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Fact and Fiction - the Da Vinci Code

There is a book that has been taking the world by storm. It has been at the top of the best seller lists since its release in 2003 and has featured in them almost every week since then. 3 years of debate and argument, 3 years of media coverage and website comment, 3 years of challenge to traditional beliefs about Christianity and Jesus. It is a challenging book which inevitably gets people talking about Jesus! 
                       
In common with other best selling books, it has now been made into a film which went on general release in May, starring box office magnet Tom Hanks. Doubtless sales of the book will go through the roof as a result of the film. I refer, of course, to the “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.  
 
The Da Vinci Code once again could be this summer’s ‘book most likely to be read whilst wearing swimwear and sipping cool drinks by the pool’! Interestingly, at dinner parties, the 2 subjects that etiquette traditionally pronounces taboo – politics and religion, are instead, likely to be high on the conversational agenda - politics because of the many recent sensational news headlines, local council election shocks, etc, and religion because the Da Vinci Code throws out a daring challenge to the Christian church.
 
So why are so many people talking about this book? Although one cannot claim that this is a literary masterpiece, the fact is that it is an exciting action-packed thriller with a strong conspiracy theory hook. It is a gripping read with cliffhanger chapter endings and plenty of intrigue. Yet, in spite of it's seductive story line, the book has not been without controversy - and not only amongst Christians. Dan Brown, its author, claims, amongst other things, that Jesus was married to Mary Magalene, that they had a child, that their blood line exists to this day, and that the church has covered all this up. Despite the book being presented as a historical novel and a fictional work, and despite the fact that upon investigation, there is no convincing evidence for the majority of claims within it, the book yet seeks to convince the reader that it is soundly based on fact.
 
In the author’s own website, Dan Brown states that it is “my belief that the theories discussed by these characters may have merit”. People who prior to reading the book, have had little or no interest in the Christian faith, are now asking questions and doing their own research. Why? Because it involves a conspiracy theory and we love those! Dan Brown does not ever assert that the information presented is accurate or true, yet he disagrees with those attempt to disprove the Da Vinci Code. Many have found discrepencies in the book, and as more and more people actually check out the facts, enquiring readers will discover these for themselves. It is likely that those who are convinced by the DVC will brush off any such arguments from any Christian writer, but when non-Christian researchers have themselves found no fewer than 69 errors in the book, 3 of them serious, one has to sit up and take notice. So, is it all true? The only way to truly know is to turn aside from a sensationalist tabloid mentality and adopt a broadsheet mentality. Check the facts out for yourself!
 
Don’t forget that there is another book that continues to take the world by storm. It remains uncontested for years and years at the top of the list of ‘best selling books of all time’. It has generated many hundreds of years of debate, decades of media coverage, copious quantities of website comment and centuries of challenge to our beliefs about Christianity and Jesus. It is an amazing book which inevitably gets people talking about Jesus!   Have you got déjà vu yet? This other book is, of course, the Bible!
 
Does this it really surprise anyone? “The Good Book”, which is the foundation of Christianity, aside from Christ Himself of course, was, in 1450, the first printed version of the text. Until then, it had been hand-copied by patient monks and was only available to clerics and scholars. It has been translated by teams of scholars and printed in more than 2,000 languages and dialects so far. In common with other best selling books, its contents has been made into numerous films in many different languages. Lives have been changed simply through reading this book.
 
What is the difference between the Bible and The Da Vinci code? The different is that in addition to being a historical document and an account of who is the Creator and why He created us (note that the bible never seeks to explain in any detail the ‘how’ or the ‘when’ because it is not relevant), the Bible is a living book. If we have ears to hear, its words will speak to our us in the inner man, bringing comfort, peace, understanding and revelation that bypasses the intellect and meets man’s need deep within.
 
The Bible contains the words of Jesus Christ, whose teachings over 2000 years have formed the moral foundation for much of our understanding of right and wrong. Despite the age of the book , His words are timeless and are still speaking. 
 
Most surely you will find the Da Vinci Code a fascinating read, but the truth is that the ‘gospel’ according to Dan Brown has a fair way to go to match the reputation and longevity of the Word of God! Jesus said in Matthew ch 7 v 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. As we seek Him, we find that He is "the light and the life of the world.” As we seek Him, we shall indeed find Him and experience the inner peace He has promised us. Alongside any scholarly research, let the asking, seeking and knocking become part of our search for the truth.
 
Poynton Christian Felowship
June 2006