Carol Platt Liebau: Some Dumb "Code"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Some Dumb "Code"

Sitting for hours on the runway because of bad weather, waiting to come home, I finally had the chance to read "The DaVinci Code."

And now I'm feeling a bit like Scarlett O'Hara at the Confederate bazaar -- everybody seems to be swept up in an enthusiasm that I don't understand.

What is it that so many people have found to be so great about this book? The characters struck me as poorly drawn, the "mystery" was impenetrable by normal people, and let's not even talk about the pretentious, portentious, ultimately ridiculous "theology" that animates it. I'm hardly a Biblical scholar, but author Dan Brown even makes mistakes about the few little things I know from my college course in "The Self in World Religions" at Princeton.

Mark D. Roberts provides an excellent refutation of the most inflammatory claims in the book, and notes that it presents a wonderful opportunity for Christians to discuss their faith.

As an orthodox Christian, though, it's hard to overcome the sense (as I read on the tarmac last night) that, albeit perhaps inadvertantly, Dan Brown is doing something incredibly wrong -- attempting to undermine peoples' belief in Christianity, and replace it with a half-baked, unserious conspiracy theory.

Above all, it makes me sad. It's like Brown is trying to take away good, honest whole-wheat bread and pure water, and substituting it with Cheetos and Red Bull. The replacement may taste good at first, but it's ultimately unable to nourish and sustain.

4 Comments:

Blogger wrabkin said...

I write thrillers for a living, so it was sort of a professional obligation to read "The DaVinci Code."

Couldn't do it. Couldn't make it past page 2, no matter how many times I tried. (And I've made it to page 75 of Gravity's Rainbow many times!)

The prose is so bad, so flat, so dull, I couldn't stand to read another hamfisted sentence.

Why is this book one of the biggest sellers of all time? I can't figure it out to save my life.

10:41 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

I read thrillers for a hobby and couldn't make it past page one. I think it was the "searing pain" of the bullet that did it for me.

I don't think it's fair to criticize Brown for the book. He wrote some pulp fiction based on some conspiracy-theory hokum he read somewhere else. So the guy wanted to make a living.

What is interesting is why the book sold 40 million copies. What the Church doesn't want to discuss, and what religious pundits should give more thought to, is WHY this book touched a nerve and what it portends for the Church and Christianity in North America.

When you think about the degree to which the Catholic Church protected pedophile priests at the expense of its own child-parishioners, I think there is something in the public mind about the true worth and purpose of the Catholic Church that is being worked out.

12:03 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Churches are made up of humans. Humans are human. God help us. Others adore a golden calf. Money?

7:35 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Actually, people never needed pedophile priests to knock the Roman Catholic Church. What gives this book such magnetism is the perpetuation of the conspiracy theories regarding the Church that have been floated for quite awhile. People just love dumping on the Church. But the theme also hurts Christianity in general for it's suggestions about Jesus Himself. And that suits those who would look upon the faithful as backward and superstitious. I haven't read the book, but I've read arguments against Christianity, many of which are in the book from what I understand.

10:33 PM  

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