Debunking the Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code has sold over forty million copies worldwide. It has been translated into forty-four different languages and supposedly read by more than one hundred million readers. Along with the four hundred million dollars it has earned in worldwide book sales, Brown’s book has also spawned a mini-industry that has generated over one billion dollars in additional revenues from the sale of everything from video games to cookbooks. What’s more, the movie version of Brown’s book added a few hundred million dollars to the Hollywood coffers of Sony Pictures.
According to Ron Howard, who directed Sony Picture’s film version of Brown’s book, the movie was neither “theology” nor “history,” but merely “a work of fiction.” The film’s star, Tom Hanks, depicted the movie as “loaded with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense.” Even Hank’s co-star, gay atheist Ian McKellen, who tears the book of Leviticus out of hotel room Bibles and once suggested on NBC’s Today Show that “the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying [that it] is fiction,” admitted that the movie, like Brown’s book, was neither “true” nor “factual,” but just “a jolly good story.”
If Brown’s book is nothing more than a jolly good story loaded with all sorts of hooey and nonsense, then why did it stir up such a fuss and why were so many Christians worked up over Brown’s work of fiction? The fuss arose over Dan Brown’s assertion under the banner of “FACT” on the first page of his novel that “all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." While others readily recognized Brown’s book as fiction, Brown insisted that it was predicated on historical fact. For instance, when asked on the Today Show by NBC’s Matt Lauer, “How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually happened,” Brown answered, “Absolutely all of it.”
If the author of The Da Vinci Code was the only one suggesting that his work of fiction is based on historical fact, he would probably be summarily dismissed as just another one of our world’s many crackpots. Unfortunately, such is not the case. Dan Brown has both forerunners from whom he has drawn and collaborators who are backing him up. Among his forerunners are Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book published by Dell Doubleday in 1982. Among his collaborators are members of the Jesus Seminar, which is a group of liberal scholars dedicated to undermining Scripture, rewriting history, and redefining Christianity.
The Jesus Seminar is part of a new scholarship of historical revisionism alleging that the Bible was concocted by male chauvinists in order to suppress women in the church and strip Christianity of its original goddess worship. Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton and one of the new scholarship’s leading spokespersons, claims that Christianity started out as a pagan friendly, all-inclusive, nondiscriminatory, do-it-yourself, New Age-type religion. It was soon hijacked, however, by power-hungry church leaders who made-up the cardinal doctrines of the church (e.g. the divinity of Christ) and then insisted upon universal conformity to their cooked up creed. All nonconformists were subsequently vilified as heretics and all “sacred writings” (e.g. the Gnostic gospels) failing to verify imposed church dogma were outlawed and destroyed as heretical.
Despite the fact that the dubious scholarship behind The Da Vinci Code hasn’t a scholarly leg to stand on or a single shred of historical evidence to substantiate its incredible claims, it is gaining more and more adherents. As a result of its ever-growing popularity, David Klinghoffer wrote in National Review, “What’s at stake in The Da Vinci Code is nothing less than traditional Christianity itself.” Far from being a harmless piece of fiction, The Da Vinci Code is a deliberate attempt to rewrite history and redefine the Christian faith. If Brown and his co-conspirators are successful, many other Da Vinci Code readers will vow as one already has on Brown’s own website, “I’ll never be able to enter a church again.”
How can the church stand by silently in the face of such an affront to our faith? Truly, we cannot, especially in light of our responsibility to be prepared at all times to give an answer to anyone questioning our faith.1 You and I must answer the spurious charges leveled against traditional Christianity by the likes of Dan Brown, Michael Baigent, and Elaine Pagels. If we don’t, who will?
This Appendix is intended to aid you in answering the questions of those who have read or seen The Da Vinci Code. We will begin by presenting Dan Brown’s absurd assertions. Afterward, we will thoroughly dispute and disprove them. In the end, our faith, not Brown’s fiction, will be the only thing left standing.
THE DA VINCI CODE DECEPTIONS
The following are the absurd assertions of author Dan Brown. Each is woven into Brown’s work of fiction as an intricate part of a burial shroud that Brown hopes to wrap around Christianity before laying it permanently to rest. Like all who have sounded Christianity’s death knell before him, Brown too is destined to fail in his attempt to bury the Christian faith; for the Christian faith can no more be buried and forgotten than could the resurrected Christ who spawned it!
- Jesus was not divine, but merely human.
