May 23, 2006

'Decoded' ... My take on the DVC

Many people have been asking me my views on the recent spate of controversial films that have outraged Christians all over the world. From the many movies the one that is in the centre of media attention is 'The Da Vinci Code (DVC)' mainly because it has sold 40 million copies (legally) and almost double the official number illegally. That makes it a billion odd copies which means that somewhere around 16% of the worlds population has read the book.

Now what does the book suggest ...
1) It says that Jesus Christ was 'made' divine by the Emperor Constantine.
2) That Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a girl child between them
3) That Jesus Christ has taken the place of worship that essentially belongs to the 'woman' (In this case, Mary Magdalene). An ancient form of worship practiced among early Christians.
4) That Opus Dei is an organisation which is entrusted with the duty of keeping the 'code' secret and exterminating those who come close to revealing the code to the world.

What Dan Brown implies....
1)That the Bible has been manipulated through the ages to its present form
2) That there is a lineage of Christ existing in the world.
3) That an organisation of the Roman Catholic Church spreads terror and kills people if need be to serve their objective

Now my take ...
Christianity was no dount one of the most powerful religions during the Middle Ages primarily because the it spread rapidly in those countries which were colonising the world. So we had Italy become a major centre for Christians because of The Vatican was in Rome. Slowly, the countries around the Mediterranean especially Spain and Portugal becoming countries where the Church ruled supreme and had important links with the rulers of the land. Eventually much of Europe was in the Chriatianity fold. When these countries started colonising, parts of the world like the Americas were introduced to Christianity. Till today places like the countries of Latin & Central America, Spain, Portugal & the Philippines have a strong influence of the Church.

With uncontrolled power comes corruption and the Middle Ages saw the Church playing a part too with the Pope selling indulgences, Galileo and Copernicus and so on so forth ... Yes there could be no denying the fact that there could have been manipulations here. But these might have had to do with the rituals, rites and traditions that have become part of the Christian culture. I am not in a position to judge the extent and magnitude of what manipulations that took place, but I seriously doubt wholescale manipulations like making Christ 'divine'. The Old Testament and the New Testament (the two parts of the Bible) are exclusive. The people writing it were different and the Jews who follow the Old Testament till date are waiting for the Messiah, the Son of God. So the divinity part of it is not in doubt.

Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? My opinion is that its a non-issue. For me the teachings of Christ are what matter and not his personal life. A little background on Mary Magdalene ... she was a prostitute who later gave up the trade to follow Christ. She was very close to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and stood by Him throughout His agonosing last moments before He was crucified.

Did they have a kid? Again a non-issue. What difference does it make if Jesus was married or had a kid? It doesn't change who He was as a person nor does it change His teachings.

Now about Jesus taking the place of the 'woman' ... As mentioned earlier Jesus was the Son of God, and according to the mystery of the Holy Trinity is God Himself. We Christians have chosen this as our channel of belief to satisfy our spiritual and religious needs. Other faiths have other channels and I respect those choices. God is absolute and there is no Man or Woman with Him. Its the incarnation that we believe in.

Lastly, regarding Opus Dei ... the Church may have been corrupt at certain points in time (That may also be reason that all but 2 or 3 of the 350+ Popes in history have been Italian!) but certainly under no conditions has anybody formed an organisation that will kill. Particularly since there is nothing to hide. No secret to keep. Even if there are, it is not worth killing for. The modern Church is today one of the most proactive and liberal organisations in the world today. It has provided for pre-marriage counselling, pre-birth counselling, platforms for healthy exchanges between teenagers, sports, sex-education, cathecism and a whole lot of activities that are not persent in many communities. If there was anything worth telling, it would be out by now, there would be debates, a Papal conclave of Prefects, Bishops, Archbishops & Cardinals would gather to discuss changes and its implications.

Thats my take... thanks for a patient listening ;)


Anonymous said...

Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. This is a misconception which even the Church has accepted.

Yesudeep said...

As an interesting aside, take a look at the Gospel of Judas if you can grab an electronic copy off of the Internet. The National Geographic channel has been running a series of NG Reveals programmes on the tele, which included one on 'The Gospel of Judas.' There have certainly been manipulations in the New Testament according to recent proof that researchers have obtained. Albeit, not all of these manipulations were bad--some of them were deliberately introduced to get Christianity recognition.