The DaVinci Code

Mona_lisa Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the movie The DaVinci Code is being released in theaters very soon.  The book (which I read–and enjoyed–a couple of years ago), and now the movie, have created a hot-bed of controversy about who Jesus (and thus the Church) was and is.  As a result, it seems that nearly everything that could be said about this book has already been said, by people much smarter than I am. 

So why am I blogging about it today?  Mainly, to point you to this site–a reasoned and well-researched response to many of the issues the book raises.  I urge you to look through it as time allows.  Carol, at She Lives, also writes an excellent post on the subject.

I am neither a theologian nor an art historian.  I’m a regular old Bible-believing, book-loving, movie-watching Joe Schmoe.  But I have enough good sense not to obtain legal advice from a John Grisham novel or couple’s therapy from Danielle Steele’s latest bestseller.  And I know that Dan Brown is an author, not a theologian, and he is not my resource for knowledge about the Church, or the Bible, or Jesus. 

If you’re reading this, and you aren’t sure about who Jesus is or is not, please let me urge you to go the source.  Recognize a good fictional book as just that:  fiction.  Talk to someone who really, truly knows Him before you decide you can’t.  Has the Church handled everything in history with perfect grace?  No.  But I know that you can draw a straight line with a crooked stick, and that the Church isn’t perfect, but God is.

If you do know and love Christ, remember that we don’t have to get hot under the collar when others misunderstand us.  In fact, we’re told to expect it.  All we can do is speak the truth, in love.

I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the matter, though please, let’s keep it civil.

35 thoughts on “The DaVinci Code

  1. Michele says:

    A court in England implied that it was a work of fiction when the authors of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” (a “nonfiction” book that Dan Brown used as research)to Dan Brown to court for stealing their ideas. “The Da Vinci Code” sounds exactly like “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” but since it’s fiction, it can get away with it and Dan Brown won the case.
    The author says it’s fiction but because it’s based on this nonfiction book he can say that there’s truth to his story. Hence, the website by Westminster Theological Seminary and others to make sure people understand that there is no basis of fact in the moive or book, because unfortunately many people believe what they read in a book or see in a movie.
    OT, I love your graphic, it is so great. The site has a clean look to it.

  2. Susie says:

    I also read and enjoyed The Da Vinci Code a couple of years ago. When I bought it, I idn’t even know it was controversial. While reading it, I wondered a few times if I should put it down, if God would be displeased if I continued. I prayed about it and came to the conclusion that just because it contained a viewpoint I didn’t believe didn’t mean I had to stop reading it – I knew that it was not going to change my mind or heart – so I finished it.
    Over the last couple of years, since the controversy has grown, I’ve come to realize another reason why it was okay for me to read it. I truly believe that knowing what’s in that novel (or upcoming movie) might be beneficial while witnessing to someone about the Christ I know – the one who saved me from my own sin, the one who loves me though I don’t deserve it, the one who made me whole.

  3. Heth says:

    “But I know that you can draw a straight line with a crooked stick”
    I love that. Great thoughts Shannon! I haven’t read the book, I haven’t read much of anything lately!

  4. Lauren says:

    It is exactly that — a work of fiction, based on an author’s imagination around historical and artistic events, which makes me a little unsure as to what people are so up in arms about. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the movie.

  5. Shannon in Surprise, Arizona says:

    Well….I don’t read (except the Word). But, I do get audiobooks on my iPod so I am sure they carry this book. I may have to look into it. My husband and I are struggling right now if we should change churches. And when you put in the reminder that the church isn’t perfect, but God is….that was something I really needed to be reminded. So thanks for that reminder….though totally off subject from the Da Vinci Code…..I still wanted to share that.

  6. Michelle- This One's For the Girls says:

    I’ve had this book in my book pile for over a year now and just started trying to read it last week. My husband finally finished it 2 weeks ago in anticipation of having to field questions from our congregation when the movie comes out.
    I liked what you said: But I have enough good sense not to obtain legal advice from a John Grisham novel or couple’s therapy from Danielle Steele’s latest bestseller.
    And thanks so much for the web-site!

  7. Stacey says:

    Not sure what to think about the movie or the book. My husband says he kind of wants to see it just to know what they’re talking about but I’m not sure. I think he read the book and knows more about what’s going on. I guess I don’t really have too much to say about the whole thing right now. I’m going to check out the website you recommended!

