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Keith

Are you so threatened by this book / movie that you have to try to insult the intelligence of anyone who actually enjoyed it? I have read the Da Vinci Code as well as the major Shakespeare plays you listed and I have discovered that Dan Brown is far more entertaining. There are times when I don't want to decipher poetry and metaphors while I read...I just want to be entertained for a little while. This does not make me stupid!

The popularity of this book is not due to it being "brain frying stupidity", as you so arrogantly put it. It is popular because Catholics such as yourself made such a huge issue out of it. If you had ignored it, the book would have vanished from the bestseller list quickly and no one would have heard about it again. Instead, you write hundreds of books "debunking" the novel, and all of a sudden people want to read it to see what everyone is talking about. Instead of letting it die, you had to make money of telling people your religion isn’t a fraud.

Why are Catholics such as yourself so scared of this book? Any educated person will take it for what it is...an entertaining story. Nothing more. Is your religion so flawed that you think all of your followers will go running to Islam or Judaism because of this book?

Sinner

So comes the time when anything that questions the status quo is vilified. Even things which question it as entertainment or simply to open one's eye to the possibility of alternative histories.

I agree with the preceeding reply, this book is liturature. It's purpose is not to bocome cannon, nor is it's intention to rob people of their faith. It's reason for being is to entertain, and if you can see it as that, it does a good job at it.

Brown does say that parts of the book are based on fact, but nowhere does he say that every included word should be taken literally, or assumed to be absolute truth. To get right down to it, the only things that Brown states to be 100% factual in the preface, are 100% factual, all two of them. 1. that the Priory of Sion was in fact founded in 1099 and that Les Dossiers Secrets identified certain members or a later organization. He does not say that the Dossiers is fact, just that it exists, which no one can refute. We know now that it was a hoax, but nowhere does Brown claim that it's not. It's simply used as a basis for (you guessed it) liturature. 2. that Opus Dei has been the subject of controversy, which it most certainly has. He does not claim them to be guilty of the accusations, he simply states that many people have claimed brainwashing, coercion, and various other dangerous practices on the part of Opus Dei. Stating that people have made claims against a certain group should not be construed as an affirmation of guilt. 3. that the descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals are accurate. I can't speak for his accuracy regarding all secret rituals, but as an avid historian, especially in religious studies, I can back up his findings on 95% of the subjects he references, at least as far as physical descriptions and historical acceptance.

But if any of the people who took so much time to criticize the book took an even smaller amount of time to read the first few pages of it, they would see that these are the only things that Brown states are fact. Everything after those pages are part of a fictional story, interspersed with bits of historical fact to bring the story together. One person I spoke with was telling me that he would never read the book since it defiled his faith by claiming that everything he believed was false. I asked him why he thought that. He told me that Brown claimed that everything in the book was true, his parents told him so. If he'd taken two minutes of his time, he could have seen for himself that Brown does not claim any such thing.

So then, given that it is a work of fiction, what is it about the book that scares so many Christians? How weak do they feel the faith of their followers is that one little book could draw them away so easily? How much effect could one tiny, silly book have on their lives? How could it be that reading one book could totally chance their outlook on life?

Oh wait. It was just a little book that gave them that faith to begin with. I get it now . . .

PhilVaz

Keith: "Why are Catholics such as yourself so scared of this book?"

Sinner: "So then, given that it is a work of fiction, what is it about the book that scares so many Christians?"

Scared isn't the right word. Furious and disappointed are more accurate. When error is believed to be truth, error needs to be corrected. And The Da Vinci Hoax not only corrects, but pounds those errors so far into the ground that they disappear from site. And everyone should thank and congratulate them and buy their book in BULK.

Dan Brown claims his novel is based on fact and inasmuch as some people believe the lies and errors in the novel, an aggressive response is necessary refuting and repudiating those lies and errors. Have you read The Da Vinci Hoax? Their reasons for responding to the novel are explained in detail in their opening chapter.

Dan Brown states in an online FAQ: "...the secret behind The Da Vinci Code was too well documented and significant for me to dismiss."

Do you believe the secret in the novel is well documented? Olson / Miesel with much documentation prove it is not.

On the novel's first page we read: "FACT:.... All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."

Do you believe all descriptions of artwork, documents, etc are accurate? Olson / Miesel with much documentation prove they are not.

In an interview for WCVB-TV's "Chronicle" with Mary Richardson (and repeated elsewhere), Dan Brown says: "When I started researching Da Vinci Code I really was skeptical, and I expected on some level to disprove all of this history that's unearthed in the book[s]. But after three trips to Paris, and a lot of interviews, I became a believer."

Dan Brown claims to be a "believer" in his ideas, and other folks who read it are as well. My grandfather for one. Carl can probably give you many examples based on the Email and comments he has received.

Sinner: "simply to open one's eye to the possibility of alternative histories...."

Name ONE THING in the novel on Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Gospels, the Priory of Sion, the Knights Templar, the Merovingians, etc that has the bare possibility of being true based on historical or other evidence.

