So, my sister Jenny was reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown when she came out for her vacation and since she bought the bigger version (with pictures), she gave me her old one. And thus I got hooked. She had me read a couple of pages in the middle of the book, and my first reaction was a strong distaste. I mean, this is Jesus the story is meddling with. Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, my Lord and Savior–you’ve heard of Him, surely.
I started reading, though, and was immediately caught into the story, and as is usual with good stories, I couldn’t put it down until I had read it all. Mr. Brown does an excellent job as a storyteller, and the story he tells is intriguing and captivating. I am a sucker for Grail stories, and love all things to do with Knights, secret societies, conspiracies, Renaissance art, history, and mostly everything else that comprises The Da Vinci Code.
And as Mr. Brown mentions, the underyling theme isn’t something that he made up. There have been conspiracy stories about the Bible, Jesus’s life, the Hebrew God of the Old Testament, and everything else that comprises The Da Vinci Code for many hundreds of years. In fact, I was exposed to these theories in college a few years back when I took a course that was titled “Poetry in the Old Testament” iirc, and was quite shocked (along with everyone else in the class) to discover that the intentionally mis-named course was really all about goddess/feminine theories with regard to the Old Testament and the very names of God (Jehovah and Yahweh). Interesting theories, to be sure, but I don’t claim to have researched the topic enough to debate it. What little I have read, however, refutes the theories popularized in The Da Vinci Code.
Which brings me to something that concerns me a little. In his FAQ, Mr. Brown is asked the question “ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?” His answer leaves me unsure that he understands the question, and as I agree with him that it’s an important question, I wanted to point it out:
ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as absolute historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious–that is, that we are all trying to decipher life’s big mysteries, and we’re each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress.
See, the word Christian is a special word that was first used in the first-century city of Antioch, and it described Jesus’s followers (disciples) who were subsequently killed for their beliefs–namely, that Jesus is the Son of God who was crucified, died to pay the price for our sins, and was raised to life after 3 days. Webster’s dictionary defines “Christian” as:
1) One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus. 2) One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.
Unfortunately, the word Christian has been watered down through the years so that now, many people say they are Christians because they live in America, etc. The thing is… the word Christian itself shouldn’t be open to interpretation. It has a definite meaning. You either believe Jesus is the promised Christ (Messiah) or you don’t. You either live your life according to the teachings of Jesus or you don’t. And Jesus didn’t allow for wishy-washy interpretation of who He said he was or how we should live. You’ll recall that NONE of his contemporaries were able to refer to Jesus as a “good teacher” or “nice man.” To quote C.S. Lewis,
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, The MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41.)
As to Mr. Brown’s statement:
The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress.
I pray that Mr. Brown will continue to earnestly seek the truth and that he will find it. Towards that end, I believe that The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict is an excellent resource for this. As for me, my curiosity is piqued about these theories. I’d like to learn more about them and be able to discuss them intelligently. I think I’ll take a look through the copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls I still have from the odd little college course I mistakenly took. Maybe I’ll investigate the Gnostic Gospels some too (I’ve not even heard of them up till now).
Here’s to God’s truth for both of us, Mr. Brown. =:)