It's been somewhat comforting (in a vindictive sense) to see the negative reviews pouring in. And then some.
No, I'm not gonna organize a picket or participate in any boycotts. Christianity has endured far greater persecution and controversy than some book or movie can generate. Decrees, Bible burnings, torture and martyrdom have watered our roots. As Phil Cooke put it:
But the fact is, the Christian faith has transformed Western Civilization. It defeated the Roman empire, created an atmosphere of learning and science throughout Europe, impacted our art, music, and literature. When William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in the 1500's, it created an explosion of literacy that transformed the West. We often forget that Dr. Martin Luther King (a pastor) was driven by his Christian faith. So I have trouble believing a single book or movie will bring down the most important force for good for the last 2,000 years. The dogs may bark, but the train keeps on rolling.
Christians get too easily swayed and riled up about this kind of stuff. And I think I know why. This article in Wednesday's L.A. Times, entitled "Vatican Officials Grappling with Da Vinci Code," touches upon something I've been feeling for a long time
Father John Wauck, an American priest with the Opus Dei prelature, said "The Da Vinci Code" was laughable from start to finish, a comedy of errors that "defies serious reading." But the impact of the story is something else altogether. Wauck believes that the popular appeal of the book underscores the failure of the organized church to adequately educate its followers...
"The cultural phenomenon is very important and must be taken seriously," Wauck said. "It shows our ignorance over art, history, theology, scripture... and that's not Dan Brown's fault, that's our fault, the fault of the church, of priests and parents who aren't teaching the truth."
I think Father Wauck makes a great point. One of the reason films and books like the DaVinci Code create such a big ripple in the Church is because so many professing Christians are so ignorant and uninformed about their beliefs. Or as Wauck puts it "...the popular appeal of the book underscores the failure of the organized church to adequately educate its followers."
I have long felt that the average, Bible-believing Christian is ill-prepared to defend his or her beliefs in the marketplace of ideas. It's bumper sticker theology for many: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." Of course, ask them how they know God said it, and they'll probably shrug or retreat into less than convincing arguments of a more personal nature. Let's face it: The American Church is ignorant about "art, history, theology, scripture … and that's not Dan Brown's fault, that's our fault." Perhaps if we were more studious, more grounded in the basic tenets of the faith and the historical authenticity of the biblical documents, we'd be less flustered when critics roll out the next "earth-shattering news" or "debunking" of Christianity. Until then, we'd might as well join the flock in its brigade over yonder cliff.