Dan Brown gets everything wrong. Read The Da Vinci Hoax. Or read my little page

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/DaVinciCode.htm
OR http://www.DaVinciFraud.com

BTW, the first anti-DVC "response" books didn't start coming out until early 2004, the novel had already sold millions at that point. Do we really need 25 books in response to The Da Vinci Code? No, The Da Vinci Hoax is exhaustive and therefore quite enough. :-)

Phil P

PhilVaz

Keith: "that the Priory of Sion was in fact founded in 1099 and that Les Dossiers Secrets identified certain members or a later organization. He does not say that the Dossiers is fact, just that it exists, which no one can refute...."

Hello, the "fact" statement (DVC, page 1) reads that a "European secret society" called the "Priory of Sion" was founded in 1099 and that "parchments" known as "Les Dossiers Secrets" were "discovered" in 1975 that identify numerous members of that "Priory" such as Leonardo, etc.

That is not a fact, that is incorrect. It is a well-known hoax. The "fact" statement should read:

FACT: The Priory of Sion was founded in 1956 by a convicted con man Pierre Plantard who, along with two others, planted (not "discovered") fraudulent documents (not "parchments") called "Les Dossiers secrets de Henri Lobineau" (not "Les Dossiers secrets") into the Paris National Library in 1967 (not "1975") to "prove" Plantard's bizarre claim and fantasy that he was the "true king of France." This "Priory of Sion" is named after a hill ("Mont Sion") near Annamasse in Plantard's home town. The group consisted of not more than a dozen members, and its purpose was to promote "low-income housing." It has nothing to do with the "Zion" or "Sion" of Jerusalem. THOSE ARE THE FACTS.

The 1099 organization was not a "secret society" but was a monastery called either the "Priory" (whose head is a Prior) or the "Abbey of Sion" (whose head is an Abbot) and this monastery has nothing to do with Plantard's hoax. It was a normal group of Catholic monks dedicated to "Our Lady" which is the Blessed Virgin Mary, not St. Mary Magdalene.

Too bad it takes books like The Da Vinci Hoax to learn that, when Brown could have just stated this quite plainly on his so-called "fact" page.

Information from Italian researcher Massimo Introvigne of CESNUR here:

-- Certain documents called Les Dossiers secrets de Henri Lobineau were not “discovered” but rather deposited at the Bibliothèque Nationale (National Library) of Paris in 1967, not in 1975.

-- The documents are not “parchments” but rather texts on how to interpret certain parchments; the parchments were never at the National Library of Paris, but were handed over by Pierre Plantard (1920-2000), along with a manuscript he wrote, to an author of popular books about “the mysteries of France” by the name of Gérard de Sède (1921-2004).

-- De Sède enhanced and published them as L’Or de Rennes ou la Vie insolite de Bérenger Saunière, curé de Rennes-le-Château (Julliard, Paris, 1967).

-- There is no doubt that both Les Dossiers secrets and the parchments are false documents, compiled in the year 1967, and all the people involved in the falsification have admitted it.

So you and Dan Brown can take his "fact" page and put it where the sun don't shine. Hee hee.

MORE HERE:

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/DaVinciCode.htm

Phil P

PhilVaz

Sinner: "But if any of the people who took so much time to criticize the book took an even smaller amount of time to read the first few pages of it, they would see that these are the only things that Brown states are fact."

Sorry meant to quote "Sinner" last time as well, not "Keith."

Brown clearly stated he believes everything in his novel is CORRECT, factually and historically CORRECT. See my previous post. He stated such in 2003 when he was touring for the novel. He said basically "I tried to disprove it, but after many trips to Europe, and many interviews, I became a believer."

Then in 2004 when all the critical books were published utterly demolishing his historical claims he refused to face these critics. Who is afraid? Not Olson / Miesel or the critics, but Dan Brown.

Sinner: "....interspersed with bits of historical fact to bring the story together."

Name one historical fact in the novel. Olson / Miesel have been searching for three years, and have yet to find one. :-)

Phil P

PhilVaz

Sinner: "but as an avid historian, especially in religious studies, I can back up his findings on 95% of the subjects he references, at least as far as physical descriptions and historical acceptance."

Oh? I can now state this as a fact.

FACT: "Sinner" has not read The Da Vinci Hoax!

NAME ONE THING Dan Brown gets right on Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, Constantine, Leonardo, his paintings, the Council of Nicaea, the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, the Merovingians, the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Gospels, etc. Aside from these people and groups and documents existing (trivial) name one major thing he gets right.

OK, I'm done for today. But I'll be back to watch the fireworks. Fun while it lasts.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/DaVinciCode.htm

Phil P

Keith

I am truly curious, would you be ok with this book if they removed that one page claiming that "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."? Do you think other Christians would be?

What exactly are Christians so "furious" about? Dan Brown makes three claims on the "Fact" page of the book.

1. The Priory of Sion is a real organization. He does not claim that anything else about them is real...just that some secret organization with famous members. Who cares?

2. The Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect. Every religion has their radicals that take things to an extreme. Al Qaeda is one example. Who cares if this Opus Dei exists with their bizarre rituals?

3. All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. Do you care if he lied about the Mona Lisa, the Louvre pyramid, or the self-mutilating rituals of the Opus Dei?

