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I finished the Da Vinci Code. I had been asked by a few people if I had read it. They're familiar with my spiritual journey and know that some of what Dan Brown wrote mirrored some of what I have said in the past.

Spiritually, I only know/believe one thing these days: God exists. I don't know what God is or what God is all about or how involved God is in our lives, but there is too much order in the universe to deny intelligent design. Anyone who can do that can do, well, whatever they like. I just can't believe that my 4-pound brain can grasp the nature of that being.

If others know the truth more authoratatively than I do and believe more confidently, I envy them. I don't personally assert my questions and doubts upon others unless pointedly asked. In a conversation, I'm more inclined to tell a Christian supportive chapter and verse than anything else.

That said, here are my thoughts on the Da Vinci Code...

Obviously, Mr. Brown spent a lot of time reseaching and creating the plot and puzzles. The facts that he cites of early church history are pretty close to what I know to be true. My understanding from several sources is that Constantine's Council of Nicea was a political, not a spiritual, event. Afterward, his government killed people who believed other than what was declared to be true and so history and doctrine were cemented for centuries.

Dan Brown is also right that there are a plethora of other gospels than just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thomas, Philip, and so on all wrote about their experiences. But these weren't included in what we know as the Bible. Why? Beats me, but the committee didn't want to include them.

The whole Jesus married Mary thing... I don't know. For my spiritual life, it doesn't matter. I don't think I'll research it further for that reason.

But any book that causes churches to fight it as hard as they do, well that's just great marketing. Just as people were fighting Mel Gibson for his pretty much straight-from-the-bible film, Passion, which helped boost the buzz around it. (Great film, by the way. Very accurate to the text of the bible, which is partially why it sold as well as it did.)

Great book, but it's just a book. It shouldn't determine faith.


Tags: god | da vinci code
by Brett Rogers, 4/2/2005 7:25:20 PM

Not Quite


I had wanted to release the Graffiti portion of the website last night, but unfortunately, I didn't. After hanging with my kids for a while, I did two computer caricatures for a woman with whom I work (she asked if I would work on something artsy of her children) and then I hit a brick wall called "fatigue." So I lay on the couch, Da Vinci Code in hand and fell asleep reading.

My daughter read the book about a year ago and told me that I need to read it. Then a friend recommended it to me, knowing my religious stance, and so I've started it.

I'm not too far in yet. Langdon has observed the body and just met Ms. Neveu (sp?).

History is the collective point of view of those who best marketed or offered their points of view. It's not necessarily what actually happened. The subjective nature of memory, screened through our biases and experiences, shade our view. As individuals, we're too small to capture "the truth" ourselves.

At this point in history, I think that a lot of people now notice that the version of events given in the media are not necessarily what happened. What they show may in fact be true, but does it best represent the truth? It's an open question. My opinion is that some reporters are good at getting the gist of the facts to us, and others are obscenely prejudiced and too driven by agenda to be trusted. (I did a fairly robust study of press bias last fall during the election and came away with the assessment that the Associated Press has too many reporters who favor the slant of the Democrats - and as I mentioned, some obscenely so, such as Liz Sidoti.)

My daughter has a deep fascination with history. I've never met a high school student so fluent with information about history as she is. For her, the Da Vinci Code proved riveting. Early church history is a murky topic in many respects, but the translated documents from 2nd and 3rd century forward are fairly available on the web for viewing. You can start with Tertullian and gobble up the writings of those involved in early Christianity.

But I'm quite sure that much has been suppressed. What we know today of early church history is what has been allowed to survive.

I don't know that the truth of early history matters much to a person's elemental faith. I don't expect the book to change my own opinions, but like my daughter, I'm fascinated with Dan Brown's grasp of information.


Tags: bari | my life | da vinci code
by Brett Rogers, 3/31/2005 9:48:56 AM