Just off to Stafford to take part in an evening on The Da Vinci Code organised by local churches. What are my thoughts as I prepare to sit on the panel?
1. I enjoyed reading the novel – it is a real page-turner. It’s great that it’s got people talking about Jesus, and I hope that it will really encourage people to go on and read the Bible – it’s always good to get back to the earliest sources.
2. I am fascinated by those who want to take it as more than a novel. When I was a teenager many people wouldn’t take the Gospels seriously because it was all too much to believe, whereas today some people who have rejected the Bible as a source are willing to accept things infinitely harder to believe with hardly a shred of historical evidence. Was it CS Lewis who said, “When people stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing, they believe anything”?
3. The novel fits into a mood in our culture. Langdon says to Sophie near the end of the film, “What you believe is what matters”. People prefer to make up their own minds, even about subjects where they know little, rather than trust the experts. However a sad fact of history is that those in power cannot always be trusted to tell the truth!
4. The picture of Jesus in the Gospels is much more exciting and deep than the novel suggests – see for example the radical way he treats women in what was then a very patriarchal society.