amused by all the fuss that Christians are making over
the premiere of "The Da Vinci Code." I heard
a church official say that everyone should remember
that this movie, and the book on which it is based,
is fiction, and that at many points it strays from the
wondered to myself, "What facts?" The Christian
story is a MYTH, even though the church for centuries
has tried to convince its members and the general public
that that myth is factual history.
recently asked me, in response to my reference to the
myth of Christianity, "What part of the Christian
story is mythological?" I answered that there may
well have been a first century prophet who was killed
by the authorities, but everything else is myth -- the
virgin birth, the idea of a man being God, the walking
on water, the raising of Lazarus, the resurrection,
the ascension, etc.
church has a vested interest in keeping from its members
the knowledge that fifteen or twenty ancient religious
traditions predating Christianity were based around
the life of a mystic teacher who came from God, was
born under mysterious circumstances, preached a divine
message, was killed and came back to life. It's a primitive
myth with ageless roots, and it represents the fundamental
knowledge in the human soul that life is eternal.
if someone from the Middle East appeared today and told
us a story about a new prophet who came from God, who
was born of a virgin, who had been killed by the government
authorities, and who miraculously rose from death, we
would laugh him to scorn and assume he was deluded.
Yet, for centuries we have treated the Christian myth
as literal fact, and have ignored our own intuitive
sense that the story no longer fits our modern knowledge
of the world. It falls into the same categories as the
Emperor's New Clothes and the Easter Bunny.
myth, the story makes a great deal of sense. It is a
perfect metaphor for God and his relationship to humanity.
But the church totally misses the point when it wastes
time and energy demanding that we believe the story
as literal history. And the negative reaction to this
movie on the part of Christian conservatives is evidence
of their deep fear that some day someone will come along
with the smoking gun which will once and for all expose
their ancient belief system as historical nonsense.
when someone tries to tell you that the movie is portraying
events which are fictional and contrary to the truth,
ask them, "What truth?" There is as much evidence
supporting the factual nature of this film as there
is proving that Jesus actually rose from the dead. What
we have here is the clash of two fictions. So we have
to approach the matter with some degree of ironic humor.
John W. Sloat 2006