The much-hyped movie premieres today at the Cannes Film Festival and hits theaters this Friday. While some people are eagerly waiting for its release, some conservative sections worldwide are busy launching protests to stop the screening of the The Da Vinci Code. Roman Catholics in
began a hunger strike, while the followers of the Orthodox Church in India have launched angry demonstrations. Some time back the Greece Vatican officials had called for its boycott.
Do the protests make sense? Well, some of the ideas projected by the book are indeed controversial. The book suggests that Jesus had a wife and their bloodline survives even today, portrays the Opus Dei as a wicked cult trying to hide the true origin of Christianity by hook or crook, claims that the Priory of Sion still worships Mary Magdalene and is trying to keep the truth alive, and much more! How much of this is true? Hard to tell! In fact, a whole bunch of books have been written to address this issue.
Let’s get back to the question about whether the protests make any sense at all. Does the book grossly misrepresent the Christian faith? May be. Does the book hurt Christian sentiments? Probably yes. But with over 60 million copies sold and the book translated into some 44 languages, don’t you think the damage has been done already? Will the screening of the movie make a huge difference now?
On my end, I’m excited about finding out what Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, and the team have to offer. I had read the book some two years back. From what I remember, from a literary point of view, it’s no work of art. But as a thriller, I found it sensational. It throws new information on such commonplace topics, that too in such an intriguing manner, that it’s bound to enthrall anyone. Now hopefully it’ll be a blockbuster.
Somewhere inside me, I wish the conservatives were more of a sport. If Mr. Justice Smith could put a code in his ruling for fun, why can’t these guys take it easy? On a more serious note, although the book portrays Jesus Christ as a man, it does not question his greatness. However it does point the finger at the church in many ways. So, it boils down to the question, is the church really trying to protect the faith, or is it merely trying to curb all questions raised? :-)