Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Seeker's Guide

Did the Da Vinci Code whet your interest in religion and now you want to do more than just read about it? The following guide is intended to help you match what may have struck you about the novel to paths that have a similar view. It is intended as an aid, like a Wikipedia disambiguation page, it is not intended as a criticism of the paths listed.
[Spoilers? If you haven't read the novel by now, why start?]


If you liked:

Religion outside-the-box. The freedom to open up the traditional sacred stories, to re-arrange them and look at them from different perspectives, and the understanding that brings.

But didn't care for:

The story ending up being reduced to heredity and human remains.

Then:

Gnosticism may be of interest. This path is based on gaining personal acquaintance with and understanding of spiritual reality: Gnosis.

Stories and symbols are tools to express this Gnosis, which cannot be directly communicated in prosaic language, but can only be indicated with the poetic. A continuum of ancient and modern expressions of Gnosis means that tradition can be used as a guide or aid to individual paths. Spiritual/Mystical experience is primary, understanding the reality behind such experiences is transformative, and such understanding includes ones own nature.


If you liked:

The divine embodied/valued in the form of our physical bodies, particularly associated with the wonder of procreation. Perhaps with a preference for seeing the divine as feminine.

Then:

Neo-Paganism may be of interest. This path is often described as “earth centered” and celebrates/worships the divine of or through the world (panentheism). This is actually the closest to the world-view Dan Brown develops in the novel. In the eclectic form of Neo-Paganism, the Goddess is usually seen as the reality behind the images of the ancient pagan gods, with a focus on the feminine images of the divine.


If you liked:

Following the threads of symbols and clues through obscure areas of history

But didn't care for:

The goddess-like devotion to Mary Magdalen.

Then:

Esotericism may be of interest. Concerned with rediscovering and tracing ancient hidden knowledge and wisdom and the groups and traditions believed to have possessed it, many believe that it all can be traced to one origin, or followed to one goal.


If you liked:

The idea of Jesus as a feminist and the general sentiment of the characterization of church history in the novel.

But didn't care for:

The blatantly unhistorical elements and Jesus being only another human.

Then:

Mainstream liberal Christianity may be of interest. Most liberal Christian denominations allow for discussion and debate—within limits. So, you can explore some aspects and different views of Christian origins and Jesus, while keeping most issues out of the discussion. This style is in keeping with the comfort level of most people, and their idea of what constitutes a religion or a church—shared beliefs and practices.


If you liked:

The exposé of Opus Dei and the dark history of the church, as well as, the general setting and ambiance of the novel.

But didn't care for:

The goddess elements, and all the inaccuracies and blatant heresies.

Then:

Traditional high liturgy Church may be of interest: Eastern Orthodoxy, High Church Protestantism, and yes, Roman Catholicism.

Eastern Orthodoxy has become a path for many low church protestants to reclaim a part of the rich liturgical and symbolic Christian tradition, while bypassing historical differences with Roman Catholicism and other Protestant denominations. High Church Protestantism offers a toned-down version of liturgical Christian tradition, mixed with more democratic forms of governance.

And, finally, Roman Catholicism wouldn't be such a hot button issue for no reason at all. Guilt by association is an indication of a shadow-complex at work, and since the negative view has internal rather than external associations, don't be surprised if your attitude suddenly changes. Roman Catholicism may be associated with some terrible things, but there are also many wonderful and beneficial things as well. Guilt-by-association is unrealistic and irrational, and so upon research or reflection. merit-by-association can replace it, and a convert is made.

1 comment:

David C. said...

I found a wiki-based site that would benefit from your remarks and insight.

It looks like a ‘Code’ author has dumped his content into a wiki so anyone can go in and edit what’s there or add new content. Seems interesting...the URL is
http://secretsbehindthedavincicode.wetpaint.com