Friday, May 19, 2006

Reasons For and Against Seeing “The Da Vinci Code”

[The following are excerpts from an email sent to me from Tom Short. More can be found at his website]

Perhaps what I'm about to say will be more controversial than the movie itself, but I hope every follower of Jesus gives careful consideration to whether or not they should watch this movie. I'm going to list the pros (which are few) and the cons (which are many) and then leave it up to you to make up your own mind.

On the positive side of watching the movie:

1.) You will be able to know what others are talking about. You will be able to identify with others so that you can use this movie as an opportunity to witness to others.

2.) I can't think of any other reason.

Therefore, if number 1 is your reason to go, I ask you to consider whether you really will speak up and share your faith with anyone as result of this movie. One good indicator of future performance is to look at past performance. There have been plenty of controversial things arise that give opportunity to speak up for Christ (evolution, same-sex marriage, Islam, etc.). Have you used these issues as a platform to witness for Christ? If not, why do you think you will now speak up at a result of The Da Vinci Code. If, on the other hand, you really do use current issues to share your faith, this movie may be one of the great opportunities to do so.

On the negative side: Why NOT to go to the movie

I've gotten five e-mails on why to GO to the movie for every one e-mail on why NOT to go. Therefore, let me give you some ideas on the other side of this issue:

1.) How Well Do You Know Your History?

Do you know early church history? Do you know Roman history from this period? Do you know who was Emperor of the Roman Empire during the early fourth century? Do you know what the Council of Nicaea was about? How about the Edict of Milan? Do you know how the books of the Bible were chosen?

Let me suggest that if you do not know the answers to these questions, you are not adequately equipped to answer the accusations against Christianity raised by The Da Vinci Code.

2.) What are your convictions about staying pure?

Most believers understand the importance of keeping their heart, mind and soul pure and undefiled. I don't know anyone who would go watch a popular porn flick just so he or she could better witness to others who had seen it. There are some things so defiling that it is just not right to be entertained by it. So, in light of the fact we belong to God and He calls us to lead holy lives, do you think it would be wrong to watch things that put sinful sexual thoughts in your mind but not wrong to see things that put blasphemous thoughts about Jesus in your mind?

3.) Does it bother you that Jesus is blasphemed in this movie?

I've been reminded over and over again that this movie is just fiction - its only meant for entertainment. Suppose someone had written a book and made a movie about your own mother that was filled with lies and distortions. She is accused of being a drug-dealer and having a secret second life in which she is a street-walking harlot. The book clearly identifies her by name, city, birth date and other facts, but weaves in a whole lot of "facts" that anyone who really knows your mother knows not to be true. Would such a book/movie be OK with you as long as it was housed in the fiction section? Or would you be outraged because you loved your mother and her reputation was important to you?

Personally, I see no way in which a person who loves Jesus could enjoy a movie that portrays Jesus the way the Da Vinci Code does. Putting in a disclaimer that this is fiction does not take away from the disgusting way He is portrayed. And, remember, to take the Name of the Lord in vain does not mean that you cuss; rather it means that you do not treat the Lord and His Name with the reverence with which He is due. The Da Vinci Code - focused on a false Jesus - most definitely takes His Name in vain!

4.) As a Steward, how do You want to Spend Your Money?

In a free economy like ours, we vote with our dollars. After the Passion of the Christ came out, Hollywood began to notice a huge market of decent people who wanted films honoring to Christian truth and values. If The Da Vinci Code succeeds, count on more movies that offend our faith (just as there are now a growing number of books along the lines of the Da Vinci Code), If, however, this movie flops, we can hope Hollywood will think twice about putting out films like this.

Well, I'm sure by now you catch the drift of what I think about going to the movie. Personally, I really am torn on what to do. I speak (and will speak) about this book / movie to thousands of people. I probably should know what's in the movie. I may go to see it. But I sure doubt that I will enjoy it. And if you won't enjoy the movie, let me quote Producer Ron Howard:

"There's no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people," Howard told reporters. "My advice ... is to not go see the movie if you think you're going to be upset."
Sounds like good advice to me.

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