Da Vinci Code :: Decoding Da Vinci: View from the pulpit
The Da Vinci Code has such wide appeal because many, many people believe that what passes for Christianity has been and is still a sham. Furthermore, a lot of folks seem to believe that the church has enforced that sham by using every trick in the book, including dirty politics and violence, to stay in power. While Dan Browns novel contains major falsehoods, my estimation is that at least half of Americans distrust the church even more when it comes to telling the truth. Trying to cover-up the scandal of pedophile priests did nothing to enhance a reputation already tarnished by centuries of corruption and oppression.
Further, religious leaders add to their reputation as intolerant, rigid and controlling by claiming that Christ is being attacked by anyone saying that he was married. Sorry, fellows, but to a good number of us, it doesnt matter if Jesus was married or not. To us, practicing what Jesus taught is in no way conditional upon Jesus having been a virgin. However, by the way some of you guys are protesting, suspicions start arising about people so upset having extremely shallow faith and absolutely no like of the teachings of Jesus if there wasnt some big reward in it for them.
Nor is there anything blasphemous in Browns assertion that Jesus was not considered divine until after the Council of Nicaea that was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. Browns assertion is wrong in that there were certainly people before the Council that believe in Christs divinity. Of course, there were also those who did not believe in Jesus being the only begotten son. In fact, there was considerable argument at and after Nicaea about how Jesus could possibly be both mortal and divine. Guess what? The debate continues, no matter how blasphemous that might be to those who think they have exclusive rights to franchise Christ.
Moreover, Brown is generally correct in asserting that there has been a conspiracy or coverup ever since the Council of Nicaea. Personally, I dont think it was so much of a conspiracy as a collusion in the sense of connivance. Constantinian Shift is the term to describe the effect of Christians going from being dissidents to being the officially sanctioned religion of a predatory empire. Now, the coverup hasnt been that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children, as Brown claimed in his work of fiction. The real coverup has been disregarding the real message of Jesus Christ in favor of idols and ideology. Whereas Jesus taught that we can go directly to God, the church became a complex bureaucracy that existed to be served more than to serve. With the Constantinian Shift the church transformed from an instrument of love to a hammer to pound its enemies into submission. Instead of actually practicing what Jesus taught, religion became far more about beliefs and public displays of piosity.