I do not understand the anger that people have toward a fictional book. Surely there have been other books written that do more to attack Christianity...or Islam...or Judaism...or Atheism. You're so angry at this book that you insult the people who enjoyed reading it. That doesn't seem like the way to get people to listen to your point of view or bring people to your faith.

PhilVaz (quoting someone else): "These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." - You don't have to praise every creed...just respect the fact that others may not agree with you.

PhilVaz: "So you and Dan Brown can take his "fact" page and put it where the sun don't shine." - That doesn't seem like a Christian thing to say...

xavier

Kieth:
The reason Christians are so exasperated with the book is that it lies even on the most basic facts. For example as Amy Welborn pointed out in her blog, Teabing states that it was the Christians who persecuted the pagans and not the other way around. That's an unjustifiable lie and an insult to those martyrs who suffered and died are rather under appalling conditions. It's also a mockery of history. Not just of Christianity but of general history. So the story become an incoherent mess of losse ends and logical jumps that just don't kae sense
So that's the problem with Dan Brown, he just doesn't care about facts that are indisputable and everyone has agreed happened.
xavier

Carl Olson

Keith,

Since we Christians are "furious" and "angry" and therefore not truly objective in our views about TDVC, how about checking out some comments about these issues made by Tim O'Neill, who has a degree in medieval history and is an atheist. He writes:

-----------------------------

As a regular contributor to various online fora on history, I soon began to see the impact this novel was having on peoples' perceptions of history. I saw people making claims about the Gnostic gospels, early Christianity, the Emperor Constantine, the Knights Templar and Jesus which were not supprted by the historical evidence but came directly from their reading of this novel. Eventually I got tired of repeating myself in countering these claims and decided that an online resource comparing the assertions in the novel to the evidence could be a useful project.

In the year and a half on which I worked on the text of this site, many books have been published and even more online articles and sites have appeared tackling much of the same material. Most of these, however, were written from a Christian perspective and I felt a similar resource which looked at the novel's claims with a purely non-Christian, historical eye would still be a valid contribution. The release of the Ron Howard film version of the book in May 2006, with its attendant condemnations by various Christian figures, added to my feeling that the web needed a non-Christian resource which could not be accused of religious bias.

This is not to say that the contributions on the subject by Christians are invalid or that there is anything wrong with their scholarship, but a perception has arisen that these responses are not motivated by objectivity or informed by scholarship, but are driven by a desire simply to defend the Christian faith.

(http://www.historyvsthedavincicode.com/author.html)

-----------------------------

And on a page titled "Fiction?" (http://www.historyvsthedavincicode.com/fiction.htm) he states:

-----------------------------

Many readers enjoyed The Da Vinci Code purely as a mystery thriller. Others, however, also enjoyed the historical discussions and digressions Langdon and Teabing have with Sophie, especially those that were integral to the plot. Right from the novel's first publication, reviewers and readers alike mentioned how 'well researched' the book was, how much they learned from it and how it opened their eyes to aspects of history they had not been aware of before.


The novel itself and the way it was marketed strongly encouraged readers to take this historical information seriously and emphasised that it was factual and reliable. Brown begins the novel with the word 'FACT', followed by strong assertions about the 'Priory of Sion' and the clear claim that 'All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.' In the text of the novel itself, both Langdon and Teabing make regular references to 'historians', 'experts' and academics' who have studied the topics they discuss and 'agree' with the conclusions these characters present. Langdon's status as a 'Harvard professor' is constantly emphasised, as is Teabing's position as a 'Royal historian'.


But the real encouragement for the reader to take the novel's historical background material seriously came in the initial publicity Brown's publishers generated, the way the book was marketed and some explicit statements by Brown himself. In the months after the novel was published, Brown gave a number of high profile interviews in which he stressed that, while the story was pure fiction, the novel's historical background was solidly researched, well-founded, legitimate and factual.


On May 25, 2003, Brown gave an interview on CNN with anchorman Martin Savidge:


Savidge: When we talk about da Vinci and your book, how much is true and how much is fabricated in your storyline?
Brown: 99 percent of it is true. All of the architecture, the art, the secret rituals, the history, all of that is true, the Gnostic gospels. All of that is … all that is fiction, of course, is that there's a Harvard symbologist named Robert Langdon, and all of his action is fictionalized. But the background is all true.

In an ABC TV special around the same time, Brown was asked a similar question;

Interviewer: This is a novel ... If you were writing it as a non-fiction book, would it have been different?

Brown: I don't think it would have. I began the research for The Da Vinci Code as a skeptic. I entirely expected, as I researched the book to disprove this (Jesus/Mary Magdalene/Grail) theory. And after numerous trips to Europe and about two years of research I really became a believer. I decided this theory makes more sense to me than what I learnt as a child.

Several months later, on NBC's The Today Show Brown was pushing the same message:

Matt Lauer: How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred?"
Dan Brown: Absolutely all of it.
(Today Show, June 9, 2003)

The marketing of The Da Vinci Code capitalised not only on its thriller plot and its puzzles, but also on the idea that it was well researched and that its background was entirely factual. Many early reviewers accepted this marketing hype without question. The Boston Globe called it 'a delightful display of erudition', the Rocky Mountain News said it 'manages to both entertain and educate simultaneously', The Mystery Reader said it incorporates 'massive amounts of historical and academic information', Publisher's Weekly called it 'exhaustively researched' and the Chicago Tribune enthused that it contained 'several doctorates' worth of fascinating history and learned speculation.'

