Yes, I’m Going To See The Da Vinci Code… Here’s Why

DaVinciCodeI am going to see The Da Vinci Code (TDVC) movie as soon as it comes out and I’m able. I am a sincere Christ-follower (an Evangelical Christian) and I don’t believe nearly any of the historical foundation for the story. You may ask, why would you go to this movie then – I thought Christians were boycotting it or something? Let me answer that question… thanks for asking. :-)

I am going to see TDVC because it will probably be a great movie and I like to see great movies. I like to watch Tom Hanks breathe an intangible but undeniable spark into the life of almost any character he plays. I try to only watch so-called Christian movies when they also are great movies on their own (like The Passion) or have some merit other than their “Christian” label. It makes no sense to watch inferior artistry just because of the label. Would you let a dubiously mediocre surgeon cut you open because he was a Christian?

I am going to see TDVC because it will be a topic of conversation for sure. The controversy alone has generated more dialog than any movie already released right now. The talk may well be questions about the validity of various parts of the movie… the accuracy of the historical references… the theological implications… and of course, the “could it all be true?”. Many of my friends and coworkers will come to me, being “the religious guy”, and ask me what I think about it or what my “priest” says about the movie. I know this from experience.

If I don’t see the movie I can’t enter into those conversations… I can’t directly and credibly engage those people with their questions. As a Christian I’m called to engage. Some Christians might say I could engage by speaking what I know to be true from the Bible about who Christ was and who Mary Magdalene was without having to see the movie… but it wouldn’t be as genuine, as applicable to specific scenes, or as honest. And it wouldn’t be as credible. Credibility is important, because there’s too many hypocritical Christians out there already. You know who you are… you who will condemn Desperate Housewives or Harry Potter or [fill in the blank]… and you haven’t even seen any of them!? All you know is that some schmuck behind a pulpit found it to be a convenient target to fill a Sunday morning rant session and you walked away with an opinion other than one you formed yourself. Now I’m not advocating diving headfirst into the sin city underground and steeping yourselves in every manner of worldly medium… there has to be some limits and you need to use your brain… but today’s Christians tend toward a missionally debilitating conservatism when it comes to culture.

Back to TDVC… I’ve heard Christians tell me that “I don’t want my money going to them”… but who is them? The “them” is probably about 75,000 people scattered over all of the cinematic industry, from marketers to mass-producers to theater employees to stunt doubles. The notion of keeping money away from a particular “them” is a fool’s notion. Your money will go to Hollywood in some form or another no matter what movie you go to. Then the argument Christians are ultimately making by proxy is whether or not to see movies at all, but that’s not the argument they’re vocalizing… so are they confused or intellectually dishonest? Or maybe just plain hypocrites? Christians have had a shameful streak of openly boycotting a “Judas” only to ultimately patronize a “Pontius Pilate”… whether we’re talking clothing, movies, restaurants… you name it. Here’s a tip – see the best movies, buy the best clothing, and eat at the best restaurants. Dig?

So you’d have to be an “outed” gay Muslim cleric hiding in a Pakistani cave not to have heard all the controversy surrounding this movie. Catholic and Protestant groups are calling for boycotts and disruptive litigation. But why? They say the movie is offensive… but how? Sure, the story has all the historical accuracy of an episode of the Teletubbies… much like most other stories from books and movies. Sure, it said Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, but does that offend you to hear someone think or say that? Are we all of a sudden offended by anyone with a different view than our own? Do we only see movies or read books that we already agree with? Who exactly, then, are we trying to engage? Many are seeking some truth from somewhere in this topsy-turvy world, and they just may look for it in TDVC… wouldn’t it be great to use TDVC to enter into a dialog with them about Jesus? Wasn’t that what the Book of Acts says Paul did in Athens?

Pastor Ed Marcelle of Terra Nova Church was a scrambled soul looking for truth in 1988, long before he became a pastor, when the movie The Last Temptation of Christ came out. The movie was met with much controversy from Christians for how it depicted Christ, so local churches would picket theaters and hold demonstrations. Ed recalls going to see the film and having to jostle his way through a crowd of Christian protesters who wore stern frowns of disapproval toward everyone they saw and stood in stiff-shouldered groups to impede entrance into the movie. What was the goal of any of that? What possible constructive purpose did that serve? None… those Christians may have had sincere hearts and some Biblical knowledge but they were acting like idiots. They could have brought a friend to the movie and then afterward talked all about Christ for hours over coffee… a priceless opportunity.