- Jesus married Mary Magdalene, with whom He had a daughter named Sarah.
- Jesus wanted Mary Magdalene to be the head of the church after His death.
- After Jesus died, Peter and his fellow male chauvinist apostles took over the church, forcing Mary Magdalene and Sarah to flee to France.
- In France, Sarah intermarried with the French royal line establishing the Merovingian line of French royalty.
- The female suppressing, divine feminine denying, goddess hating, male chauvinist church consolidated its power under the Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.
- The Council of Nicaea made-up the deity of Christ and excluded books from the Bible in order to convert the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity.
- A secret society called the Priory of Sion has known these things for centuries, but refused to divulge them for fear of church retribution.
- Past members of the Priory of Sion have included Victor Hugo, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci, who embedded in his painting The Last Supper a secret code that exposes Christianity as the greatest cover-up of all time.
DEBUNKING THE DA VINCI CODE
Let’s begin our defense of the Christian faith by talking about the Priory of Sion. Author Dan Brown admittedly gets his information about this mysterious organization from a book published in 1982, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The authors of this book got their information from documents provided them by an anti-Semitic Frenchman who was once sentenced to prison for fraud. This Frenchman, Pierre Plantard, started a small social club with three friends in 1954. The club’s supposed purpose was to lobby for low-cost housing in France. Although Plantard retained the club’s name, the club itself was dissolved in 1957. What was the name of Plantard’s club? You guessed it, the Priory of Sion.
During the 1960s and 1970s Plantard forged Priory documents claiming to trace the French royal bloodline from Mary Magdalene, through the kings of France, right up to the current heir to the French throne, which, to no one’s surprise, turned out to be Plantard himself. As the direct descendant of the French royal line of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Plantard changed his name to Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clairs.
In 1993, a close friend of then French President Francois Mitterrand, Roger-Patrice Pelat, was engulfed in a political scandal. When it came out in court that Pelat was listed in Plantard’s documents as a past Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, Plantard was ordered to court to testify. Under oath, Plantard was forced to admit that he had made-up the whole Priory of Sion scam. Afterward, a search was conducted of Plantard’s house that turned up several forged Priory of Sion documents, all of which were intended to proclaim Plantard as the true king of France. Believing him to be nothing more than a harmless nut, the judge in the case gave Plantard a stern warning and dismissed him.
Although court records, as well as numerous books and articles, proved that Plantard’s Priory of Sion is a hoax, Dan Brown reintroduced Plantard’s fantasies to unsuspecting readers and movie goers as historical fact. Far from being a secret organization itching to spill the beans on a fraudulent Christian faith, the real fraud turns out to be the Priory of Sion itself. Well, so much for a secret organization armed with Christianity-destroying documents that prove Mary Magdalene fled to France with Jesus’ daughter Sarah through whom the Merovingian line of French royalty was established.
Needless to say, Victor Hugo, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci were never members of Plantard’s Priory of Sion. Nevertheless, we can ill-afford to leave unchallenged Dan Brown’s claim that da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper contains a secret code that will do in the Christian faith if properly deciphered.
According to Brown, Leonardo da Vinci depicted the institution of the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) in his famous fresco. The figure to our Lord’s right in da Vinci’s masterpiece is not John “the beloved disciple,” as is commonly believed, but Mary Magdalene, as is evidenced by the V shape—the symbol of the divine feminine—between Christ and this figure. Finally, da Vinci’s omission of a grail or chalice from his painting supposedly points to the fact that the real Holy Grail is none other than Mary Magdalene herself, who held the blood of Christ as the mother of His child.
I know that such blasphemy of our Lord is difficult to bear, but you and I must be ready to answer all who spew it with more than shrieks and screams. Thus, let’s see how Brown’s balderdash stacks up against the facts surrounding da Vinci’s fresco.
Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by Lodovico, the Duke of Milan, to paint The Last Supper on a wall of a Dominican monastery’s refectory in the city of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In his own notebook, da Vinci drew intricate sketches of each of the fresco’s figures before painting them. Each one was labeled and identified by da Vinci himself. According to da Vinci, the figure seated to our Lord’s immediate right is John “the beloved disciple.” Though rather feminine-looking, da Vinci’s John has no hint of breasts, is consistent with other portraits of John painted in Florence at the time, and was intended by da Vinci to depict the disciple’s youthful, beardless face.
