Engaging Culture

Why the Meltdown?

I was interviewed last night on Scarborough Country on MSNBC about the continuing debate on “The Da Vinci Code.” To be honest, I’m really surprised and a little shocked by the meltdown of some religious organizations, denominations, and ministries over the upcoming film. Yes, it’s bungled research, yes, it’s bad history. But it certainly isn’t the first book of it’s kind. As reported in the Times Online in the UK, it’s but one of many attempts at debunking the Christian faith made throughout history. But the fact is, the Christian faith has transformed Western Civilization. It defeated the Roman empire, created an atmosphere of learning and science throughout Europe, impacted our art, music, and literature. When William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in the 1500’s, it created an explosion of literacy that transformed the West. We often forget that Dr. Martin Luther King (a pastor) was driven by his Christian faith. So I have trouble believing a single book or movie will bring down the most important force for good for the last 2,000 years. The dogs may bark, but the train keeps on rolling.

In Sunday’s LA Times, secular writer Susan Jacoby asked the question of why the ecclesiastical meltdown over the book and film? Although i don’t agree with her conclusions, I have to share her amazement at how outraged the Vatican and other religious leaders seem to be. Jacoby – a nonbeliever, still agrees that “The Christian faith has proved it’s enduring power over the human imagination.” And wonders how “Brown’s ridiculous cryptological yarn” has created such a commotion.

Certainly, “being against something” helps with fundraising. People don’t seem to get behind positive issues. And it’s not just religious organizations, but political, environmental, and feminist organizations have latched onto that principle. But we’re not just talking about saving a tree or electing a mayor here. We’re talking about a spiritual force that has changed the lives of millions of people.

Maybe we should have a little faith, in “faith.”

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