Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Writing in the National Review online, Carl goes into the juggernauts that are the Da Vinci Code and the "Left Behind" series of books. I had read the first eight LB books, and finally got tired of them...especially once I found I just could not handle the anti-Catholic rhetoric anymore...even moreso once I did some research into one of the authors, Tim Lahaye, and his confirmed anti-Catholic stance. That, and his "theology" was born in 1830. Mine was born 2000 years ago.

His review of "Glorious Appearing" is also online.

However, if this is true, then just about everyone is a Christian, including those who reject the existence or the divinity of Jesus and therefore are Christian simply by virtue of having an opinion about the Christ. Exhibit A is Brown, who says he is a Christian, but adds, "although perhaps not in the most traditional sense of the word." (Meaning he doesn't believe Jesus was the Christ, just a "mere mortal prophet," in the words of one of his characters.) But Brown does believe "we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment." So there you have it: Anybody can be a Christian, as long as he doesn't mind the term and can define it however he desires.

Both novels cite a common enemy: the institutions of man, especially the Catholic Church. This is far more overt in "The Da Vinci Code", which contains a cacophonous recitation of how evil, violent, misogynist, murderous, backward, and corrupt the Catholic Church allegedly is. (No mention of Protestantism is ever made in Brown's novel, but "the Vatican" is omnipresent.) The authors of the "Left Behind" books agree with that assessment, as an examination of non-fiction works such as "Are We Living In the End Times?" demonstrates, but they are more muted in saying so in the "Left Behind" novels. There is no doubt, however, that LaHaye and Jenkins include the Catholic Church in a list of man-made institutions (e.g., the U.N., the European Union, Hollywood, etc.) contrary to the will and work of God. The bottom line is that faith is individualistic — "Me and Jesus" or "Me and the Goddess" — and that any spiritual or religious community larger than an intimate home church or a cozy secret society is to be viewed with great suspicion.

People who will never seriously examine what a 2,000-year-old institution states about what is true or false are voraciously chewing up the fictional fast food of a mediocre novelist from New England as though he had a direct line to the Supreme Intellect of the Universe. Free thinkers and libertines who once believed that marriage was boring and humdrum now think it is the most exciting thing in the world — as long as it's Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene. What gives? Setting aside those who simply want a "good read," I have to conclude that many people have lost their minds. We live in an information age, but this era is arguably the most historically illiterate of any in American history. When people say (and they are saying it), "The Da Vinci Code is the greatest thing I've ever read," you have to wonder: What have they read? Cereal boxes?


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