-----------------------------

I've written a longer and similar piece, "The 'It's Just Fiction!" Doctrine" (http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/colson_justfiction1_mar05.asp) and shorter, more recent piece, "What Do Christians Know?" (http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=14979) that address these same issues. But, again, since O'Neill is an atheist and has a degree in history, his thoughts might be of particular interest.

Finally, you wrote: "I do not understand the anger that people have toward a fictional book." So let's see if I understand this correctly: people such as yourself can "enjoy" reading the novel, but other folks are angry idiots for not enjoying it? For having a negative reaction to it? Is it the case that this novel can only be enjoyed and praised, never criticized or disliked? So if a novel were written (and sold 50 million copies) that portrayed atheists as liars, psychopaths, morons, and scum — and the author was praised for his "research" and "facts" and "knowledge" — it wouldn't bother you?

Carl Olson

BTW, I also wanted to respond to this silly comment: "The popularity of this book is not due to it being 'brain frying stupidity', as you so arrogantly put it. It is popular because Catholics such as yourself made such a huge issue out of it. If you had ignored it, the book would have vanished from the bestseller list quickly and no one would have heard about it again."

Uh, right. The sales of TDVC had nothing to with a massive marketing campaign by Doubleday (sending out 10,000 [!] review copies; an unprecedented number), glowing reviews from NYTimes, Chicago Tribune, and numerous other major newspapers, and word of mouth by readers fascinated by Brown's "impeccable research" (a common piece of praise found in reader reviews). By the time the first "anti-DVC" book came out in late 2003, Brown's novel had been #1 on the NYTimes bestseller list for eight months and sold around 10 million copies or so. That's easily far more than all of the rebuttal and debunking books have sold altogether (a couple of them have reportedly sold 300,000 copies each). Meanwhile, Dan Burstein edited and published a collection of pro-DVC essays, SECRETS OF THE CODE, that has reportedly sold over 3 million copies. And, of course, Brown's fourth novel has sold somewhere between 50-60 million copies.

If you want to understand why many (not all!) readers love TDVC, read their reviews at amazon.com or bn.com. Here is one example of what you'll find:

-----------------

Once I began this extraordinary book, I could not put it down. "The Da Vinci Code" is so much more than a gripping suspense thriller. Dan Brown takes us beyond the main plot and leads us on a quest for the Holy Grail - a Grail totally unlike anything we have been taught to believe. With his impeccable research, Mr. Brown introduces us to aspects and interpretations of Western history and Christianity that I, for one, had never known existed...or even thought about. I found myself, unwillingly, leaving the novel, and time and time again, going online to research Brown's research - only to find a new world of historic possibilities opening up for me. And my quest for knowledge and the answers to questions that the book poses, paralleled, in a sense, the quest of the book's main characters. What a trip! What a read!

A violent murder is committed in the Louvre Museum. The museum's chief curator, who is also the head of a remarkable secret society that has existed since the death of Christ, is found dead and gruesomely positioned on the floor near The Mona Lisa. In the minutes before he died, this very complex man was able to leave clues for his daughter to follow. The daughter, a brilliant cryptographer, along with a famed US symbologist, follow her father's codes and leads, hoping that he will, through his death, finally tell her what he wanted to confide in her while he lived. The secret society included members such as: Leonardo Da Vinci, Boticelli, Gallileo, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Jean Cocteau, etc. These folks really Did belong to this society, which Really existed! This is when I first began my online search.

The mystery, or mysteries, take us through England, France and far back in time. We learn about the secret of the Knights Templar, and the symbolism in many of the world's most treasured paintings, as well as architectural symbolism in some of history's most sacred churches. Of course, we also learn who committed the murder and why - although this is almost secondary next to the real epic mystery the novel uncovers.

If there are flaws in the plot, I was too busy reading to discover any. That is probably the sign of a terrific book! The writing is excellent and the characters are a bit on the super-hero/heroine side, but who cares? Is what "The Da Vinci Code" proposes true? Well, the research is correct. The historical events and people explored in the book are real. But no one knows the Truth...nor will we ever, probably. I think that some things are meant to be a mystery. With all the world's diverse religions and each individual's belief in what is Divine - the Truth would have to destroy the beliefs, hopes and lives of many of the world's population. So, perhaps, in the divine scheme of things, there are many more Truths than one. Don't take the book too seriously. Just read it and enjoy!

---------------------

There you go: an "extraordinary book" that opens up a "new world of historic possibilities" -- but don't take it too seriously. Huh? Whether or not such illogic is evidence of "brain-frying stupidity" I'll let readers decide for themselves.

Keith

Carl: Let me start by thanking you for the link to Mr. O'Neil's website. I now have a better understanding of why people want to make it clear that this book is completely false. He makes a good argument for it.

