I have asked a number of Christian friends if they have seen the Da Vinci Code. Some have, but many haven’t and don’t intend to. Some indeed simply brush it off as being full of false teaching and rehashed attacks on Christ and so they aren’t interested. I think such an attitude is shortsighted. Christians can adopt a more positive outlook and perhaps use the Da Vinci phenomenon as a jumping off point to talk about Jesus.
Fact is, this is one of the best-selling books of all time. It has been translated into some 40 languages and to date has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Time magazine recently named the author, Dan Brown, one of the world’s 100 most influential people. In short. those Christians who have seen the movie or read the book now share a common experience with dozens of friends and neighbours. Why not use this shared experience to wisely and persuasively speak the truth about Jesus?
Lest anybody get me wrong, I am in no way supportive of the book. Though fictional in its storyline, the author nevertheless takes every opportunity to pose as a so-called expert on early Christianity. His “teaching” is filled with half-truths, outright falsehoods and historical error. The work is egregiously hostile to Catholicism especially, but also to any branch of Christianity that takes orthodoxy seriously.
Dan Brown asks and answers this question of himself on his website. “Is this book anti-Christian? No, it is not anti-anything.” But, anyone who knows the fundamentals of Christian history will know, long before turning the last page, that he has imbibed one of the most christophobic novels of our time. It is anti-Christian in numerous places, but perhaps most virulently so in its attack on the divinity of Jesus and on the trustworthiness of the Bible. Even in his earlier work, Angels and Demons (a prequel published in 2000), Brown indulged his bias and missed no opportunity to attack Christianity whenever possible. It is my conviction that it is necessary to refute the false teaching and to do so in such a way that we win the right to speak the truth into the lives of people close to us.
Well-known Catholic author, Rev. Andrew M. Greely, thinks that too much attention is being focused on refuting the novel. He writes, “I can’t understand why so many educated people are apparently unable to distinguish between fantasy fiction and history. All the attention to refuting it is likely to sell more books.” Greely is misguided on at least two counts. For the bigger and wider the lie being told, the more important it is to refute it so that truth can fall on good ground. Second, he fails to understand that fiction has great power to change minds and attitudes and that it is just as capable of propagating ideology as any other type of writing.
As an example of the power of fiction, we should note that in the year 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her two-volume work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Selling more than 10,000 copies in the first week, it was then translated into more than 60 languages and became a best seller in the U.S.A., Britain, Europe and Asia. The novel is a fictional account describing the horrors of slavery in the southern states at the time in which she lived. Though fictional, Uncle Tom’s Cabin had amazing success in changing public opinion against the evil of slavery. According to legend, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862, he said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!”
Tragically, the Da Vinci con will strand its deluded readers in a quicksand of half truths, myths and speculative genealogies and lead them to reject the plain truth about Jesus Christ who died for sins, rose from the dead, ascended to the Father and who one day will come again.
Scholarly Christians have already produced some excellent resources on The Da Vinci Code. These can be easily located by using the internet and ordered directly through various websites. Alternatively, your local Christian bookstore can help you locate and purchase such resources. Surely it cannot be wrong to prudently, lovingly, refute error, and at the same time, lift up the true Jesus to friends and neighbours who have been conned into believing that myths are true.