The Da Vinci Code

When this book was turned into a movie, I remember it being highly controversial. In the church I grew up in, it was immediately identified as a no-no. At 13 years old, I didn’t really know a lot about it, just that somehow it used DaVinci’s art work to make claims about Jesus being married. I felt a little rebellious when I watched Inferno shortly after it was made into a movie, and then I began getting into Dan Brown’s books. It’s been about two or three years now, and I’ve finally gotten to The DaVinci code (after reading the whole series wildly out of order…).

Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon is supposed to meet with the curator of France’s Louvre Museum, but after being stood up, Langdon is woken in the middle of the night and learns that the curator was murdered that very night– and it seems Langdon is implicated in the murder.

Working with the curator’s estranged granddaughter, Langdon finds himself on a quest for the Holy Grail. But the grail is more than the common stories, and a secret society has been protecting it’s secrets for hundreds of years. As they work to keep the grail out of the wrong hands, they have a choice to make: reveal the secrets they discover, or continue to let the world go on with partial truths.

I definitely see how this, more than any other of Brown’s books, would be controversial. Brown’s characters make some startling claims, and while they reference real documents to back them up, each person would need to investigate themselves to uncover the truth. What becomes clear with even just a little research (thanks, Google) is that while documents exist that make the same claims Brown’s characters do, those documents themselves are subject to skepticism.

Taken as a work of fiction, the book is enjoyable (though not my favorite of his. Maybe it’s because I was keeping alert for all the bits of controversy, or maybe because this, out of all of the Langdon books, is the most aggressive in its attacks on Christianity and religion). If works of fiction are where you’re going to search for fact and truth about anything, religion included, perhaps you ought to rethink your choices. And if a work of fiction challenges your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, do some research (or do it anyway, knowing you’ll probably someday encounter someone who falls into the former category and may want to discuss or argue with you about it).

That said, the book is in keeping with Brown’s style of fast-paced action, puzzles and clues, and secret societies. It’s a well-written conspiracy thriller, and he clearly did enough research to make his characters knowledgeable about their claims (even if they aren’t so well supported in reality. Keep in mind that you can find a website to back up any claim, anymore. It requires more work to authenticate information, and when it comes to religion, at some point you choose to believe or disbelieve).

In short, I can think of several other books I’d recommend before The Da Vinci Code, including others by the same author.

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