I can almost hear the sarcasm in your use of quotes around "furious" and "angry" so let me point out that the word "furious" was used by Phil in describing his own (and other Christian's) feeling toward the book. I quoted him. The word "anger" is a toned-down version of that...

You obviously didn't understand my comments correctly. I never called anyone an "angry idiot"...if you can find that in my messages please show it to me. Saying "I don't understand" does not imply that I think you're stupid for it...it just means I truly do not understand. What I did say was that the Christian community is "scared" and "threatened", certainly not "stupid" or "idiots”.

I don't think your last question has the desired effect for two reasons. First, I am not an Atheist…I believe in a Supreme Being, or God if you prefer, but I don’t think that any particular religion has it completely right. To me it’s arrogant to think that our minds can possibly comprehend a being so powerful that could create the universe…

However, I will answer your question by saying that if I were in a group that was the topic of such a book, I would certainly be upset by it. I would not buy the book and certainly not see the movie, and I would probably post on a blog how not all of us are like that. But that’s about all.

The second problem though is that I don't think this is what Dan Brown did in his novel. He portrayed certain Catholic leaders as liars and very small fanatical sect of Catholicism as psychopaths...not the entire religion. If I wrote a book about Al Qaeda being psychopaths, morons, liars, and scum...should the whole Muslim world be offended? Of course not, I’m not attacking them. Mr. Brown may have attacked some of the fundamental beliefs of your religion, but he is not saying that decent people such as yourself are any of those things that you mentioned.

Finally, my last post was meant to be an honest, non-threatening question. Would you be so upset by the book if the "Fact" page was removed? Can you answer that honestly for me?

Keith

I was trying to be nice, but now I'll go ahead and respond to your "silly" comment above you arrogant jackass. You think one handpicked review off of Amazon proves your point? That's your concrete evidence? That's a well researched argument? Any of your readers who are convinced that the book is "brain-frying stupidity" because of that is just as bad as the person you're trying to attack.

Xavier: I meant to thank you for a calm, pleasant, and thoughtful response to my earlier post...unlike Mr. Olson.

Carl Olson

Returning to the first comment on this post:

• "Are you so threatened by this book / movie that you have to try to insult the intelligence of anyone who actually enjoyed it?"

• "...as you so arrogantly put it."

• "Instead of letting it die, you had to make money of telling people your religion isn’t a fraud."

• "Why are Catholics such as yourself so scared of this book?"

• "Any educated person will take it for what it is...an entertaining story. Nothing more."

So this is what you say when you are, as you put it, "trying to be nice"? Asserting or implying that Christians who respond to TDVC are insecure, frightened, arrogant, money-grubbing, uneducated, and stupid?

If you are going to come into the china closet and smash the dishes, don't be surprised if someone whaps you upside the head.

"Carl: Let me start by thanking you for the link to Mr. O'Neil's website. I now have a better understanding of why people want to make it clear that this book is completely false. He makes a good argument for it."

You are welcome. It is, btw, the same argument I (and many other Christians) have been making for nearly three years now. Imagine how frustrating it can be to have the vast majority of pundits, journalists, and talking head ignore it. Hence my sometimes curt and not so patient attitude.

"I never called anyone an "angry idiot"...if you can find that in my messages please show it to me."

You are correct. I should have said "frightened, uneducated jerks." Better?

"I don't think your last question has the desired effect for two reasons. First, I am not an Atheist."

That's good. Because I don't believe in atheists.

"I believe in a Supreme Being, or God if you prefer, but I don’t think that any particular religion has it completely right. To me it’s arrogant to think that our minds can possibly comprehend a being so powerful that could create the universe…"

Catholicism never claims that it "comprehends" God completely. In fact, quite the contrary. But Catholicism (and orthodox Christianity in general) asserts that we can know things about God because He has revealed them to us, especially in the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, there is no arrogance involved, even if this knowledge can used in an arrogant (and therefore incorrect) way.

"The second problem though is that I don't think this is what Dan Brown did in his novel. He portrayed certain Catholic leaders as liars and very small fanatical sect of Catholicism as psychopaths...not the entire religion."

The point is, I think, very simple: Dan Brown mischaracterizes both the history and the beliefs of the Catholic Church and thus implicitly, if not overtly, impugns the character of those who would believe "in the greatest lie ever sold", as the character Leigh Teabing describes Christianity. The novel insists that the Catholic Church has long been a violent, lying, murderous, woman-hating, money-hungry, and devious institution, and that only by renouncing essential tenets can it escape such a dark past. This is not just nonsense, it is a distortion of a most malicious and cynical nature.

"Would you be so upset by the book if the "Fact" page was removed?"

That is only part of the problem. Please read my essay ( http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/colson_justfiction1_mar05.asp ) for an explanation of the other parts of the problem, including the fact that many readers of the novel are taking some or many of its false claims to be true.

"I was trying to be nice, but now I'll go ahead and respond to your 'silly' comment above you arrogant jackass."

Well, at least now you are overt about what you earlier only implied. Thank you for the honesty.

"You think one handpicked review off of Amazon proves your point?"

Do you think that your comment nullifies my example? Definition:_example_: n. One that is representative of a group as a whole. The group is not, btw, every reader of TDVC, but a striking and significant number of them.

