TCS Daily


Jesus Christ as Poached Egg

By Stephen Bainbridge - May 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code is one of the most popular best sellers in recent history and the Sony motion picture to be released this Friday (May 19) is expected to be the first major blockbuster of the summer (given how relatively poorly MI3 performed). All this despite -- or, perhaps, because of -- being pervasively condemned by Christian leaders.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa, has called DVC "shameful and unfounded." Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila, denounced DVC as "blasphemous." The Greek Orthodox Church's semi-official Ana news agency says that "from a religious and historical point of view" the DVC "is wholly false." A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church told reporters that DVC "borders on blasphemy and is an insult to the feelings of believers." Evangelical leader Robert H. Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, says DVC "slanders Jesus Christ and the church." And, of course, Catholic Cardinal Francis Arinze, a leading candidate in the recent papal election, drew an explicit comparison between the Mohammed cartoon controversy and the DVC when he opined that: "Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not be just talking. They will make it painfully clear to you."

It is hard to remember a book or film that drew such widespread condemnation across such a broad spectrum of Christian thought as DVC. Only Martin Scorsese's 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ comes even close. What it is about DVC that has Christian leaders so worked up?

DVC is a murder mystery in which the Holy Grail serves as a MacGuffin. As protagonists Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu unravel the mystery, they "learn" that the Bible was not divinely inspired by God but rather was politically inspired by Roman Emperor Constantine. They also learn that Jesus' divinity was a late-developed doctrine foisted on Christians by the Council of Nicaea. Instead of being divine, Jesus was a merely human prophet who married Mary Magdalene and had children by her. The Holy Grail is actually Mary Magdalene's blood line.

DVC thus is a thinly fictionalized amalgam of many ancient heresies, of which two are most prominent:

  • Arianism: A very old heresy associated with Bishop Arius of Alexandria (circa 320 AD). Christ is a creation rather than part of the Triune God. It was to address Arianism that the Council of Nicaea was called 325. At that Council, a statement of faith was adopted that became the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains what happened next:

All the bishops save five declared themselves ready to subscribe to this formula, convinced that it contained the ancient faith of the Apostolic Church. The opponents were soon reduced to two, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, who were exiled and anathematized. Arius and his writings were also branded with anathema, his books were cast into the fire, and he was exiled to Illyria.

  • Gnosticism: The origins of Gnosticism are somewhat obscure. Some historians view it as a Christian heresy. Others claim it originated pre-Christianity and then absorbed some elements of the Christian faith. In either case, its basic tenet is the pursuit of gnosis (i.e., "special knowledge"). Numerous Gnostic Gospels circulated in the early Church but all were rejected by the Church as heterodox as the final Biblical canon evolved.

Both Arianism and most strains of Gnosticism, like DVC, thus reject the divinity of Christ. In contrast, all orthodox (using the lower case o to differentiate orthodoxy from heresy) Christians believe that Christ's divinity is the basic tenet of their faith. Two centuries ago, a famous Baptist statement of faith claimed that "Only believe the divinity of Christ, and every other article becomes easy: deny this, and the language in which the Spirit was supposed to lead the sacred penmen to express themselves, appears incautious, over-strained, and unaccountable; so that Christianity itself seems scarcely worthy of credit or regard." More recently, and more colloquially, Roman Catholic Cardinal O'Connor preached that "once you deny the divinity of Christ, everything falls apart."

Contra DVC's claims that Christ's divinity was cooked up at the Council of Nicaea, moreover, orthodox Christianity claims that Christ's divinity was affirmed by the earliest gospels and writings of many pre-Nicaea Church Fathers.

  • Ignatius of Antioch (circa 110 AD): "For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God's plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit."
  • Melito of Sardis (circa 177 AD): "The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures."
  • Clement of Alexandria (circa 190 AD): "The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning -- for he was in God -- and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone is both God and man, and the source of all our good things"

(A more complete collection can be found here.)

