paolo's pen: My two cents' worth on The Da Vinci Code
I normally shy away from religious topics. It's a no-brainer that you will reap the thunder everytime you bring it up and therefore it's a no-winner to even start a discussion.
Whenever some kind of religious content such as "The Passion of the Christ" two years ago or "Da Vinci Code" I am more apt to shut up than invite some form of discursive debate about the religious merits of said movies. Like discussions about politics, religious discussions can be really energy-sapping.
Now, I haven't really seen "The Da Vinci Code" and didn't think about the books of Dan Brown until some acquaintances who have illusions of being literati (as I do, incidentally, hehe) and most of my friends were raving about it. Shocker! Shocker! There is a hidden story in the life of Jesus Christ! There is a grand conspiracy behind the biggest business venture of all time! People should really come off it ---a little hurting is useful for a lot of learning. With all due respect, one source of our accepted history and world-view is not necessarily the best.
I've read a lot of the literature built into the history of the Church, including some of the liberation theory-inspired works that emphasize Jesus as a harbringer of social consciousness that echoes in the need for human development in the poor countries of this era. We even spent a whole deal of our Religion classes in the latter part of high school dealing with social and moral issues --- rather than pinning our minds to some of the absolutes.
I can spin as many yarns as possible on the true value of spirituality in making for good living --- as opposed to pursuing holiness for its own sake. Well, nobody did credit for me being one of the true believers, anyway. But I won't spin, not at all.
You see, if a thing of fiction like "The Da Vinci Code" insults you and offends you, then shoot, you can exercise your due right not to watch or read it. Do everyone a favor though, and get your information straight before shooting off your mouth. I can attribute the majority of this type of misunderstanding from pure ignorance. Boycott the movies of Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, Ron Howard, and the production company. They're blasphemous, good heavens! We must rally to protect the faith! Suddenly, I find myself wanting to laugh out loud. The utter pretension of such do-gooders! If God is as rock-solid as you say you believe Him to be, He will find a way to work this out in the end.
Or, on the other hand, if "The Da Vinci Code" (the book, because I think the movie will be formulaic and passe) awakens you and disturbs you about your faith, it is prudent not to go overboard. A germ of doubt is always the seed of faith. Doubting is not the absence of faith. Rather, it is all about one's wanting to believe.
As for the atheists and the nihilists, I'd listen to you but I'll mince no words about it --- it's hard for me to care about what you have to say. I like science and the "religion of science," but deep down, I am still a believer.
I still believe in a true God who is not bound by the usual borders of our own conception. God is beyond sex, beyond race, beyond dietary practices. Since I have been immersed in the Christian mysteries, I choose to follow this path of enlightenment, and it's not for me to say whether a Muslim, Buddhist, or any other person of whatever creed is dead wrong. What I find most disturbing is that people anoint themselves as "guardians of the faith" and attack others for their different beliefs. If all of these absolute moralists are correct, then no one is bound to be saved. All of us will expect a Hell or its equivalent.
Earlier this year the Muslim world went up in arms over a lampoon. Could we Christians afford another kind of narrowmindedness?