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.