Along with intricate sketches, da Vinci’s notebook also contains detailed entries. From these we learn that The Last Supper is not, as Dan Brown asserts, a depiction of the institution of the Eucharist and chalice, but of the moment when our Lord announces to His disciples that one of them is going to betray Him.
This explains the stunned expressions on the disciples’ faces, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, who already knew the dark deed he was about to perpetrate. It also explains the V shape between John and Jesus caused by John’s reaction to our Lord’s shocking news. By the way, there are two other V shapes in da Vinci’s fresco, one between Andrew and Peter and another between Philip and Matthew. Yet, none of these fellows are alleged by Brown to be females.
With Brown’s secret Priory of Sion shown to be a sham and his concocted code expunged from da Vinci’s famous fresco, let’s now turn our attention to Brown’s made-up marriage between our Lord and Mary Magdalene. To begin with, there is no evidence, inside or outside of the Scripture, that Jesus was married, much less married to Mary Magdalene. In his book Breaking the Da Vinci Code, New Testament scholar Darrell Bock writes, “One of the few things on which a vast majority of liberal and conservative scholars agree is that Jesus was single.” Bock goes on to add, “It is such an unusual situation in the study of Jesus for scholars of all persuasions to agree—when it happens, one should note it. The agreed-upon point is quite likely valid.” Even John Dominic Crossan, cofounder of the Jesus Seminar, readily admits, “There is no evidence that Jesus was married.”
How then does Dan Brown and his ilk get away with passing off as historical fact so indefensible a fantasy? They do so by pointing us to a solitary piece of flimsy evidence; namely, an incomplete passage—where the text is broken and many of the words are missing—of a damaged manuscript of a fraudulent document written by Gnostic heretics. This document, the Gospel of Philip, contains a passage which reads: “And the companion of the ______ Mary Magdalene. ______ loved her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her ______.”
Believe it or not, from this single fragmented, fraudulent, Gnostic script, Brown and his collaborators conclude that Mary Magdalene was the companion (wife) of the Lord and that Jesus proved He loved her more than all of His other disciples by frequently kissing her on her mouth. Apparently, it doesn’t bother Brown and his cohorts to build a case for their blasphemy and to stake their eternal destinies on such flimsy evidence. Likewise, there appears to be no shortage of people in our world today who are willing to base their beliefs about Jesus Christ on Brown’s guesses of how to fill in the blank spaces of a patchy passage found in a forged document written by an unknown heretic.
What does the Bible say about Mary Magdalene? First, she was delivered by Jesus from seven demons.2 Second, she was one of many female followers of Christ who supported and traveled with Him and His disciples.3 Third, she was one of a large group of women who witnessed Christ’s crucifixion.4 Fourth, she was one of the women present at Jesus’ burial.5 Fifth, she was a witness to Christ’s resurrection.6 Sixth, she was the first person to whom the resurrected Christ appeared.7 And finally, she was the first to carry the news of Christ’s resurrection to His disciples.8
In light of the fact that Mary Magdalene was the first to announce Christ’s resurrection to His apostles, Hippolytus, one of the early church fathers, wrote in his commentary on the Song of Solomon that Mary Magdalene was an “apostle to the apostles.” Since an apostle was a messenger dispatched to convey an important message, all Hippolytus was alluding to was the fact that Mary Magdalene was dispatched by Christ to convey the message of His resurrection to the apostles. However, one of Dan Brown’s straw-grasping collaborators, Ann Graham Brock, the author of Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle, claims that this remark by an early church father proves that Mary Magdalene held a supreme rank over all of the other apostles in the early church.
To blatantly misinterpret and misrepresent the remarks of an early church father so as to deceive people into believing that Mary Magdalene was the early church’s chief apostle is inexcusable. Yet, when you have no proof, Biblical or otherwise, to back up your absurd assertions, you have to manufacture some collaborating evidence. This explains why Dan Brown and his bosom buddies will stoop to anything and stop at nothing to fool people into believing their folderol. Whether it’s twisting the words of early church fathers or filling in the blanks of forged heretical documents, Brown and his backers will not be deterred in their determination to deceive the public into believing that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and made her the head of His church.
