Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Boycotts and Hunger Strikes Confront Movie

It’s here! But not without trouble blowing in the wind.

According to Fox News, protests regarding “The DaVinci Code” are springing up around the world. Catholics and Protestants alike are promising boycotts, hunger strikes, and public protests. I’ve not heard much about such goings on here in the good ol’ USA, but they will probably happen.

I have mixed feelings about such protests. The truth is: “Bad news is better than no news at all!” I’m afraid these actions may serve only to promote the movie and the book inspiring it. I plan to go see it as soon as some of the furor dies down, not because I like the idea portrayed in the movie but because I want to know how it compares with the book. The book was a real “page-turner,” and the movie is sure to be a blockbuster.

There is something bugging me, however. Every time I go to Barnes & Noble I see more books on subjects like “The DaVinci Code.” Authors taking their cues from Dan Brown are writing all sorts of trash about Jesus, the Gnostic writings, a supposed Gospel of Judas, and more. By the way, I guess if Judas wrote a gospel that means he didn’t commit suicide as described in Scripture. If that’s the case, then the Bible is wrong and we can’t know what to believe. As I stopped by the bookstore just today, I saw books about the myth of Christ, secrets of the Templars, Mary Magdalene, and a lot more. As I looked over all those books, I thought, It seems like Satan is waging an all out attack on the credibility of Scripture right now!

I think there is one positive about this entire if we “play our cards right.” Over the last several decades, American Christians drifted into a contentless emotional faith based on feelings. Truth is defined as “what is true for me.” That kind of “truth” is usually based on feelings as opposed to what can be verified by objective evidence.

Dan Brown’s book and the movie are driving us back to the objective evidence for Jesus and the church. It is high time, too! Brown’s work is raising all kinds of questions that can’t be answered by “how you feel” at any given moment. Just because following Jesus gives you a “spiritual high” doesn’t tell you whether or not he was human or divine or both. It can’t tell you if the resurrection occurred or whether Jesus was a real person who lived in space and time. Only evidence can do that. Maybe Jesus can give you a “spiritual high,” but so can mushrooms! There is a huge difference between a drug-induced high, a meaningless spiritual high, and the reality that Jesus is God demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead.

Maybe … just maybe … the potential confusion this book and movie could create will cause the church to realize the importance of “sound doctrine” once again. While we don’t want to minimize the importance of relating Scripture to every day life, there really are core truths that Christians must understand, accept, and pass on to others.

Let’s wait and see the outcome of all of this. The movie may flop (not likely, but it’s possible). Perhaps the initial stir it all creates will quickly disappear as believers share the truth with the many questioners coming out of the theaters.

Just something to think about!