Dan Brown Responds'The Da Vinci Code' — Part II

Editor's Note: Father Jonathan will appear on "Your World with Neil Cavuto," Thursday, May 11 at 4:40 p.m. ET to discuss "The Da Vinci Code" hype.

If my e-mail account was sustained by anything but a hefty server, I may have witnessed a digital meltdown about midday yesterday. Your responses were as refreshing and inquisitive as they were numerous.

I asked if you, like me, were reaching a “Da Vinci Code” saturation point. You answered in unison with a “yes” and a “no,” that in no way conflicted one with each other. You said you are tired of hype and hoopla, while hungry for serious reflection and honest debate. Many looked directly over the shoulder of the book and movie and asked for dialogue about history, faith, science, and life. Inspiring!

Dan Brown has stepped up to the microphone to answer your questions — We’ll get to that in a second. Let’s set the stage.

In Monday’s blog, I rejected the idea of a boycott and predicted the book would be a net gain for Christianity, and religion in general, as we all ask what and why we believe. I warned that Mr. Brown’s writing style is based on the painting of fiction as fact, weaving the two together in a manipulative way. At the same time, I placed blame for falling for the tantalizing bait, not on him, but rather on ignorance of our own religion and history. A few of you lambasted me for being judgmental of his intentions, saying the novel was meant for pure escapism and in no way reflected the author’s cynical take on Christianity. I took your criticism seriously, and decided the only way to verify my stated intuitions would be to hear from Mr. Brown himself.

He answered before I asked. His talk in New Hampshire on April 23rd had the tone of a man who knew he made Time magazine’s list of "The World’s 100 Most Influential People." No longer a struggling author, he spoke as an enlightened rock star and the doting crowd hung on every word. He made several attempts to keep his personal beliefs under wrap (his publicist and editor were present), but in the end he couldn’t help himself.

Reacting to the interviewer’s pokes and prodding, he gave clues about his take on theology, history, Church doctrine, and the meaning of life. Here he is, Dan Brown:

"We now turn to God for only a handful of questions that science has not yet been able to understand. We still have religion based on ‘proof from incredulity’ (it must be so because there is no other explanation). We still believe in a God of the gaps."

He gave an example:

"We are unable to conceive of our hopes, dreams, memories, and spirits evaporating into thin air when we die, so therefore we say there must be an afterlife. We can’t imagine it another way."

He went on to opine, "The biggest challenge to our spiritual being is our brains are evolving." He then asked, "How do we become solidly minded scientifically, without losing our religion?"

He questioned the possibility of arriving at historic truth. "How historically accurate is history itself?" In reference to the much discussed "Gospel of Judas" he quipped, "But maybe, just maybe, that missing piece does belong here…and the picture of the puzzle will turn out differently than we originally thought."

Up to this point, we could surmise that his personal views don’t necessarily cross over to his writing. But then along came the clincher.

In response to a question about his view of the many books and pamphlets aimed at "decoding" or "debunking" the claims of his book, he responded, "Those authors and I obviously disagree."

Dan Brown seems like a swell fellow, and by golly, I like how he writes. But my prologue to your request for more dialogue about history, faith, science, and life, is to remind you what we’re up against. Discovering truth in the jungle of ideology, as exemplified in Dan Brown's talk, is no easy quest.

Today’s cacophony of conflicting ideas could make us wonder if truth, even bits of it, is recognizable with any certainty. You know my view. I think truth is to be had, even here and now.

So once again, and to the chagrin of many, I thank Dan Brown for unwittingly opening the door for us to find just that.

God bless, Father Jonathan

P.S. If you can put up with it, on Friday I’ll do one last part of this series. It will be a more thorough look at particular pieces of fiction in the book that many swallowed as fact.

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