Summary: The Da Vinci Code – first the book and now the movie – has made a huge cultural impact in the United States and around the world. Dan Brown’s mystery novel has not only met with massive popular success, but has shaken the faith of many with its astonishin
Truth and Error in the Da Vinci Code
Jesus and the Gospels
This message contains excerpts from the book
Truth and Error in the Da Vinci Code
by Mark L. Strauss
This book may be ordered at DaVinciCodeErrors.com
The Da Vinci Code – first the book and now the movie – has made a huge cultural impact in the United States and around the world. Dan Brown’s mystery novel has not only met with massive popular success, but has shaken the faith of many with its astonishing claims about Jesus Christ and the origins of Christianity.
The Da Vinci Code claims that almost everything the church says about Jesus Christ is a lie. Jesus was not the Son of God, as the New Testament claims, but merely a human prophet. He taught a form of religion called Gnosticism, which (supposedly) extolled the sacred feminine and practiced goddess worship. He married Mary Magdalene, who bore a child to him after his death, and his descendants are still around today – a truth kept hidden by the secret society known as the Priory of Sion. The “Holy Grail” was not the cup Jesus passed to his disciples at the Last Supper, but Mary herself, who carried the blood offspring of Jesus.
According to The Da Vinci Code, Jesus intended Mary Magdalene, not the Apostles, to be his successor. The early church, which was anti-women, suppressed the earliest writings about Jesus and Mary and created its own version of the facts. The Bible we have today was written by these “winners” and so presents just one side of the story, an inaccurate and distorted view of Jesus. More than eighty other gospels were suppressed by the church. It is these other gospels that tell the real story about Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
No wonder the book is controversial! If these claims were true, the Christian faith would be a fraud. But The Da Vinci Code is not in fact true. Its fundamental claims have no historical foundation, and the book is full of historical and factual errors. Yet many Christians do not have the knowledge or resources to respond to these errors. My purpose here is to help to equip you with historically reliable evidence concerning the claims of The Da Vinci Code and the origins of Christianity.
Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15-16 that we should “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” But then he added, “But do this with gentleness and respect.” My desire is that this message will help you to answer the challenges of The Da Vinci Code with clarity, gentleness and respect.
In this first message, we will discuss the claims of The Da Vinci Code concerning Jesus Christ and the Bible. In our next message we will talk about Jesus’ supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene and the church’s view of women. Finally, in our third message, we will talk about the appeal of The Da Vinci Code in our culture today.
Isn’t The Da Vinci Code just a novel?
I have heard a number of people ask why everyone is making such a fuss, since The Da Vinci Code is simply a work of fiction. Just enjoy the story, they say – a thrilling murder mystery – and stop your whining!
In fact, The Da Vinci Code claims to be much more than a work of fiction. The opening page states in large letters “FACT,” and affirms the existence of the secret society known as the Priory of Sion, founded in AD 1099. This society supposedly kept the secret about the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The FACT sheet also says that “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” In fact, the descriptions are inaccurate and misleading.
But it goes deeper than that. Dan Brown has chosen as his literary form historical novel. In historical novel, the author makes an implicit covenant with the reader. While the characters in the book are fictional, the world in which they live is real, and certain characters are presented as trustworthy and reliable. Yet in The Da Vinci Code, this covenant is repeatedly broken, as supposedly reliable characters make blatantly false statements. Characters like Robert Langdon, a Harvard Ph.D., and Leigh Teabing, a British Royal Historian, end up sounding more like the National Enquirer than real historians. Unfortunately, the uninformed reader has trouble distinguishing fact from fantasy.
But there is another reason we cannot simply dismiss The Da Vinci Code as “just harmless fiction.” Whether from lack of knowledge or from gullibility, many people are believing it. I have heard people say, “I never knew that about Jesus and Mary Magdalene!” Others report that friends or family members have had their doubts about Christianity confirmed by the book’s claims. Whether or not Dan Brown truly believes his revisionist history (his public comments suggest that he does), many people are taking it very seriously. And this demands a response.