  8. Meredith says:

    I read and enjoyed the book. I do find all the frenzy about it funny. In the Louvre in Paris, they are giving DaVinci Code tours, for a fee of course. Now, I won’t do that, but I will probably go to the movie.

  9. melnel says:

    I enjoyed reading this book a few years ago. But I must say that the things it “teaches” or “says” about history actually seriously contradict my own beliefs.
    Why did I enjoy it so much then? Two reasons:
    1: It’s fiction. It’s even VERY entertaining fiction. And my life is not bound to stress and debate and worry over fiction.
    2: Literature provides a temporary “pair of glasses” through which readers can view their world. You put the glasses on and may be amazed with how differently your world looks. And then you have the opportunity to solidify your beliefs or find areas of improvement. It’s just like putting on someone else’s prescription glasses and learning about your eyesight–either you don’t need their glasses or you realize that parts of your vision are a little fuzzy.
    So while reading The DaVinci Code was really fun–seeing how crazy the colors of Dan Brown’s world were–when I set the book down and took off the “glasses” I was grateful to see how solid and clear my own vision and belief was.
    I appreciate your words on this subject too. It is our privilege and responsibility to seek knowledge of God from him personally–not through a work of fiction, entertaining though it may be.

  10. Carol says:

    I think the question isn’t that the book is fiction. That is clearly understood. Where lines get blurred in a work that includes so much historical fact in sifting out the fiction. People who don’t know God and are looking for an excuse to deny Christ’s diety have plenty to jump on in DaVinci Code. When the questions arise (and they will) it is good for believers to at least have a crooked stick with which to draw the line, no?

  11. Laura says:

    Great post! I have the novel but I have not read it yet. I’m sure that I will eventually. I may wait until the hype blows over.
    ps. Is that “More Than a Carpenter” a good read? I love recommendations like that.

  12. Shalee says:

    Okay, is it just me? Oh I hope not.
    What I have against the book is that it was written below a 3rd grade level, was extremely boring and was very predictable. I knew what was going to happen each time a “clue” came up and it took him 30 pages for the “expert” to figure it out. And yet it still stayed on the best seller list forever… I thought that said a lot about society and the decline in what it expects/accepts from literature.
    My only comment on the subject matter is that although I know about Christ, his truth and his story, there are millions who do not and they will be easily fooled into believing that the idea is real. Satan will use any tool possible to keep people from knowing Christ. That is where I don’t want to be in Mr. Brown’s shoes when God’s questions him about the book, even if it is just fiction.
    And why is it that so many people were completely against “The Passion of Christ”, against someone taking seriously the death of Christ and reaching others, but when it comes to ridiculing or skewing Christ’s story, the world is okay with it?

  13. mopsy says:

    Eh, I haven’t read it (see my weird meme thread for explanation). But I know plenty of people who have and all seem to comprehend it is a work of fiction. I understand some very confused people may take it as truth and I feel badly for them. I have the feeling they aren’t the types who will bother seeking out the truth, but if one approaches me, I will be ready.
    Hank Hanagraff (the “Bible Answer Man” on the radio) is going to be at our church launching his new book in a few weeks. It refutes the Da Vinci Codes numerous errors and horrendous assumptions, and it give Christians the tools they need if approached by the curious. I am looking forward to his talk and am considering reading The Da Vinci Code so I will have some legs to stand on when I shoot it down! 😉

  14. Carrie K. says:

    Your post was very well stated. I agree with the people who have stated that calling for a boycott is counterproductive. The more controversy we create, the more people will see the movie.
    I can’t help thinking about which reaction to someone who has seen the movie is more Christ-like. Saying, “I would NEVER see a movie like that – it is so anti-God!” and therefore cutting off any chance for conversation. Wouldn’t a better reaction be, “Yes, I saw the movie (or read the book) and I thought it was pretty entertaining. Of course, since it was a work of fiction, many things in it have no basis in historical fact.” therefore opening up the topic to more conversation.
    I, personally, will be taking the latter approach.

