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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Slam-Dunking The Da Vinci Code Debunkers


If you are not familiar with The Da Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown, it is one of the most controversial books that has been published in the 21st centaury, maybe the most controversial book since The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Iran, 16 years later, still has a $2.8 million bounty on Rushdie’s head.*)

*The fatwa, or Islamic religious law edict, can not be repealed because according to Islamic law, only the issuer of the fatwa may due so: Ayatollah Khomeini died soon after he issued his fatwa on Rushdie.

To date, no less then ten books have been written by various Christian theologians and historians that dispute the validity of this novel. Let me say that again. To date, no less then ten books have been written by various Christian theologians and historians that dispute the validity of this novel.

When I read about all these books and saw the various web sites that were debunking Brown’s novel, I was completely flabbergasted. Although I understand that the things written in The Da Vinci Code are highly insulting to Christians (and Muslims as well), I could not understand why there was such a strong reaction to this particular book. There have been tens of thousands, if not millions of books written that would offend Christians. Why are there not legions of Christians calling for the head of Michael Crichton or Steven King? These are two of the most popular secular novelists of our era, yet you do not see shelves of books debunking Jurassic Park or The Stand.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a trilogy of books decades ago that are beloved by millions. These books would eventually become one of the most successful movie trilogies of all time, with only Star Wars as a rival. Both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings should be highly blasphemous to Christians, yet why are they not debunked? Why are Steven King and Michael Crichton not debunked? These authors and screen writers are criticized by Christians , yes, but you will never see a theologian go to the trouble of writing and publishing a whole book that debunks a Michael Crichton or J.R.R. Tolkien novel, much less a work by Steven King. My theory is that the farther away that a book or movie moves away from central Christian theology, that the less attention it attracts from Christian leaders. Sort of like a literary red-shift in the universe of expanding ideas.

Part 1: The Code

The authors of the books that debunked The Da Vinci Code obviously did not bother to look at the cover, or they may not have bothered:


For the slow, the definition of a novel is:

Novel: n. An extended fictional work in prose; usually in the form of a story.

This is what is being debunked; a book that states on the cover that it is a work of fiction.

Since Doubleday understands that most people will miss the 14 point white letters on the dark background that states that the book is a novel, they included a complicated and ambiguous statement in legalese about the nature of the book:

All of the characters and events in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Wow, after two months my brain still cannot fathom this mind-blowing revelation...

This disclaimer can also mean that any real person or event mentioned in the novel was also used in context fictitiously. Frederick Forsythe is famous for using actual people and events in this manner (nobody debunks him.)

The idea of debunking this book should have stopped well before chapter one. Why was it not? Money and greed, not defense of the Faith. If you have Faith, it should not need to be defended to others, and a work of fiction should not cause you to question it.

Part 2: Money for Nothing

The people who wrote the books debunking Dan Brown’s novel are making a lot of money. It would not surprise me if that collectively, the debunking of The Da Vinci Code has generated more revenue then the book itself. The History Channel has even produced a two-hour program about the book and its detractors.

Dan Brown wrote a novel about the last days of Jesus Christ and an admitted fictional account of the history of Christianity. Christians are making money writing books debunking a book that everybody knows to be fictitious. A martial arts master publishing a serious book pointing out the flaws in Kung Fu Hustle would be slightly less silly.

Who was more evil: The heretic burning at the stake, or the priest that lit the fire? I guess it depends on your point of view.

Tommy Masterson


Blogger Jim said...

Righ on, Tommy!

My friend just pointed your site out to me. I'm linking you.

I'm an ex-fundamentalist myself, and focus more on politics than religion ever since my still-fundamentalist family discovered my blog. :)


5/19/2006 9:20 AM  

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