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3/22/2006

IT'S CALLED FICTION FOR A REASON

Fiction: (n) a literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact.

Despite the fact that novel The Da Vinci Code is filed under fiction everywhere it can be purchased, thousands of folks, many of whom are Christians, are wondering if much of it's plot line is fact. And because this plot line insists that Jesus was not divine and that the Church was a creation of Emperor Constantine and that murders were perpetrated by clergy took, and maybe still are, to keep the lie alive and the truth secret, well, this understandably troubles more than a few folks.

"One reason it works so well on readers is that he tends to begin with a kernel of something historical and then quickly spins off into fiction - or you could say falsehood, since he represents it as something researched," says Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. (From CSM)

Scholars worry that the sudo-scholarship/fiction now validated by a Hollywood version of the Da Vinci Code undermines the decades and even centuries of science and scholarship they and their colleagues have dedicated their lives to - scholarship, in other words, is given less weight and attention than the conspiracy theories of a block buster film and book. Religious scholars and clergy also realize the potential harm of the Code's popularity because church history is not something taught in churches these days and so a fictitious version of events could very well be believed by congregants because it is the ONLY version of events modern Christians have been told.

But instead of boycotts and petitions and protests Christians are getting smart...literally. They're getting educated about their history and educating others. Sony Pictures has opened a website for discussion to take place about the film as well and many Christians are taking them up on the offer, kindly and rationally dialoguing about the book and film and how they differ from what we believe to be the true story of our faith.

In related news: The author of The Da Vinci Code, Brown, was recently sued for plagiarism in British court, accused of stealing not kernels of historical fact and reworking them into his 40 million selling book, but of stealing another author's work. Verdict in the next three weeks.

8 Comments:

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

I've always wanted to read this book to see what all the fuss was about. I worked in a Chirstian bookstore for a few months in Cool Springs. One day I was helping this lady look at some of the books biting back at the Da Vinci Code (ex: Breaking the Da Vinci Code) and I asked her if she'd read the book and she responded "Yes. It was blasphemous towards the Faith." So that made me want to read the book thinking sweet I could totally get into a book that pisses me off. So I checked it out a few weeks ago from the library cracked it open and was like are you freakin kidding me, it's a freakin fiction book! Needless to say I was a little upset that a lot of hoopla was being made about a fiction book.
On a side note I took the book back to the library because my brother inlaw has the illustrated version of the book and I can't wait to get my hands on it! :)

3/22/2006  
Blogger Mark said...

Don't even get me started on the book and all those who believe everything it says even though it's in the fiction section. I've actually had to point that out to more then one person who started to use it in an arguement.

That's what upsets me most about the whole thing.

Of course, why should we be surprised? This seems exactly like the devil's work. Look back at Eve. Just a little truth mixed in with his lie.

3/22/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

it's an interesting read. and even though it's in the fiction section, that doesn't mean that people feel you can't find truth in fiction.

3/22/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you read it Shaun? I loved it. I thought it was an amazing story. I can't wait for the movie. And I don't believe a single word of it.

brody

3/22/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Haven't read it. But I'm sure it's fascinating, suspenseful and a great book. I don't have a beef with the book. I have a beef with readers.

I'm just pointing out, as I think you are too, that entertaining or not, the book is fiction. And has to be treated as such. It MUST contain elements of truth - all fiction does or we could never understand it or relate to it. The people in it probably live on an earth controlled by forces like gravity, age and experience fear and love. True. All of that's true. The book talks about there being a guy named Jesus and a church called Catholic and a man named Constantine. All true too. But the reader wold be naive to swallow everything in this book - including the non-deity of Christ - as unquestioned proven fact. Entertaining? Yes. Factual? Not entirely.

Same's true for Left Behind. Geez, how many Christians think the world is going to end the way Jenkins wrote it will? IT'S FICTION. Fiction can't be given the same weight as fact. To treat these books like fact is to go to the grocery store and ask the manager where he keeps the green eggs and ham. It makes about as much sense.

3/22/2006  
Blogger Stephen said...

I was just about to bring up Left Behind. People think others who believe what is in The Da Vinci Code are stupid, but then they believe all the rapture porn that Jenkins writes. We have to remember they are both fiction, they both contain elements of truth, and they both include tons of speculation.

Shaun, you said "Religious scholars and clergy also realize the potential harm of the Code's popularity because church history is not something taught in churches these days and so a fictitious version of events could very well be believed by congregants because it is the ONLY version of events modern Christians have been told."

The same thing applies to Left Behind. There are a couple of different things the church has taught about the end times, but because of Left Behind most of the church today knows only that one interpretation and think it is absolutely true.

The same principle should apply in both situations, that you should never believe something just because you read it one place. Do your research, don't be afraid to read things with which you disagree, and check your sources.

3/23/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait... You mean to tell me that Jesus isn't a lion named Aslan?!! And the devil isn't a girl with an ice crown preying on innocent children.

brody

3/23/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Great comments from everyone. I haven't read the "Code" mainly because I haven't had time and it doesn't really interest me. I have read all the Left Behind books and while they certainly are fiction, they at least have a scriptural basis. I loved them in the beginning, but as they continued on, the obvious bent on making millions became so very obvious and the message was lost for sure.

Yes, there are many ways to intrepret the end times and all I know for sure is that when all is said and done, I'll be in heaven with Jesus because He promised me that I would.

I don't know a lot about the DaVinci Code, so I can't say what facts may or may not be a part of it or what sources were used to develop this ficitional tale. My concern is the same as some of those posted above, that because we are not taught the history of the Christian church (except for the inception), we, as believers do not know the accurate history. Those who are not firmly grounded in their faith with a solid Biblical understanding, could be swayed. Although I believe they cannot become "unsaved" if they have genuinely accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, they can stop bearing fruit, being a positive witness or continuing to grow in the Word; to be descipled and to desciple others. That's Satan's only option for the believer, to harm their witness while they're here; to keep us from showing others Christ. He knows he's lost the war, but the more battles he can win while in control of this earth, the more souls he has to keep him company in the pit. If this book, or any other for that matter, helps to accomplish this, how can it be good?

More importantly, we need to focus, not on defaming the book, movie or author, but on educating ourselves on the facts concerning church history (all of it) and making sure that history is accurately taught to others.

"Those who forget history, are condemned to repeat it."

Beth

3/23/2006  

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