In a very real sense, there thus is nothing new in DVC, except a novel whose literary merits have been questioned even by secularists. What I suspect Church leaders find most galling are Brown's repeated assertions that his novel is premised on deep historical research. To be sure, while Brown on the one hand claims to be making "no statement whatsoever about any of the ancient theories discussed by fictional characters," on the other hand he posits "that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit." And, as the International Herald Tribune reports, Brown has managed to convince many readers that DVC is "largely true." Indeed, as the IHT also reported, it is precisely the truth claims that attracted the attention of Sony executives: "The amazing thing about this book is it's provocative: Is it all true? Isn't it true?"

Perhaps no one has ever captured the basic problem with the truth claims made on behalf of DVC and its ilk better than C.S. Lewis, who observed in Mere Christianity that:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

All Dan Brown, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, and that whole crew have accomplished is getting richer by saying that "really foolish thing."

Steve Bainbridge is a Professor of Law at UCLA. He writes two popular blogs: ProfessorBainbridge.com and ProfessorBainbridgeOnWine.com. For readers wishing additional information on the Da Vinci Code, he recommends Amy Welborn's book De-Coding Da Vinci.

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163 Comments

Summer re-runs
We're in the doldrums. On TV the only things worth watching are Earl and Boston Legal. At the pitcher show, we've got Mission Impossible 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Scary Movie, is it 3 or 4? And retreads of Poseidon, Miami Vice, The Omen, X-Men 3 and Superman, it must be 6 or 7 by now.

In such company, DaVinci is HUGE.

A bit off topic - Did anyone else find the book boring??
This comment is off the main topic of the author, but I am curious and wanted to ask other TCS readers.

Did anyone else find the book to be not very good? Forget about the Christian controversy about Brown's alleged historical references for a minute. I'm talking about evaluating it as a murder mystery book.

I picked up the book based on the hoopla. But after the first 50 pages are so, I got bored and started skimming. I only finished it as I wanted to see why it was so popular.

When I compare it to something written by Michael Connelly (on a murder mystery basis) I found the book to be boring.

I agree with WJohnson -- the book was a bore.
Perhaps someone can explain the excitement over this book. I read most of the novel but found it tedious rather than entertaining. I wonder if this book (and the movie) are popular because of the massive amount of publicity they have received. Much the same way Paris Hilton is a celebrity because she is in the news. Neither demonstrates much talent but both are darlings of the media and, by definition, "popular."

Boring......!
I not only found the book boring, but poorly written, to boot. As most historians have already pointed out, the "history" is particularly bad and the plot line is unbelievable, with the protagonist racing from one so-called adventure to the next in a non-stop dash that beggers the imagination. Like many of the Christian spokespeople quoted in the article, I found the anti-Roman Catholic, anti-orthodox Christian bias very offensive -- and I'm an atheist! All my Liberal friends here at work were simply "agog" over the book, passing it from one to another. I read it and felt that if the religion in question was Islam, these self-same Leftists would be condemning the thing as Western bigotry against a benighted people. But because the target of the book was Christianity and, better yet, Catholicism, it was greeted with great glee.

boring, and wrong, but so right.
Yes, it was boring. The endless narrow escapes were tiresome. Art experts I know say none of the Apostles in the Last Supper are girls, though I though one possibly was.

But the basic premise, that radical conservatives in the Catholic Church would commit murder to protect old secrets, did not seem so far fetched. Nor was the idea that Jesus was married to Magdelena, which was covered up by the early Church. DaVinci and Newton had unorthodox religeous views that got them in trouble (were they part of a secret society? doubtful).

boring and wrong, but so right...
Gee, why am I not surprised "Liberal""Goodman" that you would find it quite believable that the "consevatives" in the Catholic Church would MURDER those they disagree with and want to shut up. Your attitude beautifully captures the Liberal Left's bigotry against Christians in general and Catholics in particular. But wait, that can't be right, the Left is SO-O-O TOLERANT!!

What makes 'em mad
It may NOT be just that Dan Brown claims to have based the book on careful research, but that there are so many people who, apparently, are gullible enough to embrace the stuff which is infuriating. I mean, when I thumb through the lower shelves at the book store, I can find all kinds of garbage. Some guy claims to carry on ordinary conversations with God, then writes books which he claims are every bit as valid as the writings of the Apostles, (nevermind that what popped into his head is in direct opposition to what Christ said) then appears several times on Oprah to rave reviews. Shelf after shelf of this stuff and it's going to get much worse, I'm afraid. It's as if something weird is descending upon otherwise intelligent people.

