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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Da Vinci Christianity

"Christianity is a religion of peace." How many times have you heard that coming from conservative op-ed, blog, or Townhall column? This is usually followed by some hit piece concerning Islam, and their holy book teachings of violence.

Now I want to come out ahead of this and say that I find nothing appealing about Islam, I think it is every bit as reprehensible (and useless) as Christianity. I think any time a person wastes their time worshipping a mythological diety is ultimately destructive to society. (I can say I appreciate a "religion" that jettisons all the supernatural, and focuses on social and cultural value -- charity, etc.)

One thing both Islam and Christianity have in common is a broad spectrum of doctrines, from the very lax to the brutally extreme. The difference is largely cultural; Islam has its suicide bombers and Christianity has its Crusades, lynch mobs, and abortion clinic bombers. I have often pointed this out to fundamentalist Christians who make the "peace" claim.

However, today I eat crow. I have been proven wrong. I guess Christianity is a religion of peace after all. Just check out the box office total for The Da Vinci Code. For a movie that was blasted by virtually every conservative Christian pundit and organization, it performed quite well. I can only say that I gues the way conservative Christians showed their displeasure with this movie was to buy tickets.

Considering that this movie is about as inflammatory as that Muhammad cartoon (and on the exact same literary level as well), then by my reasoning Christians should have rioted as much as Muslims did. But instead of rioting (or even protesting) they bought tickets. I say good for them. Jesus told them, "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." [Matthew 5:39 NASB] They listened to Jesus and snatched those tickets right up.

But then I got to thinking. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place for evidence. Consider the fact that roughly 80% of Americans consider themselves Christian. Certainly a large percentage of those Christians went to see Da Vinci, but not all. And the rest certainly have an opinion on the movie, either they have no problem with it and may or may not see it based on it's interest to them, or they do have a problem with it and won't see it. This means that there are basically two types of Christians, Da Vinci Christians and the anti-blasphemy Christians. The second group being the ones who produced all the anti-Da Vinci noise over the years (and especially recently due to the movie).

Based on the popularity of the movie, it seems as though the first group is certainly the larger of the two, but the second group was the most vocal (and the minority). If this second group, the anti-blaspheming Christians is the minority then we have discovered something new that we never could point to before, concretely at least, that there is a set delineation in American Christianity. We all knew it existed but could never pin it down (Catholic/Protestant, liberal/conservative, figurative/fundamental, etc.). Now we have. The majority of Christians are Da Vinci Christians -- and those are the ones who recognize fictional works of literature and are not offended, who allow differing worldviews to coexist with their own, who don't buy into the whole faux "war on Christianity" meme put out by fundamental Christians.

These Da Vinci Christians are not the ones who pose the ominous threat of fascism clothed in "Christian Nation" sheepskins. But they are the ones who allow things to get worse. They allow the other group of Christians, the anti-blasphemy Christians, to dictate their fundamental Christian doctrine. Now that I have you pegged down, be forewarned that I will push the truth that just because we have common goals -- liberty -- you will not get a pass any more. You are now smoked out, and now must own up to the threat that anti-blasphemy Christians pose. Just because I fight Christianity, you can no longer defend them because that is giving them the cover they need to pursue their goals. And the time is coming that you will have to accept their dogmas or be relegated to the level of those like me, the atheists, the gays, the brown people, and everyone else who is not a part of their "Christian Nation."

The irony: There is a war on Christianity, but it is coming from an unknowing enemy, the Da Vinci Christians.

Please leave your thoughts or rants in comments.

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