The Missing Disclaimer

Written by Darren Hewer

truefalseToronto Sun columnist Michael Coren made the following comments in his article “Da Vinci Code a ‘disgrace’“, appearing in the May 20th 2006 issue of the newspaper:

“Surely a mild disclaimer at the beginning of the new movie might be nice. This is all that was asked of director Ron Howard, but the polite request was dismissed. Yet similar disclaimers have been inserted before movies many times in the past. For Asians before Year of the Dragon, blacks before Birth of a Nation, gays before Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jews before Merchant of Venice. No, don’t stop me. For Mormons before Big Love, Muslims before True Lies, Native Americans before Pocahontas II and the Nearsighted before Mr. Magoo. Oh, and for Wolves before White Fang. So Christians, it would appear, matter slightly less that our friends in the wolf community.”

Should The Da Vinci Code movie have included a disclaimer, considering that many of its purported historical claims (such as Jesus’ supposed marriage, the Priory of Sion, Jesus’ divinity, and many others) are extremely dubious at best?

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19 Responses to “The Missing Disclaimer”

  • kevin, how’s it going? Any progress or new thoughts / observations since your last post?

  • kevin says:

    Daren, thank you for your time, I will now dig in the evidence you have provided me,I will now dig a little deeper in terms of the link you have provided me, and will let you know my thoughts on it.

    Kindest Regards

    kev :)

  • kevin, glad you replied, many people comment once and then disappear!

    “You say there is no evidence of Jesus And Mary Magdala. I beg to differ. Simply because there is a section that exists in the Vatican called ‘The Holy See’- Never to be viewed by the public- ever wondered why?”

    I am curious what’s in there for sure! But I don’t think this is evidence? It’s vague speculation that there may be something in there that could suggest Jesus and Mary were married? If the Catholic archives did contain such things, I wonder why they would bother to keep them around? Wouldn’t they have destroyed them long ago?

    “What I find a disgrace is, that The council of Nicea was ‘picking and choosing which Gospels were ‘allowed’ to be edited in the bible, any ones Gospel that didn’t go with the councils doctrine was discredited.”

    In the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown says: “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike.” If that’s true, then what you described is a travesty indeed. Why arbitrarily choose some gospels and ignore others? But that’s not what actually happened. It wasn’t as though there was a buffet of gospels to choose from, and the council chose the ones they liked best. The council affirmed that the gospels that the churches had been using for centuries were the ones that should continue to be used. Bart Ehrman (clearly no friend of traditional Christianity) says in his book “Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code” that “The formation of the canon started centuries before Constantine, and the establishment of the four-fold Gospel canon of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John was virtually in place 150 years before his day.”

    Ehrman is referring to the fact that the earliest canonical lists that we have (lists of the Christian scriptures) list the books we find in the New Testament and not any of the ones like the “Gospel of Thomas” and the “Gospel of Mary”, both of which are dated to the second century at the earliest, probably mid-late second century. All of the New Testament documents meanwhile are all dated to 100AD at latest; why trust later documents instead of the NT ones written decades earlier? Based on all the evidence we have, the early Christians made the right decisions. You say you “will not though believe the Bible’s version of events … as that would make me a sheep.” Yet while ruling out the Bible’s accuracy from the start, you seem to accept what the Da Vinci Code says uncritically? I don’t mean to imply that everything the Da Vinci Code says is wrong; but contrary to what he has sometimes insinuated, Brown played fast and loose with the facts to make his story more interesting. No problem there; the problem was claiming that it was historically accurate.

    “Imagine your wife coming home telling you that she was visited by an Angel that told her she is pregnant- but you’re not the father, it was an immaculate conception? would you believe it?”

    Certainly not! And Joseph didn’t believe it either. Back then people knew that women didn’t spontaneously get pregnant: “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Mt 1:19) He planned to divorce her, which would have been the natural reaction. However something changed his mind. I wouldn’t believe it at first either; but maybe I’d change my mind if I were thoroughly convinced otherwise.

    It is fascinating how Christianity was able to spread so quickly … in fact an entire book has been written on the subject of how Christianity seemed destined to fail, but didn’t. It’s called The Impossible Faith, but a large portion of it is available to read online: http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nowayjose.html The author hypothesizes that it was able to spread so far and wide despite crushing opposition because … it’s actually true!

  • kevin says:

    Darren, also may I take this opportunity to thank you for your comments. I will not deny the fact that Miracles don’t happen, as Life itself is a Miracle. I also believe in Jesus Christ….. to an extent.

