5.21.2006

A Calm Reflection on the Da Vinci Code

A quick Google search for "combat, attack, unbiblical, or false Da Vinci Code" just turned up almost ten million hits. Organized religion has definitely come out in force against this particular "heresy". Yesterday marked the premier of the film production of Dan Brown's bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Today, millions more Americans went to see the action-packed thriller that has truly captivated the minds of everyone - whether they be for it or against it. According to a statistic from an article by Rod Martin, of the 45 million people who read the book, ninety-five percent state that it has not caused them to change any of their beliefs or religious perspectives because of the book’s content. In other words, this book will probably not have a terrific impact on the average person who already has some set religious ideas. Nevertheless, I joined the hype this afternnoon by placing 50 $10,000 bills in car windshield wipers at the local theater. These slightly oversized bills have an image of Mona Lisa on the front:This gospel tract in disguise is good because it does not attempt to go through and debunk each and every of the numerous factual errors in The Da Vinci Code. Rather, it takes what I would consider to be a more biblical approach; the back of the bill is as follows:
One of the most amazing claims of The Da Vinci Code is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and she then became the most important of the apostles. If this is true, then the New Testament cannot be trusted, and its entire inspiration is in question. Did you know that... [read more]
Read it. Rather that attacking the book and the movie, the tract affirms the authenticity of the Bible and challenges the person on the basis of their conscience. It closes by showing The Da Vinci Code for what it really is:
If you choose to ignore the Bible's warning, and instead believe the fantasies of The Da Vinci Code, then be aware that you have joined the "Elvis is Alive!" crowd. You've included yourself in the ranks of the wide-eyed and faithful tabloid customers. The choice, however, is yours. It's your eternity.
A great tract. Like I said, the entire parking lot was peppered with them - while the film was showing. So when everyone came out they had $10,000 with Mona Lisa on the front under their windshield wipers. Hee hee hee. When we were about eighty percent done, one of the employees (who happened to be an old friend of mine) came out and asked us if we had a permit to do what we were doing. I told him that since we weren't trying to sell anything, we didn't need a permit - and gave him a copy for the road. He read through the whole thing and went back into the theater and showed it to the other employees. What do you think a good response is to this phenomenon? In Him, David S. MacMillan III

7 comments:

David Ketter said...

Pretty cool tract...the one "sign" seemed odd to me, an increase in vegetarianism? Where's that from?

Anyways, I think this tract is an excellent idea but I think response is two-pronged. On the one hand, we can use this to affirm the validity of the Bible on its own merits. On the other hand, not to challenge it only demonstrates the self-same laziness that the Church has had in recent decades.

The Early Church Fathers wrote constantly against heresies. They were always willing to accept those who repented but that didn't stop them for fighting for the faith. To stand up for truth is to open the doors to further evangelism because it brings one question to the forefront: Why?

Jonathan McCarthy and I are working on getting a podcast together...expect it later today. :)

As far as the statistics go, you REALLY can't rely on them. After taking that statistics course, I view most opinion surveys with suspicion. Why? (1) They are never completely randomized - that is, objective. (2) They are rarely stratified - that is, representative of the different groups in the population. (3) Interviewer-induced bias and the Hawthorne Effect are not something we can rule out either. So, what you have is a survey, at best, under heavy suspicion for the accuracy of its results. At its worst, it is seriously flawed.

Hope that wasn't too much rambling about statistics but I'm just happy to have some decent knowledge of SOME type of mathematics. ;)

So, in short, I'd say the evangelism tactic is excellent (so long as you don't actually use DVC to do it) but the apologetic front should never be ignored.

Anonymous said...

It's FICTION. Why do you care???

David Ketter said...

The point is that people BELIEVE FICTION EVERDAY! They buy those idiotic tabloids and watch soap operas, claim American Idol and Survivor are "reality" shows and expect ER to be a true demonstration on what goes on in a real ER...people have lost all distinction between fact and fiction anymore.

David S. MacMillan III said...

Anonymous:

Here is a comment I found on The Da Vinci Code website:

An international chase...a quest...codes within codes. Brown's novel is a pager-turner... and you'll never view "The Last Supper" the same way again. Favorable review.
--THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR


Dan Brown opens his book with this claim: "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents [...] and secret rituals in this novel are accurate". With such being the preface to the novel, it quickly becomes obvious that Dan Brown wasn't interested in merely writing fiction. He used the medium of a good story to condense and feed to the reader a collection of myths, legends, and fantasies that undermine the Truth of Jesus Christ.

Your allegation that "It's just fiction, why attack it" would be legitimate if Christians were upset over and writing books about the plot, story line, and names of the characters, and how they were false. Obviously it is false; the book is fiction! But mixed with the story line is yet more fiction portrayed as absolute fact. Dan Brown has the right to publish fantasy as historical fact. But we also have the right to point out the problems in it.

Veronika said...

Hehee, clever! I can imagine the looks on the movie-goers faces when they saw the entire parking lot littered with Mona Lisa's! =D

In response, David, personally I think it's sad we even have to wonder how to respond. But, since we have to...Basically, the tract hit the nail on the head when it said: '[you're in the] "Elvis is alive!" crowd...'

It's true. People are so desperate for God not to be true and for Christianity to be false so they can live without guilty consciences, that they will devour anything that contradicts Christian beliefs.

It's gut-wrenching, and it's horrible.

Very good post, though. Thanks for giving your own thoughts. I agree with 'em! =)

Guess who? said...

There are people in every church who are just along for the ride. They come and 'do' their religion because they think it wins them brownie points with God. They are the ones who are ever listening but never hearing.

These will say, "Oh, God's not gonna condemn me for reading the DaVinci Code or going to a movie." They are easily misled and they don't guard their hearts as we are commanded to do.

Any of us can be confused and led to doubt- thus we put on the helmet of salavation to protect our minds. In the last days, strong delusion will come. If we don't stand and practice standing now, we will not be led by the Spirit but by the lusts of the flesh.

As stronger and stronger delusions come, we will excuse them and be led astray because we have been lulled into apathy. After all, it hasn't hurt us so far.

We all have itching ears. They're kinda like mosquito bites; the more you scratch the worse the itch. In the end you have an oozing sore.

So are we going to take just any man's opinion - does every opinion have validity? Hmmm- Christ's opinion is given clearly in the Word of God - the Bible. Man's opinion is ever-changing. Besides, would you go to the auto mechanic if you had cancer or to an oncologist? I know, that's judgemental. I think that the auto mechanic's opinion is just as valid too.

Anonymous said...

you may not need a permit, but that doesnt mean its legal to put leaflets on random peoples cars. But even if it is legal, you certainly need the permission of the movie theatre, if you are doing it on the movie theatres private property.