"That's your concrete evidence? That's a well researched argument? Any of your readers who are convinced that the book is "brain-frying stupidity" because of that is just as bad as the person you're trying to attack."

Congratulations on ignoring my obvious point, creating a straw man, and tearing it shreds. Fun to watch, but it's a waste of time.

xavier

Kieth:
One more thing about Dan Brown,s novel that's devious. People don't die for a lie. Communism clearly isslurated that. Already within 3 years, you had defectors denouncing what Lenin was doing and a very clear expose of he was, what the Bolsheviks represented, what they did to Russia and were going to do to the world. Consequently, it's impossible to sustain that a conspiracy can be maintained for 2 millena. People are both vain and honest. If Christanity were the fraud that Brwon claims, then somebody would've bragged about how they bamboozled the ordinary people. Others would become so disillusioned that they leave and denounce to the world what a fraud Christanity was.
Also lies are sterile. Look at how grey, banal and kitschy communist art was (it's the same with fascist and nazi art) now contrast that with what the Christianity has produced (sure there's kitschiness too but it's not nauseating ugly that you want to blow it up or vomit. cf the paens to Kim il Jong)

That's my fundamental problem with Dan Brown, it never dawns on him that conspiracy of that magnitude are ridiculous precisely because they can't be hidden for very long never mind for 2000 years.

xavier

PhilVaz

Keith: "He portrayed certain Catholic leaders as liars and very small fanatical sect of Catholicism as psychopaths...not the entire religion."

Incorrect, read the novel. It is the entire religion that is a lying, murdering, woman-hating machine. BTW, the most offensive parts of the novel are not that Brown lies about the Mona Lisa, or even lies about Opus Dei, but that he lies about Jesus Christ. Here is what the novel says about the Catholic Church (not merely Opus Dei):

-- Knights who claimed to be 'searching for the chalice' were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the Goddess, burned nonbelievers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine (DVC 239)

-- Rome has been seeking the Grail for centuries, has killed to protect itself, has wanted to destroy the documents that reveal the great deception; the Church's version of the Christ story is inaccurate, the greatest story ever told is, in fact, the greatest story ever sold (DVC 266-267, 295)

-- the Church has two thousand years of experience pressuring those who threaten to unveil its lies; since the days of Constantine, the Church has successfully hidden the truth about Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the Church has a precedent of murder when it comes to silencing the Sangreal (DVC 407)

Yes, I am sitting down in my "recliner of rage." Comfy? "Yes, comfortable and furious, Conan." Sorry that's an old Conan Obrien bit.

Furious, sad, and disappointed, that's me. Make sure you pro-DVC people get right what is actually stated in the novel, believed by Dan Brown, and believed by millions of his ignorant followers who we are trying to educate.

Phil P

Cristina A. Montes

Could someone please explain to me something I've been wondering about ever since this controversy started: If the Catholic Church is really THAT powerful and THAT murderous and THAT good in covering up stuff, why is Dan Brown still alive? :P

Keith

Congratulations on ignoring ALL of my obvious points.

Mr. Olson, I have to compliment you. You are an absolute master of spin. You twist my words with such gracefulness. It's quite amazing.

I never called you an uneducated jerk. I can't believe you responded to my comment by making up yet another name that I called you. Where do you come up with these things? Do you not even read what I say? You seem to just pay no attention, twist my words to mean something bad, and then just invent more words to add to your ever growing list of lies and spin.

The Da Vinci Code does not give Christians a bad name, you do.

P.S. PhilVaz - I HAVE read the book, and I still do not believe that he is calling the entire religion a lying, murdering, woman hating machine. It seemed to me to be confined to the leaders of the church many years ago...even the facts you mentioned don't seem to me to be speaking about your normal everyday Christian, such as yourself or Mr. Olson. I just don't see it as a direct attack on all "regular Christians." Just my impression.

PhilVaz

Keith: "It seemed to me to be confined to the leaders of the church many years ago..."

Well, if Dan Brown thinks the novel is accurate history (which he does), and that there is good evidence for the "secret" (which he has stated repeatedly), then apparently the Church is still carrying on its worldwide mission of lying, murder, mayhem, covering up, and woman hating.

Can we at least AGREE that Dan Brown doesn't know a DAMN THING about the history of the Church, the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Gospels, the Church Fathers, the Council of Nicaea, Constantine, the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, the Merovingians, Leonardo and his paintings, and that there is no evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that he got these ideas from wacky, senationalist, pseudo-historical nonsense like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and The Templar Revelation that no reputable historian would endorse.

And No, Carl Olson is not an arrogant jackass, he is just a little tired travelling around the country and answering the same retort: "it's just a novel, it's just a novel, it's just a novel, and now....it's just a movie, it's just a movie....."

I am still waiting for the Dan Brown vs. Carl Olson showdown on CNN Larry King Live. Let's make it happen, and then include it on the The Da Vinci Code movie DVD. Then maybe I'll considering buying the DVD. Hee hee.

