The Da Vinci Code Hubbub

The book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was an entertaining page-turner of a thriller that proposed some fascinating ideas about Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Catholic Church (actually Brown lifted the ideas from an earlier book called Holy Blood Holy Grail). And the movie, lamely directed by Ron Howard and weakly acted by star Tom Hanks, is making millions around the world.

So why all the hubbub?

I think that Brown is a lucky fella. He happened to tap into something in our culture at just the right moment in time.

That something I would call the yearning for truth.

Maybe it's a boomer thing? Since the Sixties, when popular president John Kennedy, and beloved civil rights leader Martin Luther King, were killed, people have wanted answers. They have wanted the truth.

People feel that the truth is "out there," and that the full disclosure is being withheld. They want answers from the big institutions of society such as government. And the Church.

Who was the real Jesus?
What happened in his life that formed him?
What was his original message?
What was his relationship with God?
What did he intend his disciples to do?

Fearing that its sheep will be lead astray by dangerous fictions like Brown's book, the Church has responded with a massive communication and education campaign, from the top on down to the local levels.

Trouble is, however, that the Church's answers will not satisfy this thirst, this yearning for the truth. As interesting as it is to hear an expert speaker retell the early Church history of how Athanasius battled Arius back in the 4th century over the nature of Jesus' divinity, I suspect that many will continue to be attracted to stuff like The Da Vinci Code.

Early church history is dusty, dry, and irrelevant. It's the postscript to the story we really want to know.

In John's Gospel, Jesus says of himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Who was Jesus really? People want to know.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 06/05/06


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