I subscribe to the Sojourners email newsletter. It can be very frustrating to read, but it’s interesting to keep up with what the religious left is thinking. The latest issue has a revealing interview with Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code. Here is the first question and response…
What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?
Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown’s book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown’s version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church’s conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown’s fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church’s conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?
Do you think the book contains any significantly detrimental distortions of the Christian faith?
McLaren: The book is fiction and it’s filled with a lot of fiction about a lot of things that a lot of people have already debunked. But frankly, I don’t think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels. And in a certain way, what the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends.
I’m not a big fan of the Left Behind series, but there is no comparison between that and Dan Brown’s assault on the historicity of the Christian Faith.
It seems to me that McLaren is as hostile to the cause of Christ as Dan Brown, probably even more so since he purports to be working from inside it.