Phil P

Keith

PhilVaz: "...then apparently the Church is still carrying on its worldwide mission of lying..." - Again, it's the Church and corrupt leaders, not individual Christians that he's attacking. If I say that Saddam is / was a lying, murdering, woman hating dictator, does that mean all of Iraq's citizens are as well? In the book, ordinary Christians are lied to as well...they are not aware of the atrocious things the leadership is doing.

I will agree that Dan Brown has no idea what he's talking about. I'm sure you're absolutely correct; his "research" included a bunch of wacky sensationalist nonsense that he learned of by interviewing a few nutcase conspiracy theorists. I cannot agree that there is no evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene because I have not done any research on the subject...but obviously the whole book seemed pretty ridiculous to me...and I would guess that it is another made up fact. Like Mr. Olson knows so well, if you take things out of context and twist words, you can make up "proof" for almost anything.

I think a Dan Brown vs. Carl Olson showdown would be worthless. Dan will just make up facts about Carl and tell everyone he did his research on him, then Carl would respond by calling him stupid and twisting his words into some sort of Christian hating rant when really Dan was just talking about him personally. You and Xavier would make a much better debate…you would tear him apart!

It was the arrogance in Mr. Olson’s first comment that made me respond in the first place. He says that people such as myself (the mid twenties crowd) haven’t read Shakespeare, that even his “hardly top notch” high school education made him read them, that the book is “brain frying stupidity”, this stupidity has become the “genius of our time”, and we won’t tell the emperor that he isn’t wearing any clothes. This hardly sounds like a person saying “it’s just a novel”, he’s saying that he has read Shakespeare so he knows what real literature is…he’s saying that we’re uneducated because we haven’t read Shakespeare…he’s saying that readers who enjoyed the book are making this brain frying, stupid novel the genius of our time because we’re blinding following and are too dumb or scared to point out the fact that it’s stupid. Sounds like an arrogant jackass to me.

Aren’t Christians supposed to be humble and kind? Aren’t they supposed to reach out to others to make them see the joy of following God? Are his comments a good way to attract people to his religion? Are his comments a good way to make people believe that the Da Vinci Code is complete historical nonsense? If the true goal of the Da Vinci Hoax was to spread the word, why don’t you let people read it for free? Give it away as an e-book. Let the audio book be an mp3 for people to download. Instead, they’re trying to capitalize on the book’s success to make themselves rich.

Mark Brumley

Keith: Why don't we just give away the Da Vinci Hoax? How can you expect to be taken seriously in a discussion if you really have to pose that question?

Unfortunately, people who produce books also have to eat. It's a pity, but it's also an unavoidable reality. We're not zillionaires with plenty of free time on our hands to write and publish books refuting novels promoting lies about our basic beliefs, and not get paid anything for our trouble. That's why we can't afford to write, edite, print and sell it for free.

Surely you can understand that.

Dan Brown has gotten rich off his nonsense. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks will add to their already considerable wealth through the film version of Dan Brown's nonsense. But Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel and the folks at Ignatius Press aren't getting rich from The Da Vinci Hoax. Sorry.

Keith

Mark - How can you expect me to take you seriously when you say that this topic means so much to you and yet you're not willing to invest the time to enlighten people without trying to make a profit. I'm in the software business, and I've released several Shareware programs that I wrote because I was passionate about them. In the software, I simply ask for donations if the software has helped make your life easier. I make more than enough back to cover my expenses and a little bit on top. It's not much, but that's not why I do it.

I can't believe that if you did did the same thing, plenty of people would be willing to donate to help support your cause. Or, if you still want to make it a published book that you can charge money for, take a little bit for your time and production expenses and then donate the rest to the church so they can help continue the cause.

Is this such an absurd thought that can't be taken seriously? Why do you feel the need to attack me for it?

John Herreid

Hi Keith,

RE: Shareware vs selling product... if you'll take a look at our DaVinciHoax.com website, you'll see that there's plenty of free material to download and read--stuff that took a lot of time to compile and put online. It's all free, and people can photocopy and pass it around as they please. But, if they want the full refutation of the "history" of the Da Vinci Code, they can purchase it.

Not too different than the concept you explain.

Keith

John - You make an intersting point. I don't see it as quite the same, but as you said, it's "not too different" either. I would have to look at the material that is being released for free, but I may have been too eager to jump on them (or you if you're involved in it) for charging for the book. If it's just sample chapters, that is not the same. However, if there is some decent material available on the site, that might change my mind. No matter what, I still think at least a portion of the proceeds from the book should go back to the church though.

Paul H

Hi Keith,

You wrote:

"I'm in the software business, and I've released several Shareware programs that I wrote because I was passionate about them. In the software, I simply ask for donations if the software has helped make your life easier. I make more than enough back to cover my expenses and a little bit on top. It's not much, but that's not why I do it."

I think it's wonderful that you do that. I use several shareware programs myself on my home computer, and I always try to make sure to send in the suggested/required fee or donation, since they are often a great value, and since that's the honest thing to do. However, I assume that you also have a day job which pays your bills. Why not just work for free at your day job too? Or is that not feasible, because you need to get money somehow in order to give you the freedom to write shareware? In other words, you have to essentially sell your services as a software developer (or in some other capacity), in order for you to have the freedom to write shareware without making much money on it (unless you happen to be independently wealthy).

