Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dan Brown's Theology and Christology?

Ross Douthat, the new conservative columnist for the NYT, offers his thoughts on the theology and christology of Dan Brown, in light of the new movie, "Angels and Demons." Saith Douthat:
In the Brownian worldview, all religions — even Roman Catholicism — have the potential to be wonderful, so long as we can get over the idea that any one of them might be particularly true. It’s a message perfectly tailored for 21st-century America, where the most important religious trend is neither swelling unbelief nor rising fundamentalism, but the emergence of a generalized “religiousness” detached from the claims of any specific faith tradition.
[H]e serves up a Jesus who’s a thoroughly modern sort of messiah — sexy, worldly, and Goddess-worshiping, with a wife and kids, a house in the Galilean suburbs, and no delusions about his own divinity.
I would add that one of the central themes of "Angels and Demons" is the modern compatibility of religion and science, a disconnect between the two is potentially harmful. I don't think that Dan Brown is assaulting of religion per se, but he is critical with many of the historical claims of Christianity, especially Catholicism. The truth of the matter, however, is you should read his books for entertainment purposes alone, not for any historical truth claims about the Jesus Movement and the Early Church; Brown does play fast and loose with history. To which, Douthat harshly concludes:
For millions of readers, Brown’s novels have helped smooth over the tension between ancient Christianity and modern American faith. But the tension endures. You can have Jesus or Dan Brown. But you can’t have both.
I wouldn't go that far, but I do think he offers a valid point.

1 comment:

JCWhite said...

I have a "novel" idea...Brown's books are just that, novels.