To my Christian readers, listen up a second. TDVC comes out soon. Don’t play the idiotic boycott game… and don’t let priceless opportunities slip away. Be like Paul in Athens and go see the movie. Because if you don’t then someday you may just have to explain why not. *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

Here’s a good site for TDVC error checking: www.davincidelusion.tv

u comment i follow 15 Comments

  1. Posted May 12, 2006 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Hey, great post. I was really just dropping by to say thanks, as I’ve used one of your WordPress themes on my new site, so getting to read all the great common sense above was an unexpected pleasure!

  2. Posted May 12, 2006 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Nice post! I like all your reasons except that I am not so sure that I follow your logic on the thing about engaging. How much ‘evil’ (speaking in general, not just about TDVC) must one know to be informed enough to credibly engage? I agree that to ignorantly condemn something is, well, ignorant. But I think it would be folly for a Christian to constantly try to be informed about ‘the dark side’ :-) so that they can intelligently engage. Sometimes that river runs too swift to play safely in the shallows.

    “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” – Paul, after Athens, in 1 Cor 14:20

  3. Tony G
    Posted May 12, 2006 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I work with and know several people who are not Christians. Some are even atheists. Which is worse – not recognizing the importance of Jesus, or not recognizing any god at all? That’s for another post…
    But the Axe of -99 has a point. The movie will be a nice way to begin a conversation of religion and the bible. I remember when Harrison Ford got to play with God’s relics when he acted as Dr. Indiana Jones. Those movies worked on many levels. In both movies, the religion aspect was the catalyst for the rest of the plot to develop. Whether it was the Ark of the Covenant or the cup of Christ, you had religion, suspense, mystery and action, all rolled into one movie. The religious aspect could be easily dismissed (for those who wanted to dismiss it) as the characters searching for some ancient religious artifact. But for those who asked of you “Hmm, why was the Ark so important in the first place?” or “What’s so special about a cup Jesus used during his last meal with his friends?” you could have taken a deep breath and began the discussion.
    Tom Hanks gets to play a Harvard professor who is trying to find an ancient religious artifact while being hunted down by a crazy monk and the chief of Paris Police. Some will dismiss the religion and enjoy the adventure, but others might ask us “Do you think any of that stuff is true?” We can all take deep breaths and begin the discussion.
    ‘That’s my 10 cents – my 2 cents are free’ – Eminem

  4. Scott W
    Posted May 12, 2006 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you completely, with one exception (I guess that’s not completely then…..). Your quote “I only watch so-called Christian movies when they also are great movies”, makes sense at face value, but lacks future thinking. If everyone were to think like that, no one would go to Christian films (although I think the term Christian Film is just as silly as Christian Music or Christian Cars, but that’s another blog altogether). And if no one went to Christian films, no money would go towards Christian filmmakers, which means, if they are still able to make movies, the films will suck, because they have no budget. One of the greatest ways Christians can influence films, is to make films that communicate their values, and if they can’t do that, they should find a way to support other Christians that make films. And unfortunately, that sometimes means sitting through a film that isn’t “great”.

  5. Phil Taylor
    Posted May 12, 2006 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    As long as Scott or anyone ever, ever makes me watch Kirk Cameron in one of those stupid Left Behind movies . . . speaking of crappy apocolyptic movies . . . “A thief in the night” is available for netflixers, with a long wait.

  6. Posted May 12, 2006 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Wow, great comments all! That’s what great about blogs… is that when my friends come on and give me their perspectives on my thoughts I can go back and actually enhance portions of what I was trying to say that were unclear or misleading. I have done so in my post. Iron sharpen iron.

    Simon :: Hey thanks for stopping by and come back anytime. Email me about the theme you’re using… I need someone to bounce enhancement ideas off.

