Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Da Vinci Code Articles (1 Viewer)

LensmanZ313

Senior Member
These are two articles that appeared in the Siskiyou Daily News. I interviewed local ministers about the novel and got their views of it.

Local clergy decode Da Vinci
 
Last edited:

mammamaia

Senior Member
too hard to read this without breaks... fyi, indents don't work in posts, so you have to insert line breaks by hand, for all indents...
 

LensmanZ313

Senior Member
Local clergy decode Da Vinci — Part One

By Brad Smith
Daily News Staff Writer
YREKA — Many Christian ministers have assailed Dan Brown’s runaway bestseller, “The Da Vinci Code,” accusing Brown trying to destroy the Biblical view of Jesus, among other things. Some have even said that Brown will be punished for his “sin” of writing the novel.

But, do not count John Preston among them.

“I’d read his earlier novel, ‘Angels and Demons,’ and liked it. I like his writing style. It flows well. I think that he’s a good writer.”

Preston preaches at Yreka’s Church of Christ. An avid reader, Preston had purchased a copy of “The Da Vinci Code,” not knowing what it was about. Over the years, his reading tastes has spanned from Stephen King to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.

“Looking at it’s jacket cover and reading it, I thought it was a Christian novel,” he said, laughing. “From the beginning, I thought it was a good read. It was captivating. I was hooked.”

And, then, Preston reached the point in “Code” when the secret was revealed: That Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child, a secret that leads to a centuries-old conspiracy.

“I was shocked,” Preston recalled. “Very shocked . . . but I kept on reading. I mean, it’s fiction. I couldn’t put the book down for a moment.”

But, Preston keeps everything in perspective.

“I know the Bible and I know the truth. The Code’s ‘secret’ is nothing but pure fiction. Two or three people in my own congregation have read the novel and they’ve enjoyed it too.”

Preston acknowledges that “The Da Vinci Code” has been called blasphemous and heretical. And, that Brown has been accused spreading untruths about Jesus but the minister still thinks that people should focus on the Bible and what it says, and that the novel is a piece of fiction.

“I think that people should read the book,” said Preston. “It's a great read. I’ve told family and friends to read it and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out.”

He also pointed out that the book's plot is nothing new.

“This debate has been around for years. And, if anything, I like the fact that the book as ignited interest in Christianity's early history. It’s good that people are being drawn to it. There’s nothing wrong with conversation and debate over these things. And, it as also raised interest in secret societies. Like the Skulls and Bones, which some of our presidents have been members of. It's weird, fascinating stuff.”

According to history, there were a number of men who claimed to be the Messiah, who even took the name of Jesus. Some were Zealots, a religious and political movement whose primary goal was to overthrow the Roman occupation of Judea. Many of them were executed by Pilate. One of them, during the siege of Jerusalem, was decapitated by a Roman catapult.

In 1965, British Biblical scholar and historian, Hugh J. Schonfield, wrote the controversial bestseller, “The Passover Plot.” In that non-ficition book, Schofield speculated that Jesus was a deeply religious man, well-versed in the teachings of the Nazarenes and Essenes, as well as the Book of Daniel. Possibly a member of the Zealots, Jesus had planned to be arrested and crucified. A part of the plan called for one of his followers to give him some water, laced with a drug, that would make him appear dead. Then, Joseph of Arimathea would take Jesus down from the cross, carrying the unconscious Jesus to the tomb, where he would recover and be “resurrected.”

Having done that, then, Jesus would secure his role as “King of the Jews” and lead his people into rebellion against the Romans.

But, it did not work.

In the 1980s, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln wrote “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and “The Messianic Legacy,” books which put forth the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married, had a child, and started a royal bloodline that would soon dominate Europe. In fact, Baigent and Leigh have accused Dan Brown of plagiarism and sued him. They lost.

“You can go into any religious bookstore and you’ll find dozens of books debunking or attacking ‘Da Vinci Code’ and these other books,” said Preston. “I have some in my own library. And, I keep going back to the original source material — the Bible.”

For Preston and number of other Christians, “The Da Vinci Code” is a novel, a piece of fiction. They keep things in perspective and look forward to seeing the film version coming out in May.

