Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times offers an audience-eye view of The Da Vinci Code movie, and her report is worthy of attention. She dismisses the movie as a bomb with film critics, and suggests that the movie will appeal mostly to diehard fans of Dan Brown’s novel.
Nevertheless, she sees the movie as a significant cultural development. Why?
The reason is that “The Da Vinci Code” is, in the sweep of Christian history, a historical marker — encapsulating in one muddled movie an era in which many Christian believers have assimilated a whole lot of new and unorthodox ideas, as well as half-truths and conspiracy thinking, into their faith, while still seeing it as Christianity. Call it Da Vinci Christianity.
“Da Vinci Christianity” is, in effect, a new form of Gnosticism, perfectly fitted for the postmodern age.
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“I’m definitely a Christian — I would label myself a Gnostic Christian,” said Cliff Jacobs, 52, deputy executive director at Queens Public Television, as he left a screening of “The Da Vinci Code” Thursday night. He was referring to early Christians known as Gnostics, many of whom rejected the divinity of Jesus, but who left behind gospels that resurfaced in the last 60 years.
“I don’t need someone to interpret God for me,” Mr. Jacobs said. “When I want to commune with others, I go to church.”
Maria Bolden, 42, a customer service representative for a cable company, said after seeing the movie, “If marriage is such a sacred sacrament, why is it such a problem for Jesus to have married?”
In other words, even though there is not one scintilla of evidence for the claim that Jesus was married, and even though the New Testament offers more than sufficient reason to believe that He was not — why not construct a Jesus of your own imagination? “Da Vinci Christianity” is a symptom of the age — but also a revival of the perennial heresy.