Again, it may be that so many swallow this stuff that is really infuriating. Unfortunately, I have met too many of them here at TCS. One guy was arguing with me that the Old and New Testaments didn't even have anything to do with one another and had been "stapled" together by someone long after Christ was dead. Good grief. How in the World can you even deal with this stuff? No wonder so many in the Church have an attitude of "circle the wagons".

Oh for crying out loud
People! Lighten up!

It's a 'Ripping Yarn', nothing more.

I have read all four of Brown's books, and all of them are basically the same kind of novelty ripping yarns, in that they are fun little action-thrillers, using protagonists who favor his own affinity: codes, secrets, and hidden meanings, encryption, things like that.

The fact is, people have always found such things fascinating. Look at the crazy popularity all of a sudden of this Sudoku thing - same deal. People love puzzles.

Personally, I think Brown is going to have the last laugh; he did something (I believe) quite different with DVC than he did with his first 3 books: the book itself is a puzzle. It's enjoyable enough in and of itself, as a book, but it's those hints of hidden gems, 'easter eggs' maybe, the fact that taking DVC as a starting point, and using the obvious clues in it, then having a grand old time exploring things you can find all on your own.

Ultimately it kind of peters out, because it really deals with things and mysteries which are lost to history, so that, unlike when you start poking around, and are in a dense forest, fairly soon you find yourself standing on a barren plain, the trails just sort of end.

But far be it from me to claim to be some sort of great mystery-solver - I just found it fun to take the opportunity to explore and learn some interesting things in history that I never really knew much about.

So if DVC is or is not 'reality-based', and if it does or does not 'blaspheme', it's kind of beside the point. After all, if it urges people to take an interest in learning some history, well then, that can't really be a bad things, now can it?

Good Analysis
I like this analysis. It's right on.

I've read DVC and Brown's earlier book, "Angels and Demons." They share some common charateristics. First, the same formula is used in both. For example, the hero is woken up in the morning by a disturbing occurrence, there is some sort of weird character (like the albino) in both. Second, both are horribly historically inaccurate. But Brown does not purport to be an historian --- just a novelist. Any claim on his part (or anyone by else) that DVC was based on extensive historical research has got to be BS.

Maybe the research was done using sensationalist books like "The Templar Revelation" and "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," both of which are inaccurate, illogical trash --- although I think "The Templar Revelation" may have come out after DVC. However, there are plenty of equivalent trash books.

The point is that the vast majority of the people have no sense of history, especially THIS history, and are gullible enough to believe that there is some basis to the novel. Worse, they have no concept of the history or theology of Christianity to know what is being altered and exploited in DVC.

The historical accuracy of this TCS analysis is excellent --- even the description of the "heresies" on which it is based. I put "heresies" in quotes as heresies are like revolutions. And as good old Ben Franklin said, "We all know that revolutions are always illegitimate in the second person, as in 'your revolution.' They are only legitimate in the first person, as in 'our revolution.'" Ditto, "heresies."

So, a bunch of Church leaders are complaining. They complained about the book too, but it didn't get so much press --- probably because not too many people read books these days. But it is just a bunch of Church leaders vocally expressing their opinion on the divinity of Christ the the way DVC distorts it. Perhaps there is room for argument on the divinity issue, but that is a theological issue, not one of literary critique.

At least this issue has not brought a bunch of morons out on the streets creating all sorts of havoc and violence as did the flap over the Mohammed's cartoon likenesses in the newspapers. At least Christ's history through the Bible (in so far as it is historical) shows Him to be a loving man of God --- divine or not, depending on your opinion.

RECORDED HISTORY has shown Mohammed to hardly be a man of God, even less his prophet, but rather a pedophile, murderer, slave trader and rapist. While claims that the Q'uran is a peaceful book, most people who say this have never read it or are partisan Muslims. Worse yet the Haddith (quotes from Mohammed and the lens through which the Q'ran is interpreted) clearly ponts out the violent, bigoted and imperialist nture of Islam. The Sunnah (a biography of Mohammed, and the third "holy book" of Islam) also supports this.