For them, they know the Truth and can still enjoy the fiction.

Local clergy decode Da Vinci — Part Two

By Brad Smith
Daily News Staff Writer
YREKA — “The Da Vinci Code” has taken the world by storm, a runaway bestseller about a man's quest for the truth. That truth is a two millennia old secret, which Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child. That, and other secrets, when revealed, would shatter the very foundations of Christianity. Leonardo da Vinci knew the secret, and hid clues about it in his art, notably “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa.”

Since its publication, Dan Brown's novel has caused controversy amongst the religious community. Televangelists such as Jack Van Impe have even said that Brown will face eternal damnation for his “sin of blasphemy and heresy.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Don Perdue, pastor of the Yreka's Berean Church. “That isn't for me to say.”

“It’s not up to me to say something like that,” agreed Pastor Urban Travis, minister of the First Baptist Church of the American Baptist Church. “That’s between Mr. Brown and God — if he believes in God.”

“I don’t like those kind of statements,” said Jeff Whitney, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. “Van Impe’s reaction — isn’t very productive nor civil. We want to see a calm, civil debate about this issue.”

Perdue and Travis have not read the novel.

“I haven’t read it. I’ve heard that it’s good and very well-written. But that’s it. I don't know of anyone in my congregation who has read it.”

“If I want to read about my Lord, I’ll read the Bible,” replied Travis. He added, with a smile, “I might get around to reading it someday. Maybe.”

Whitney has read it.

“I liked it to a degree. I thought it was intriguing and well-written. But it’s historical fiction. It did disturb me, since it’s interweaving a lot of fiction with little fact. I would recommend it . . . but with the warning that it’s fiction.”
Whitney, at his church, will be conducting classes about the book and the movie. “We just want to educate people about the truth.”

All three pastors mention a 112-page book put out by Christian apologist, Josh McDowell, “A Quest for Answers: The Da Vinci Code.” Calvary of the Siskiyous' Pastor John Higelin said in a phone interview that his church will be passing out copies of the book at local showings of “The Da Vinci Code” film, opening May 19. Whitney will be using the book as a part of his classes.

It should be noted, however, that while McDowell's name appears on the cover, he did not necessarily write it himself. In the acknowledgements, McDowell thanks one writer for his researching expertise and completing the first draft in record time. He then thanks another writer for his writing ability.

Whitney laughed. “Well, maybe it should say, ‘Written by Josh McDowell and friends’ or ‘Josh McDowell, et al.’ But, in his defense, Mr. McDowell said that his book was written in less than ten days. They were in a rush in getting it out.”

The three men do agree that there are some positive elements in the controversy.

“I can see more people becoming interested in Jesus and wanting to know more, especially after the movie comes out,” observed Travis. “Now, my only concern is where they seek out that knowledge. Not a novel. They should seek it in the Bible.”

“Yes, it’s a good thing that people are interested in learning more about early Christian history,” said Perdue. He laid one hand on his small Bible. “But, they should try reading this first and learn to tell fact apart from fiction.”

Perdue is bothered on how “Code” demystifies Jesus and his divinity.

“Jesus said that he was the Son of God. It says so in the Bible.”

Debate about Jesus’ divinity is nothing new. Arius, a Christian theologian who lived during the Second and Third Centuries CE, doubted it. Thomas Jefferson revised the Bible, excising parts in which contained miracles and made Jesus into a mortal human, a teacher and philosopher.

There are a few other issues raised in the “Code” that people are curious about.

“There is no mention of the Grail in the Bible,” said Whitney. “Outside of ‘Monte Python and the Holy Grail’ and the Indiana Jones movies, people know little about it. And, they are curious. They want to know more.”

And, that’s why many ministers are relying upon McDowell's book and scores of other books and DVDs, all dedicated to exposing the myths of “The Da Vinci Code.”

“We've heard stories of people who’ve changed their beliefs after reading this novel,” explained Whitney. “That’s why I’m holding these classes. That’s why we should go out and encourage open, civil discussions about the ‘Code’ and its plot elements.” Whitney feels that lashing at in anger at Dan Brown or even Ron Howard is counterproductive.