Like all of Dan Brown’s untenable contentions, his contentions about the Council of Nicaea quickly collapse when challenged by the facts. His first contention about Nicaea to crumple under the weight of historical facts is his claim that the Council of Nicaea invented the deity of Christ in AD 325. While it is true that the Council of Nicaea was called by Constantine to combat the rising Arian heresy—the false teachings of a man named Arius who ardently denied that Jesus was God—it is equally true that had the deity of Christ not already been a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith there would have been no controversy over Arius’ teachings and no need for Constantine to have called the Council of Nicaea. That Christian belief in Christ’s divinity predated the Council of Nicaea by more than two centuries is easily established.
The earliest and most important declarations of Christ’s deity are found in our New Testament. Written in the first century with divinely inspired pens, our New Testament declared that Jesus was God more than two hundred years before the Council of Nicaea was convened. The following are just a few of the New Testament passages declaring Christ divine: John 1:1, 8:56, 10:30, 14:9, 20:28; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:16-17, 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8.
Along with the authors of the New Testament, the early church fathers also declared the divinity of Christ long before AD 325. Ignatius (AD 105) referred to Jesus as “Christ God.” Irenaeus (AD 180) wrote, “He [Jesus] is God, for the name Emmanuel indicates this.” Tertullian (AD 200) called Jesus, “Christ our God.” Novatian (AD 235) wrote, “He [Jesus] is not only man, but God also.” Cyprian (AD 250) professed, “Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.” In addition to these church fathers, many others also confessed Christ to be God long before the Council of Nicaea; take for example: Clement (AD 150), Justin Martyr (AD 160), Origen (AD 225), Methodius (AD 290), Lactantius (AD 304), and Arnobius (AD 305).
Along with the inerrant testimony of the New Testament and the early testimonies of church fathers, Dan Brown’s silly suggestion that Christ was first declared to be God at the Council of Nicaea is also refuted by the Roman Empire’s persecution of Christians prior to Constantine. It was the Christians’ insistence that Jesus alone was Lord, as well as their refusal to bow to the lordship of Caesar, that led to Rome’s horrible persecution of the church.
In the face of all of these facts, is there any wonder that the Council of Nicaea readily condemned Arius as a heretic? Though Sir Leigh Teabing, a fictitious character in Brown’s book, suggests that the famous Nicene Creed was adopted by “a relatively close vote,” the actual vote of the bishops present was three hundred and sixteen to two, not exactly a cliffhanger in anybody’s book. In its famous creed the Nicene Council boldly and unapologetically proclaimed to the world: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” To the Nicene Creed all true Christians, both past and present, add a hearty “Amen!”
Brown’s second contention about Nicaea to cave in under the weight of historical facts is his claim that the Council of Nicaea determined what books would and would not be in the New Testament. There were twenty rulings handed down by the Council of Nicaea, the contents of which are a matter of historical record. Not a single one of these recorded rulings, however, contains a single line of discussion about what books should or should not be in the New Testament. There is simply no historical evidence that this subject was even discussed, much less decided, at the Council of Nicaea.
Where then did Dan Brown get such a cockamamie notion? It turns out that Brown’s notion was first fabricated in AD 887 in an anonymous document called “Vetus Synodicon.” Much later, it was popularized by the infamous French atheist Voltaire. Voltaire, like Dan Brown, had no hesitancy about throwing everything he could get his hands on at Christianity, regardless of whether or not it was true or factual. I guess when you hate something so badly you’re blinded by your hatred to everything else but the destruction of the object of your hostility. How else can you account for the scorched-earth tactics of Christ-haters like Voltaire and Dan Brown?
Now that we’ve established the fact that there is no historical evidence that the Council Of Nicaea even discussed the New Testament canon, much less determined it, let’s take up Dan Brown’s other baseless charge that the Council of Nicaea unfairly excluded other “sacred writings” from inclusion in the New Testament. These other “sacred writings” or “lost books of the Bible” that Dan Brown and his fellow Bible-busters are always harping about are heretical documents written for the most part by Gnostic heretics. They are also so loony that it doesn’t take “spiritual rocket science” to figure out that they’re totally void of divine inspiration and undeserving of a place in the Bible.
Some of the books that Brown believes should be included in our Bible record ridiculous stories about Jesus’ childhood. In one of these stories, Jesus is making mud pies with the other children. However, unlike the other children’s mud pies, Jesus’ become doves and fly away when He tosses them into the air. In another story, Jesus kills another kid by pushing him off the top of a house. Once accused of the other child’s death, the boy Jesus clears Himself by raising the dead child back to life. Obviously, these stories are false, their authors frauds, and anyone who believes them is a fool.