But an historicaly inaccurate NOVEL is taken as some sort of gospel --- a theological treatise.

Why did the world not react to the "protests" of these Muslims in the same manner? Perhaps it because they spend more time reading such things as the DVC and watching movies than they do history and Islamic fundamentals.


All Brown's books are the same......BUT
I've read all his books and they are all of the same formula. It does get boring.

However, things buried do tend to come back. I was reading about these tales long before the DVC and admit there is some strain of thruth.

Some here deny the Roman Catholic church would murder to keep some secrets. Do these people deny that the Roman Catholic church has murdered in the past?

The Council of Nicea can be viewed as a political solution to a religious problem. Religion by democratic vote is a novel idea.

Many religious leaders of the past didn't start out leading a religion. They were teaching enlightenment, oneness with God, oneness with Nature. Buddha specifically forbade the worship of him, and it took centuries to develop. Once the techniques they taught are corrupted/forgotten or for some other reason no longer work, then the thing gets turned into religious dogma that emphasizes belief over experience.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ exhorted his followers to 'be ye therefore perfect' something that rings very close to getting enlightened in the 'nirvana' sense.

Much of what Christ taught is not emphasized today and there is ample room for debate.

Mary Magadelene is indeed entombed (in full-lotus) in a cave on the French Mediterranean coast.

If you think that the current state of Christianity is what Christ taught, and that it's not been changing to meet the needs of the clergy, then, YOU ALL are the gullible ones.

Kierkegaard, Augustine, and Nicea
I have a number of comments in response to the article and the comments on it. My four comments are all related, but I will leave it to the reader to think for himself about how they are related.

In the FIRST place, objectoriented mentioned people who say they have a new revelation that is on a par with the Bible. Soren Kierkegaard dealt quite thoroughly with one such person in 19th century Denmark, one Magister Adler. (See SK's Book on Adler, I recommend the Hong edition.) SK is masterfully exposes Magister Adler's confusion. One moment Adler claimed he had a revelation from Christ that was on a par with Scripture, and the next moment he claimed that the content of his revelation was sensible and moral and a worthwhile contribution to the ongoing religious quest of mankind. But these two claims are utterly incommensurable. If a person is an apostle with a message from God, then a person should submit to the content of the message because of the origins of the message. If, on the other hand, a person takes a message seriously because she sees that its content is good and sensible, then she is not submitting to apostolic authority; she is living in accordance with what her own reason can understand.

"Well," you might say, "can't we look to see if a message is good and sensible in order to make sure that it is from God?" SK didn't give this approach much respect, but I do. However, it's important to be aware of the difference between this and the approach of Magister Adler. I might look at Scripture, see that it is good and right, and conclude that Church history is right when it says this book is divine. But say someone like Oprah looks at a message and, seeing that it is good and sensible, concludes that it is worth and says, "This is a good message, therefore it is all the divine we need."

The differences become apparent when we look



Religion by democratic vote is a novel idea.

not too far fetched
The notion that liberals in general, and radical liberals in particular, will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, in order to advance their agenda.

Not the best, but also not boring, and certainly NOT wrong
The only part of the book that could be said to be "wrong" is the exaggeration of the suppressed "Goddess" aspect of Christianity. This same mistake was made by noted poet and mythology expositer Robert Graves. Nevertheless, given the misogyny of the Church, this is an understandable error.

With regards as to how far the Church would go to prevent such a secret from being told, there's certainly no exaggeration in the book. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows that. Cardinal Francis Arinze is an expositer of this morbid spirit.

The Differences
The era in which the gospels and the rest of the NT were written was an era extraordinarily different from ours (while at once human nature was not one iota different then than it is now), and that difference provided the needed soil and atmospheric conditions for "divine revelations" to be taken seriously and a new precedent to be set. Leave God out of it. He was no more there then than now, or at all points in between.

No Subject
"...there are so many people who, apparently, are gullible enough to embrace the stuff which is infuriating. I mean, when I thumb through the lower shelves at the book store, I can find all kinds of garbage."

Yes, it certainly is not any wonder that the Church has "circled the wagons" when it is so filled, like a horn of plenty, with the irrational, poisonously biased, narrow, ignorant, belligerent, obnoxious, self-centered attitudes exactly like yours.

