Needless to say, I am getting lots of calls to do interviews about The Da Vinci Code. I duck as many of them as I can, so glad am I for the existence in the universe of Mark Shea and Amy Welborn!
Basically, I hate talking about The Da Vinci Code because I have a personal relationship with Jesus. I have met Him and He isn't a proto-feminist goddess-cultic with a weak personality that could have been simply co-opted by power-hungry misogynists. I love Jesus. It makes me physically sick to entertain discussion about the ways in which the defining acts of His life - His Passion, Resurrection and establishment of the Church - could be a diabolical scam that He never anticipated not experienced. It would make me sick to hear salacious lies about anyone I love, how much more my Savior?
Besides that, I don't think we should encourage people in the terrible sin against the Holy Spirit of speculating that things that are holy are evil, and that things that are evil are holy. Isn't that what is going on here? How is that not painful for anyone who knows the Lord?
I have heard several fellow Christians make the claim that DVC DVC is "a great opportunity for evangelism." 'Hmmm... Evangelism. I don't think you know what that word means.' The climate of evangelism is not consistent with a posture of defiance and cynicism. Is slander an opportunity? Is angry superiority an opportunity? DVC represents all the "opportunity" that the Roman persecutions offered the early Church. Rah.
And here's another thing that troubles me about the "opportunity for dialogue" stance. The debate is all on hell's terms. I am somebody who reads about exorcisms. I don't know why. I just do. And one of the first rules of exorcism is that you never answer the devil's questions. You don't debate the devil. You do not give evil the authority to question God. DVC represents a debate in which the questions start with Satan's presumptions. I find it beyond naive to convince myself that the folks who are lapping up DVC are on a "search for truth." They're not. They are on a crusade to validate their own rejection of the authority of Christ and the Church.
Here's a typical DVC inspired dialogue... See if you can find a search for truth in it.
It usually starts with something like this, "Everybody knows that the Church Fathers were liars. Can you prove the compilation of the Bible wasn't pure politics?"
And just when you start saying, "Well, I don't agree that the Church Fathers were--" the questioner moves on with eyes flashing unnaturally, "Why is the Church so afraid of women, huh? Why has it suppressed them since the beginning? Yeah? Answer THAT!"
So, you clear your throat and say, "Well, I wouldn't say that the Church is afr--"
But they've moved on again. "The fact is, there is no evidence for the Resurrection. Have you ever read the Gospel of Mary Magdalen?"
"Well, no, but--"
"See you people are all brain-washed." [exhalation of disgust] "How so many people could be so stupid is amazing to me....Where are my birth-control pills?!"
When you debate with Satan, there is no opportunity for anything but people digging their heels into the sludge of chaos and confusion.
And I also hate the idea that some of the sheep would be scandalized away from Jesus by this idiotic story. And they will.
The sheep have been systematically prepared for slaughter by forty years of post-Consiliar insanity. Ineffective and insufficient catechesis and lack-lustre preaching. Liturgical chaos. Too often, the cruel injustice of liberal, intolerant leadership which so often had the added indignity of manifest hypocrisy.
The flock has been bred as teeming little narcissist lambs who stubbornly consider themselves "special" no matter how mediocre their understanding and living out of their life of discipleship. We have a global pasture full of sheep pasturing themselves, with coats shamefully besmirched by loving their sins. They bleat defiance and pride of their filth, and insist that Jesus is indifferent to their degradation and shame. "Who knows, Jesus is probably just like us!" They don't know, and don't know that they don't know, or don't know, and don't care that they don't know.
And now The Da Vinci Code comes along to sheepish ears that are primed and ready to be told that holiness is impossible. And that is why this damn book is a success. It says to people, "If Jesus was a sham, then anything is permissible." (Ref. "You shall be like gods!")
I thought of this when I read Mark Shea's little DVC rant today. He writes,
"I think the most maddening thing about this book is the thought of somebody losing their faith over this--this!--stupid piece of dimestore erudition.
If you are going to risk your eternal soul, it should at least be over something noble and romantic and big. If you are bound to damn yourself, then at least let it be over a torrid and star-crossed love affair, or out of tragic hubris that sought know What Man Was Not Meant to Know, or over some insane and violent of country, or out of desire for titanic powers to manipulate nature or some Byronic despair over a cold world's rejection of a Great Artiste.
But to lose your soul over this cartoonish, illiterate, dishonest piece of hack drivel...
It reminds me of Screwtape's maxim: "To get the man's soul and give him nothing in return--that is what really gladdens Our Father's heart." "
I am perplexed by the Christian leaders going around saying that people are reading The Da Vinci Code in a search for truth. Good frickin' grief. Who was it that said, "They have Moses and the prophets...?" People searching for truth would not be reaching for enlightenment from a pulp-fiction rack. The other day, I heard a useful Christian idiot (to Sony Pictures, anyway) say that Christians should stop criticizing DVC as being a badly written story, because, "Let's face it, fifty million readers can't be wrong!"
Yes. They can. Let's try this, "Hey, let's face it, sixteen million readers of Hustler magazine can't be wrong!" Or hey, fifty million Germans who voted for Hitler couldn't be wrong!"
Yes, they could and they were.
As I said, I was one of the folks in the pews recently at a DVC event at a local Evangelical church. The funniest part of the night (and scariest...but if you don't laugh that only leaves screaming as an appropriate response) came after several of the Evangelical panel guys had gone through long speeches about how Christians should welcome DVC as an opportunity for dialogue. Then, they opened the floor up for questions and the first women querier did a version of, "I don't have any problem with the fact that Jesus had sex." HA!
Unbelievable! Let's all march our troops into dialogue. The fact that our troops are completely disarmed for a fight seems to be irrelevent!
Many of our Christian sheep will be ripe for slaughter from DVC. All they will have to go to battle with is the Bible. But DVC undermines Biblical authority by saying that the Bible was the product of a purely political process. This debate will shake the faith of many who are not prepared for it.
Don't go see this stupid movie. Don't pay money to have the insidious lies of the enemy introduced into your heart and mind.
Othercott DVC on May 19th. Go see Over the Hedge instead. And pray for everyone associated who is dancing with the devil through this movie.