    I have my own opinion through years of Investigating. What I believe now, and what was drummed to my head at sunday school, school, etc. There is quite a difference between the both.

    You say there is no evidence of Jesus And Mary Magdala. I beg to differ. Simply because there is a section that exists in the Vatican called ‘The Holy See’- Never to be viewed by the public- ever wondered why?

    The second testament was written in Gospels from different sources at the time as we all know. What I find a disgrace is, that The council of Nicea was ‘picking and choosing which Gospels were ‘allowed’ to be edited in the bible, any ones Gospel that didn’t go with the councils doctrine was discredited. Who gave them the right to discredit Mary Magdala’s Gospel? The person that was closest to Jesus out of all the Disciples.

    Who anointed his feet on the cross?
    Who found him to have risen outside the tomb?
    Who was with him through the passover at his feet till he died? the answer to these Questions, according to the Bible was Mary magdalene, ever wondered why?

    She is the Holy Grail in my opinion. do not wish to cause any offence to anyone, as I’m a nice guy :). Juest my personal view of the Jesus story, and the bible ones are two totally different stories. One is made out of studying evidence forever and a day, and trying to make sense of things. The other is that of an Angel that came down to inform a woman, that she will bore the son of God, ‘the immaculate conception’. Imagine your wife coming home telling you that she was visited by an Angel that told her she is pregnant- but you’re not the father, it was an immaculate conception? would you believe it? Sorry Darren, dig a little a deeper, and there is a lot more evidence- concrete ones an all to believe such a make belief story.

    I repeat I do believe in Jesus, my fascination is the fact that 11 disciples after he died, converted the majority to Christianity simply by using the word of mouth from a corner in Jerusalem, where they all had to flee after Jesus’s death and take the movement underground. No phones, postmen, Internet etc… fascinating. I will not though believe the Bible’s version of events… as that would make me a sheep. (sorry if any offence is caused)

    Kev

  • kevin, thank you for taking the time to comment. Clearly you have used your critical mind to analyze what you were taught in Sunday school as a child, but have you used that same critical analysis to examine what you read in the Da Vinci Code? There are so many errors and things made up that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

    When you say you “believe [Jesus] was Married to Mary Magdala, and even eloped and had children” what evidence is there for this belief? Just because it was “the norm” to do it back then doesn’t mean he did it. It’s the norm today to be married too, but many people (like me) are not. As far as I know, there is no ancient document that suggests Jesus was married or had children, or even hints at it.

    I wonder too how “science has made a mockery of the bible in the last hundred years”? I agree with you that true science and true religion will never conflict. But I’ve sometimes heard arguments like “science has proved that miracles can’t happen,” which is misguided in my opinion. The definition of a miracle is something that supersedes the way things normally work, so how could science prove such a thing didn’t happen?

    On a personal note, I know you’re trying to be objective by teaching your son your beliefs, and to think critically for himself. That’s a great thing to do (and my parents did the same) but don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s actually non-biased. Calling Christianity “garbage”, “brainwash[ing]”, and insinuating that it’s irrational, unscientific, and been made a mockery of … this sort of education is no less mind and attitude shaping than attending Sunday school.

  • kevin says:

    I read the Da Vinci code, many years ago. What I personally got out of the book was an eye-opener. The garbage they fill our heads in school as we grow up, to try control the masses is a joke. I went to Sunday school as a child, but it would never even cross my mind to send my son. As I will try and teach him my beliefs, and for him to discover his own, not being brainwashed by a 2000 yr old txt book. Jesus was a man, that I do believe in, I also believe he was Married to Mary Magdala, and even eloped and had children. It was the norm for them to do it at the time, why would it be different for Jesus? because he was the son of God? C’mon people, think rationally, think scientifically. How science has made a mockery of the bible in the last hundred years, and will continue to do so. The Da Vinci Code is more realistic to me personally.

  • Frank says:

    I, too, am a Catholic and a ex-Opus Dei member and find the story of the DVC absolute garbage.
    However, where the Da Vinci Code is accurate is in its depiction of the blind obedience of the fictional Opus Dei character, Silas the albino monk. His behavior demonstrates the absolute control and obedience that exists in Opus Dei today.
    Only in that area did Dan Brown hit the nail on the head.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok look, I am Catholic and I can point out many things of the Da Vinci Code that are completely WRONG! Opus Dei is not a secret society, as Brown claims it is, he also describes it as a sect and cultish organization, lies again, Opus Dei is an innoncent organization that is one entity with the Catholic Church (wanna see the legal papers?) and it encourages finding god in daily life. Wow. That sure is evil. Brown also shows Opus Dei as monks, LIES LIES LIES! Opus Dei is a group of normal people, not monks. Who is Brown to draw these conclusions? The few things in his book that may be REMOTELY true are not even backed up by any resources or specific information, he has no basis in history whatsoever. He, like many, sees the church and enjoys trying to tear it apart.

