Monday, May 15, 2006

DaVinci Follow-up

Here is the thing that really bugs me about the Church's reaction to this whole thing: even if it were all true, the message is the same. Should anyone believe any of [the book]? No. If it were to somehow all be proven as fact should that change any aspect of one's faith? Hell no. Jesus' message was one of compassion. Forgive, love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you, turn the other cheek, help the poor, put love and compassion for all of mankind above any rule laid down by humanity. These are the consistant lessons of the new testament (all things that are the opposite of the actions of the religious right in this country). In the Gospels it is neither stated nor even entoned that sex is a vile thing, that procreation is its only purpose, that gay sex leads to hell, or that women are any less than men in any fact throughout the gospels we see Christ treating women as equals. He speaks with them in public, he has consort with sinful women (typically assumed to be prostitutes), he treats women as human beings--he treats them with respect. (Jesus also never says to forgive those who wrong you seventy times seven times, then kill them, but that's another rant.)

So the book paints the Church in a poor light. But, hey, frankly, the Vatican hasn't really done a whole lot to not deserve it. In practice, in the Catholic Church, women are inferiors. They are not allowed to become priests, which is more than enough to demonstrate the practical inferiority in treatment. Further, birth control and abortion views are far more anti-female than anti-male (fundamentally this is not, necessarily, true, but in perception and practice it is). Historically the anti-sex view of the church was also an anti-female practice. Men were almost expected to have sex, even if not married--heck there was even a pope who (was rumored to have) had sex parties at the Vatican where he would bring in prostitutes and the men would compete to see who could copulate the most (he counted the # of ejaculations), and you thought the church was stuffy. Point is the Catholic Church has never been a particularly friendly place for women, especially those who have been sinners, and who hasn't. Even the strides that were made in the 20th century to make the Church more open to its secular body didn't do anything, specifically, to improve the standing of women. The closest the church has come to leveling the playing field is to emphasize that masturbation is a sin (in perception this affects men more), and I don't know that I've met a Catholic male, willing to discuss it, that doesn't consider this ridiculous (the typically given reason would actually make not having sex at least ~once/week a sin for any male past puberty...and wet dreams used to be considered sinful too).

I think the primary drive to success for the book is its overt statement of the equality of the sexes (the glory of the female) and the lack of shame regarding sex. Now there are a whole bunch of ways things are better when people do not succumb to every sexual desire that they have, and abstinance certainly has benefits, but so long as sex is seen as sinful and shameful, and women are treated as inferiors within the Catholic Church The DaVinci Code will continue to have success and more people will come to look with increasing disdain upon the Vatican. If the Church spent more effort fixing the problems rather than decrying a work of fiction, maybe there would be no reason to fear that people may read (view) it as fact.


Seven Star Hand said...

There is a way to verify the truth...

Hello Jacob and all,

Yes, the DaVinci Code is a novel and its version of history is no better than that in the New Testament. In other words, neither is the literal truth, and that is a key point of the story. The primary sub-plot was about purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, just like the Bible and related texts.

Want to know why we can't let the Vatican succeed at telling us what to think about ancient history? There is a way to verify the truth and that is precisely what the Vatican doesn't want you to understand. If the Bible represented the literal truth and accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk.

It is undeniable the New Testament is framed by symbolism and allegory. The same is evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, and other related texts. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

It's amazing the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are literal truth. It is beyond obvious they are replete with ancient Hebrew symbology. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions.

Likewise, the following Washington Post article ( The Book of Bart) describes how many changes and embellishments were made to these texts over the centuries, unequivocally demonstrating they are not original, infallible, or truthful.

What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom? It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. Now comes justice, hot on its heels... (symbolism...)

Revelations from the Apocalypse

Here is Wisdom!!

Jacob said...

Yes, but...
1. If the meanings are hidden, then that is because we do not understand them, not because that was the intent. I certainly do not believe that mathmatical algorithms will "solve" the Bible.
2. The Vatican does not insist the Bible is literal truth. They do believe it is a historical document. They realize that the best stories (legends, whatever) are based on real life events. Symbolic: yes. Untrue mythology: no.
3. The Vatican does not like common folk interpreting the Bible because they are, almost entirely, unequipped to do so. Maybe they're trying to hide shit, but mostly, I'd bet, they just move at a sloth's pace and won't make any statement regarding interpretation without 99% agreement and/or papal decree.
4. In the post I was not trying to imply anything beyond the fact that the Catholic Churh has treated and does treat women as inferiors, and that that is the reason for the success of the DaVinci Code, because it sure as hell is not the quality of the book.