Da Vinci Dementia
I've stayed on the sidelines during the whole Da Vinci Code furor. I haven't read the book. I will probably see the movie if only to be able to discuss it intelligently with my students and others. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the reaction it is causing among Christians.
There seems to be great confusion over how to respond to this phenomenon. Some view Dan Brown as the pen name of Satan and would burn every book and frame of film they could get their hands on. Others counsel boycotts of the film or similar strategies designed to "send a message" to Hollywood. Still more, realizing that such "messages" rarely get through and often only serve to garner more attention for a film, suggest we just ignore the whole thing altogether. Then there are those who feel we should embrace it as an opportunity for dialogue with others about the Christian faith.
What's the best approach? I don't know. A case can be made for each option, some stronger than others. What bothers me the most about the whole ordeal is simply that this book/movie is even an issue to begin with. I don't understand people who think they are getting accurate history out of a fictional novel. From what I do know about the book, the factual and historical errors that undergird Brown's story are so blatant and obvious to anyone with a minimal knowledge of ancient history that he makes Oliver Stone look like a paragon of historical responsibility. This book/movie's claims about Christianity are so far off-base historically that it poses no threat to authentic Christian faith. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which most people consider ancient history to be synonymous with the events of the 1950's. And frankly, this historical ignorance extends as much to Christians as to others. As Keith Huey, Rochester College's church historican, has noted, most Christians don't know how the Bible was formulated or who the early Church Fathers are or what other gospels were written beyond those in our canon. For Christians, perhaps the real battle here should not be against the Da Vinci Code, but against our own apathy towards in-depth historical and theological study.