Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On Sunday, our pastor fully encourage all of us to watch The Da Vinci Code movie when it comes on screen, stating that we are all strong enough to withstand it. While I agree that we can by all means watch it but I cannot deny that I felt worried too.

I have read The Da Vinci Code some months ago and being a very forgetful person, I have forgotten most of what I read save the general plotline. I realised this when I was reading Josh McDowell's The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers. I really could not recall much of what was discussed in McDowell's book.

I wasn't too impressed by The Da Vinci Code anyway though I thought that as fiction, it was pretty engaging. When I say I wasn't too impressed, I was refering to the so-called facts purported by Dan Brown in the book. I also felt quite incredulous when I was reading the last section of the book what I felt was an over-the-top climax.

However, having finished reading McDowell, I felt I should reread The Da Vinci Code just to relook at those sections where McDowell make references to. And also to see if it is possible to run a short session in church (most probably some weeks after the premier of the movie here on 18th May) both to ensure that the people are not misled and to take the opportunity to teach a bit of apologetics, which is lacking in our church. We have already ordered 50 copies of McDowell's book to be distributed in church this Sunday - taking the opportunity to open the window to some learning in apologetics among the church members.

Meanwhile, talking about Dan Brown - after reading just 2 of his books, for the remainder 2, I already could easily work out who the bad guy is in no time.


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13 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    I don't think we are going to see the movie. I figure Dan Brown has made enough money by whipping Christians into a frenzy by writing blasphemy. He doesn't need my money too.

    My wife read the book (a gift from her agnostic sister who likes to think she is enlightened) and thought that it was pretty mediocre as a novel and openly offensive to Christians. Clearly the book used the leverage of an angered Christian community as a PR-vehicle to bolster sales.

    I love Josh McDowell and many of his books have touched me, but I see no reason to further encourage people to read a work that would have quietly died if it weren't for the church getting so angry.

    Our pastor has also spoken against the book, and I am thinking that we are wasting too much time on it. We should say it is a work a of fiction that is also historically inaccurate and leave it at that.

    Just a thought,

  2. I wasn't that interested from the get go. I watched some stuff about it and spoke to someone who read the book. No thanks I'll pass.

  3. He doesn't need my money too.

    I wasn't that interested from the get go. I watched some stuff about it and spoke to someone who read the book. No thanks I'll pass.

    I hear you. I wish I could take that same route but on my end, I feel that we need to do something, though my dean of seminary did quip yesterday that I cannot do so much ...

  4. Doug,

    and I am thinking that we are wasting too much time on it. We should say it is a work a of fiction that is also historically inaccurate and leave it at that.

    I know ... I feel the same way up till the point my pastor encouraged us all to go see.

  5. I think I felt the same way you did about the book Maeghan - page turning fiction, but the way he presented parts of it as truth was just too deliberately deceptive for my liking. Particularly when even I in my ignorance could spot some of the half-truth and untruth.

    Just two nights ago the BBC broadcast two programmes in a row - one at least having the decency to point out where and why the Da Vinci code was just plain in error and the other titled 'Did Jesus Die?'.

    Both were very well made and very engaging.

    Both contributed to my realization that although I'd like to agree with dugalug that if the church hadn't made a fuss this would just go away, I'm not sure that's true. Brown and theories like those expounded in 'Did Jesus Die?' show that the issues covered (conspiracy theories, knights templar and treasure hordes, Jesus as an ordinary man with family etc) touch deep interests of a lot of people and partly explain why the book has been so successful (even before the church responded).

    It is for reasons such as this that it is very important we brief ourselves and run apologetic classes such as you're thinking of, M, in order to combat the false teaching and distorted thinking that is engaging so many people.

    (In an interesting bit of consilience given the comments mention Joss McDowell a couple of times, I had to fetch my copy of _Evidence That Demands a Verdict_ off the shelf after watching the two programmes just to remind myself about document reliability and so forth!)

    For dugalug's reasons I'm not inclined to go and see the film, but on the other hand am aware that it will be an excellent opportunity to discuss important truths with at least two or three of my work colleagues. (One avowedly atheist and one with more zen leanings!).

  6. Timothy,
    Yeah, whether we like it or not, the book has stirred up too much for us not to at least do some salvaging.

    One of our speakers here commented that even if we buy the book and watch the movie, we are just a small ripple in the big wave. Though I'd go with Doug on that - they shan't have my money.

    And since it is already a big wave, we need to ride it and save the drowning.

  7. My wife and I talked about this very thing last night. She too thinks that I am being too pragmatic on this.

    Her view is that it is not enough for the church to say that we don't agree with this view and that it is just a book of fictional trash. She felt like this is what has been done in the past with other media blitzes and it would just raise the curiosity of the people in the pews.

    I guess she is right, but I still come back to the fact the publishers and Dan Brown are being rewarded for producing for writing a work a out and out blasphemy.

    Above that, I feel that many Christian authors are 'riding the wave' too: they are looking at the money being spent on this book, and they want a part of it too. I know not all of them think this way (Josh McDowell in particular), but at our local Christian bookstoor, there are at least 10 books on the subject right now.

    There is no doubt that true discussions about Christianity are always opportunities, but again, I fall back on the fact that we, as the body, are not showing God's love through this: many are campaiging with doctrines of hate, mallice, and book-burning. How does this further the cause of Christ?

