Thursday, May 25, 2006

Entertainment or Theology?

One final post on The Da Vinci Code and then I will shut up about it -- at least until I see the movie. A recent editorial dealt with the movie's treatment of history and concluded with the comment that we really shouldn't get too worked up over the issue because, after all, the movie is entertainment, not theology. I agree that debates over the historical claims of the work should be tempered in light of its obvious fictional nature, but to claim that The Da Vinci Code is not theology is misguided. Pop culture is all about communication. Any show, film, novel, or song, no matter how seemingly banal or vacant, is preaching a message of some kind, intentional or not. Despite being fiction, this movie is doing theology (although it may be doing it poorly) and until we take seriously the fact that every work of art to some degree grows out of a philosophical or theological worldview, we will fail to engage these works appropriately. Enough ranting -- next time I plan to talk about a real meaty subject: Doc Holliday.

8 Comments:

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Bruce said...

Kind of reminds me of what Ravi Zacharias said last year after "The Passion of the Christ" came out and their were calls for is censure and its banning. He said, "Two miracles have just happened. One, Hollywood has finally admitted there can be too much violence in their movies. Second, Hollywood has admitted that their movies can effect lives."

Absolutely, the phrase "it's just a movie," or "it's just a book," has implicitly a total disrespect for the power of those mediums.

I notice some Christians say we shouldn't get worked up about it. However, I think emotion is a good thing --whether you are for or against its content. Jesus thought outrage was highly appropriate when his Father's name was being misrepresented (temple cleansing). I think we should take it personally too when our Father and our Savior are misrepresented. Especially when our Savior is referred to simply as a man, that is the ultimate insult to our eyewitness of the miracles we have seen him perform.

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger Sermoniac said...

Ahhh yes, even the Sunday comics communicate a good sermon every now and then...

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And I love to use a particular good quote from the movie Tombstone. Even though "I'm your huckleberry" is fun to say at a party I am very fond of saying "my hypocricy knows no bounds." I believe that Val Kilmer defined himself as an actor in that role.

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger John Roberts said...

You're right - that's like saying The Matrix isn't about theology. Great thoughts.

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous ronmetro said...

Greg, good insights. I think that one major message is an Oliver Stone view--somebody is always covering something up. Unfortunately they are targeting the truths we have accepted for centuries.

Ron

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger KMiV said...

Sorry, that last one was actually me.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Two things in abbreviated form:

1) There is a widely reported anecdote involving Dr. Karl Barth. When asked if he could summarize what he had said in his many massive works on faith, Dr. Barth thought for a moment and then said: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

2) Anna Bartlett Warner (1827-1915) wrote a children’s book entitled “Say and Seal”. One of the characters in this book is portrayed as comforting a child who was dying. This character sings a song called “Jesus Loves Me”. This song was discovered by William B. Bradbury, who in 1862 composed the tune we now sing, adding to it the “Yes Jesus Loves Me” chorus.

Fiction does, it seems, have a way of working itself into the fabric of the human experience, including our theology. There is, of course, the tiny little fact that the lyrics for the song, though incorporated in a work of fiction, grew out of Warner's existing theology.

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger Sermoniac said...

BW wrote - Fiction does, it seems, have a way of working itself into the fabric of the human experience, including our theology.

The reality of this statement causes me to consider how I will go about the Santa Clause issue with my Children. I found, early on, that much of my Christian theology was entrenched in the myth of the Santa Clause story. I guess so long as I don't cause my children to "believe" in the myth then everything should be fine.

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Sara said...

If you haven't yet seen the movie - Davinci Code- save your money. It's not work your time. After an hour and a half, I said to John "How much longer until this is over?"

 

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