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Ron, Tom, and Jesus

Three of my favorites, not in order of precedence

by Everett Wilson
June 3, 2006

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Ron, Tom, and Jesus
I saw The Da Vinci Code last night, and my suspicions were confirmed. On this one, the critics are not to be trusted. I read several reviews before attending , and came to the conclusion that whether the reviews were good, bad, or mixed, they seemed to be based primarily on the lowest common denominator of all criticism: "I know what I like." My companions and I enjoyed it, which was no great surprise; it was directed by Ron Howard and starred Tom Hanks, who individually and together tend to make good movies. 
When I first learned a couple of years ago that Ron and  Tom  were going to make the movie version of The DaVinci Code,   I was unhappy for three reasons. First, I didn't think the novel deserved their talents; second, they would make a good movie out of the material anyway, and enhance its stature;  and third, their participation might give a specious credibility to the story's premise.   (If you want the details behind the third reason, check out one of the websites:  the one I recommend, of course, is Jonathan Wilson's Cracking The Davinci Code  
A Christian whose faith is threatened by a premise as thin as this one already has more problems than this movie can create. Christians should feel free to watch it if they want to, and enjoy it if they can. Think of it as you would Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was also  a lot of fun but  never  intended as an article of faith. 
I think Dan Brown was aspiring to be Umberto Eco, but instead fell short of Tom Clancy. The category is action-adventure,  and on that level it was a pretty good read just as, on the same level,  the movie is pretty good fun. Neither offers enlightenment about either history or faith. 
A seeker who wants to believe there is no salvation from sin will end up believing some alternative theory;  it doesn't have to be as convoluted as the one in this story. Indeed, the  movie might fortify unbelief in someone who doesn't want to believe, but then Jesus said that such a person wouldn't believe anyway, even if someone were to rise from the dead (which he went on to demonstrate by rising from the dead and not being believed). 
Believers who have accepted the faith of the New Testament as their own, and are growing in it, are more powerful in their own feeble testimony than a dozen movies or books like this one. Their experience confirms the gospel as offered in the Bible.   
So I  will especially  challenge one line in the movie, where the hero says to the heroine, "It is what you believe that matters." Well, no. That is postmodern  superficiality. In the real world truth always trumps belief. If you believe the truth, you become part of it, but it is true whether you believe it or not. 

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Bob McNaughton from Middletown, CT writes:
June 3, 2006
Thanks, Everett. There has been, as you know, a great response, ranging from Come on Sundays at 11:00 and get the REAL truth! Three Week Series!, to books and varied curriculums (what's the plural of curriculum?) offering materials to help either stimulate interest or make use of it. With all the controversy, there is a great deal of money to be made by standing against this attack on the faith, or simply to garner sympathy for the faithful who are once again facing an unbelieving and sinful world.

The previews on the evening we attended included scenes from Omen, whose premise should shock believers - and where were the critics when The Late, Great Planet Earth was flying high, and more recently The Left Behind series?

Everett, write something about how we followers of Jesus are so often worked up about all the wrong things.

Bob McNaughton

Janet writes:
June 3, 2006
Thank you for your helpful review. I enjoyed the book for fun and wondered about the movie, given its lackluster reviews. I agree that the theological aspects of the book are flimsy and non-threatening to a believer in the Truth.

Brian Hammrich from Ashburn, Virginia writes:
June 5, 2006

Wow! I recently read the book and I have decided not to go see the movie because I don't believe it deserves my money.

I have a friend who'd sent me the book a few years ago, telling me about how it confirms his belief and how I should watch the documentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I did not read the book at that time but I did watch the documentary. It is so true that ...the movie might fortify unbelief in someone who doesn't want to believe, but then Jesus said that such a person wouldn't believe anyway.... We discussed the movie and the supporting arguments they presented and in the end, we both agreed to disagree.

Your comment below is what got me to respond:

Believers who have accepted the faith of the New Testament as their own, and are growing in it, are more powerful in their own feeble testimony than a dozen movies or books like this one.

That is so true. I cannot argue with someone who has done tons of research to support their points, all I can say is One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see. John 9:25

Thanks for an excellent article!

Robert Wilson from Hagerstown MD writes:
July 2, 2006
Dearest Uncle,

I am a bit confused by your challenge in the last paragraph?!? I would have guessed that you, as a man of faith, would support such rhetoric. Does Jesus matter to you? His teachings? The Bible? Do you believe in these things? Do you know them to be the truth?

I would say, that when speaking of the metaphysical, truth and what we believe to be the truth are one in the same. Of course, I have been labeled both postmodern and superficial on more than one occasion....

With Love,


Brian Mack from Grand Rapids, MI writes:
July 3, 2006
Yes, Yes, and Yes!

I couldn't agree more, and certainly could not have said it better.

Thank you for voicing the opinion of many rational believers.


Everett Wilson from The Partial Observer writes:
July 4, 2006
The last paragraph of the piece to which my nephew refers is: So I will especially challenge one line in the movie, where the hero says to the heroine, It is what you believe that matters. Well, no. That is postmodern superficiality. In the real world truth always trumps belief. If you believe the truth, you become part of it, but it is true whether you believe it or not.

When you think about it, however, belief matters only when you believe the truth. You cannot run the 100-yard dash in six seconds just because you believe you can.

Truth before belief. If you believe a falsity to be true, it remains false.

So what you believe matters, all right, but in a negative way if you are wasting your life believing untrue things or refusing to believe true things.

What you believe matters positively when you believe what is true, because then your life is in synch with the way things are and will be forever.

I suspect most everyone in a technical job does his work on the basis of the facts at hand, and does not please the boss by saying I don't see it that way. But some who know they have to agree with the boss to keep their jobs do not realize that they have to agree with God to live a productive life in his world.

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