Tuesday, April 04, 2006

'The Da Vinci Opportunity'

On May 19, a new Ron Howard-directed film will be released. I might otherwise look forward to that, given that I have been a fan of such Howard movies as Cocoon, Parenthood, and A Beautiful Mind. My excitement would ordinarily be enhanced by the presence of Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou (of Amelie fame) in the cast.

But the film in question is an adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code. The novel did considerable violence to historically demonstrable fact, something which Hollywood does with unfortunate regularity, of course. However, this time, the history being messed with is all that we know about Jesus of Nazareth, who we Christians believe has been revealed to be God-in-the-flesh. People have right to question religion (or to even lampoon it). But when such questioning happens, the questioner (or the lampooner) have some responsibility to only present as facts what truly are facts. This, Dan Brown hasn't done.

But, New Testament scholar (Harvard-trained), pastor, and blogger Mark D. Roberts believes that Christians ought to regard The Da Vinci Code as an opportunitiy, or more accurately, a set of opportunities for Christians to interact with others on a variety of important topics:
...though The Da Vinci Code does indeed pose a threat to classical Christian faith, Christians should see it as much as an opportunity as a threat. The Da Vinci Code will get people talking about Jesus, the Bible, the role of women, and the nature of salvation. This conversation will allow Christians to explain ways in which The Da Vinci Code strays from historical fact and how it reflects careful historical inquiry. More importantly still, it allows Christians to discuss many crucial aspects of Christian faith with those who might otherwise be uninterested.
Mark is in the midst of a series of important posts on The Da Vinci Opportunity. Check it out and be ready for the opportunities of which Mark speaks.


XWL said...

Shouldn't Christians follow the example of their Abrahamic brethren and threaten violence (or commit actual violence) in the face of anti-Christian mockery?

(which the book definitely is, and presumably the film will be as well)

(was the above comment too sarcastic?)

(was it not sarcastic enough?)

Mark Daniels said...

The Old Testament says that vengeance, when and if appropriate, is God's provenance, not ours. (If God were to go for vengeance for all our human rebellions, I would have been dead many times over.)

Jesus also teaches in the New Testament that we're to turn the other cheek, but also to be prepared to give an account for the hope that is in us, an account we're to give with gentleness and reverence (First Peter 3:15).

God bless!


Charlie said...

Barbara Nicolosi, a Christian screenwriter and head of the Act One program, had what I thought was a great suggestion: when the Da Vinci Code opens, go to the movies -- but see something else, anything else.

Her point is that Hollywood is a market-driven industry, and only dollar signs have any impact on their thinking. Da Vinci Code will be judged by its box office receipts. Avoiding the movie isn't as effective as spending our movie dollars on a movie we'd like to see Hollywood make more of.

I agree that we should use the movie as an opening for talking about the true Christ. I'm boning up on the issues by reading the book, compliments of our local library. As much as I love Ron Howard, I'm not going to see this one.

Mark Daniels said...

I love Nicolosi's web site. Her suggestion is a good one. You might also want to read Ben Witherington's excellent critique of the Brown book.