Theological Pretensions
"...there are so many people who, apparently, are gullible enough to embrace the stuff which is infuriating. I mean, when I thumb through the lower shelves at the book store, I can find all kinds of garbage."

Yes, it certainly should not make anyone wonder at the Church's militant stance when it is filled to overflowing, like a horn of plenty, with narrow, misinformed, smugly ignorant, belligerent, irrational, conceited, self-centered, obnoxious attitudes exactly and precisely like the one you express here.

Kierkegaard, Augustine, and Nicea
***Please ignore murungu's post. That post was due to the interactions of myself and some badly malfunctioning software.***

I have a number of comments related to the concept of authority.

In the FIRST place, objectoriented mentioned people who say they have a new revelation that is on a par with the Bible. Soren Kierkegaard dealt quite thoroughly with one such person in 19th century Denmark, one Magister Adler. (See SK's Book on Adler, I recommend the Hong edition.) SK is masterfully exposes Magister Adler's confusion. One moment Adler claimed he had a revelation from Christ that was on a par with Scripture, and the next moment he claimed that the content of his revelation was sensible and moral and a worthwhile contribution to the ongoing religious quest of mankind. But these two claims are utterly incommensurable. If a person is an apostle with a message from God, then a person should submit to the content of the message because of the origins of the message. If, on the other hand, a person takes a message seriously because she sees that its content is good and sensible, then she is not submitting to apostolic authority; she is living in accordance with what her own reason can understand.

"Well," you might say, "can't we look to see if a message is good and sensible in order to make sure that it is from God?" SK didn't give this approach much respect, but I do. However, it's important to be aware of the difference between this and the approach of Magister Adler. I might look at Scripture, see that it is good and right, and conclude that Church history may well be right when it says this book is divine. But say someone like Oprah looks at a message and, seeing that it is good and sensible, concludes that it is worth living by. I will end up submitting to Scripture, because it is divine; Oprah will end up improving her life, just because she read a good book.

The difference between these two approaches becomes stark when we are faced with passages in Scripture we don't understand. Someone taking the one approach will say, "This is good and right, but I am either too finite or too sinful to understand why it is good and right." Someone taking the other approach will say, "This is clearly not divine." The one is submitting his reason to the authority of divine Scripture; the other is submitting Scripture to the authority of his reason, which is to take away the divine authority of Scripture.

I've learned a lot about the first approach from Augustine, mostly from the De Doctrina Christiana, or On Teaching Christianity. Some things in Scripture are clear even to the untrained eye, such as love of God and neighbor; some are clear only to the trained eye, such as things you can only understand if you know Greek and Hebrew; some are ambiguous and present no more than an interpretive challenge, such as Genesis 1 (see Book 12 of his Confessions); some are ambiguous and present an ethical challenge whether we will submit to the divine authority of Scripture even when we don't understand it. Some of the things in Old Testament history fall into this category: the polygamy of some of the Hebrew patriarchs was a big one for Augustine. Because he believes that this is true and is good and right even though he doesn't easily understand it, he searches for an explanation for it. He finds his explanation in the idea of progressive revelation (Confessions 3 chapters 7-9, De Doctrina book 3).

In the SECOND place, about the ciphers and the puzzles and the easter eggs, more on Augustine: The medieval hermeneutic thinks of Scripture as having more than one level of meaning. There is the author's intent, and then there is the full spiritual meaning of the text. It's BOTH of them, not a question of one or the other. The full spiritual meaning transcends what the human authors had in mind; but what the human authors had in mind has to be taken into account because it's an icon or an analogy or a middle term on the way to the full divine meaning of the text. (Some classic sources on this are Confessions 12 and the first question of the Summa Theologica by Saint Thomas Aquinas.)

How this relates to DVC is that a good medieval would say that Scripture is filled with puzzles and hidden secrets, and they were fond of hiding secret codes and structures into their own texts. But the secret knowledge was never considered a replacement for the surface level of the text, or an excuse for the reader to not try her best to know the surface level of the text.