Also, regarding Carl and Sandra making their material available for free, here are links to some long and detailed FREE articles by Carl and Sandra, debunking "The Da Vinci Code":

http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/print2006/dvh_excerpts_jan06.html
http://www.envoymagazine.com/planetenvoy/Review-DaVinci-part1.htm
http://www.envoymagazine.com/planetenvoy/Review-DaVinci-part2-Full.htm

Also, there are many other Catholic organizations as well which have made TDVC debunking material available for free or for only a small fee. For example, Catholic Answers publishes a booklet called "Cracking The Da Vinci Code" which you can read for free on the internet, or which you can purchase for a very modest price ($2.95 for one copy, with lower prices for bulk discounts). Here are the links:

http://www.catholic.com/library/cracking_da_vinci_code.asp
http://shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-CB290.html?E+scstore

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have also put together a (free) web site debunking TDVC:

http://www.jesusdecoded.com/

My point is that there are already PLENTY of Catholic (and non-Catholic) resources which debunk TDVC, many of which are available for free. The way I see it, "The Da Vinci Hoax" is more for people who want a very in-depth and well-documented analysis and debunking of TDVC's claims. It is not, in my opinion, geared toward those who just want the basics on what is wrong with TDVC, and who don't want to read a 300-page book on this particular topic. Therefore, I think that the idea that it should be given away for free is perhaps a bit misguided.

Finally, you also said:

"No matter what, I still think at least a portion of the proceeds from the book should go back to the church though."

Assuming that Sandra and Carl donate a percentage of their income to their local parish & diocese, as most serious Catholics do, then I would assume that this is already happening. (However, I have no illusions that Carl and Sandra are taking in much money from TDVHoax.)

Paul

Keith

Paul - The authors of the book must also have day jobs or something of the sort. If they're not getting much money from this book (as many people have told me) then they must have some other income. Maybe from other books they've written, speeches they give, their husband or wife, etc. I don't know...but they were paying the bills before they wrote this book...

To me it just seems to cheapen the message when they're profiting from it. Obviously they are extremely passionate about restoring the truth about their beliefs. Wouldn't you get more people to read it if it were free? I've read quite most of the links that various people on this blog have posted, and most of them are very interesting. I wouldn't pay for any of them though. I'm just one person that they could have reached by not charging for it. (Although I don't need to be convinced that the "facts" in the book are b.s.)

Paul H

Hi Keith,

Well, I guess I would just say that, with no disrespect intended, I think you have unrealistic expectations, considering the number and length of the articles that Carl and Sandra *have* made freely available on TDVC (some of which I linked above).

And regarding where Carl and Sandra get most of their income, I have no idea. But my guess would be that it is a combination of income streams from various books, magazine articles, and other writing and editing jobs, of which TDVHoax is one (perhaps small) portion. Perhaps Carl would care to enlighten us on this. Or perhaps not -- I don't think it's necessarily any of my business. :-)

Paul

Keith

Look, I really never meant to get into all of this with 10 people who all agree with Mr. Olson. I stumbled across his article and found it insulting, so I wanted to let him know. I apologize for any comments that I've made to offend you good people. (Mr. Olson excluded...he's a jackass and I'm not apologizing to him). It seems that on many of these issues we just disagree, and when topics of religion come up it's always passionate. You have given me many things to think about, and rest assured that while I did enjoy the book and the movie, I put no faith in the "research" of Dan Brown. I will also make sure that anyone I run across who claims the book is truth, I will send them to the sites you mentioned.

Paul H

Hi Keith,

I apologize for being part of what you understandably perceived as ten people ganging up on you. I have been in your shoes before, as I have participated in internet discussions where my religious beliefs were definitely in the minority, and it's not a fun position to be in. You seem like a decent guy, and I don't think you came here with the intent of making trouble. I do strongly disagree with your assessment of Carl though; I think that you two just got off on the wrong foot with each other. I don't know Carl personally, but I know that he has had personal communications with probably hundreds of TDVC fans who are not anywhere near as level-headed or reasonable as you. Therefore, I understand how his patience for pro-TDVC arguments (or seemingly pro-TDVC arguments) might wear thin from time to time.

I wish you all the best!

Paul

Cristina A. Montes

To be fair to Carl, it was not he who first called TDVC "brain frying stupidity." Carl simply posted in this blog the article written by John Murphy which called TDVC "brain frying stupidity".

As to why IP can't give away free copies of "The Da Vinci Hoax", another reason is that it takes money to do top-quality research -- buying books and journals, photocopying stuff, travelling to libraries, paying Internet bills, hiring a research assistant, etc. If "The DA Vinci Hoax" were given away for free, I would doubt the quality of the research in it, as I would wonder if the authors were able to get access to the best sources (unless the authors were wealthy to begin with, which would be rare, or got a generous grant, in which case Carl and Sandra would have said so, since it's prestigious to receive a grant. I've worked as a research assistant in a think tank before, so I know that good research takes money.

Carl Olson

"Mr. Olson excluded...he's a jackass and I'm not apologizing to him..."

Sticks and stones. This post is closed. Next.

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