Shedding Light On The Da Vinci Code’s Fiction
- Steve Sellers Campus Crusade for Christ
- 2006 5 May
More than 40 million copies of The Da Vinci Code novel have sold worldwide, and “The Da Vinci Code” movie, due to be released in just weeks, will reach an estimated 30 million viewers in the United States alone. Dan Brown’s story has certainly captured a large audience.
Part of the appeal of The Da Vinci Code is its claim that the story is based on historical facts. As the author states, “The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book’s characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist.”
This leaves readers (and very soon movie audiences) with intriguing questions about The Da Vinci Code. “Could all of this be true?” “Could Jesus really have lived a life different than the one the Bible tells us about?”
Adding to the intrigue is the story’s allegation that the Church has been actively working to hide a two-thousand-year-old secret. The idea, of course, is that a large religious institution has been withholding the “truth” from the rest of the world and now their cover has been blown. Sony Pictures, recognizing the appeal of the conspiracy aspect of the narrative, has even gone so far as to market “The Da Vinci Code” movie with the theme “Seek the Truth.”
What Dan Brown’s story offers, however, is something very far from the Truth. The Da Vinci Code directly challenges many essential Christian beliefs, claiming the Bible is unreliable; the resurrection of Jesus is mere mythology; Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a child; descendants of Jesus are still alive today; and a secret society guards this “truth” about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their descendants.
Claims of this magnitude certainly need solid evidence to support them, something not found in The Da Vinci Code. As a matter of fact, historical evidence serves to refute these claims. For example, Dr. Bart Ehrman at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill states, “Not a single one of our ancient sources indicates that Jesus was married, let alone married to Mary Magdalene.”
Despite the fact that The Da Vinci Code belongs squarely in the category of fiction, there is a very real danger that with millions of people either reading the book or viewing the movie, many will accept the story’s theories about Jesus as truth. Skeptics are already using these conspiracy theories to support their arguments that the Christian faith is founded on mere myth.
The Da Vinci Code’s Impact On Faith
Considering The Da Vinci Code alleges that the Bible is unreliable, Jesus was married, and He never resurrected from the dead, even the suggestion that these claims have any historical basis is reason for alarm. Driving much of the concern is the impact The Da Vinci Code and these claims are already having on the spiritual lives of many. Here’s just some of what people are saying:
- “Two close friends of mine in the church lost their faith over The Da Vinci Code.”
- A Pastor from Phoenix, Arizona
- “I read The Da Vinci Code and I no longer know what I believe.”
- Missionary in Eastern Europe
- “I lost my son to The Da Vinci Code.”
- Concerned Parent
Clearly, the Body of Christ needs to respond to refute the lies in Dan Brown’s story. But this is only part of the response. Even though the book and “The Da Vinci Code” movie present a distorted view, they also open up a tremendous opportunity to talk about Jesus while He is on the minds of millions.
This increased interest in matters of faith is evidenced in the large number of responses to Campus Crusade for Christ’s recently-launched website, www.JesusAndDaVinci.com. In about a two-month period, this site has had approximately 65,000 visitors with more than 6,000 making decisions for Christ. Emails continue to pour in from people who are asking crucial faith questions and want help:
- “When I read [The Da Vinci Code] I started to disbelieve Christ and it almost changed me. I want Christ back; will I be able to?”
- “Help me know about Christ because The Da Vinci Code book has got me confused.”
- “I am a [person from another religion]. I have lots of problems in my life . . . I always think I am lost in the world. My own religion could not answer my questions . . . Can you answer me?”
As the public discussion regarding “The Da Vinci Code” movie and its fictitious claims grows, the interest in spiritual issues will continue to increase. This is a critical time for the Church. Again, not only because it’s vital that distortions in Dan Brown’s story are shown for what they are, but also because an incredible window of opportunity is now open to reach people’s hearts with the Gospel.
Reaching Seekers With The Real Truth About Jesus Christ
Healthy debate regarding significant spiritual issues has always been a vital part of a sincere search for the Truth.
However, all the recent controversy surrounding The Da Vinci Code has also led to confusion for many people. One of the main reasons is that Dan Brown’s narrative creatively intertwines historical facts within the fictional story. For most readers, as well as movie audiences, distinguishing the facts from the fiction is not an easy task. The Da Vinci Code makes references to hidden documents and secret societies, about which most people will know very little, if anything at all, prior to reading the book or seeing the movie.
Careful examination will show that the distorted views about Jesus and the Christian faith in The Da Vinci Code do not, in fact, have the historical basis that the story claims to offer. A significant difficulty for readers and movie audiences, however, is the vast majority simply do not have the time or the resources to do a thorough investigation on their own.
As part of efforts to provide these much-needed resources to help people discover the Truth, Campus Crusade for Christ has created two publications. The first is a book by Josh McDowell entitled, The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers. Josh’s book offers an in-depth exploration of the issues brought up in the book and movie, refuting the major claims and pointing readers to the Jesus Christ of Scripture.
In a concise format, this publication makes the most important points clear, such as:
• There is overwhelming historical evidence for the accuracy and reliability of the New Testament.
• The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is the Son of God who rose again from the dead.
• The claim that Jesus married and had a child has no solid historical basis.
After presenting the evidence, this magazine invites seekers to examine the Gospel and receive Christ.
If you would like to know more about these efforts, including how you can help place these publications into the hands of people who need to hear the Truth, you can do so by going online. Also available are additional apologetic and evangelistic resources, a full electronic version of the mini-magazine, and information on how to receive your own copy of Josh’s book. Simply visit: www.davincitruth.org