The Da Vinci Code: Harmful or Helpful?
by Alan Allegra 4/24/2009 / Book Reviews
Have you ever heard of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown? Silly question. It has been a best-selling novel in over 100 countries, and has even been called "the all-time bestselling adult novel" by its publisher, Doubleday. As if that isn't enough, Sony Pictures will release the movie version in May. If you are planning to read the novel or see the movie, just as with entering a den of lions, it's best not to go in blindfolded.
Of course, entering a den of lions either way is dangerous, but it's better to know what you are facing. The same is true with The Da Vinci Code. Although it purports to be a fictitious murder mystery based on historical facts, the "facts" are just as fictitious as the mystery. Normally, this might not seem like a big concern; however, one of the key "features" of The Da Vinci Code is "scientific evidence that the New Testament is false testimony" (p. 341). On this basis, Brown attempts to unravel church history, impugning the deity of Jesus Christ, alleging his marriage to Mary Magdalene, misrepresenting women in Christian culture, and involving people from Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton to Victor Hugo and Walt Disney in an elaborate conspiracy to restore the honor of Mary Magdalene and "the sacred feminine" (p. 262). Sadly, he attempts to unravel the past by weaving a web of deceit that is so complex, it would take volumes to elaborate on the errors. The danger is that many undiscerning people will be led astray, and many Christians have already questioned their faith, confused by the "evidence" presented in the book.
The helpful part of this latest challenge to true Christianity is that it should inspire us to exercise discernment by checking the validity of everything we see and hear by the Bible. We must follow the example of the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).
There are two foundations of the Christian faith which are unshakable: the historical existence of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:14) and the reliability of Scripture (2 Peter 1:1621). Therefore, since neither can be disproved, the person of Christ is often misrepresented, and the origins of the Bible are questioned. This is exactly what The Da Vinci Code does.
Based on a cache of long-hidden, basically forgotten documents found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945, Brown seeks to prove that Jesus was a mere man who married Mary Magdalene and put her in charge of his church. The Apostle Peter became jealous, so Mary fled to France with her child and established a royal bloodline. Brown also refers to many forged documents to back up these claims as well as others about the Catholic church's attempts to cover up these "facts" and replace the Nag Hammadi documents with the "fabricated" New Testament books (pp. 341, 407). Consequently, in order to keep the "truth" about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail, the Crusades, etc., alive, Leonardo Da Vinci, as well as other artists and writers, inserted codes into their works that would serve to pass on the "truths" about the real Christianity.
Those of us who believe in a New Testament that has been verified by over 24,000 ancient manuscripts, history, archaeology, science, and changed lives, needn't fear fables based on long-forgotten tattered documents born out of men's vain philosophies (Colossians 2:8). For further help understanding the errors behind The Da Vinci Code, two of the many exposes to read are Breaking the Da Vinci Code by Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D., Thomas Nelson, Inc., and The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code by Richard Abanes, Harvest House Publishers.