  15. Lammyann says:

    I’ve only read the “Angels & Demons” and found it interesting. I am totally with you tho, go to the source if you want to know about ANYONE’s faith.
    Enjoy your blog. 🙂

  16. Michele says:

    There are some (I’ve talked to one and my pastor has mentioned others) in the church who have questions because Dan Brown makes some points that appear to be persuasive. There are many in the church whose faith is not grounded in the word and can be swayed by anything that looks well-reasoned.
    There is a reason Westminster, pastors and the authors of the anti-Da Vinci Code books feel compelled to give a thoughtful response. They understand the condition of the church.

  17. At A Hen's Pace says:

    Time magazine just did an interesting interview with Opus Dei, the “secretive” group that is villainized in The DaVinci Code. Because they’ve minded their own business for so many years, it was easy to let them be the bad guys in the book, but in real life–far from it!
    I’ve also heard an art historian lecture about The Last Supper–the painting is filled with symbols which were such conventions at that time when few could read, that everyone understood exactly what they meant–and how only a 21st century mind could accept the premises of the book.
    I like what you said, Shannon, about where you get your information–and you’re right, Dan Brown is certainly not a theologian!

  18. Brenda says:

    I bought the paperback out of curiosity. I’d heard a lot about the controversy and wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about.
    I love a good mystery, and while it wasn’t the best I’d read, I did enjoy it. I found it slightly amusing and a little annoying that some of the clues were just too obvious, and they just got progressively simpler. Also I was amused at how the “truth” was presented as “well-known facts” that everyone but the heroine already knew. Can you smell the hypocrisy? Isn’t the book claiming that it’s the Church who is responsible for the oppression of women?
    Is this book going to bring down the Church? I don’t think so. It isn’t the first and won’t be the last book to raise these kinds of questions.
    Is any of it true? Yes, there’s always a little bit of truth in every bit of fiction. That’s one of Satan’s most powerful tools.
    How should we react? To paraphrase (loosely) Ephesians 6: 10-18, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” I see this as an opportunity to witness in places where it might otherwise be politically incorrect: in the workplace, for instance.
    Great post, Shannon.

  19. Cmommy says:

    Great post! We’re doing a workshop at our church on the book, hoping to share a bit of truth before the movie is released. I’m going to send my pastor over via weblink!
    Personally, I loved solving the puzzles in “DaVinci”, trying to “get it” before the female lead character. Maybe I need a math hobby??? :-)C

  20. Stacey/ Mrs. POOTV says:

    I just had to say for Shalee’s benefit that I agree completely- it wasn’t terribly well written. I checked it out from the library, and I’m not interested enough to pay for the movie.
    As for dealing with questions it brings up from seekers and detractors, another good source is “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.

  21. Julie @ Everyday Mommy says:

    There’s truly nothing new under the sun. This book is just another tactic of The Serpent who has been urging us to doubt God since that day in the garden.
    “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
    My friends’ Godly grandmother summed it up in two words…the Fall.

  22. Kathryn, The DYM says:

    Like you, I really enjoyed the book. It was a fun mystery and a great page-turner. I gave it a thumbs up for fun literature.
    Of course it’s not the gospel truth. I’m okay with that to some degree.
    I did finish reading it and wonder how many people were wavering in their minds as to whether Christ is divine or merely a man and finish the book with their minds made up, mistakenly…

  23. Liz says:

    Honestly, I read the book, and when I was done, I thought, what’s the big deal? It didn’t sway me one bit, of course, but what did cross my mind (this is purely for discussion sake, not to bash Catholics) is what is the Catholic Church hiding that they are so upset about this book exposing?
    I did go on to read “Deception Point” by Dan Brown which has nothing to do with religion, it’s a political/science fiction novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I noticed no one in NASA is throwing a fit about that book…

  24. Nettie says:

    Great topic for a post. I did read this book. Even though this is not historical fiction, it is similar in that it made me want to study the history behind it to learn what is true. I enjoy reading historical fiction and often try to find more than one author’s take, because all history needs embellishment to fill out a novel. I think what I like about this book, and the Passion movie, and even Chronicles of Narnia movie is that they bring Christ into people’s minds and give them incentive to try to learn more about Him, from more authoritative sources than fiction. Hopefully, once their minds are turned toward Him, many of their hearts will, too.

