5.09.2006

da vinci...huh?

Q: So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him? Brian McLaren: For all the flaws of Brown's book, I think what he's doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that's true. It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word "Christianity" are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false. What do you think? (You can read the rest of the interview here.)

5 Comments:

Blogger brian estabrook said...

As someone living and working on a college campus, I agree with Brian McLaren ABSOLUTELY.

The air has been polluted.

5/10/2006 1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW, did he absolutely nail a lot of issues. Great article, and I agree very much with the author.

Brant

5/10/2006 11:14 AM  
Blogger Andy Whitman said...

I think the problem (or a problem) is that many people read (and will soon see) "The DaVinci Code" and assume that Brown has somehow uncovered a scandalous part of church history. In fact, his scholarship ranges between shoddy and non-existent, and is full of distortions and outright lies.

And that matters. McLaren doesn't really address those issues in his interview. Brown purports to tell history in fictional form. But the "history" bears little resemblance to objective truth. And he hides behind the guise of fiction, as if that excuses him. What if somebody wrote a fictionalized account of WWII that was full of Nazi propaganda, and that proposed that the Holocaust never happened? And what if the people who read that book were too ignorant of history to realize that the premises of the book weren't true? That's the equivalent of what has happened with "The DaVinci Code."

That said, McLaren is of course entirely correct in stating that many people are fed up with organized, institutional Christianity. So am I some days, particularly when I watch my faith co-opted to support a political philosophy that I believe is totally antithetical to the Christian faith. It sucks, and I don't blame people for being turned off by the unholy alliance of Big Church, Big Business, and Big Government.

But there's got to be a better way to promote the discussion that McLaren desires (me too) than to base it on "The DaVinci Code." It's starting from entirely wrong premises. How can it possibly go anywhere productive?

5/10/2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger zena said...

i agree with him that the term "christianity" brings those ideas into focus...as do the terms "church" "gospel" and most other christianese, christianoid words.

i disagree that people respond that way when talking about "jesus". they tend to immediately link jesus to those things, but as followers of jesus, we need to make a clear distinction between the two. following jesus doesn't equal christianity. there's a pretty wonderful sermon at the arvada vineyard site called "was jesus a christian?" i reccomend it and also challenge us to start dropping certain terms from our vocabulary.

~z

5/10/2006 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Ray Grieselhuber said...

I tend to stay away from the criticisms of the Da Vinci Code that come from those within the Church. I may agree that the research is shoddy but there is just no way a Christian observer can objectively critique it.

There do seem to be many secular sources, however, that have no interest in defending the church and still find problems with Brown's research.

Foucault's Pendulum was much better, by the way.

5/11/2006 3:44 PM  

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