Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Relax! It’s Only a Movie

By Alan Burkhart

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have read a Dan Brown novel. Worse, I enjoyed it. I feel soiled, and I fear I may do it again. Am I doomed to dwell in Purgatory?

I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code, although I have read the prequel, titled “Angels and Demons.” The whole story takes place in just a couple of days, and it had me wound tighter than an eight-day clock. Brown is a superb author. I disagree with some of Mr. Brown’s views on religion, but why should that stop me from enjoying harmless fiction?

I don’t agree with Neal Boortz on abortion, but he’s still my favorite talk radio host. I disagree with Rush on a couple of items, too, but I still enjoy his show. None of us agree on everything. Think how dull the world would be if we did.

I can’t imagine why the Da Vinci Code has created such a furor among Christians. Don’t we have greater things to worry over than a book or movie? If the notion of a fictional account of Jesus offends you, then don’t watch the movie or read the book. It’s so simple, and you won’t make nearly as big a fool of yourself as you would by standing outside the cinema waving a sign or passing out leaflets. If enough people skip the movie, it’ll bomb commercially and that will send a clear message to both Hollywood and Mr. Brown.

With all of the recent unwarranted attacks on Christian culture, I can understand why many Christians may have a short fuse. But that does not justify creating such a stir over a movie. How’s about concentrating instead on the actions of universities that routinely block Christian students from forming groups on campus? Or how about the Soledad Cross issue? Or maybe our energies could be better used by combating lunatics like Michael Newdow and the ACLU?

Here’s an excerpt from an ad posted on the Crossroads Initiative website regarding “The Da Vinci Deception.” This is a study guide to “protect” you from being led astray by the Da Vinci Code...
“The Da Vinci Deception is a powerful antidote to the spiritual poison found in The Da Vinci Code. This easy-to-read, question-and-answer book tackles the key errors in this devastating cultural phenomenon. It is the perfect giveaway to family, friends, parishioners, and anyone you think may be in danger of having their faith in Christ and His Church eroded by the mockery of Truth that is The Da Vinci Code.”


Dan Brown isn’t the first author to blend fact and fiction. Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy and the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have done it for years, and with great success. Brown’s mistake was that he crossed a line by twisting the history of Christ. It’s one thing to use factual information regarding our military to write a credible novel about a POW rescue in Viet Nam. It’s something else altogether to suggest that Christ engaged in a sexual relationship. The fact of Jesus’ celibacy is a central tenet of the Christian faith.

Even so, we do not live in a theocracy. I can sit down and write a book on any subject I choose. It’s my right as an American to do so, and I would willingly step up and defend Brown’s right to write as he sees fit, even though The Da Vinci Code has probably guaranteed him a hot-seat in Hell. The consequences of his work lie between him and God, and it’s not my place to judge him.

Here’s something you can count upon: There is presently an e-mail campaign afoot to stage protests outside theaters showing The Da Vinci Code. If there are widespread protests, the MSM will compare the protesters to the Muslims who had their burqas in a knot over the Mohammed cartoons. Images of hysterical protesters waving signs will be plastered on the front page of every major newspaper in America. Why? Because such a gross overreaction would be worthy of ridicule.

Neither the book nor the movie can stop you from worshipping as you see fit. We have plenty of real opponents to deal with. Dan Brown isn’t one of them. He has plainly stated that the book is a work of fiction and that people should make up their own minds about the story. The following statement is from his website FAQ…
The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book's characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist (for example, Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.). These real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters. While it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit, each individual reader must explore these characters' viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations. My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.

Misguided? Yes. Devastating? Hardly.

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