    Mike :: Good point. I added some verbage to indicate that a balance needs to exist. I remember Brad Stine’s book “Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot” (one of my fav’s) where he talked about a friend who actually brought strippers to Christ in a local strip club!?!? Now, that would SURELY not be a suitable place for me to engage anyone (imho) but perhaps Phillip’s Ethiopian eunoch friend could. :-)

    Tony :: Yeah… many will go and just think it was a good story… as they did with the Indiana Jones movies, like you said. Actually when I was writiing my post I often thought about the parallels between the two. Needless to say, Raiders and Last Crusade probably weren’t very accurate, either. :-) But, as you pointed out, it’s not what started the discussion… it’s where the discussion was able to go.

    Scott :: Yeah, you know I’m leary of the Christian label thing. I did modify what I was saying above because it sounded like I was too harsh… in reality I indicated any movie that wasn’t great was one I would not see because it was dubiously mediocre, when in reality I may be lenient toward many a movie for many a reason… and I might go easy on a Christian movie because of the theological depth or some other factors like the ones you mentioned. But surely I wouldn’t go just because it had the label, and that’s what I tried to say but didn’t really. On a side note regarding labels, I remember buying a Christian rap audio tape back in the mid-eighties before there were any big name Christian rap artists… it was friggin’ terrible! :-)

    Phil :: “A Thief In the Night” *gags* Those are some scary memories… If you didn’t know better you’d think they depicted the mark of the beast in the form of bad sideburns. :-)

  7. Posted May 18, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your post! I’m wondering though, since the film is being laughed at during the Film Festival, if you still think it’s worth seeing, as it doesn’t fit the “great movie” category, anymore? If it’s just poorly delivered heresy about the Savior you love, is it still necessary to watch?

    Keep writin!
    Misty

  8. Posted May 18, 2006 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    That’s a fair question, Misty, and thanks for asking.

    Yes, I’ve been reading the Cannes reviews and they paint the movie a clumsy and plodding tale. So, if I was going to see it on its theatrical merits I might have just passed.

    Definitely if I was seeing it on its level of glorifying God it would be pretty near the BOTTOM! :-)

    But, alas, I know many “un-churched” in my circles of influence who are definitely going. So I’ll still go… and instead of talking about Jesus between “wasn’t that awesome when…” I’ll be talking about Jesus between “wasn’t that so lame”.

    Thanks for stoppin’ by! :-)

  9. Posted May 29, 2006 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Did you know that you are exactly what Sony Classic dreamed of? All us people who thought we were being so original and cool and going against the flow by wanting to see the film and engage in dialogue are actually exactly what the marketing of the film was trying to promote. (Check out the feature about the marketing in the New Yorker two weeks ago . . . )

    Bugger.

    At any rate, I was going to go see it, but it looks like it sucked, so there’s no way I’ll pay to see it. I’ll Netflix it some day . . . when I am suffering from insomnia.

  10. Posted May 29, 2006 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I saw that article. Oh well. So long as the people in my circles are going to be seeing I feel I should see it, too.

    That being said, last night I had a perfect chance as Tami took me to the movies… but we saw X-Men 3 instead! :-) It was great!

  11. DaInfidelsInfidel
    Posted June 10, 2006 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    As my “call sign” suggest, I am far from devout. I’m one of the guys who call upon “Religious Guy” WarAxe for his point of view. From a heathens standpoint, this movie mirrors my belief. If you ever watch the movie, my beliefs mirrors those >exactly

  12. Posted June 11, 2006 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The book was good. I will see the movie soon… I haven’t yet because since I got back from Cancun I’ve been wicked busy.

    Don’t forget to read up on some of the main tenets of the story. Much of the “history” is taken from the book “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” which was based on the Priory of Sion hoax that was made up by some French “throne-seeker” in 1956.

  13. Posted November 10, 2008 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    They’ve been showing TDVC on tv this weekend, loved it. Can’t wait for Angels & Demons to come out in theaters.

  14. jupsdgreat
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    The point that a lot of people are missing is that Leonardo Da Vinci’s passion was for his inventions. He just used the money from painting to fund these inventions. It is true that he is a genius but a struggling painter during those times would not or could not have had the time to think about embedding codes into his artworks.

    Nice article!

  15. Posted November 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I think the most disappointing thing was how much was left out in the film, that was in the book? Found that to be frustrating, but not sure how many people saw that film that hadn’t read the book already…

    Angels and Demons was better for this, but still would have prefered a 3 hour epic with everything in there!!!

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