Saturday, April 29, 2006

Defending the Bible? Come on.


The Da Vinci Code has the Christian world rocking these days.

I confess. I read the book when it was first published. I found it fascinating fiction. Most interesting. A real page turner! And, I didn't think much about it, except to recommend it as a "good read" to family and friends.

Then, the church got involved, big time.

Dan Brown appeared on NBC's Today Show earlier this week. His formal statement was interesting. He pointed out that the Bible had successfully withstood almost 1500 years of attack, and he didn't have much reason to think a fiction writer such as himself posed much of a threat to the good book today.

I think he got that about right.

Frankly, I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Why are Christians and churches upset by Dan Brown's creative cliffhanger?

It's fiction, already!

Why be so upset about attacks on a book that only a small percentage of its purported adherents take all that seriously for the most part anyway?

Here's an idea.

Until we read the Bible and begin to act on what it clearly and unequivocally declares about poverty, injustice, oppression, wealth, materialism, compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy, immigrants, welcoming sinners and embracing with tenderness all who suffer, let's just lay off Dan Brown and his book.

[Editorial note: I have a very good friend who is all the time telling me that you can use the Bible to prove just about anything. He has a point. It is a diverse book. So, let's stick to the really clear stuff, okay?]

The Bible really doesn't need defenders. Its truth is best authenticated in the lives of those who read it and take it to heart.

The Bible needs people who will read it and pursue its major themes with all their hearts. You know the "red letter" type stuff, that, if followed could actually change the world.

Once we get to the end of that, then we can worry about what the artists of the day might be saying.

What do you think?

As for me, I'm looking forward to the movie.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry, you are on the mark as always. What is it that drives people to be so feverishly opposed to anyone who questions their worldview?

Does that have anything to say about their underlying feelings about the integrity of their assumptions, perhaps?

JG

KentF said...

I'm in full agreement. So many Christians are obsessed with being "disappointed" with the worldor Hollywood. My response to that is "And?"

Anonymous said...

Larry - I don't understand the attack on a book of fiction. Most importantly, I don't understand why these same people that are wasting energy on a book of fiction don't posses the same energy focusing on the every - day attacks on the teachings of the Bible. How much better would this world be if this energy brought light to and corrected the daily prejudices and injustice in this world. Many seem to want to protect the "words" of the Bible but don't want to put those "words" into "action". Maybe this is because it is much easier to be critical of a book than it is to stand up on a daily basis for what the Bible teaches? I must confess, however, that I am guilty of the same type of inaction. I read your writings every day - as soon as I get to work - because I have found that you remind me daily of what is important and you focus me on something other than "me". Your daily challenges have made me a more compassionate person. Thanks. David D.

Jeremy Gregg said...

Larry,
Thought you'd want to see this mention of you and CDM on another blog:
http://www.travisstanley.net/

Anonymous said...

I love you man. You always explain things so well. Now tell us what you think about Harry Potter. :)

Larry James said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure how well I explain things, but I have discovered across the years that if I can find a way to confine the battles of my faith to some rather esoteric, "spiritual realm"--like in protecting my children from harmless fairy tales and stories filled with magic like Harry Potter and even larger than life demonic struggles that seldom get down to the things of this world--I don't have to face the real stuff like war, injustice, poverty, racism, classism, hatred, discrimination and public policy. Funny how religion can be made my protector and harmless, largely irrelevant task master that way.

Anonymous said...

[Editorial note: I have a very good friend who is all the time telling me that you can use the Bible to prove just about anything.....]

Your friend has a friend at the NY Times: in her review of the essay, "Why Orwell Matters", Judith Shulevitz says, "quoting Orwell is like quoting Scripture. You can find support for almost any argument..." Wonderful, no?

As to the rest of your comments: spot on. It's just fiction, after all. Cheers, Colin

steve said...

Larry, once again you skewer me! as a matter of fact, I was raised in a very "biblical" home, and home church. I "knew" the bible by the age of twelve well enough to argue any minute point of esoteric theology that any unwary ingenue might care to try.

BUT by the time I was 18, I had decided I was grateful for whoever came up with the red letter addition. This way I could avoid those (literally) damning words. I had tried to come to terms with Jesus' words in my starry eyed teen years, and had been branded unrealistic and a communist. The most religious folks were the ones who most confused me in the application of the red letters, and I myself wanted off the hook like crazy.

BUT I finally could not accept Christianity without Jesus (duh) and searched through my twenties every sacred text of every religion I could find. I had to finally confess with Peter that there was no where to go...Jesus alone had the words of life. I asked him to help me see...I finally "saw" my blindness. He did, and I have been a crazy fanatic ever since.

In 1986 I actually said I would do what he told me to, using the red letters as my default "standing orders", and discovered the abundant life.

My son and I read Harry Potter, and will see the "movie" and we minister to widows and orphans daily...and read your blog to complete our radical lifestyle!

Yeshuaofguat said...

As I dont live in the USA I personally think the two most christian men in america are (drum roll please) you and my uncle jeff (note: he is a liberal-democrat and doesnt go to chruch and yet)

Rick Krug said...

At issue for the DVC was not that it is fiction, but that so many use it to "prove" why the Bible is unreliable or why Christianity is flawed in its origins.

I too had no problem reading the thing...Got it the day it come out. No threat personally.

But as to those who are simply searching for a reason to not take Christianity serious, there are probably better reasons one can create.

The Bible is much like a loin in a cage....whgat is the best way to protect a lion in a cage? Open the door - the lon can do fine on his own.

The best way to protect the Bible is to get it out in the open. Frankly, I am confident in the power of God's Word to hold its own.

Rick Krug said...

At issue for the DVC was not that it is fiction, but that so many use it to "prove" why the Bible is unreliable or why Christianity is flawed in its origins.

I too had no problem reading the thing...Got it the day it come out. No threat personally.

But as to those who are simply searching for a reason to not take Christianity serious, there are probably better reasons one can create.

The Bible is much like a loin in a cage....what is the best way to protect a lion in a cage? Open the door - the lion can do fine on his own.

The best way to protect the Bible is to get it out in the open. Frankly, I am confident in the power of God's Word to hold its own.