In the THIRD and final place, someone said this: "Religion by democratic vote is a novel idea." However, my understanding of Nicea is that they did NOT think "This is what we all agree on, therefore this is what the Church will believe." Rather, they thought "This is what we all agree Christ taught us, Scripture says, and the apostles passed down to us, therefore this is what the Church has believed and will believe." This is not an unqualified "religion by democratic vote."

--Elsharm

What if it the DaVinchi code said Mohammed was a peaceful man?

Not the best, but not boring....
So, David Brant, are you maintaining that the modern Roman Catholic Church does what? Sometimes kills peeople for speaking inconvenient truths? Most of the time kills people for doing the same? Or always kills people for speaking inconvenient truths?... Just curious. How does that work? Does the Pope issue a death edict? Or maybe it comes from some hidden, secretive order? It is the order of Priory? Or some other bloodthirsty mob of monks? And how does the church hide these religious murders? Are nation states part of the conspiracy? Or perhaps Aliens from Outer Space make the bodies and evidence disappear, so that no one, but you, are the wiser? Inquiring minds want to know....

a challenge to ..
I apologize to anyone who took my unfortunate "radical conservatives in the Catholic Church" as a reference to the likes of John Roberts or even the Catholic movement that rejects Vatican II (e.g. feeling that Mass should be only in Latin). I wish I had said: "But the basic premise, that conspiritors on the fringes of the Catholic Church would commit murder to protect old secrets, did not seem so far fetched."

That having been said, here is a challenge specifically to MarkTheGreat and DSmith: next time you disagree with one of my posts, try not spew a paranoid fantasy about "all liberals, particularly radical liberals".

I don't have anything against conservative Christians per se, but I do have issues with the leaders of the Christian Republican movement, the likes of James Dobson, Ralph Reed, and Jerry Falwell. Those leaders have more in common with David Koresh than with John Paul II.

revelation
"He was no more there then than now"

And you know this, how?

Did he tell you perhaps?

The Big Movie Frenzy!
Get a life, it's just a movie!

He's there then, now and everywhere
If you posit an omnipresent, omniscient God who loves us all and is everywhere at once, you have to admit He was there when the planet was first coalescing into a molten glob of stuff. And he was there when the child Jesus was born. And when Hitler's minions heated up the ovens. And when Al Qaeda planned the 9/11 attack. And He's looking over your shoulder right now, as you read this.

The puzzling thing is, He does nothing about any of this. He just watches. Maybe He's writing another book, and needs us for texture.

I think there's
a Mr Bean movie in there somewhere, too...

Superman's a retelling. Look at the trailer, sometime. It looks GOOD!

No Subject
"And He's looking over your shoulder right now, as you read this."

You mean, God is the NSA??!!??

I like how the movie "Dogma" put it.

So, when you say...
"And He's looking over your shoulder right now, as you read this."

You mean God is the NSA??!!??

I like how the movie "Dogma" put it.

A challenge to...
Tell you what "Liberal" "Goodman", I'll refrain from "spewing a paranoid fantasy about all liberals, particularly radical liberals" on the very same day you cease attributing all of the the nation's -- and the world's -- ills to George Bush and those Wascally Wepublicans....Wadaya say, Herr Gutman?

or perhaps roy is just playing stupid
theologians have been debating this point for millenia, they also have many answers to these questions.

The fact that roy is ignorant of these answers is hardly surprising. In fact it is par for the course for him.

The bad Superman movie
Superman 3 was a classic. Chris Reeves had gotten into some bad kryptonite, and he gets morose. Sours on the whole being nice to people thing. What's in it for him?

So he's in a downtown bar, nursing a really mean drunk, idly flipping peanuts at the mirror behind the bartender. Naturally the mirror crashes, glass flying everywhere. Nice.

Richard Pryor was the evil genius, being Luther's minion because he couldn't get a job elsewhere in computer programming. Find the video.

The ultimate Authority
So who ya gonna listen to? Theologians? Or God?

Ummm, no
"Both Arianism and most strains of Gnosticism, like DVC, thus reject the divinity of Christ."

In actuality, Gnosticism rejected the *humanity* of Christ. Since Gnostics believed all matter was evil, Christ was reconceptualized as pure spirit that only looked like flesh. If you read John's writings, for example, you'll see he's addressing this heresy.

Not to worry, though, since Brown royally biffs it up, too.

