I wasn’t going to be one of those people who chimed in on The Da Vinci Code because I think all too often those who do spout off about the latest craze, whatever it is, just paint themselves to look like mindless me-toos. With some people it’s as though they have no opinion until someone else tells them what to think. Sadly I too suffer from a weakness, specifically the occasional inability to suppress my need to explain why my opinion is obviously better than someone else’s. I know I should just keep my mouth shut and take comfort in knowing I’m superior, but sometimes I just can’t. You see there are two kinds of people in this world: those who think like me and those who should, and I like to sometimes help the latter join the army of rightness. Chalk it up to my philanthropic narcissism disorder. Anyway, back to The Da Vinci Code.
I just don’t understand the incessant wrangling that surrounds this book. My wife and I did this as a read aloud where I would read to her before we went to bed. Being no stranger to Paris and even having attended a mass at Saint-Sulpice Cathedral where the character Silas breaks open the floor to look for a mysterious clue, we loved learning the historical facts about the buildings and following the plot through Paris and other parts of Europe. Chapters are short. Dialogue is plenty. It’s a page turner for sure. We enjoyed the book.
The part to this whole scuttlebutt I’m having difficulty with are the people who make reference to and take offense with the book’s “claims.” Characters in the book believe that Christ had a wife and kids. So what? First of all, the author doesn’t assert the book is nonfiction, so where does this “claim” come from? Even if the author believes this alternative view of Christ, as I understand he does, a work of fiction cannot make claims. By definition it is make believe. Following the fiction making claims logic we’d have to assume that Stephen King claims balloon-wielding clowns are mass murderers, that L. Frank Baum claims lions are cowards and that Dr. Seuss claims one might actually enjoy feasting on green eggs and ham in a box with a fox. Come on, people.
If someone approached you in the street and said the sky was plaid, would you take offense and try and argue because you knew it to be otherwise? Of course not. You’d assume the tool you’d just met was a few bricks short of a load and move on. If he wants to believe the sky is plaid, let him be. You know the blueness of the sky as a divine truth, one that’s been reiterated to you over and over by family and community. You grew up not only believing the sky was blue but knowing it was. You didn’t just read it in a book; you see the blue sky everyday. You embrace yourself with the blueness of the sky and make it part of your daily life. Blue Sky isn’t just a theory for you. It’s a fact. You define yourself as a Blue Skyist. The sky is blue and the blue is good.
If on the other hand the same man approached you in the street and said something for which you had a reasonable degree of doubt, for instance that it was going to rain, you might offer up some opinion to the contrary. “I don’t know,” you might say,”the weatherman claimed it was supposed to be sunny all week.” Of course you don’t know whether it’s going to rain, but you doubt that it will. The key, or for Dan Brown fans, what’s in the cryptex is the doubt. That’s what makes the point arguable.
I would therefore propose that the reason people are getting so up in arms about this book is not because of anything in the books pages so much as it is those people’s own lack of faith in what they claim to be their belief system. When religion blends with doubt the result is often a watered down religiosity in which the practitioners, fearful of their own agnosticism, hide behind a mask of piety and point fingers at everyone but themselves. This alternative view of Christ is not new. It’s been around since the Middle Ages, and if it holds some veracity, then we can assume it dates back farther than that. The only reason it’s come to light now is because people who seemingly have never been taught to think for themselves cannot spearhead their own movement and instead have to ride in on the coattails of someone more famous. Apparently “Though shalt not steal” does not apply to limelight.
The movie Da Vinci Code is coming out soon and you can bet your bottom dollar that for every zealot who jumps up and screams in protest about the movie, they’re going to drum up ten movie goers who were it not for the upset wouldn’t have had any desire to go see the film in the first place. You know what I say? Good.
Though I wonder if like in the book there was a grand-scale conspiracy on the part of the Catholic Church are we now in the midst of some great put-on organized by none other than the neo-reborn nut-jobs? Do Liberty University andThe 700 Club get kickbacks from the movie’s proceeds.
What role does Tinky Winky play in all of this?