Along with loopy stories, Dan Brown’s bible would also contain ludicrous teachings. Just consider some of these gems from the Gnostic gospels:
- Jesus [Yeshua] said, “Blessings on the lion if a human eats it, making the lion human. Foul is the human if a lion eats it, making the lion human.”
- There are many animals that exist in the world which are in human form.
- Jesus [Yeshua] said, “Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy.”
- Winter is the world, summer the other realm. It is wrong to pray in winter.
- God is a dyer. The good dyes, true dyes, dissolve into things dyed in them. So too for things god has dyed. His dyes are imperishable because of their colors. What god dips, he dips in water.
- Jesus [Yeshua] said unto them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make the male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be the male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in the place of an eye, a hand in the place of a hand, a foot in the place of a foot, an image in the place of an image, then you will enter the Kingdom.”
Obviously, Dan Brown’s bible would not be the “Good Book,” but a really goofy book. While his wild imagination or emotional instability, whichever the case may be, qualifies him to compile material for comic books or the funny pages, it certainly disqualifies him from serious consideration when it comes to his opinions concerning the composition of the Biblical canon.
Time after time we have seen how easy it is to debunk Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. Armed with neither truth nor logic, Brown’s hypotheses are easily shot full of holes. Yet, there is probably no place where The Da Vinci Code falls faster on its dopey-looking face than when it comes to Dan Brown’s contention that the Roman Catholic Church, along with its mysterious ecclesiastical Opus Dei,9 is chiefly responsible for ousting matriarchal paganism and the divine feminine from the Christian faith.
Brown’s buffoonery on this point is birthed by his failure to discern the difference between true Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Like most of the world today, Brown thinks of Catholicism and Christianity as one and the same, despite the fact that the Catholic Church is actually an apostate church and the second largest false religion in the world, Islam being the largest.
Mistakenly seeing Catholicism and Christianity as synonymous results in Dan Brown’s ludicrous assertion that the Catholic Church ousted from the Christian faith both matriarchal paganism and the divine feminine. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, the truth is the exact opposition of what Brown laughably proposes. Roman Catholicism never ousted matriarchal paganism and the divine feminine from the Christian church, but was born when the Christian church was overrun by matriarchal paganism and the divine feminine.
When the Roman Emperor Constantine, along with his successors, converted the Roman Empire to Christianity by the sword, pagans flooded into the church. These pagans brought with them all of their pagan religions. Unable to persuade the pagans to renounce their religions, the church’s clergy baptized pagan religions by ascribing to pagan rituals Christian meanings. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church was born and the Dark Ages began.
Roman Catholicism is, and always has been, nothing more than baptized paganism. Far from expelling matriarchal paganism and the divine feminine from the Christian church, as Dan Brown preposterously proposes, Roman Catholicism is an apostate church that has embraced both. How can any sane person take Brown’s absurd assertion seriously that the Madonna worshiping Roman Catholic Church divested the Christian faith of the divine feminine? Anyone willing to consent to such an obvious contradiction ought to be forced to say a few hundred Hail Marys for a penance.
It was the Apostle Paul who warned us about suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.10 No one believes The Da Vinci Code because it is true, factual, or logical. It is obviously none of the above. It is clearly false, fictional, and illogical. Why then are so many people willing to believe it? As one of its proponents protested when presented with the overwhelming evidence against it, “Why can’t we believe that it might have happened?” Well, you can if you want to, but believing it doesn’t make it true. And why would anyone insist upon believing something that is obviously false? This is the question. The answer, according to Paul, is unrighteousness.
The only reason for embracing The Da Vinci Code is enmity with God. No one, including liberal Ivy League Bible scholars, has climbed into bed with Dan Brown because they have a brilliant mind, but only because they have a black heart. People believe The Da Vinci Code for one reason and one reason only; namely, they are unrighteous—not right with God—and unwilling to come to Christ, who is man’s only hope of reconciliation with God.
1 1 Peter 3:15
2 Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2
3 Luke 8:1-3
4 Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; John 19:25
5 Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47
6 Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12
7 Mark 16:9-11
8 John 20:11-18
9 Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei is commonly known as Opus Dei, which is Latin for “Work of God.” It is an organization of the Roman Catholic Church started in Spain in 1928 by Josemaría Escrivá, a Roman Catholic priest. Its purpose is to promote closeness to God through the propagation of Roman Catholicism.
10 Romans 1:18