitter seed of The Da Vinci Code has fallen. Bad seed produces a bad harvest. The Da Vinci Code is an unequivocal declaration that Christianity is a lie, the Bible is a lie, Jesus is not the God-Man, the Savior. For Christians, the task is clear.
Know what the Bible says. Know what happened in history. And be ready with an answer for the 43,000,000 who bought the hard cover, and the millions more who are buying the paperback, and the still millions more who will see the movie.
There is nothing in the novel that threatens my faith as a believer in Jesus Christ. There is nothing in the novel that should threaten the faith of any believer in Jesus Christ. But we must "do our best to present ourselves to God as those approved, workers who do not need to be ashamed and who correctly handle the Word of Truth."
David Sisler's newspaper column -- "Not For Sunday Only" -- is in its 16th year of regular publication. Not For Sunday Only is based on news events, sports, popular songs, motion pictures, and personal glimpses. The message is: the Christian faith is an every day happening -- it is not for Sunday only. The columns are thoroughly researched, and never indicate denominational bias. For reprint permission, or to subscribe to Not For Sunday Only, contact Mr. Sisler (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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