Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fear of Fiction

The furor over a movie by religious groups who have not even seen it once again illustrates the power of fiction to shake the beliefs of the faithful. The DaVinci Code has been called "anti-Christian," and the Catholic Church has been asking people to boycott the movie. This movie is apparently driving people into creating websites (www.defendyourfaith.com) and other groups (Opus Dei) issuing demands for disclaimers or retractions.

First, a disclaimer ...more »on my part. I haven't read the book, don't plan on it. I don't plan on seeing the movie. Why? This plot has been around forever, it's just that apparently Dan Brown made it somewhat more interesting than the other books that talk about it. I'm particularly remembering Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, but there have been many others. So, this whole "Jesus married Mary Magdalene" thing has been going around for a long time. Nothing new.

Look, people, none of you were around when this guy Jesus was living. Therefore, you are taking it on faith that what has been passed down for centuries about him is true. That's fine, faith in things unseen is something that has driven mankind probably since we were, well, mankind. However, if your faith is so weak that a piece of fiction is threatening it, then perhaps you need to reevaluate what you truly believe in.

If you truly believe what you say you do, than this movie shouldn't bother you at all. You don't have to see it, you don't have to read the book. Why should you care if someone goes to the movie or reads the book and believes that what is in this piece of fiction is true? If the fact that someone else believes what this movie says diminishes your faith one iota, then perhaps your faith is not as strong as you think it is.

After all, according to the latest figures at adherents.com, only 1/3 of the world's population believe in Christianity. That means 2/3 of the world does not. Yet, that fact doesn't seem to threaten the faithful as much as this piece of fiction.

Neither the fact that 2/3 of the world doesn't believe that you do, nor the fiction of the DaVinci Code should threaten the true believer. Yet, it seems to be doing so. Why is that?

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