  25. TheCrazyHousewife says:

    Unfortunately, I think I am one of the last people on earth to read The Davinci Code. Actually just bought it this past weekend (on sale WOO WOO) and started reading it last night. Haven’t really made it very far, but seems to be quite an intriguing read thus far.
    From what I have heard and seen in regards to the book though, is that some people are having a bit of a problem dividing Fact from Fiction.

  26. TheCrazyHousewife says:

    Unfortunately, I think I am one of the last people on earth to read The Davinci Code. Actually just bought it this past weekend (on sale WOO WOO) and started reading it last night. Haven’t really made it very far, but seems to be quite an intriguing read thus far.
    From what I have heard and seen in regards to the book though, is that some people are having a bit of a problem dividing Fact from Fiction.

  27. TheCrazyHousewife says:

    Unfortunately, I think I am one of the last people on earth to read The Davinci Code. Actually just bought it this past weekend (on sale WOO WOO) and started reading it last night. Haven’t really made it very far, but seems to be quite an intriguing read thus far.
    From what I have heard and seen in regards to the book though, is that some people are having a bit of a problem dividing Fact from Fiction.

  28. beth says:

    I appreciated your post, Shannon. I, too, think that too often we take up positions of being terribly upset over things like movies, perhaps legitimately, but those in the world simply don’t understand and it puts up unnecessary barriers. Good job putting things in perspective.

  29. Seven Star Hand says:

    Are you ready for the Truth yet?
    Now if Christians (and others) can gain the wisdom to walk away from the folly of religion and seek to understand the truth about the Creator and the Messiah (me).
    Did you ever stop to think what the True Messiah would say about worshipping false names, false images, and dogma? Well, now you get the chance to hear my side of the story and weigh it against the strong delusion of faith and religion. None of the European names and images in the New Testament can possibly be the truth. What then is the purpose of “faith” but to prevent good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom?
    Read 2 Thessalonians 2:11 and the verses that surround it. Why do you think this message is in the New Testament? Those who saw the truth dying as the new Roman religion was being imposed would have tried to warn others in subtle ways where it most counted! These ancient texts are mysterious because they purposely encoded hidden messages to bypass Roman censorship. See how the Romans treated the Jews, Zealots, Gnostics, and others, a.k.a. those who sought truth because they knew better than to trust the blatantly duplicitous and evil Roman Pontificate?
    How can people trust the veracity of texts created by a Roman organization known for centuries of abominable evil? How can you expect that people who could so readily torture and murder others for seeking proof of the truth would somehow not lie to you? Don’t you have enough discernment to understand that those telling a strong lie for power and profit would insist that you refrain from seeking the truth and “have faith” in their texts instead?
    How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast a common political adage, “It’s [the] symbology stupid!” The Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible, Gnostic texts, and Quran are rife with purposeful structured symbolism. Do you really think this is accidental or casual?
    Unlike most of you, I have a very personal interest in ancient wisdom symbology, false prophecy based on its misrepresentation, and deceptions imposed in the name of religion. Consequently, I’ve written an extensive tome proving that all three so-called Faiths of Abraham are purposeful deceptions.
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    I present verifiable proof that the symbology of sealed Hebrew texts is an advanced ancient philosophical technology.
    The ancient symbolism used in The Apocalypse and other Hebrew prophecies and wisdom texts predates Christianity, Judaism, modern secret societies, and mystery schools by thousands of years. While in the hands of Christianity, The Apocalypse and its symbology have been purposely misinterpreted, recast, and misrepresented. The original Hebrew document was a multi-purpose narrative constructed using layered and synchronized ancient wisdom symbolism. Its true purposes, features, and functionality are detailed in my book, further demonstrating that it was a symbolically encrypted Hebrew wisdom text encoding prophecy, philosophy, and scientific wisdom that was stolen and fraudulently modified by the founders of Christianity.
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  30. Ogilvie Hall says:

    Just one problem with what most people seem to be saying (though I haven’t read all the comments): At the beginning of the book, Brown has a section claiming he based his book on certain facts, but these ‘facts’ aren’t facts at all, but baldfaced lies. If Da Vinci was being billed as simply fiction, then not as many people would be bothered about it, but it’s not. The comments on Opus Dei, for example, are a complete distortion of the truth. But Opus Dei is Catholic, so I guess that doesn’t matter, right?

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