Seeing the issue from both sides
We get e-mails...
A reader recently wrote in with these comments:
"Listen folks, The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction. Let me repeat that, F I C T I O N. Get a life. Quit getting distracted by this and other nonsense issues, and focus instead on issues that really matter."The same day, we received the following:
"Jesus' marriage tois acknowledged by a number of people around the world. There is Christian sect living in Syria that claims descent from Jesus (and her). Ahmadi sect of Islam claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene got married and moved to Kashmir (there is a grave in Kashmir that is claimed to be that of Jesus).
N.K., United Kingdom
Interesting how these two viewpoints seem to differ in regard to the facts surrounding the book. Now, I've written previously why I think that this is an important issue to deal with. But the reasons I gave were rather philosophical in nature. Now, we have some hard numbers provided by recent pollsters to help us gauge whether this is a worthy issue or not.
Pollster George Barna completed a survey of Americans this month on how the book has impacted their religious views. The results are interesting. Barna says that most people had some set of preexisting beliefs and the book didn't change those views. He writes "Among the 45 million who have read The Da Vinci Code , only 5% - which represents about two million adults - said that they changed any of the beliefs or religious perspectives because of the book''s content." (1)
5% doesn't sound like a lot until you look at the immense popularity of the book. 45 million people read it. That means that two million modified their belief system from the "work of fiction". Two Million! Barna continues, "any book that alters one or more theological views among two million people is not to be dismissed lightly. That's more people than will change any of their beliefs as a result of exposure to the teaching offered at all of the nation's Christian churches combined during a typical week."(2)
I noticed that the person believing in the Jesus/Magdalene union was from Britain. There the results are even more scary. The London Telegraph reports that "two thirds of Britons who have read Dan Brown's thriller believe that Jesus fathered a child with Mary Magdalene, a claim rejected as baseless by historians and scholars".(3)
So, let me ask - are the convictions of two million people worth it all? Is the eternal destiny of those who are stumbled by this book and movie worth all this effort? I think so. Tell me if you do.
1. Barna, George "Da Vinci Code Confirms Rather Than Changes People's Religious Views"
May 15, 2006 The Barna Group, Ltd. Ventura, CA Accessed 5/20/2006
3. Petre, Jonathan "Most Da Vinci Code Readers Believe Jesus Fathered a Child" London Telegraph UK
17 May, 2006. Telegraph Company Ltd. London, UK Accessed 5/18/2006