Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, May 12, 2006

Da Question

Unless you've been under a rock, surely you know that "The Da Vinci Code," Dan Brown's controversial smash of a book, is now a major motion picture. It'll be in theaters May 19.

In the book, Brown makes some pretty wild statements about Christianity. Most scholars -- Christian and secular -- say most of Brown's conclusions are baseless and wrong.

Still, some "Da Vinci" readers think Brown may be onto something, which has Christians all aflutter on how to respond to the film. Several pastors in Colorado Springs are expected to speak about "Da Vinci" this weekend, including one at Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel (through its Spanish ministry). But will pastors tell their congregants to stay away from the theaters next weekend or go see what all the fuss is about? Here are a few of the possibilities:

1) Boycott. This is the favored response overseas, it appears. Some high-level folks in the Vatican have called for a boycott. In India, a Catholic group called for a hunger strike unless the Indian government bans the movie. In America, several conservative leaders say they'll boycott, including Ted Baehr, founder and editor of the Movieguide, and Don Feder, president of Jews Againt Anti-Christian Defamation.

2) "Othercott." Barbara Nicholosi, founder of Act One (an organization that trains Christians for jobs in the movie and television industry), wants Christians to go to the movies next weekend -- just not to "Da Vinci."

"Let's rock the box office in a way no one expects -- without protests, without boycotts, without arguments, without rancor," she writes in a column for Christianity Today, a leading evangelical publication.

3) Accept and use the movie. This seems to be the primary reaction, particularly among apologists -- people in the business of defending their Christian faith with reasoned arguments. Some have called "Da Vinci" an educational opportunity akin to "The Passion of the Christ," the Mel Gibson movie that took in around $370 million a couple of years ago. Dozens of books have been written about "Da Vinci," blasting Brown's claims but nevertheless hitching themselves to his sales and noteriety. The conservative Dallas Theological Seminary is offering podcasts refuting Brown's claims. Focus on the Family , based in Colorado Springs-based organization, has been active in dealing with "Da Vinci," offering a Web site, help for families and pastors and even promoting a "Da Vinci"-related simulcast to churches. Alex McFarland, Focus' point person on "Da Vinci," has called Brown's book "blasphemy on steroids." But he also says the movie has the potential to encouarge people to think more deeply about their faith. And that can't be bad, he says.

"If it prods them into some study, some apologetics, that's a good thing," he said.


Blogger Eli the Mad Man said...

Alrigthy then... just got done reading Paul's article in Saturday's paper. I've not bothered to delve into this whole "Da Vinci Code" is heresy and Dan Brown is no better than a "suicide bomber" BS for long enough.

First off... I'm a Christian. I attended Christian schools all the way through high school and have read and studied the Bible more times then most of the folks attending New Life or who belong to Focus on the Family. Secondly, I'm a writer.

As a writer I can say that the excerpt at the beginning of Dan’s book that says “Fact” is a nifty little writing trick. And it worked since it’s now the most published book of all time. I’m sure Dan is laughing all the way to the bank. I would be if I used this simple little trick so effectively. What trick you say? The book is a work of fiction. Going into it you KNOW it’s a work of fiction, and slapping one little word (“Fact”) at the start of the FICTIONAL story doesn’t change that.

The insane uproar that "the Church" is in because of a FICTIONAL book written by a "fiction writer" is the very reason I do not attend "the Church" any longer. Now, if this was the first book Brown had written - eh, I might put something into the hubbub. But it's not. The part in Paul's article that says, "Many say Brown's best-selling speculation is - well, fiction," is absolutely right! Those who don’t say that and put anything more into it are the fools here (including “the Church”). Brown has written SEVERAL fictional books prior to "Code." The three or four that I’ve read are quite exceptional. If you log onto Amazon, or walk into your nearest book store you will find "Code" IN the fiction section... not the historical section, the religion section, the self help, or the answers to the universe sections.

And that’s the part of "the Church" and its unholy uproar that I simply do NOT understand. If anything, “the Church” should be HAPPY that his book has stirred up THIS much interest in Jesus and the Church instead of admonishing him - calling him a liar actually. The books and its story is a FICTIONAL piece of work. Period. To distort that black and white TRUTH is typical of what we as humans, and some would say "the Church" (and how can that be refuted given what's taken place), are best at doing.

What I find most interesting is how many people have made a fortune off of Dan Brown's book by writing a veritable library of other works denouncing, refuting and "cracking" the “Code.” That is the textbook definition of HYPOCRISY. Something else we as humans, and some would say "the Church," are so damn good at doing.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Eli the Mad Man said...

By the way Paul... great articles! Thanks for publishing all the links for more info. I'm currently writing a religous "FICTIONAL" book(s) and have found some great pieces of info!

12:04 PM  

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