Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
The New York Times called me recently asking what’s wrong with “The Da Vinci Code.”
With regard to the book by that name, there have been a large number of articles, some published in MOVIEGUIDE?, explaining its egregious historical, theological, and moral problems. With regard to the movie scheduled to be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures, however, about which the Times was calling, we won’t know until we see the final product.
The strange thing about the movie is that the two key people involved, Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, claim to be Christians. Mr. Hanks has told reporters that he came to Christ many years ago and now attends a Greek Orthodox church with his wife. A Campus Crusade minister worked as Ron Howard’s assistant for many years and said that Mr. Howard went to a Presbyterian church. Therefore, it is strange that these two men are making “The Da Vinci Code,” unless they have either sold out and see it as a way of making a lot of money, or they plan to change it.
Hollywood often changes books. Sometimes, with even the biggest titles, the studio buys the book then changes the story completely. Some undergo significant tweaks, such as “Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil” and “Sahara.” Often the endings of the novels are too down and depressing, so filmmakers will change the ending and make it more upbeat. This may be the case with “Code,” since a Christian marketing firm has been hired to market “The Da Vinci Code” to the church and has seen the script.
If the movie accurately reflects the book, however, then the movie is blasphemy and historical revisionism. However, many people just don’t understand why blasphemy is a bad thing.
I told the New York Times that the essence of Christianity is that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s heart is to save everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and that ability to accept His salvation is in itself a gift from God.
“The Da Vinci Code,” however, only focuses on those who are part of the “divine bloodline,” or those who have special knowledge about God. Thus, the theology of “The Da Vinci Code” is bad news for anyone who wants to be saved. If you don’t have special knowledge (as in Gnosticism), and/or are not part of the bloodline, then you will be excluded from salvation.
A History Channel program on “The Da Vinci Code” points out that most of France knows that a conman named Pierre Plantard invented the story upon which “The Da Vinci Code” is based, because he was pretending to be an heir to the French throne. The book does not sell well in France for that very reason.
For many years, people followed occult heresies like that in “The Da Vinci Code,” because, in their egotism and narcissism, they included themselves in the favored group. Modern DNA testing makes that very hard to do.
The long and the short of it is, “The Da Vinci Code” is bad news. After our thorough conversation, the New York Times reporter understood clearly that the aristocratic elitism and Gnosticism of “The Da Vinci Code” is abhorrent to the reporter’s point of view and should be abhorrent to every American who cherishes faith.
Then the reporter asked, “Why worry? After all, it’s just a movie.” I pointed out to the reporter: If communication has no impact, why was he writing? Why does the New York Times advertise? The reporter conceded that they write and advertise because they want influence. Just so, some people will be influenced by “The Da Vinci Code’s” blasphemies.
Having grown up in a non-Christian home that was partial to such occult fantasies, I can personally tell you that many people outside of the church are impacted by these fantasies. The sad part is that they lead people who aren’t born again away from the truth, which is that “God so loved the world …”