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Why All Christians Must Respond to the DVC

People critical of Christian's response to the DVC make two common complaints (among others!) ... Here they are along with a bit of a response.

Criticism #1. All of the protest is actually helping promote the book and the movie.

Yes the whole commotion does help fuel interest at some level, but remember that there were more than 40M copies of the book sold before the movie was ever seen by anyone. That in and of itself thrust the topic into the mainstream, by definition. Once there, it is the obligation of anyone with a whit of faith and understanding of their actual obligations as Christians to at least try, in our clumsy, broken, often ineffective ways, to witness to truth.

Criticism #2. The fact the Church is getting so defensive over all this screams there’s truth in it to me. Otherwise, they wouldn’t care.

First of all, if the Church did not respond at all many people would take that as a sign that the allegations must be true. So the Church has had a variety of responses, roughly proportionate to the rising level of the conversation in popular culture.

As to the nature of the response, the Church is simply trying to explain the truth. While some of us, in our human weakness, occasionally get frustrated or impatient, that is just what it is - a reflection of our own personal struggles, not that of the collective Church.

Is it possible that anyone is seriously suggesting that the Church shouldn't answer these attacks? Suppose that someone walked up to you while you were eating dinner with some friends at a restaurant, and started screaming that your older brother was an incorrigible liar, that you're a hypocritical fake, and that a distant relative whom you really admired for the way they'd lived a simple and honest life after recovering from some debilitating addictions, had in fact all along been living a secret and dishonest life with your brother, and that your mother had known all this but was consistently lying to cover it all up.

You ask that person to stop but they scream all the louder.

Now that same person goes on to say that you should be paying them to scream at you, and that if you don't you are afraid of the truth and a fascist. Could it be possible, just possible that you might suggest to that person that they are not in firm grasp of the facts?

Especially when that person not only doesn't go away, they jump up onto your table and start stomping up and down on the table while they scream even louder. I think most folks might take exception to that sort of an intrusion.

While not a perfect analogy (of course none ever are), I hope that this helps you get a little sense of part of the reason why the collective Church, as well as each individual Christian must respond.

Comments

What was that phrase Jesus gave as the proper answer to being attacked? Oh yeah, that's right, turn the other cheek.
What was that proverb God provided us about how to answer a fool? Oh yeah, that's right, silence is the best response.

Don, as you probably know scripture also instructs us, both directly and by example (of Paul, for example), numerous times to defend the faith, explain the truth, and correct errors.

As Mother Teresa said, "God does not require us to be successful, just faithful". And it is in that spirit we offer this site.

Thx for stopping by.

I can understand why the Church and other Christian faith communities as institutions should probably respond, although some of the responses I've seen are doing more harm than good. Or are completely ineffective because they're so bad.

I don't think individual Christians must respond. Unless you're going to make The DaVinci Code mandatory reading for every baptized Christian in the world, I don't see how all individuals can respond.

People have lives. They're being pulled and called in many directions. What they're called to do, to defend, to respond to, or whatever is between each individual and God.

To imply that a Christian who has never read the book, can't be bothered with the manufactured hype and brouhaha both sides have a vested interest in, and has other responsibilities to attend to that are greater than whining about The DaVinci Code is somehow not a good and faithful Christian is a pretty presumptuous, selfish, awful thing to say.

I have lost respect for so many Christians/Catholics over this DaVinci Code crap, it's not funny. And it's not the ones who think there's something to the book ('cause I don't know anyone who thinks there's anything to it, so...maybe I just hang out with more grounded people than the average Christian...I don't know...or maybe we all just read better books), it's the ones who've gotten so hysterical about it that it's just plain silly. At this point, I hope the movie acutually becomes a hit for the sheer entertainment value of watching the "debunking" crowd work themselves up into fits. The several parody sites alone that have cropped up as a result of the paranoia on the part of the Church are the best damned thing that's come out of this stupidity.

Your analogy is not so good because there are too many instances where someone came along and spoke the truth about someone whom the collective thought was the greatest thing that ever happened and was treated like a pariah as a result, and later it turned out he or she was speaking the truth all along. Like the people who came forward and spoke up about the sex abuse scandal and were called liars and opportunists and turned out to be right all along...

Why all the fuss about DVC? I'm also christian but I found out that DVC is intriguing, makes me want to review again about the truth behind Jesus Christ. We all know the church history, and all the cover up. Believe it or not, it's true, historical facts, although it's not like DVC told us. Some of the the facts in DVC is surely not correct, but some is correct. But anyway, it does not interfere with my elieve on Christ. Open your mind people. This kind of things will open our insights about Christianity.

Agus_Elex - Thx for stopping by. I applaud your desire to know more about true church history. Fortunately much of that writing exists, and the story of how Christianity struggled, took root, and prospered is an exciting one. For example, check out Four Witnesses, the Early Church In Her Own Words, a straight-forward read which covers from about 50 to 200 AD. As for some of your specific comments, here's some thoughts ...

Why all the fuss about DVC?

Because it is 99% lies, and those lies are effective.

Believe it or not, it's true, historical facts, although it's not like DVC told us. Some of the the facts in DVC is surely not correct, but some is correct.

Outside of the names of the characters, locations, and some events (such as councils), name any facts that you think the DVC has gotten right. Especially any that you think have been "covered up".

But anyway, it does not interfere with my elieve on Christ.