Bigotry proclaimed
Who'd have guessed that Liberal Goodman believes the Catholic Church would commit murder to protect its secrets.

What a surprise coming from the humane secular side of the reality based moonbat set.

Course it was, that's why they do it about Allah
The author invents events; distorts history and presents a treat that conceals at its center a toxic pill that attacks Christianity. Let me know when you think they wqill make one on Islam will you?

We'll we know God asks Roy for advice
According to Roy.

You miss the point ENTIRELY
The point that is objectionable, is the ease with which Jewish Hollywood produces a movie, the EFFECTS of which undermine the Christian faith (and culture). Hollywood (and its Jewish producers and distributors) couldn't care less about your fine points and whether or not they are valid.

Remeber what happened when Mel Gibson produced his movie "The Passion Of The Christ"? It was an orthodox, traditional, conservative rendition of the final moments of Christ's life as depicted in the Bible (with very little artistic license). ....AND THE JEWS HAD A COW!!!

Now, these same Jews produce and distribute a movie that is pushes a heretical propaganda, when they screamed bloody murder about a movie that propagandized the ACTUAL ORTHODOX Christian beliefs surrounding the Passion.

But the hypocrisy of the Jews is not the real point. Its the emotional appeal to young minds full of mush who will readily embrace this rebellion against all things Christian. Its the way Jewish Hollywood has packaged up subversive anti-Christian propaganda designed to undermine the Christian religion.

The point is not whether or not some historical references and allusions in the movie are true. THE POINT IS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THOSE WHO ARE PRODUCING AND DISTRIBUTING THIS MOVIE. And I can guarantee, that these greedy little Hollywood Jews are just chuckling all the way to the bank as they make a buck off undermining the Gentile's Christian beliefs. You'll never see a movie in the US that undermines the Jewish faith, of that I can guarantee you!!

Most Americans are completely oblivious to the Jewish syndicate that runs Hollywood and many other American institutions (namely, US foreign policy). But the internet is changing this :O)

Disputing the CS Lewis argument
To say that anybody who is psychotic or grandiose is equivalent to somebody who would say they are a poached egg appears really to be trying to make a sleight of hand. In the trial in Houston, U.S government vs. Skilling and Lay, the prosecutor said 'Don't let their high priced lawyers, dissembling, and deliberately not leaving a paper trail fool you.' Whether that argument ultimately prevails or not, there has not been intellectual outrage over saying that 2 people could have had the gradiosity to think they could pull off a massive fraud because this would have been the equivalent of their believing they were poached eggs.

A flawed but underrated film (Superman III, haven't seen Da Vinci Code)
I've been a Superman III apologist for a long time. Obviously it doesn't equal the first two films, but the best moments in it are amazing- Superman in the bar, and that great fight scene where Evil Superman fights good Clark Kent in a great junkyard fight scene, an outward dramatization of his inner strugle. That moment marked a turning point in the Superman mythos- the battle for Superman's soul was won by Clark Kent. Prior to that fight Superman was "disguised as a mild mannered reporter" Clark Kent. After that fight, in all subsequent Superman incarnations, Clark was the "real" person, and Superman was the disguise Clark wore- not the other way round - a view reflected the late '80s John Byrne reboot of his origin "The Man of Steel", in the "Lois and Clark" series of the '90s, and in the current comics and TV's "Smallville" of today. Also carried over was the "corporate tycoon" conception of Lex Luthor as CEO of a technology conglomorate(from the '30s to the '60s he was always an evil genius scientist, and in the the first two Superman films he was a vague criminal mastermind) I'm aware that the character wasn't named "Lex Luthor", he was "Ross Webster", a Luthor stand-in when they couldn't get Gene Hackman (who was expensive and refused to work with director Richard Lester anyway). But every subsequent version of Luthor followed that model.

The film was ahead of its time having computer hackers as credible villains -committing cybercrimes and causing Y2K-style disasters. For a little historical context, Superman III was beaten to the theater by 2 weeks by a film called "Wargames",(though was in production much earlier) and Wargames put hackers and the internet on the pop culture map for the first time. Plus it has good-old fashioned goofy fun scenes like Superman using cold breath to freeze a lake and using it to put out a fire, or making a diamond by crushing a piece of coal.

