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When Mel Gibson produced The Passion of the Christ, a movie that substantially follows the contours of the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ death, he became the immediate subject of controversy. Conversely, when Dan Brown released The Da Vinci Code he was immediately lauded as a brilliant historian. Library Journal characterized his work as “a compelling blend of history in page-turning suspense, a masterpiece that should be mandatory reading.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient cover-ups and savage vengeance.” And best-selling author Nelson DeMille christened The Da Vinci Code “pure genius.”

Why is it that Christ’s passion is referred to as a “repulsive, masochistic fantasy” and his supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene is touted as a researched material fact? The answer may surprise you. It is not just that in our increasingly secularist culture it has become politically correct to cast aspersions on Christ and the church he founded. It is because of a great reversal of values. Fiction — such as the notion that Christianity was concocted to subjugate women — is being cleverly peddled as fact, while fact — such as the deity of Jesus Christ — is being capriciously passed off as fiction.

Nearly all of Brown’s assertions in The Da Vinci Code are based on several statements he presents on page 1 under the heading of “FACT” — and that’s before the novel even begins. Most notable among these “facts” is the notion that “The Priory of Sion” is “a European secret society founded in 1099” and that “members of the Priory of Sion” include “Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.”

Brown depicts the Priory of Sion as a secret society bent on covering up the scandal of Christ’s marriage to Mary Magdalene, who would have been the true leader of the church if she had not unceremoniously crashed into an apostolic glass ceiling erected by a patriarchal church. Brown says he is so confident in the reliability of his claims that were he to write a nonfiction piece on the same theme, he would not change a thing.

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The Da Vinci Code:  Fact or Fiction?
The Da Vinci Code:  Fact or Fiction?
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