Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Contrarian's Approach to the Da Vinci Code

I'm a contrarian by nature. Whenever I see a rush of people headed in one direction, I tend to question "group think" and assume there is good reason to consider going the opposite direction. It's not always the case. But it's a good exercise to keep me intellectually honest.

Currently I see a rush to judgment in the Christian community regarding the Da Vinci Code. Spin the dial (do radio's still have dials?) on any given day and you'll find radio shows offering convincing evidence that Dan Brown has distorted the facts of both the Bible and Christian history. It's a hands down, in your face, slam dunk affair. Any moderately educated believer can refute Brown's "facts".

But when I see that, it makes me cautious. When things are that easy, I wonder if maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe "refuting the errors" of the Da Vinci Code isn't the way to go. Maybe that's the wrong tack to take. The contrarian in me says that it might be wise to affirm the "truth" imbedded in his errors. What do I mean?

The Da Vinci Code is a page turner, not just because it's a thriller. It's a page turner because Brown captures the essence of many concerns about God and faith. We have seen so much hypocrisy, so much hype, so much spiritual abuse in the church that many of us now stay away from God, faith and church all together. Brown captures that sentiment. So, my sense is that the true "trap of the devil" in all this might be for the church to run around with their fact books pointing out error. In some very real sense, that's the very thing that Brown is exposing in the church. It's that critical, power hungry approach to "unbelievers" that most people find so offensive.

So, what's good about the Da Vinci Code? If we listen, what's good is that it clues us in to the disillusionment and discontent among the masses about God, etc. We can point out how wrong Brown is and think we've "won" or we can pull a chair up along side our friends and say, "Tell me more. I really want to hear why you struggle so much with the church".

At least, that's the contrarian way...

1 comment:

Jody Graese said...

I haven't read the Da Vinci Code yet because my reading time is limited and it always feels like a waste of time to read things contrary to scripture. I felt so sad after reading Embraced By the Light because so many people believed what was written just because they read it. I saw The Passion of the Christ and was glad I saw it, however, I won't buy it. When discussing it with others, I can't help pointing out there was more than truths portrayed: Jesus dragged by chains and tripped so that he hung from a bridge and looked Judas in the eye, Catholic traditional beliefs such as the blood stained white cloths, etc. Mel Gibson wrote and directed the Passion from his own belief system and told the media that truth. Some authors and directors aren't honest about the point of view from which they are telling the story. I have always tried to convince my kids not to pad the pockets of those selling lies and glamorizing sin. I let my teenage daughter read the first Harry Potter book, but not until we had discussed where it misses the mark. She read it for curiosity's sake and was not interested in becoming a Harry Potter groupie and never read the others. She has read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I guess I'll see what Remy says about seeing the movie and reading the book. Perhaps I will investigate for curiosity's sake.