That said, Richard Pryor didn't belong in a Superman film,at least not doing his usual shtick, and there was way too much slapstick for my taste. Still, an underrated and influentual film with some great moments.

So, Goodman, you believe that the Disciples died for what they knew to be a lie?
To believe what you say, "But the basic premise, that radical conservatives in the Catholic Church would commit murder to protect old secrets, did not seem so far fetched. Nor was the idea that Jesus was married to Magdelena, which was covered up by the early Church." you have to believe that the Disciples died for what they knew to be a lie.

I can understand that a cynic might believe the worst about leaders of the Catholic Church that is the nature of a cynic. It might be wrong, but at least there is some logic to it.

But to argue that the basic tenets of the Christian faith are based on lies is to argue that the Disciples, most of whom died martyrs' deaths died for what they had to know was a lie. That doesn't have any logic to it.

Da Vinci Code unraveled. The power was in the Constantinople, not in Rome
How to miss the obvious. Read the following

http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060518/NEWS02/605180335/1204

which unravels the DaVinci code at its beginning.

Nearly all the power of the Catholic Church was in the East, not in Rome. While Rome was the titular center for the Church and the home of the Pope, most of the flock, bishops, saints etc were from the East. Nicea was in present day Turkey. Why do you think Constantine moved East. Follow the money.

No way the Church in Rome could have pulled off such a conspiracy with powerful bishops in the East and most of the Church knowing nothing about it. If such a conspiracy was to exist it would have originated in Constantinople or one of the other Eastern dioceses.

The whole thing is a joke. Maybe someone should tell Dan Brown who probably cares less because he has pocketed millions off of the world's ignorance.

Best of the genre
It's been a long time (1967) but I still think the very best of the adventure spoofs was Casino Royale, with Woody Allen as James Bond's bratty nephew. One of the greatest of Bond villains.

Best disaster flick? The Big Bus, by far. The driver they found for the maiden voyage had been drummed out of the service for cannibalism. He had a busload of tourists frozen in at the Donner Pass years before, and only a handful ever made it out alive. "What did they have on me? I was hungry, and it was only one foot! One lousy foot, and that makes me a cannibal!"

half way there
Good, you figured out that you should answer me, not what you think "all liberals always say". The next step will be to answer what I actually say, not give some excuse for ignoring it. If I say "Bush lied about Iraq", you should not reply "You always say bad things about Bush."
but report all the truthful things he has said.

Hmmm all the truthful things Liberal Goody Two Shoes has said?
Short list as follows:

Al Roys motto- Logic, logic, I don't need no stinking logic!"
Why do you think his comments are always so spittle soaked?

Can you prove
that the producers of this film are Jewish?

The difference: People were there at Auschwitz and Afghanistan
Hey rb. People heated Hitler's ovens and shoved other people into them. People planned the 9/11 attack on other people. These human acts served human purposes contrary to God's purposes. Yet so many would blame God for giving man the capacity to work atrocities or not intervening to stop them.

God's looking over my shoulder right now as I write this, fully aware that it's difficult for man to understand His message, given man's capacity to think and do his own thing for his own reasons. Man is the source of evil, and worse, man blames God for creating him with the capacity to do evil and suffer from it. But history teaches that if man can't do good for his own reasons, then he must author his own extinction. For this is paradigm all other living entities embody through time.

The Invisible Inactivator
So you're saying that for you, God exists-- despite the fact that you can't see Him, hear Him, taste Him or smell Him... but that He is irrelevant, because He doesn't do anything.

This sounds a bit like the creature that lives where the light goes when the light goes out. Very Cheshire cat.

BTW hi. Long time no argument.

Nice Article
Some of the posters here, esp. Roy remind me of a verse of scripture I have put to memory:

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Thanks for the article there Professor. The best I've seen on the net; well reasoned and historically accurate.

Thank you, may I have another
This is what you produce when challenged to say something that is not ad hominem. Please try again.

Here you go
Why is it that all the readers here find your comments at best irrelevant and at worst false?

question
When have you ever said anything good about Bush?

When are you going to support your claims about Bush lying, rather than your usual style of making an absurd claim, then disappearing?

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