Panic - Creation Ministries International and the "Da Vinci Code"
John Stear, June 2006
I'm always perplexed by the vehemence with which Christians attack anybody they perceive as posing a threat to their simplistic view of life and the world. Films, books, opinions in the press, no matter, if someone somewhere is critical of the dogma of Christianity then all hell breaks loose. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's highly successful novel, has been made into a film and has now been released. The book and now the film has drawn the ire of Christians of all persuasions.
Tasman Walker of Creation Ministries International (CMI), formerly Answers in Genesis (AiG), has responded with predictable panic to the Da Vinci Code film. The full gamut of religious hysteria is evident in Walker's rant:
evangelical churches are mobilizing;
churches are launching vigorous evangelistic campaigns;
churches are powerfully and positively defending the truth of the Bible;
the Sydney Anglicans... are providing special Da Vinci resources for congregations on their website;
One church is hosting a dinner for media workers to consider the issues raised by the book;
Focus on the Family in the US has enlisted 3,000 churches to show a simulcast on the issue the weekend the movie opens;
Churches are even advertising their sermons in the cinemas where the film is being screened.
And email drop outs are a worry too:
A pastor from Lyttleton, Colorado, quoted an e-mail from someone who had read Brown's book:
Is the last 25 years I've been a Christian all a lie? Is everything I was raised to believe just made up for the money? … Please help me … I'm brokenhearted [sic].
How many times must it be said, the Da Vinci Code, book and film, is a work of FICTION. Author Dan Brown has said as much many times. For instance, on his web site:
The Da Vinci Code is a novel [Brown's emphasis] 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 (for example, Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.). These real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters. While it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit, each individual reader must explore these characters' viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations
Even creationist Melinda Christian writing for AiG-USA states:
The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction, complete with good guys, bad guys and narrow escapes.
Having acknowledged that it is a work of fiction, why then does Melinda lapse into fundy speak?:
Ideally, only the very na´ve will be taken in by such assertions made in a work of fiction; the sad truth, however, is that much of the population is already very na´ve concerning the Word of God, and worse, many are desperate for an excuse not to believe and obey it. For them, the cleverly presented falsehoods in The Da Vinci Code will be all the justification they need to continue to deny the authority of the Bible. [my emphasis]
But doesn't creationism rely on the "very na´ve" for its existence?
Please! At the risk of being boring, "the cleverly presented falsehoods" in the Da Vinci Code are FICTION!
The Da Vinci Code film, unlike the book, has not been received well and under normal circumstances wouldn't be expected to gross an enormous amount of money. But Christians like Tasman Walker, Melinda Christian and Christian moralists in general who mount protests against books and films they don't agree with should ponder this: thanks in large part to their protests, the film is well on its way to grossing an exceptional amount of money at the box office. According to this site:
"The Da Vinci Code" racked in $224 million worldwide this opening weekend. According to its distributor, this is the second-biggest debut ever at the global box office.
It was ever thus: the success of a film or book has often been measured by the strength of the opposition of the censorious religious faithful.