Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Code: Exposing the Cracks in Christianity

The Da Vinci Code opens in cinemas in South Africa this friday, and ahead of its release runs the wave of Christian condemnation of the film. The local clergy and congregations have been sending sms chain letters around the country urging people to boycott or picket the screenings, and one group is even threatening to obtain a court order to stop the film being shown.

Why all the fuss? you may wonder. It's a work of fiction, right? If they are so confident in their Truth, how does a work of fiction threaten that?

How indeed. Even if Dan Brown is some kind of anti-christ, hell-bent on destroying christianity with his blasphemy (as opposed to a writer of fiction making a bunch of cash), he certainly hasn't done it in the way he would have meant to. Because it's not the conspiracy theories that expose the cracks, it's the way the church has responded to them. Their attempts to ban the book and film raise only one question in the minds of those prone to believing in conspiracy: why ban it, if it's not true?

I'll tell you why, and it's not because there is a conspiracy to cover up a lineage of christ. It's because even the church cannot know its 'truth' for sure. When all you have as proof is a single text, written by many, translated by many, and interpretted by many, you don't have a foundation on which to say for sure 'this is how it happened'. You cannot point at a different theory and say 'we can prove you wrong'. You have to admit that the theory of christ marrying and having children is based on as much evidence, if not more, than the theory he didn't. So what recourse? You make a noise, you get it banned. Because this is not an argument where you can take the high ground with evidence on your side. This is not an argument you can win in any way except to be the loudest voice, and drown out the rest.

And yet, for all their kicking and screaming, all the church is doing is making people wonder why they must kick and scream. If you are so confident in your truth, sit back and let the masses enjoy their fantasies, their fictions. Surely if you are not feeling threatened, there is no need to leap to the defensive?


Blogger Annie said...

The only problem I have with this whole Da Vinci Code scenario is using the words:
The Church, Christianity and Catholic as though they are interchangeable. They are not.

The church that Jesus established by his ministry is not reflected in the Catholic Church. The church is not a group of buildings in Rome, or NYC - but a people that believe in the divinty of Jesus and his plan of salvation.

The head of this church is not the Pope, but Jesus, himself. The clergy is not limited to priests and bishops, but encompasses every believer who spreads the word.

The institution of the Catholic Church is not a Christian institution, although many of their members are indeed Christians. It is slander to link the people with that institution and their tenets of clerical entitlement.

May 18, 2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger moonflake said...

Do all three support the concept that jesus christ was the son of god and died a virgin? Then in the context of their objection to the da vinci code, they are interchangeable.

May 18, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger zenstar said...

ummm... your definitions are belief dependant.
people with different beliefs (within christianity) would argue on many of those points annie.
and in the context of the da vinci code, catholic, christianity, and church are pretty much interchangable.
and i think your comment about catholisim not being christianity is completely wrong!
in fact a quick dictionay search (with respect to religion) results in the following:
1. Of or involving the Roman Catholic Church.
2. Of or relating to the universal Christian church.
3. Of or relating to the ancient undivided Christian church.
4. Of or relating to those churches that have claimed to be representatives of the ancient undivided church.
so basically: if you are catholic you are christian.
if you're christian you are not necessarily catholic.
i think you need to research your arguments a little better before making such statements that can easily be researched.

on a seperate note: the problem with religious arguments is that they require a belief.
if you don't believe or if your belief differs then there is no way of convincing anyone of your side.
you cannot argue religion scientifically.
religion will always ignore the proof that says its argument wrong, under the cover of belief.
an old book that you claim is the word of god but cannot prove is anything more than a work of fiction cannot be evidence to any sort of real discussion.

May 19, 2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger moonflake said...

I think Annie is confusing Protestantism with Christianity. Christianity is an umbrella term that covers many sects, from catholicism to greek orthodox to the glut of protestant churches. They are all called 'Christian' churches because for all their disagreements, they can agree on one thing - Jesus Christ was the son of God and was sent to earth to die for their sins.

Saying Catholics aren't Christian is like saying Sunnis aren't Muslim.

May 19, 2006 12:38 PM  
Blogger jebb_x said...

Wrt to the Catholic, Christiany and The Church - According to the "Holy Book", St Peter is the rock upon which the Church will be built and he is the patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church, so that pretty much states, in the Bible no less, that The Church and the Roman Catholics are one and the same.

As for Roman Catholic being Christian and vice versa, the jury's out on that one.

Regardless of any of this, the thing that I take greatest offence to, and my primary complaint with religion in general, is someone else deciding for me what I may and may not watch, read, view, taste, do or think.

Especially think, and it is only religion that threatens eternal damnation if you even THINK something that they'd rather not you think about.

All in all, it's a bit of a fantasy story, even Dan Brown the author says so. So I really don't know what the hoopla is all about.

Meh, a hole lot of steam about nothing as far as I am concerned.

May 19, 2006 12:51 PM  

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