Does The Da Vinci Code matter in the great scheme of things? So much so that we’re all atwitter waiting to see how the movie comes out?
Can a movie make Jesus other than as the creeds of the church say he was? That would seem the real question. Attempts to remold him after the mold maker’s fancy easily preceded Dan Brown and Sony. And will continue. But the Jesus of the creeds, “God of God, Light of Light”—it really should have struck us long ago that the likes of Dan Brown can’t lay a glove on this guy. ~William Murchison
I understand what Mr. Murchison is saying, and in one sense he has it entirely right. Christ God will not be affected by whatever lies and nonsense come out in The DaVinci Code or its movie version. But, if I may say so, that has never been the problem with the book or the movie. In the grand scheme of things, The DaVinci Code will matter no more than Gnostic gospels or the scribblings of heresiarchs. In an ultimate sense, Dan Brown’s fantasies and lies should be so far from being persuasive to a Christian audience that there should be no concerns.
But in another sense, these lies are destructive because they can scandalise and confuse Christians and sow false teachings in the minds of the faithful, or they will serve as a justification for unbelief. I know many people, unfortunately some even in my own extended family, who take Dan Brown’s account either as an historically accurate account (which is frightening on many, many levels) or as an “interesting” perspective that needs to be taken seriously. It is as if Nikos Kazantzakis’ inventions had become somehow more believable because their purveyor asserts that they are true. Almost 20 years ago, the film version of The Last Temptation of Christ caused a small furore for its blasphemy (which, gentle readers, is what we’re talking about here), and yet today we see some evangelical churches mobilising to “engage” the claims of a movie that is, if anything, every bit as blasphemous with some anticlerical vituperation thrown in at no etxra cost. There is nothing to “engage” here. And, no, a blasphemer does not have any effect on Christ God, but blasphemy is an insult to Him and a source of destruction for the blasphemer and others.
This is not, like some heresies, a difference in understanding the relationship of Christ’s two natures, a dispute over how to understand Christ’s full divinity and full humanity. It is an out-and-out denial of Christ’s divinity portrayed as reality. Dan Brown takes up the fallen standard of Arianism and advances the claim that everyone before Nicaea believed as Arius did, which is easily disproven by reading any Christian theologian before the fourth century.
If there are Christians daft enough to believe this farrago of lies, I am deeply sorry for them, but it is to guard against the possibility that this nonsense will cause our fellow men to stumble and fail to find Christ (or to lose Him once they had found Him) that we should denounce and undermine this film in every way fitting available to us. If we think of the book and film as neo-Arian propaganda and not simply the scribblings of a sad apostate (in the end, the two alternatives are fairly close), that ought to spur us to a little more disdain and opposition.