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Interesting DaVinci Panels- May 30

This weekend I spoke at my home church and then on a panel about the DaVinci Code in Nashville. This second event was the second panel I have been a part of since the movie. On the first one in Allen, Texas I shared the stage with a lawyer who very much believed in Gnostic ideas, although he recognized the historical errors in the Code.

This weekend I spoke at my home church and then on a panel about the DaVinci Code in Nashville. This second event was the second panel I have been a part of since the movie. On the first one in Allen, Texas I shared the stage with a lawyer who very much believed in Gnostic ideas, although he recognized the historical errors in the Code. Also on that panel were a Catholic theologian, a librarian from Bridwell Library of SMU, and a female psychiatrist, who spoke about issues of gender and male-female traits in our personalities. On the second panel in Nashville, I shared the microphone with the former religion editor of The Tennessean (Nashville’s key paper), Ray Waddell, a graduate of Vanderbilt, who was full of incisive anaysis of the reasons for the novel’s impact. A second panelist was a historical theologian from Libscomb University. It made for an interesting time. Waddell observed that Brown is inviting people onto a spiritual journey that has become appealing in our time. Granted that journey is one that does not demand very much of us spiritually, but real interest is there. In part, the novel also plays off of the skepticism that much institutional religion meets today (an overhang of general American skepticism, influence of the sixties with baby boomers, interest in the underdog and their historical perspective, and a rather checkered Christian history that asks has monotheism been a help or been destructive in its contributions to human history). That last question is one I weighed in on, noting that the answer was that monotheistic religions had both benefitied and harmed humanity, as I pointed out that the reaction against Christianity in large part stems in the West from the history of religious war that did so much damage in Europe between the 10th-18th centuries. These wars and their destructive nature led us directly into the Enlightenment, when those in politics worked hard to keep religion out of the public square in order to stem the violent tide. Here is an example where knowing history can teach us, hopefully, how to avoid mistakes of the past. We also discussed whether history, when written by the winners, inevitably leads to historical distortion. I responded to such a question from the crowd by observing that sometimes the winners deserve to win and that this was the case in the Christian-Gnostic situation of the 2nd and 3rd century. Waddell added that discounting the role of providence in this history is something people also like to do, but should not do. In sum, it was a meaningful time and exchange. The DaVinci Code seems to be winding down, although media attention continues as I do a couple of radio interviews today. Of course, a key topic all of this raises is about The Missing Gospels. I will have more to say about this in days to come….

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    Brad

    Benefit or harm caused by monothiesim
    I’ve seen this question posed on several other sites. The question itself seems almost rhetorical, or is it bait? Any answer you give supports the proposition that monotheism has caused at least some damage to humans (secularists would see only the innocent human carnage in the destruction of Sodom although I realize they want to limit their discussion to documented modern events).

    In the end, any value or lack of value in monotheism is connected to the TRUTH or lack thereof in the concept of monotheism itself. A concept that cannot be proven within secular limits. In this debate, neither committed side will bend anyway and observers will be either confused or sympathetic to the secular view.

    Harm advocates will name events, such as witch trials and the Inquisition, which are not monotheistic events but events promulgated by secularists that have hijacked monotheistic robes. How do we, as Christians, prove that horrific historical events done in the name of Christianity were not done by Christians?