    The best comments I have heard concerning this book have come from Dan Brown himself. He was at a book writing conference and he said something like: 'Do you think that a simple fictional novel is going to stop the momentum of the best selling book of all time?' He went on to rhetoricaly ask if people thought that Christianity was so fragile that a novel from an ignorant mid-western American would throw 2000 years of history to the wind.

    Brown is right: the Gospel predates DaVinci and whether or not DaVinci believed the things proported in this novel is arbitrary. The truth recorded in the Gospel is irrefutable and compelling. The way Christ has touched so many lives is also irrefutable.

    It is our testimonies and God's tangibility in out lives that pundits, agnostics, and nay-sayers cannot punch holes in because it what we have personally experienced, learned, and seen.

    But here is my delimna, I need to know my enemy, and to know him, I must sometime read or watch junk like The Davinci Code... sigh... I am really stuck on this.

    Have a blessed day


  8. I think it's good because it gives Christians another angle or opportunity to present the gospel or to explain why we believe. Just because he's going to make a lot of money off of it doesn't mean that's a great reward. If it's not from God, what good is it? The Bible is the best book of all times and nothing can add to or detract from its message.

  9. Doug,

    many are campaiging with doctrines of hate, mallice, and book-burning. How does this further the cause of Christ?

    I am not aware of this. Is this happening where you are? Over here, we are pretty subdued about it. The concerned attends apologetics talks and all and that's about it. But I am with you - dealing with the issue harshly will not give a message of love but we need to be wise in love also and not to been as doormats. We need to be firm but with love.

    But here is my delimna, I need to know my enemy, and to know him, I must sometime read or watch junk like The Davinci Code... sigh... I am really stuck on this.

    I feel the same way. I have bought the book and now the movie, which I may pass. I like what Julia said - what they earned is worldly and would not stand the wrath of God in the last day. So even if we do spend on it - we are doing it with a good conscience - that is to know in order to "fight".

    They have gotten our money (and will get more if we decide to go watch the movie), but we have spent it in order to make use of it to take the opportunity to spread the gospel. I think I will need to think out an "attack plan" to be used right after the premier of the movie and use the movie as an entry to witness to unbelievers. So in the end, The Da Vinci Code could end up doing us a favour after all. Who knows? It is how we as Christian respond: are we going to hide underneath some small hut while the storm is on or to stand tall and refute it head on.

    Thanks for quoting Dan Brown - I am not in the loop in all these. yes, I agree ... that is the beauty of Christianity. We are only faith that openly invite debate and is not afraid of any attacks because we know that it can stand through it all. We are standing on solid ground, that is Jesus Christ, our Rock of salvation.

  10. Julia,
    ... what more can I say, you have it right on!

  11. Wow, all of you are really touching on some things that are close to my heart right now. Thanks for your insight.

    Around here (Orlando Flordia), there are Christian groups planning pickets at some theaters. They have gotten on TV and condemned the movie/book and those who watch/read it. It is kind of ugly. Most of all, it is not Christ-like. We haven't had book burnings, but we may as well have. I think these type of responses are completely innapropriate.

    People who see this movie/book as strike against the foundations of our faith and are happy about that will 'seek' to antagonize their local Christian acquaintances. That is where and when we need to be best prepared to defend our faith. We, as Christians, must also trust that God will guide our words, rather than letting our anger, hurt, and contempt get the best of us.

    I say let them come to us, but we need to be prepared. We don't need to confront them. I have watched so many well-intentioned Christian brothers and sisters zealously drive people on the fence far from salvation by an outward Christian assault. Love and faith walk hand in hand, and we need to direct our responses with unshakeable faith and love that passes beyond all understanding.

    You guys are articulating what my wife and I have been going around and around on. Thanks again for this input.

    In Christ,

  12. The apologetics part of this is important because I've read Dan Brown's statements and seen an interview with him where he confesses to be a Christian. I'm not going to say anything about Dan Brown's Christianity other than, hearing him, people are logically going to try to add 2 and 2 and come up with: you can be a Christian and believe what The Da Vinci Code espouses as its theme. So, then, what does it really mean to be a Christian?

    Like I said on codepoke's blog, I'm not going to see the movie unless my wife, who enjoyed the book, really wants to see it. The book was okay at best, which means the movie wouldn't be any better than that -- and I'd know what's going to happen. So why go? Other than that, I'll probably give it little thought. However, if it comes up in circles that I roam (i.e. work, sports, etc.), then, like jewels mentioned, I have an opportunity.

    As far as Dan Brown making money, I've bought tons of fiction and most of it isn't Christian-principled. I don't know why I'd treat Dan Brown's works any differently. However, if you're strongly convicted that it's out and out blasphemy and that bothers you to see or hear, Doug, avoid it. You've got pretty good discernment, and if you think the Spirit's saying "no" then don't go. You already know enough about it to discuss it, so what's the benefit?

  13. I, oddly, probably will see the movie because my daughter will probably wish to do so. I would like to do the othercott that I read about somewhere, and go see Flight 93 on the day DVC opens, but we'll see.

    I'm ALL for the apologetics. I just get frustrated because there's SO much of it. Probably more than half of the pulpits in America will be dealing with DVC some time in the next month. It angers me to have our agenda set by this lame plagiarist. Instead, I think everyone should be given a good resource like The Christian Cadre's Da Vinci Code Page, and be done with it.

    When so much attention is lavished on so little monster, I'm afraid that we create fear rather than address error. When we capitalize on an opportunity like this, I'm afraid that we let the world's tail wag the church's dog.

    Or more likely, I'm jealous of Dan Brown's success, and my curmudgeonly side doesn't want him to get any more respect!