27 April 2006

The Da Vinci Craze

I read it for no other reason except that it is going to explode on the silver screen this May. I didn't want to be ignorant. The fact that the Da Vinci Code has generated so much of interest on both sides of Mary Madgalene alone repels me. How can one silly myth cause so much glib fanaticism on one hand and reactive defensiveness on the other? (To be fair, I have read the 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail', which in part is the basis for the newer Da Vinci Code.)

When I did pick up the book, I found myself instantly collar-grabbed into a pretty well-woven story of religious mysticism, conspiracy, historical intrigue and anagrams, all tied to a cord of murder and the struggle to vindicate a lost cause and a dead man. It was an un-put-downable. And the more I read, the more I wondered, what the heck is all the fuss about? This is just fiction. Irreverent, but fiction all the same. Until I came to (not unexpectedly) the great revelation by Leigh Teabing of the great conspiracy of the Church - a conspiracy as it were to slay the sacred feminine and glorify the masculine, deify a mere man countless millions now worship, doctor documents and secure its political campaign with blood baths and witch hunts.

It wouldn't have been more than a wince in the side were it not for the author's claims that documents and archeological evidences cited in the book were accurate. And I've seen him come on TV to say he started out trying to disprove it all and ended up the believer. The sales gimmick is as laughable as some self-contradicting inventions of the author paraded as history. But not everything in the book could be waved away with simple logic. It was indeed disconcerting to have it suggested, with claims of historical fact I could not disprove, that my faith was baseless, or worse - built on mere spinmeistering.

But what I found TRULY disturbing and reason to get very upset indeed was not that it exposed any conspiracy of the early Church. It was not the Church that was on the stand, or the Council of Nicene that was being indicted. No! The joke is on us! The great gag is on every believing Christian who can't see through the web of deceit for sheer lack of knowledge. Myself included. ON THE COUNTS OF BLATANT IGNORANCE AND UTTER DISREGARD FOR THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF YOUR FAITH, DAN BROWN AND THE PEOPLE FIND YOU GUILTY AS CHARGED. we are in the docks, and our brazen neglect of self-education on matters as crucial as the tenets of our own professed faith should draw tears.

Every morning on my walk to the train station, I see little children in songkoks and green sampings hop onto their kereta sapu to the nearest religious school. Some of these Islamic kindergartens are not cheap and parents pay for the best religious education money can buy. Outside of regular school time. It speaks volumes of the value Muslims place on knowing the truths that undergird ther lives.

I know my wake up call has come. Whatever his intention, Dan Brown's own 'disclaimer statement' rings true: '“My hope for The Da Vinci Code was, in addition to entertaining people, that it might serve as an open door for readers to begin their own explorations and rekindle their interest in topics of faith.” That, I hope it has done and makes for a great opportunity for Christians to explore the roots and facts of their own faith.

A Malaysian forum on the topic is coming up this Thursday in PJ.

Resources abound on the Internet to start off your research:
Da Vinci Quest
Challenging Da Vinci