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Can you handle the truth about "Da Vinci"?
www.TheTruthAboutDavinci.com draws both prase and criticism
PHILADELPHIA, May 10 — When Westminster Theological Seminary recently launched a new website, www.TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com, in an effort to present historically accurate and biblically sound information pertaining to the claims in Dan Brown’s runaway best-selling novel “The Da Vinci Code,” there was no way to know the type of response it would ultimately draw from its visitors.
“Our mission was and continues to be to present a repository of credible resources and authorities on the controversial issues raised by ‘The Da Vinci Code’,” explains Dr. Peter Lillback, President of Westminster Theological Seminary. “What started out as a website to harness the contributions of these experts and thought leaders has been tantamount to throwing a hand grenade on the table. It has created a veritable firestorm of opinions from all sides.”
Two weeks after the site’s launch on Good Friday last month, a feedback feature was added. Not only has the number of responses increased since then, so have the passions.
“We see everything from ‘Real Christians should stay away from this film!’ to more lengthy diatribes on why Christians should not be ‘up in arms’ over this novel – or any work of fiction,” says Dr. William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics and Chairman of the Faculty at Westminster. “It is very apparent that we have struck a nerve in the cultural conversation because we are seeing the full spectrum of emotion and opinion.”
The Westminster site, www.TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com, features the work of contributors including Dr. Peter Jones and Dr. Jim Garlow, authors of the best-selling “Cracking Da Vinci’s Code;” Dr. Darrell Bock, author of “Breaking the Da Vinci Code;” Westminster Seminary’s Dr. William Edgar; speaker Dr. Os Guinness; and Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. Additionally, the site has added study guide materials for youth from interl’inc, well-known for its ability to connect with kids and culture.
While the site is clearly a Christian one, it remains neutral in its stance on whether or not Christians should avoid the film or use it as an outreach tool to engage the culture in spiritual dialogue.
“We began receiving emails from angry people who have mistakenly assumed we are ‘calling for the boycott’ of the film,” explains Rick Marshall, Executive Director of the website project. “Since the reason for developing the site was to provide the facts about the historic Christian faith in response to the claims of the novel, we initially were baffled by these comments.
“However, our talented Internet team at TriNet Solutions quickly solved the mystery by backtracking to other sites that ARE calling for boycotts and have featured links to our URL, thereby causing the assumption that we, too, are encouraging that course of action,” he continued. “For the record, we are not endorsing or calling for a boycott, rather providing resources available to anyone interested in learning the historical, biblical perspective – whether or not they choose to see the movie.”
The site’s format is one of ‘question and answer’ intended to give the reader the opportunity to skim the surface of the content or to dig deeper into specific topics of interest. The primary questions featured on the website include: Is Jesus God?; Is the Bible true?; Was Jesus married?; Lost books of the Bible – Are they real?; The Sacred Feminine – What is it?; and The Holy Grail?
“Everything we post on our website is screened by the faculty at the seminary to ensure that the content demonstrates academic integrity and is theologically compatible with Church history and orthodox Christianity,” adds Edgar. “We firmly believe that however people – Christians or not – choose to react to the upcoming film, they are entitled to consider the facts and then come to their own conclusions. Faith is ultimately a personal decision that no one can be coersed or browbeaten into.”
In fact, that very premise is the basis for the site’s national print advertising campaign, featuring full page ads in “USA Today” and several faith-based publications. The tagline for the ads is “There is fact. There is fiction. You decide online.”
“As long as you stand for what you believe in – and the more firmly you stand – you can always expect to draw both strong praise and criticism,” says Dr. Lillback. “But in the words of G.K. Chesterton, ‘When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything.’
“We are offering the facts because when all is said and done, people really do want to believe in something,” Dr. Lillback continued. But as we have seen in the case of this phenomenon around ‘The Da Vinci Code’ book or film, they truly are willing to believe in anything. So why not offer the truth as an option?”
For more information about Westminster Theological Seminary’s response site, visit http://www.TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com.