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Friday, April 21, 2006

Breaking the Da Vinci Fever

It was almost amusing when I first saw the movie posters of the Da Vinci Code recently: those grim faces, but most of all, the subtitle, "Seek the Truth." Unfortunately, people can be very lazy. They might watch the movie and, in search of the truth, read the novel. End of research. Amusing but deadly. Imagine trying to pass a course on history by reading just one source and watching its movie adaptation. Or trying to publish a paper on a peer-reviewed conference or journal with only two or three references, furthermore omitting a section reviewing related literature and related works by other people. That would easily be dismissed for lack of evidence. Amazingly, Dan Brown's fiction has been passing the standards of most people these days with exactly the same lack of evidence and, worse, despite contrary evidence. For example, what DVC claims about the Priory of Sion is false, as admitted to by the folks who "discovered" its secret documents. It is also amazing that there is so much evidence to discredit DVC yet people are still buying into its claims.

George Weigel is right: there is an opportunity here, a teaching moment. Like every opportunity, we have to seize it. In a world where mass media lets people pass lies off as truth, let's face it: truth is often thought to be in the voice of the loudest. To the young and uninitiated, silence means assent. We cannot afford to give the world a reason to believe that we subscribe to the false claims of DVC.

Mere months after the release of DVC the novel, I came across three high school students on the train. Two were insisting to the third that the latter's Christian beliefs were hogwash in the light of DVC's damning claims. The cornered student valiantly stood his ground, amused and smiling but not allowing himself to be baited. How many such victims of DVC indoctrination are so steadfast? At that age (perhaps 14), I'm not sure if I would have had the resources, inclination or the time to verify their claims. Pity our youth with similar limitations facing similar challenges to their adolescent faith. Which is exactly why we must speak out. It is really not for ourselves that we must speak out in truth. It's for those who have not come to it yet, and, without prophets of truth to rely on, may never do so.

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