Selling His Brand of Salvation: The Novel the Da Vinci Code Not Only Attacks the Basic Tenets of Christianity but Promotes a Religious Outlook Based on Free Sex
Kirkwood, R. Cort, The New American
Before Dan Brown penned his fictional work, The Da Vinci Code, most of the world was happily ignorant of his existence. Having written other books few people had read or even heard of, he hit upon the idea that has made him a phenomenally wealthy man. The book is now the subject of a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.
When the book emerged, it was, of course, a sensation. Reviewers loved it. The cognoscenti were amazed. Feminists got the vapors. With the movie, the "buzz" was even more. However, critics trashed the film. Early reports from Cannes had the audience of critics laughing at inappropriate moments and booing at the end, and the Boston Globe's Peter Brunette, speaking for many critics, said the film was "almost as bad as the book."
Yet the success of the book and the movie aren't problems in and of themselves. We should wish all novelists such success; we might then do away with the unconstitutional federal agencies that subsidize writers who can't sell their work. Nor is the problem their literary and cinematic quality. On one level, like other novels, it may be worth reading or seeing in the sense that novels may be entertaining or provide a good story. You take them to the beach, read them, then toss them in the trash can on your way to shower off the sand. Brown's book is what it is, a racing, thumping potboiler.
However, on another level, The Da Vinci Code is just another novel. It is fiction. But in another profound sense, it isn't and that's the real problem with the book. It claims to be true, using a murder mystery to weave one unambiguous and one partly veiled theme into a long exposition of bogus history. The book explicitly and falsely states that Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular are anti-woman and anti-sex, and further, that the whole Christian story is a fable. It flatly states that Jesus Christ was not God incarnate.
Far from being an innocent work of fiction, The Da Vinci Code is a carefully crafted anti-Christian apologia for feminism and free sex.
As thrillers go, it isn't that bad. The book isn't high literature, but Brown is a good raconteur. The tale doesn't end until the last sentence of the last page. Story is, a famous symbologist from Harvard, Robert Langdon, is in Paris and becomes enmeshed in a murder at the Louvre Museum. The victim is a member of the Priory of Sion, a secret society that guards a 2,000-year-old secret: Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and spawned a line of French royalty. The Catholic Church knows this truth and has attempted, by murder most foul, to keep it a secret.
The action revolves around Langdon and a French cryptologist, the murder victim's granddaughter, Sophie Neveu. Together, the two decipher the so-called Da Vinci code, a sequence of clues, beginning with hidden messages the artist left in his paintings, which lead to the truth about Christianity. The most crucial of Da Vinci's paintings is the "Last Supper," in which Da Vinci supposedly revealed the true nature of the Holy Grail. The apostle traditionally thought to be St. John, Brown says, is really Mary Magdalene, and we don't see the chalice Christ used at the Last Supper because the Holy Grail is not a cup. The grail is really Mary Magdalene, or more specifically, her womb.
As the pair seek to unlock the Da Vinci code, Langdon and another character, a Grail expert, explain the "real" story of Christianity to young Sophie, who had witnessed her grandfather participating in a bizarre, pagan sexual ritual known as hieros gamos, which supposedly goes back to the ancient Egyptians. Brown reveals the underlying premise of his book--Jesus was a great prophet, but is not and was not God--in fits and spurts of dialogue as the two flee a "taurine" French detective. "The original feminist," Jesus chose Mary Magdalene to head the new religion, but Peter and the other apostles, jealous because of her intimacy with Jesus, forced her to flee to France. …