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Dissecting 'The Da Vinci Code'

2/24/2006 - 5:30 AM PST

(Page 2 of 2)

illiterate culture believe it. So Catholics must undertake to catechize not just themselves but their families, friends and neighbors, or they can expect this dangerous myth to continue spreading.

Q: Why is there a concern about Catholics -- and everyone else, for that matter -- viewing "The Da Vinci Code" movie without a discerning eye and solid background information?

Shea: Because it's written with the express intention of destroying faith in Jesus Christ and replacing it with neo-pagan goddess worship.

The problem is the average reader does not know "The Da Vinci Code" actually makes you more stupid about art, history, theology and comparative religion.

"The Da Vinci Deception" and Da Vinci Outreach are there to educate readers on the quite deliberate falsehoods -- as well as ignorant blunders -- that fill the story. We are also including a resource aimed at educating high school students and helping them to tune their "bunk detectors" to Brown's wavelength.

Q: The recent backlash by Muslims against cartoons on Mohammed seems to signal rising tensions between religion and society. What do you think of the timing of this movie?

Shea: Undoubtedly, the promoters of the movie will attempt to characterize Catholic complaints about "The Da Vinci Code's" assassination of the facts as identical to radical Islamist threats to free speech.

The problem with this claim, of course, is that the Church does not condone burning down buildings or threatening people with death, even when they lie about Christ. We simply and politely request that the creators of "The Da Vinci Code" to not palm off scurrilous lies as fact.

Western manufacturers of culture are always braver about smearing the Church than in confronting radical Islam because, as they know perfectly well, the Vatican does not issue "fatwas" or death threats.

Q: How do you hope this book informs those who plan on going to the film "The Da Vinci Code"?

Shea: "The Da Vinci Deception" breaks down in simple terms the basic pattern of lies Brown deploys in "The Da Vinci Code" so that the reader can clearly see the clockwork going on behind this novel.

The book is broken into 100 questions -- as was our previous book, "A Guide to the Passion" -- that walk the reader through the skillful weave of Brown's very artful falsehoods and show you why it's such a scam. Once you understand Brown's game, you start to realize that it is Brown -- not the Catholic faith -- that is taking people for a ride.

We are confident enough in our book that we would, in fact, urge people to go to the film after having read it -- the better to help deluded family members, friends and neighbors see through the scam.

Q: Why are people taking Dan Brown's novels so seriously? In Rome there are even guided tours retracing the places covered in his book "Angels and Demons."

Shea: "The Da Vinci Code" is yet another manifestation of what I call "the latest Real Jesus"; every generation tends to discover the latest Real Jesus.

A hundred years ago, Albert Schweitzer discovered that the Real Jesus was a Social Gospel Protestant. In the booming 1920s, people found that Jesus was actually a poster boy for salesmanship. In the 1930s, the Nazis discovered a Real Jesus who was Aryan, not Jewish, while the Communists discovered a Jesus who was actually the first Marxist.

In the 1960s, the Real Jesus was found to be a flower child in "Godspell" and a devotee of hallucinogenic mushrooms -- which explains all the visions and miracles nicely. In the 1970s, the Real Jesus was found to be a "superstar" as per the diktats of rock culture.

In the 1980s, he appeared on the scene to promise health and wealth and to heal your inner child -- that's when he wasn't suffering existential crises, grappling with his libido and riddled by self-doubt, rather like a self-absorbed baby boomer, in "The Last Temptation of Christ."

In the 1990s, he was suddenly discovered to be an enthusiastic homosexual in the blasphemous play "Corpus Christi."

Today, we live in a culture obsessed with the sex lives of the rich and famous, credulous about vast conspiracy theories, brimming with half-baked notions about paganism and feminism, and hostile to traditional notions of both reason and authority.

By some unfathomable coincidence, Dan Brown has discovered a Real Jesus who perfectly reflects this broad cultural mood. And when people believe things based on such a mood, particularly evil things, this is dangerous to their faith.

"The Da Vinci Deception" is designed precisely to help people stop taking "The Da Vinci Code" so seriously. Happily, Dan Brown and company have made things easy for us in that department.

His book is so laughably bad, its claims so easily and demonstrably false, the whole thing so silly, that debunking takes on a rather gleeful quality -- which is, I think, only fitting. The best cure for "The Da Vinci Code" is, in the end, hearty gales of well-informed laughter.

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Keywords

Da Vinci, Code, Movie, Hollywood, Shea

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