May 20, 2006

things that are NOT true in DVC (as opposed to being fictional)

the following are taken from the Bible, and other resources from which historians, scholars, archaeologists, and other experts gave their input.
1. Mary Magdalene is not at all discredited by the Catholic Church nor the Bible. she’s not a prostitute in the Bible but simply the woman from whom seven demons were released. i don’t know where the popular painting of her as a prostitute started. an elder/teacher told me Magdala was a red-light (prostitute) district. in ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ doesn’t she sing “I don’t know how to love Him” (i love that song!)? and in ‘Passion of the Christ’ she’s depicted as the sinful woman who almost got stoned. (the Bible does not name this latter woman, in fairness it may have been MM but it may also have been someone else entirely.) implications: why is Leigh Teabing (and other like-minded critics) attacking an action (discrediting Mary Magdalene) that hasn’t been done?
2. along with the rest of the New Testament, the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and only these four, were written during the lifetime of Christ’s followers. thousands of manuscripts (original Bible texts) are now in existence (as compared to a handful for the Greek epics and other documents we call historical) that are dated to within decades of Christ’s life. implications: the Gospels stand true beyond scrutiny. any supporter of Christ can agree with those Gospels, any opponent of Christ can disagree (for example: “hey, Christ is still dead, the body’s still here!”). other Gospels, including Philip, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and dozens of others were, historians and other scholars point out, written hundreds of years later. not too accurate (and obviously not written by the same apostles / biblical figures!). not reliable, even if they agree with the first four. what more if they don’t agree with the four (and in some parts they don’t) – what would you believe?
3. the apostles’ creed (set of beliefs), along with the Gospels, was already formed during the lifetime of Christ’s followers. After Jesus’ ascent and the Pentecost, Peter (the same guy who denied Christ thrice) was already declaring to his fellow Israelites that they “killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead (Acts 3:15).” Paul (who earlier hunted down Jesus’ followers) was mocked by the Athenians because he was preaching the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:22-34). Philip shared the Good News to Samarians (Acts 8:5-8) and to an Ethiopian high official (Acts 8:26-40). and so on. there was a Jerusalem council during the time of Peter, Paul and the other early followers/leaders but to tackle Jewish-Gentile issues (Acts 15:1-35). implications: people living centuries later (e.g. Nicean council) did not decide on whether they were going to worship a god or a man. it’s been settled ever since eyewitnesses saw the Resurrection.

there are other issues and clarifications which to be honest i don’t remember anymore. but a fair court hearing deserves all sides to be heard. aside from reading and watching “The Da Vinci Code”, the above items are based on the Bible and the following resources:
Breaking the Da Vinci Code” by Darrel L. Bock
The Da Vinci Deception” by Erwin Lutzer
and i just saw this comprehensive article on Christianity Today, updated april 2006.

if there’s one thing that Dan Brown and i would probably agree on, it’s this: don’t be afraid to ask questions. have an open mind before believing, and even then, to keep that openness. i confess i worry that too much “openness” can lead to believing every draft of wind that comes my way. but at the other extreme, too much closed-mindedness leads to arrogance, and what if you closed your mind before coming upon the correct answers?
there has to be a balance between an open mind and a strong faith. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “All that I have seen enables me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen.” that’s not blind faith at all, contrary to how i once looked at God-loving people.
fellow believers, let’s not condemn those who haven’t encountered God yet, but hear them out instead. In our actions, let’s show them that a loving God truly exists. skeptics/agnostics/doubters/atheists, i was once like you too. if you entertain the possibility that the God of the Bible is not true, entertain the other possibility too. perhaps, perhaps, there may be some truth to what the others are saying. it would not hurt to take a closer look.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).”

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