One major point of believing in Jesus Christ is to grow closer to him over our lifetimes, to be open to growing in holiness so that we can one day, by his mercy, be with him and the rest of our brothers and sisters in Christ in heaven. How can we get to know someone when what we hear is a bunch of wrong information? Either we won't know him well, or who we think we know doesn't exist. Neither sounds very appealing, nor conducive to growing closer to him.

Open your mind people. This kind of things will open our insights about Christianity.

Here is where folks really need to be careful. One of my favorite lines from Spinal Tap is when one of the lead guitarists is talking about his reading habits, and he says "I believe virtually everything I read". It's a funny scene in a satirical movie, but not so helpful as an approach to growing in the faith. Please carefully consider what you're using to gain in your knowledge of Christianity. Choosing reliable sources that are based on trustworthy truth is probably a good place to start. Dan Brown and the DVC are not among them. Do you really think that your search for insight and truth should include the self-proclaimed fiction aisle? Especially since what you learn can and will have a big impact on your faith, either for the worse or for the better.

HAP, good to hear from you again.

I hear what you're saying. There's no doubt that some responses (both from the institutional churches and individuals) have done more harm than good. While that's unfortunate, it's not really surprising.

When I say that every Christian must respond, I mean just that. I DO NOT mean that everyone must respond in the same way, or that it must occupy some minimum in their daily time allocation. Some will feel called to take a more active role (write books, give talks, and so on), but that is not the case for most of us.

I think for most folks the responsibility will be to continue to grow in their faith, and to answer questions when raised by friends, family, co-workers, and so on. So it is in that sense that I am saying that all Christians must respond.

In a way it's no different than our daily need to grow in the faith as we move through life. The only thing that makes this particular situation a little different is that it is one of those cultural moments where a particular event has galvanized the attention of a fairly large percentage of the populations.

Now on to a couple of your other points,

To imply that a Christian who has never read the book, can't be bothered with the manufactured hype and brouhaha both sides have a vested interest in, and has other responsibilities to attend to that are greater than whining about The DaVinci Code is somehow not a good and faithful Christian is a pretty presumptuous, selfish, awful thing to say.

Not really sure what you're referring to here ... none of what you suggested was stated or implied here, & that is not the spirit in which I offered this post. Rather, I am simply encouraging fellow Christians (including myself) to know their faith better, especially with regards to the basics such as the divinity of Jesus Christ, his life as we know it from the Gospels, and so forth, and further encouraging us to speak up when those facts are challenged as we go about our daily lives.

Your analogy is not so good...

Not too surprising, as I'm really more of a software guy than a writer! And besides, as a device analogies are by definition imperfect.

Anyhow, in my analogy the guy stomping on the table represented volume of the DVC proponents and promotion in the popular culture. In other words, Dan Brown and friends have gained a large enough megaphone that whether we want to or not, both individually and as a Church we simply must offer a variety of responses, some individual and some collective.

... at this point, I hope the movie acutually becomes a hit for the sheer entertainment value of watching the "debunking" crowd work themselves up into fits.

Now several polls are showing that there are many people whose faith (probably not all that strong to begin with?) have had their faiths weakened or destroyed as a result of the book. Suppose that becomes the final word for them, and they eventually lose their salvation as a result? Suppose that only happens to one person. Would that be worth it?

In a way, that would make this the ultimate blood sport, don't you think? Kind of make the Romans look like a bunch of wusses.

Well, I think it's all going to be a moot point, anyway. DVC doesn't seem to be the runaway hit it was positioned as, so...although Jeffrey Lyons gave it a good review, which surprised me.

I'm so over it.

I just saw Deepa Mehta's Water, which I loved, flaws and all. Much better investment of ten hard-earned dollars, if you ask me, than the DVC could possibly be. And it's got religion and culture/tradition clashes and patriarchy issues and all that good stuff. And Ghandi! And a sexy Indian guy. You really can't go wrong with this one.

Anyone with a brain please: The Bible was written by Divine Inspiration. The "Duh" Vinci Code was written by an ...

The remainder of this obnoxious post has been deleted! Do not display your ignorance and lack of charity on this blog. And if you are Christian, please ask for forgiveness, and the grace to love all of those that God has created.

- Bob

And losers like that are why this whole DVC thing has opened my eyes to the truth about what Catholics really think in ways the DVC debunkers never could have imagined...

Whatever, "Matey". You're a bigot and a hater. Guess that makes you a perfect Catholic.

HAP, frustration is one thing but please do not stoop to the ignorant level of "Matey". Take two steps back, and you'll have a hard time distinguishing the last sentence of your comment from the pathetic comments of "Matey".

If you want to see what the Catholic Church honors as an ideal Catholic, you need go no farther than look at who the Church has designated as a saint. There are many thousands, but here are a few:

  1. St. Paul
  2. St. Benedict
  3. St. Dominic
  4. St. Jerome (instrumental in establishing the canon of scripture)
  5. St. Augustine
  6. St. John the Evangelist
  7. St. Irenaeus
  8. St. Thomas Aquinas
  9. St. John of the Cross
  10. St. Teresa of Avila
  11. St. Therese of Lisieux
  12. St. Francis de Sales
  13. The Korean Martyrs
  14. St. Athanasius
  15. St. Francis of Assisi

and coming up soon will very likely be Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who has been designated Blessed

So these are just a few of the people that the Catholic Church, both officially and widely amongst average Catholics, hold in high regard as role models to emulate etc. If you want to pick up some possibilities for "ideal Catholics", these are but just a few examples.

These people are all Catholics, and while on this earth were holy yet most definitely not perfect, flawed yet earnestly seeking the mercy of God to advance in holiness.

Good roles models all.

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