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Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

In defense of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

DAN Brown’s hugely successful and controversial novel, “The Da Vinci Code” (40 million copies sold), has received a lot of flak lately, mainly from the conservative Catholic church and her apologists.
They believe (falsely, of course) that the book undermines Christianity and may lead astray the faithful.

According to one critic, a historian named James Hitchcock (as quoted in the book “The Da Vinci Hoax,” by Olson and Miesel):

“‘The Da Vinci Code’ can be viewed as an ephemeral artifact of popular culture, but its immense sales ensure that it will have influence on people who never read serious books. Brown has found a formula for becoming rich: sex, sensationalism, feminism, anti-Catholicism and the occult. But it is also obvious that he sincerely hates Christianity and sees himself as engaged in an anti-crusade. The culture is ripe for such a debased book, so that even professing Christians are being seduced by it.”

What is obvious to me in the above quotation

is not that Brown “sincerely hates Christianity” but that Hitchcock is biased in his opinions, which is not expected of a historian.

What really irks blind followers of Christianity and its Medieval-thinking defenders about the novel is clearly stated in “The Da Vinci Hoax”:

“‘The Da Vinci Code’ challenges beliefs that are central to Christianity: the celibacy and divinity of Jesus, the place of the apostles and the purpose of the Church. The novel insists that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children, that Mary Magdalene—not Peter—was the head apostle, that Catholic Church has kept these ‘facts’ hidden through force and terror, and that Jesus was not truly divine but merely a good man ‘deified’ by Emperor Constantine in AD 325.”


The fact is Brown’s book is fiction. He himself says so. The only things Brown claims to be factual in his book, as he himself states before the story begins, are the following:

“The Priory of Sion, a European secret society founded in 1099

“The Opus Dei, a deeply devout Catholic sect that has just completed construction of a US$47 million national headquarters at 243 Lexington Ave., New York

“All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals”

Not one of the reviews critical of the book published in the local press ever mentioned what Brown himself said about his intentions and his work. So, for a change, let’s hear from the author himself.

In an interview that appeared in Evolve Magazine (Vol. 3, No. 1) published by Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles, Brown answers the following questions:

Q and A

What made you decide to tackle a controversial subject?

“Strangely, I don’t think I ever actively ‘decided’ to tackle a controversial topic. I chose this topic for personal reasons—primarily as an exploration of my own faith and my own ideas about religion. I believe that one of the reasons the book has become controversial is that religion is a very hard thing to discuss in quantitative terms. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. Deciding to write about this topic was simply part of my own personal quest for understanding.”

How did you get all the inside information for this book?

“Most of the information is not ‘inside’ as it seems. The secret described in the novel has been chronicled for centuries, so there are thousands of sources to draw from. In addition, I was surprised how eager historians were to share their expertise with me. One academic told me her enthusiasm for ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was based in part on her hope that this ancient mystery would be unveiled to a wider audience.”

Has anyone in organized religion come out in support of your novel?

“Yes, many people in organized religion have come out in support of this novel and, of course, many have come out in opposition as well.

“The opposition generally comes from the strictest Christian thinkers who feel the idea of married Jesus serves to undermine his divinity. While I don’t agree with this interpretation, this is immaterial because the dialogue itself is a deeply empowering and positive force for everyone involved.

“Suddenly, enormous numbers of people are passionately debating important philosophical topics and, regardless of the personal conclusions that each of us draws, the debate can only help to strengthen our understanding of our own faith.

“Much of the positive response I get from within organized religion comes from nuns (who write to thank me for pointing out that they have sacrificed their entire lives to the Church and are still considered ‘unfit’ to serve behind the altar).

“I have also heard from hundreds of enthusiastic priests. While many of them disagree with some of the ideas in the novel, they are thrilled that their parishioners are eager to discuss religion.

“Fr. John Sewell of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Memphis stated it particularly eloquently in the press, saying: ‘This [novel] is not a threat. This is an opportunity. We are called to creatively engage the culture and this is what I want to do. I think Dan Brown has done me a favor. He’s letting me talk about things that matter.”

About me

  • I'm Adrian
  • From Manila, Philippines
  • We cannot change the world and turn it to our own accord. Our own will does not always prevail. I may not know how to manipulate the world, but I know how to destroy it; Unless I am returned to life, nothing left but just a trace of my existence.
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