Should Christians See the Da Vinci Code?

Christian media is buzzing with opinions about the upcoming motion picture release of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Based on the bestselling novel in history and boasting such A-List names as Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, the movie’s blockbuster status is assured. Brown’s unorthodox take on Christian history has some concerned Christians asking if they should see the movie or not.

No one can deny that The Da Vinci Code has impacted the culture. Ever since the novel was published, Christians have found themselves answering questions such as whether or not Jesus and Mary Magdalene were secretly married. Friends and co-workers ask, “How can you believe that Jesus died on the cross when scholars know he secretly traveled to France and founded a royal bloodline?” They may even have copies of the Gnostic gospels on their coffee tables. Such people are genuinely interested in spiritual matters, but often they are more likely to believe Dan Brown’s novel than their Christian friends’ explanations. Frankly, it’s frustrating. Afterall, orthodox Christian belief has history on its side, but it is hard to fight the power of story.

Many Christian leaders acknowledge that the movie may create an opportunity to talk to people otherwise unreceptive a conversation about Jesus. Nonetheless, there is also a vocal contigent that is urging believers to avoid seeing the film. James Dobson, founder of�¯�¿�½ Focus on the Family, stated on his radio show that he personally does not wish to see the film because it is unwise to expose oneself to false ideas.�¯�¿�½ While Dobson did not call for a boycot, he clearly thinks the film is not a good choice for Christians. Ted Baehr, Christian media critic, believes that Christians should stay away from the film to avoid lining the pockets of those involved with its production.

In such responses, a range of concerns is evident. One end of the spectrum says that believers should avoid the movie to keep themselves from the corrupting influence unscriptural ideas. The other end essentially asks believers to vote with their dollars and voice their displeasure with Hollywood. I sympathize with both these positions, but I would like to suggest a more fundamental reason to avoid seeing the movie. I love Jesus Christ, and I do not want to hear what I believe to be lies about him. It is true that many movies fictionalize the lives of history’s finest. Shakespeare in Love is not an accurate biographical representation of the Bard, and we all remember CBS’ The Reagans fiasco. But these works are qualitatively different than The Da Vinci Code. I may find Shakespeare an Ronald Reagan interesting, but frankly, I remain indifferent to each of them. They have no real bearing on my life. Jesus Christ is different. He gave his life for me, and I am trying to develop a closer relationship with him everyday. Because I believe in the Resurrection, I feel that The Da Vinci Code attempts to fictionalize the life of a living person – the person to whom I have chosen to dedicate my life. I am not worried about the film corrupting my faith, and I am not political enough to try to send Hollywood a message by withholding my cash. For me, choosing to avoid The Da Vinci Code is simply about honoring the historical Christ. I hope that is reason enough for my fellow Christians as well.

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