Summary: Uses the DaVinci Code’s view that the Christian faith is oppressive to women as a platform for demonstrating how true Christianity views women and men as created equally in the image of God.
Over the last two weeks I have been preaching a series called Counterfeit Christianity, to reveal the truth about the false Christianity that is being presented in the media, particularly by a popular fictional book written by Dan Brown called The DaVinci Code. Even though this book is a work of fiction, it presents so called “facts” about Christian faith and history which are not accurate at all, and I believe are misleading people away from the truth of the Christian faith. So I have been attempting to equip you with the truth not only for your benefit but to share with others who are being led astray.
We have already explored two attacks the book makes on the Christian faith namely, the reliability of the Bible, and the divinity of Jesus. The characters in The DaVinci Code try to present false historical information, particularly about the other gospels which were discovered in the 1950’s, to make us believe our Bible is unreliable, inaccurate. He also presents false historical information to make us believe neither Jesus nor his followers believed Jesus was the divine Son of God. I have gone through and presented the real facts, and brought us back to the truth of our history, the Scriptures, and our faith. If you were not able to attend these services I encourage you to pick up a tape of these services afterwards.
This week we are looking into a more difficult accusation of The DaVinci Code, which is perhaps more subtle but nevertheless is a major theme running throughout the book. The accusation is that Christianity, particularly after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, has been anti-women because it has intentionally stamped out the feminine side of God, or feminine character of God in favor of a more masculine God, therefore encouraging the devaluing of women and their sacredness. In other words Christianity has been a male dominated religion and has suppressed the equality of women, emphasizing a male God
(for example God is referred to as “he” and as “Father”) to justify their behavior. There is a subtle encouragement throughout the book for people to return to a more pagan religion which emphasizing god (small “g”) and goddess worship, because it is more egalitarian. The reason I am addressing this issue is because there are women in particular who are reading the book believing the Christian church oppresses women (conversation with Cheryl and her sisters comments), and they are turning to New Age spirituality which praises mother earth like Wicca (witchcraft) because it is more supportive of women.
Let me read for you a passage out of the book The DaVinci Code:
“Sophie” Langdon said, “the Priory’s [of Sion] (the secret society trying to protect the truth of the holy grail) tradition of perpetuating goddess worship is based on a belief that powerful men in the early church ‘conned’ the world by propagating lies that devalued the female and tipped scales in favor of the masculine…The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever.”
The book continues by accusing the Church of instructing clergy to kill “freethinking women” including female scholars, priestesses, gypsies, mystics, and that as many as five million women were killed in this fashion. Women were banished from the temples of the world. No longer could they be Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, or Islamic clerics. So the accusation is that because paganism, or the worship of gods and goddesses, was eliminated in favor of a male dominated Christianity, including a male God, women were relegated to second class citizens until recent decades.
Let’s look at the accusation, is Christianity anti-women or anti-feminist? Is Christianity patriarchal, and do we believe in a male God which causes us to oppress women?
It is no secret that the ancient Israelites even into Jesus’ day were a male dominated society, called a patriarchal society. In other words men were in control and women were generally speaking considered lower in status in society. Of course most of the world has been a male dominated society no matter what the religion. It has only been recently that there have been changes in our country and around the world in women in leadership.
The Christian church has in times past used the male image of God as an excuse to elevate men and oppress women and treat them like dirt. I am not trying to deny this hasn’t happened or perhaps even continues to this day in some Christian traditions, however we need to separate what God teaches us in the Scriptures from Christian religion, which is the way people have practiced their faith throughout history. Truth be told our practice of faith hasn’t always reflected God’s teaching (like the Crusades).