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May 18, 2006


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Paranoid Christians alarmed by Christian bashing, goes to show the dangers of belief in the 'letter of the law' rather than the 'spirit of the law'.
There is an esoteric heart to Christianity, that (to me) hit its peak in Eckhart and Nicolas of Cusa amongst others. A mystical pointing towards unknowingness regarding the Absolute, with a non literal reading of scripture.
That has almost been buried under literalism and dogma that reduces anything of value in Christian teachings to the puerile, ridiculous, irrational and plain silly!
A few scholars and researchers are trying to lift the lid on this destruction of the wisdom tradition in Christianity and have tried to state the case for a 'resurrection' of gnostic wisdom within the tradition. I have particularly enjoyed, 'The Jesus Mysteries' by Timothy Freke and Peter Ghandy; 'The Christ Conspiracy' by Acharya S (somewhat New age but very to the point!) amongst many others.
Regards Nick

As far as recommending that folks read the Da Vinci Code it's fair to point out that it is the second worst novel ever written (after Bridges of Madison County).

R Blog, you speak blasphemy of The Da Vinci Code! My god, my god--I couldn't put the book down. It was a highly enjoyable read, in my utterly personal (but obviously utterly correct) opinion.

If there's anyone in the world who hasn't yet read The Da Vinci Code, do so. From the reviews it sounds like you should save your movie ticket money and go right to the printed page.

I agree about Bridges of Madison County, though.

Although fiction isn't my interest, I have Christian friends who've read it and recommend it as exactly what you described.

What's of more interest to me is the socio-religious timing. There is not only a need, but a demand for a renaissance in faith and religion. With all due respect to Brown for choosing his subject and pumping out the book, timing is the most important factor in the success of his book.

People nowadays want something spiritual, even if it's conspiratorial (perhaps, especially). The skin-deep, literal, gobbledygook of Enlightenment Christianity is like the distilling of the Passover feast down to a thirty second prayer with crackers and grape juice. Oh! That's what happened. :)

Really, this sort of book (and requisite movie with related nursery toys and action figures) is part of a thought shift that may just revive Christianity. Or, maybe not.

I am sure that Umberto Eco covered the whole sordid affair in his book, "Foucoult's Pendulum," and on a vaster canvas. And then in a subsequent interview, he drew a parallel between this kind of occult-conspiratoid story telling in Europe and the Wild West tales in America: heroic fiction all the way.

But after all, transits of Neptune and Uranus will bring iconoclastic, (or is that icon-o-plastic?) influences.

Who wants their favorite universe shattered by popular literature? And who wants to take someone else's universe literally? In group/out group mentality has the argument built-in. If I see the predominant influence in my life is my sex, I am a sexist. If that influence is age, I am an ageist.

Personally, I like to change hats often, and will announce to my family, "Today's Resentment Is..."

Brian, I too enjoyed the book. Brown has a real knack for breaking the action into short, quickly read chapters, not unlike Kurt Vonnegut.

The problem I had with this book, as well as his others, is the statement in the beginning claiming the work is fiction but the societies, technology, etc. are real. That said, he has his characters pontificate on church history as if what they say is fact. It isn't, and he often gets it quite wrong. But the 'facts' are easily checked with a little effort.

The earliest New Testament canonical writings indicate at least some of the first Christians believed in the divinity of Christ. It wasn't 'decided' at the Council of Nicea as Brown has Tiebing state. (Such fanciful ideas wouldn't come into play until the Jesus Seminar). There are many such instances where he gets the history flat wrong - but it serves his plot line. It's a work of historical fiction. Christians ought to welcome the opportunity for open discussion about their faith and calmly, effectively, with the help of history, show where Brown stretches the facts.

Personally, I think Deception Point is his best work. Now if using the rumored Aurora hypersonic spyplane as a rapid transit vehicle for the main characters, flying at Mach 2, just feet above the surface of the ocean - in broad daylight - isn't stretching credibility a bit, I don't know what is. But it sure makes a good read.

I'm not about to touch the 'Bible as fiction' comment. Nor am I going to wonder why you even wanted to read Bridges of Madison County...

Steve, in defense of my manliness I need to emphasize that my first wife purchased Bridges of Madison County. I thumbed through it looking for explicit sex scenes and, in the process, realized what a sorry excuse for a book it was.

In Name of (God & State: under a cruzifix) took a german court a son his Father, because he is a catholic Priest.

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