Musings: Thinking through a Contradiction
By now, The Da Vinci Code is well-established in the box office world. While its second week in the U.S. has shown to be stable but not stellar, bringing in $44 million over the holiday weekend), Europe is on fire for Da Vinci - bringing in almost $320 million in ticket sales. The ideas that underlie the story must be striking a responsive chord in Europe.
By now, you've seen many of the historical and theological inaccuracies that the book and the film voice. However, I wanted to look at some of the core ideas and see how they make sense. Internal consistency is one good test for truth; it's also an easy way for people who aren't versed in "academics" or who don't have a working knowledge of history to see if ideas are worth pursuing. Many times we call this a "common sense test" because we understand that an idea that contradicts itself just can't be true.
So, with The Da Vinci Code, what are the "Big Ideas"? Well, there's the idea that Jesus really wasn't who Christianity says he was - that is, his divinity was manufactured and a cover-up has ensued for some 1700 years to hide this fact. There's also the idea that was the supposed successor of the church and the aforementioned cover-up was designed to be a power grab. Lastly, there's the idea that a faithful but secret remnant still remains to carefully guard this legacy of the "sacred feminine", all the while venerating the bodily remains of Mary Magdalene while keeping guard over the "sangreal" which is interpreted to mean the royal bloodline.
Now, there's a rub here. If the first idea is accurate, then Jesus wasn't some type of deity but merely a man akin to Confucius. He said some important things and he taught some good precepts for life, but he was "a man nevertheless. A mortal", to quote Teabing. If that idea holds, then why should anyone venerate his wife and his progeny? How does it make sense that the wife of a great man should be held up as some type of divine female figure - a "sacred feminine" model? Mary didn't perform any miracles. We don't see the search for Socrates' offspring as relevant.
It seems to me that those in The Da Vinci Code want to have their cake and eat it too. They don't want Jesus to be divine, except when his children are taken into account. At that point, we're to believe they are special or unique. In the film, after Sophie learns of her ancestry, she attempt to walk on water. Less explicitly, she's subtly credited for saving a junkie from his habit and curing Langdon of his claustrophobia. Now, why does the filmmaker go out of his way to make such a point? Are they trying to prove that by being in the lineage of Jesus one would have certain divine powers?
All in all, I think this is an interesting exercise that goes beyond just a single movie. It's amazing how much we can uncover just by stopping and thinking through all the ramifications of certain ideas. When it becomes obvious that they don't hold water, they lose much of their import. So it goes with every worldview, and so it goes with this one.