I just read a ludicrous statement by some Christian pastor, calling for all Christians to go to see The Da Vinci Code when it opens. His statement was something to the effect of "Every Christian needs to see this film!" I beg to differ.
No. We don't need to see this film. We all know what is in it. (Especially me, as I have read the screenplay.) It is a movie which begins from the point that Jesus was a fraud. He was not only not Divine, he was less than a man, who didn't die and rise to save humanity, but rather settled down in Nazareth suburbia and fathered children. Oh yes, and the Christian Church which made up all the salvific Messiah stuff about Him is a sham association of meglomaniacal conspirators whose unifying principles are in the oppression of women.
I have, thus far, been campaigning for a kind of non-campaign as regards The Da Vinci Code. I was thinking that we should all just agree to ignore it, and put our efforts into praying for the people who hate Jesus and us, His disciples, so much that they would make this film. I was reluctant to throw any free p.r. at the project by speaking about it publically, as that is all that the studio wants here. The people promoting the movie want - with every fiber of their obscenely well-compensated beings - that we make this film an event.
The almost irresistible hook for us all is that we supposedly need to see The Da Vinci Code, so that we can then tell all the other people what is wrong with it. All these Christians are being hooked in to write and speak about the film in the name of "dialogue." "How could you criticize something that you haven't seen?" And, "Everybody is going to be talking about this film! We won't be able to talk back if we haven't seen it."
Folks, there is no dialogue here. The dialogue which might have happened involved Sony and Imagine making changes in the story, that would have reflected some kind of fidelity to history or fairness. They didn't make those changes. Basically because they wanted to bash Christians. (Quick, someone assure me that Time and Newsweek and the NY Times, et al. will NOT be running reviews or ads for The Da Vinci Code because it is such an offensive caricature of the central figure of a major world religion!) Secondly, I don't agree that "everybody" is going to see this film. I found the script somewhere between idiotic and way too cute. I didn't find it half as clever as National Treasure....and that wasn't exactly a work of cinematic genius. As 80% of America is Christian, if they don't get us in, the movie basically tanks. And most of us probably weren't going to be going -- until we were told "Every Christian must!!!" All in the name of "dialogue."
(Note from The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word 'dialogue.' I don't think you know what that word means." Dialogue is based on equal playing field. In this case, the "Jesus was a fraud" side gets a major studio film costing $150 million. Our side gets a little website and a discussion guide.)
Further, we absolutely do not need to see the film to talk about Jesus. No more than we need to see porn to talk about human sexuality. Or to read Mein Kempf to decide whether we can have an opinion about gassing Jews. Besides, it would be dignifying a really inane story. Da Vinci Code is so ridiculous in its premises, that it is giving it a false gravity to even take it seriously enough so as to argue about it. ["And tomorrow, the Christians will be offering a hermenutic of moral praxis as can be gleaned from next week's episode of WWF Smackdown. Ahem."] Yeah, let's all find a starting point for dialogue in the notion that a secret coterie of albino monks has been mythmaking about Jesus' Divinity for 2,000 years. No, you go first.
Now, Christians being coaxed into writing anti-DVC pieces on a stupid web site (like, well, this one) are meekly accepting that they are being given "a seat at the table" in some grand cultural discussion. Duped! There is no seat folks. There is no discussion. What there is, is a few p.r. folks in Hollywood taking mondo big bucks from Sony Pictures, to deliver legions of well-meaning Christians into subsidizing a movie that makes their own Savior out to be a sham.
The masses who will see this film will not be coming to the web site. They will go in to the theaters, eat handfuls of popcorn, and then come out marveling that millions of people for 2,000 years could have been so duped by a lie. They won't go to any web site. They won't be coming to any Christian forum.
I love how we Christians have moved from all agreeing that DVC is evil, to now arguing about what cultural engagement means. Ha! Fabulous! It is a plot twist worthy of Da Vinci Code (if, you know, it were a really clever book with good plot points...)
ANYWAY.... here's what I think we should do. I am hereby announcing my personal "How to Respond to Da Vinci Code Strategy." And the answer is to go to the movies on May 19, 2006. Every Christian who loves Jesus, your mission, if you will accept it is to buy movie tickets. We need to bring our kids, our church groups, our youth ministry clubs, our seniors groups - and buy tickets for the homeless for after we feed them. And we all need to go to see THIS!
Let's make this little movie the biggest release of the year. Let's have DVC positively dwarfed in the weekend box-office, because all of us dutifully marched off to register our vote for the other movie opening that weekend. It's brilliant, mais oui?
Over the Hedge! Over the Hedge! More screens for Over the Hedge!"
And let us pray for Sony Pictures.