  • emmzee says:

    Shannon, thank you for your comment. However, I must disagree with your opinions.

    “Jesus is who you believe he is.” So if someone were to believe Jesus was a Pagan sorcerer, or a 12-foot tall giant, or a rhinoceros, would these be valid options? I’d say no! If we really care about Jesus, we should want to know as much as possible about who He really is, not just make up some image of Him in our mind taylored to our own whims.

    “He will love you no matter what you believe!” So if someone believed Jesus was ___ (fill in a description of a person you find particularly detestable) would Jesus still love them? Yes, but He would also love them enough to let them go. Sadly, many people believe detestable things about Jesus.

    You don’t get to know someone by imagining how you’d like them to be. The best way to learn about a person in history is to examine the best historical sources available … and those are the Gospels and other texts contained in the New Testament.

  • Shannon says:

    Jesus said Who do you say I am.
    Jesus is who you believe he is.
    He will love you no matter what you believe!

  • I clearly don’t think that the da vinci code should be even read! Its so not true about Jesus Christ or lord. He was not married but yes I respect other’s opinions on things and I am a catholic christian and my guesses are that God was Jesus and he was concieved by the holy ghost amazingly! If anyone believes in the da vinci code dont its a deciever for the lord God had said that dont believe in the false claims of his son! I am very devoted to Christ Jesus and I care about what people say about him. An if its negative I am hurt inside but if its positive I am rejoicing!

    Blessed be in the name of Jesus
    Your sister in Christ Jesus
    Jacqueline “Isabella” Lopez

  • Graham says:

    I haven’t seen the film, but have read the book.If people think they are going to be offended by what’s in the film, maybe they shouldn’t go and see it.It’s an interesting thriller based on a contentious twenty-year old theory.Are people going to the film just to complain about it?Years ago, when I went to see Life of Brian, there were three nuns in the front row.They didn’t walk out half way through.

  • Jan says:

    Cool website

  • Please read and know about the Danger of Da Vinci Code at
    http://www.wordwillsave.com/
    Look in special features

  • Laurie says:

    Michael Coren’s a great writer, I must say. Whatta smart man.

    When I watched the movie, it didn’t really seem like many things could be true, despite what I believed. I thought the movie was portrayed very fictionally (is that a word?) to be honest. It seemed quite the jump of (dare I say?) faith to make so many claims after the Leonardo painting (even tho Teabing looked smart and c’mon, he’s Gandalf, who wouldn’t wanna believe him?) Well-written and thought of plot by Brown, I must say!

  • emmzee says:

    lauren, thanks for commenting. Which parts don’t seem that far fetched? Certainly there are SOME truthful details in the book, but we know that the vast majority of what is discussed is false, even some of what is presented as being factual, for example:

    Mary Magdalene was not vilified by the early church
    Jesus wasn’t considered “merely a man” by the earliest Christians
    Leonardo da Vinci did not hate the Bible
    There is no evidence (even in the “gnostic gospels”) that Jesus was married
    The Priory of Sion was not a real secret society founded in 1099; it has been proved to be a modern day hoax.

    Even in incidental details, Brown often errs, for example, there are not 666 panes of glass in the Louve, there are 673. I’m not saying there’s nothing true or decent about the novel, only that from the above examples, we should be very wary about any truth we attempt to take away from this fictional book. What parts rang true to you?

  • lauren says:

    well. lets see here why couldnt it be true? whos to say that it isnt yes the book is fiction and thats where people get mislead however, there are certain things that the book portrays that dont seem that far fetched.

  • Ben says:

    It would be nice to include a disclaimer, so people wouldn’t be misled. But I doubt anyone who went to see the movie would think it’s the truth.

  • sheldon says:

    And upset the people on this blog that think it’s true?

    I don’t think it is necessary, I think that clarifying the fact page in the book would be enough.

    Fact: France is real.
    Fact: Leonardo painted stuff.
    Fact: Umm that’s about it for this book.

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