Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Cult

Several years ago I bought what looked like an interesting Science fiction novel called 'Deception Point'. However, when I started to read it I soon became bored. The book was dull, ill-conceived and badly written. If you had told me that several years later the author would have written a book that has sold 40 million copies and is now turned into a big Hollywood movie I would never have believed you. But it has.

'The Da Vinci Code' is not just another thriller, it has become an international phenomenon. It has gone beyond 'best-seller' status and become a household-name 'mega-seller'. Very, very few novels achieve such success.

The story is pure feminist propaganda, and basically seeks to re-write history to claim that the Catholic church suppressed the spirituality of women. The novel is pure fiction, but Dan Brown, the author, has tried to portray it as based on a factual background of secret societies, a violent and conspiratorial church, and a hidden history in which Jesus secretly had a child, and escaped to France, where his descendants still reside. It also seems that his older, apparently quite dominating wife is probably the real driving force behind this aspect of the story. In fact, its not hard to see the somewhat effete Mr Brown as being led or even manipulated by his older, driven wife.

Whilst Dan Brown doesn't claim that his story and characters are litterally true (that would be insane), he tries to give the impression that the book is based upon a solid foundation of facts and theory. It just adds weight to the public perception that there has been an sinister patriarchy that has conspired to oppress women for centuries. As A.N. Wilson wrote in the Daily Mail (6/5/2006) "In the book, the church is presented as misogynistic, violent and prepared to do almost anything to protect itself." And in their book 'The Da Vinci Hoax', authors Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel write: "The misrepresentation of Christian beliefs in The Da Vinci Code is so aggressive and continual that we can only conclude that it is a result of willful ignorance or purposeful malice."

In fact, there are many, many factual misrepresentations in the book. For instance, Dan Brown claims that there is a secret society called the Priory of Sion, and that Leonardo Da Vinci was a member of it. But the evidence now is that this society never existed and claims about it were just a hoax. Experts have also denounced his claims about Jesus marrying Mary Magdelene and having a child.

As Wikipedia says: "Though it is true that the book is a work of fiction, the book's opening claim that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate" has led some readers to consider The Da Vinci Code a genuine exposé of orthodox Christianity's past." Indeed, its easy to underestimate the ability of fiction to influence the public's view of the world. Thanks to fiction, the public believes that Humans and dinosaurs co-existed at the same time, that sharks naturally deliberately hunt Humans, and that spaceships make 'wooooshing' sounds as they travel through the airless vacuum of space.

People have told me that its all no big deal and that I should lighten up about it, but I think its *IS* a big deal simply because of how influential something as successful as this can be. The book has now sold over 40 million copies, and there have been at least 20 books published in response to the fad it has created. And now we have this Hollywood film. Even if not everyone believes its claims 100%, it still adds to the general feeling amongst the public that conspiracies have existed in the last 2,000 years to suppress women.

“The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever” (p124).

and according to the book: “Jesus was the original feminist” (p248)

then in the final scene the main character falls to his knees, almost in worship, to the grave of Mary Magdelene - who according to the book was Jesus's lover and had his children - and the last sentence reads: "For a moment, he thought he heard a woman's voice... the wisdom of the ages... whispering up from the chasms of the earth."

Dan Brown's Witness statement in a recent court case about the Da Vinci code
(authors of an earlier book claim he had plagiarised their work) is quite revealing. In it he describes in some detail how he researches and writes his novels. It seems his older wife, Blythe, was rather influential in the research for the Da Vinci code.

Brown says of the Da Vinci code: "The novel's themes include: the sacred feminine; goddess worship; the Holy Grail; symbology; paganism;.."

Of his wife's involvement in the planning of the story he writes: "My research books for The Da Vinci Code are heavily marked with margin notes, sticky notes, underlining, highlighting, inserted pieces of paper, etc. A good portion of these notes are in my wife's handwriting....In particular, she became passionate about the history of the Church's suppression of women, and she lobbied hard for me to make it a primary theme of the novel."

His statement goes on and on about how many notes Blythe wrote for the book, and how passionately she was reading and researching for it. We learn that "Blythe's female perspective was particularly helpful with this book, which deals so heavily with concepts like the sacred feminine, goddess worship and the feminine aspect of spiritually."

We then learn of his wife's admiration for the non-fiction books of Margaret Starbird, who claims that the church has conspired for centuries to surpress the fact that Jesus married Mary Magdalene.

Brown says: "
Although I was sceptical at first about Margaret Starbird's books, Blythe reacted to them with enormous passion and enthusiasm. In fact, I'm not sure I had ever seen Blythe as passionate about anything as she became for the historical figure of Mary Magdalene (particularly the idea that the church had unfairly maligned her). Blythe even bought a painting of Mary Magdalene and hung it over her desk."

Mr Brown concludes: "My eyes were now wide open to the idea of the suppression of the sacred feminine....This concept of the lost sacred feminine became the backbone of The Da Vinci Code and would become the central theme of the novel --in the Acknowledgements I thank my wife and my mother and note that the novel "draws heavily on the sacred feminine"

In conclusion, the Da Vinci code is a deplorable and cynical work. The lies it promotes (such as the claim that the church murdered 5 million women for 'witch-craft' - scholars estimate the true number to be far, far lowwer, and 20% of which were men) need to be countered as the popularity of this book and now Hollywood movie will add massive weight in the public's mind to the idea that a patriarchal conspiracy to surpress, oppress and murder women has existed for the last 2,000 years.

Article on the Da Vinci Code from
'Criticisms of the Da Vinci Code' from Wikipedia
Website for the book 'The Da Vinci Hoax'

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