Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

My Photo
Location: Redway, California, United States

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Fact or Fiction?

The Bible clearly portrays the fact that the truth will set you free. So this year with all the controversy concerning the Da Vinci Code and the statements by some of the press and national media that this movie (and book) are going to “challenge historical Christian belief and theology,” I thought it time to set the record straight.

First of all this media event should be viewed by the Christian community as an outstanding opportunity for absurdity to be unveiled in the face of truth. A wise old Native American (I use to do ministry on Indian Reservations) once said to me that if you want to know how crooked a stick is “all you have to do is lay a straight one next to it.” In this case the historical facts as revealed by secular historians are abundant and the “stories” concerning the mysteries of the Gnostic secrets are rare and rooted in mythical tales not history. So as this movie gets ready to “challenge our faith,” remember the wise words of one of my professors years ago, when he said: “when challenged, you can always retreat to the facts”

So what is this Da Vinci Code book and movie all about? First of all it should be clearly stated that the book in the first pages declares openly and for all to see in black and white and in no uncertain terms, that it is FICTION. The problem with this statement is that in the next several pages the author also says that the organizations, historical facts, archeology, art work and architectural facts are all carefully researched and that they are all true. This mixture of fiction and information stated as fact is a cleaver technique, makes for dramatic writing, but also provides the opportunity for deception of the worst kind. Here is what happens. Mr. Brown first tells you something that sounds familiar and that you can relate to in a way that may cause you to think, or even say, “yea I’ve heard of that.” But then he goes on to weave a fable, fiction, or an outright lie into the fabric which you have taken as truth and thus you end up believing the deception just because it is tied to that “truth” you are pretty sure you have heard of and understand as fact. Interesting – yes. Powerful technique – absolutely. Skillful and even enchanting – of course. Enticing – without a doubt. But TRUE – of course not!

Here are a few examples: The book suggests that the Vatican (Catholic Church but not the Orthodox Christian Church) did not want the release of the Dead Sea Scrolls and that they fought to “suppress” these documents which they viewed as containing damaging information about the faith. Now is this true? History records that clearly that the Dead Sea Scrolls did not contain any “gospels” or anything else mentioning Jesus – they were all pre – New Testament. Most are copies of Old Testament books and other documents from the Qumran community. The fact is that there is nothing in the Dead Sea Scrolls that promotes traditional or even deviant Christianity. In fact the texts provide us with verification that the Old Testament was well preserved throughout the centuries.

So Mr Brown mentions the Dead Sea Scrolls. You say yea, I know about that, but then he goes on to “inform” you of things you did not know about them (that in fact has no basis of fact) as if to be issuing you the latest information concerning these archeological findings. This is masterful but certainly not historical.

Other controversies pervade the book. In it, it is suggested that the early Christians knew that the Gospels were not true, that Jesus may have existed but was not the Son of God and Divine, that Jesus got married and had children which became French Royalty, and that Leonardo Da Vinci was a member of a secret society that knew all of this and that he painted these secrets into his paintings in an effort to communicate these secrets throughout all history.

The plain and clear historical facts as recorded by those both inside and outside the church, show these "stories" of Dan Brown to be exactly what he says in the book that they are: fiction. But beyond this his "recording" of the issues he says are factual, are in error as well, but we don't have time to go into all those error here. I would recommend for your reading "The Da Vinci Deception, by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer. It address each of the major issues in a very percise and documented way and is an easy read.