“Something like that . . . does more harm than good.”

According to history, there were a number of men who claimed to be the Messiah, who even took the name of Jesus. Some were Zealots, a religious and political movement whose primary goal was to overthrow the Roman occupation of Judea. Many of them were executed by Pilate. One of them according to some accounts, was decapitated by a Roman catapult during the siege of Jerusalem.

In 1965, British Biblical scholar and historian, Hugh J. Schonfield, wrote the controversial bestseller, “The Passover Plot.” In that nonfiction book, Schofield speculated that Jesus was a deeply religious man, well-versed in the teachings of the Nazarenes and Essenes, as well as the Book of Daniel. Possibly a member of the Zealots, Jesus had planned to be arrested and crucified. A part of the plan called for one of his followers to give him some water, laced with a drug, that would make him appear dead. Then, Joseph of Arimathea would take Jesus down from the cross, carrying him to the tomb, where he would recover and be “resurrected.”

Having done that, then, Jesus would secure his role as “King of the Jews” and lead his people into rebellion against the Romans.

But, it did not work. Schonfield extrapolates that Jesus’ teachings survived, being spread by his followers who believed him to be the Son of God. Both Schonfield and the book were attacked by many in the religious community.

In the 1980s, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln wrote “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and “The Messianic Legacy,” books which put forth the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married, had a child, and started a royal bloodline that would soon dominate Europe. In fact, Baigent and Leigh have accused Dan Brown of plagiarism and sued him. They lost. Baigent, meantime, released a new book, “The Jesus Papers,” just as the paperback edition of “Da Vinci” hit the bookshelves. Baigent, some have said, is trying to cash in on what some in publishing have called the “Da Vinci Effect.”

Perdue, Travis, and Whitney all feel that creating people’s interest in history is a good thing. While some religious leaders have opined that Brown's novel, the Baigent and Leigh books, and other works — including the now hotly-debated “Gospel of Judas” — are orchestrated attacks on their beliefs, Perdue and his peers have another view.

“Some non-believers might even find themselves learning more about God, Jesus, and Christianity,” said Perdue. “In the end, they might even find themselves actually believing in the Bible. That, I say, is a good thing.”

“And, God and the Bible has always been under attack,” said Travis. “It will be under attack until the end of time. No matter what, my faith will never sway.”

“Again, talking about it and learning about the truth is what we should do,” Whitney responded. “I have a feeling that, after the movie comes out and people start reading the novel again, many will have questions. We should be ready to give them the answers.”

Dan Brown has written nothing new. In the future, people like Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh will produce something they claim to debunk the Bible or Biblical history. And, a writer like Brown, no doubt, will seize upon that idea, turn it into a novel or a script. Some will see it as an attack, others will write it off as pure entertainment.

People will doubt and question. It is, if nothing else, human nature to do so. But, is also a part of human nature to believe, to take leaps of faith. In the twenty-first century, religion will face a number of challenges, like those who believe “The Da Vinci Code” is real. The debates will continue.

And, people’s faith in God will always endure.
 

orpheus

Senior Member
cool. a reporter. i'll have to remember to pick your brain. i want to know what it's like in the real world. :)


very good piece. i haven't read DC yet. a friend of mine said it was "feminist drivel." i have no idea what he meant by that. heh.
 

LensmanZ313

Senior Member

This two-part article was a favorite of mine and something that I've been wanting to do for some time now. I really enjoyed talking to the ministers annd getting their views. The public reaction was, for the most part, very positive.

Plus, despite what Kane and Freebird have said about me, I do treat Christians with respect and I don't go around bashing them.

I did, however, run into some disturbing things.

There was one minister--and I omitted him entirely from the articles--who was very anti-Semitic. And, one minister said that without the Bible, there would be no morality. Hmmmm. Sorry. On the latter, I know a lot of people who don't believe in the Bible but are very moral.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
i don't believe in any god or any religion or any religion's set of rules, myths, whatevers, and i'm often bashed for being too moral!... go figure...
 
Top