Friday, June 02, 2006

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Dan Brown

If you don't know church history, Dan Brown's historical talk is breath taking...shocking. He makes you feel like a fool for having believed the church's lies all these years. But, let me ease your mind. Dan Brown either is a terrible historian or a great marketer (maybe a little of each!).

After Leigh Teabing tells Sophie the "truth" about how Constantine made up the idea that Jesus was divine (see post below) he "verifies" it with this statement...

Fortunately for historians, some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea scrolls were found in the 1950’s hidden in a cave…in the Judean desert…, these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms. … The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda- to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use his influence to solidify their own power base. P. 234

Well, the only “glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications” are from Brown. Nothing in the paragraph above is true. What’s wrong with what he said about the Dead Sea Scrolls? It says that the Dead Sea scrolls speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms...but that’s impossible. The Dead Sea Scrolls were written before Jesus was even born! They say nothing about Jesus or the early church, let alone the humanity of Jesus. Oops. I guess we weren't supposed to know that!

Have you picked up on Brown's literary manipulations that reinforce his "historical" aura? He starts out by saying..."Fortunately, for historians..." Whew. Yeah. Good thing for those scrolls, otherwise we might have someone trying to lie to us about the truth! Then he talks about "glaring" discrepancies that "clearly" show the truth. I guess the old saying works for Dan...if you tell a lie long enough eventually people will believe it's the truth. I hope you don't!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Vinci "Facts": Is Jesus Merely Human?

Here's an excerpt from my sermon yesterday discussing some of the misinformation found in The Da Vinci Code. Read or download the full text here...

In The Da Vinci Code book, the character, Leigh Teabing tells Sophie that it was at the Council of Nicea (AD 325) that the delegates voted on the divinity of Jesus.

…Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicea… At this gathering, Teabing said, many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and of course, the divinity of Jesus….Until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal…Jesus’ establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea.” And Sophie says, “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote? Teabing replies, “A relatively close vote at that.”

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There was no discussion at the Council of Nicea over whether or not Jesus was God. This is one of the most misleading "facts" in the book. Every early follower of Jesus believed that Jesus was God. That was without question. The discussion at the Council of Nicea was over the nature of Jesus’divinity and humanity. There was a group of people known as Gnostics who didn’t believe that Jesus was fully human. They believed that he only appeared to be human. To them, it was impossible for God to appear in the flesh because flesh was sinful. And so – that was the argument of the day. Not if Jesus was God but if Jesus could be both fully God and fully human.