Thursday, May 18, 2006

Da Vinci Disclaimer

Speaking on "The Today Show," actor Ian McKellen, who plays Teabing in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code, is asked if there should be a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that it is fiction. The actor replies that he thinks the Bible should have a disclaimer that it is fiction.

16 comments:

Jesse said...

According to NewsBusters.org (the article your post references), "actor Ian McKellen managed to pour a refinery tank's worth of gasoline on the fire on this morning's 'Today' show, asserting that the Bible should carry a disclaimer saying that it is "fiction."

Don't accept this statement without also watching the video clip of the actual comment by McKellen - in it, McKellen affirms that he doesn't accept The Da Vinci Code as completely factual. If he has poured fuel on the fire, I think that might be because we are a little too sensitive, and are so ignorant of postmodern thinking that we become shocked at such comments. We must avoid reading things into other people's statements that aren't there.

I agree with McKellan that it is absurd to suggest that DVC have a disclaimer... because IT'S A NOVEL. I think his comment is being misconstrued. I don't think he's being intentionally "anti-Christian".

Brother Bob said...

Hmmm. I hear what you're saying, but I still would say that it should have a disclaimer. Sure, it's a novel, but its a novel that claims to be based on historical facts, and then twists those facts. Many movies that are based on history have disclaimers, clarifications, etc., even if they are short statements such as "based on a true story," "inspired by a true story," etc. If we return to the example of a novel that claimed the holocaust did not occur, I'm sure Jews would ask for a disclaimer.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

Oh my heavenly something or other. I find myself agreeing 100% with Jesse!! And really embarrassed that he's said what I've been trying to say much better than I did. Hypersensitivity...yes...that's it...and I still think that holocuast thing is a bad example. First it's far too recent and we have far too much physical proof for it to be a reasonable example of what you're trying to say, although I do understand what you're saying.

Brother Bob said...

Okay, so you think it's hypersensitive to be offended by a book that tells millions of people that "everything you have ever heard about Christ is false" (direct quote from Dan Brown)? I don't think so.
I'm responding, sure, as I feel I have every responsibility to do. But "hypersensitive"? If I was calling for a boycott or threatening to burn down the movie theaters (which is what many Muslims would do with a similar offense) then I would agree my reaction is hypersensitive.

Brother Bob said...

Let me ad that although I don't plan to see the movie, I'm not crusading against people seeing it if they wish. In fact, our church's college and career group is having a discussion of "The Da Vinci Code" and plans next Saturday to go see the movie together, inviting friends to see it with them and have a discussion afterwards. At the theater, they are not going to protest, but are going to hand out a brochure that answers questions about the movie and points people to the truth about Christ.
I think what our college group is doing is great.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

I didn't mean that I think your opinion stems from emotion rather than logic. I wasn't suggesting that you're 'on the edge' or anything. (A pastor on the edge!!! Sorry just had a funny ring to me)

I just think you're arguing a point that doesn't need to be argued. It's a silly idea he's put forth in his own little attempt to get people's attention.

Jesse said...

Barna released some stats (http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrowPreview&BarnaUpdateID=238) showing that DVC more often confirms peoples beliefs rather than changes them - I think the survey was a fair representation of reality. In my experience dialoguing with nominal or non-Christians, that's what I see. People are going to believe what they want to believe, and our task should be to show them reasons why they should WANT to believe the truth. I think that demonstrating anger or irritation with DVC only gives people a reason to believe it - I know that's the effect it would have had on me (and pushes me to avoid that sort of reaction now).

Jesse said...

By the way, where did the comment "If I was calling for a boycott or threatening to burn down the movie theaters (which is what many Muslims would do with a similar offense)" come from?
Uh oh. I may be opening up another can of worms here. :)
Actually, many Muslims are as angry at Dan Brown as many Catholics/Protestants/Evangelicals are. Most Muslims view Jesus as a prophet and don't like seeing him smeared. I think painting Muslims with a broad stroke is pushing them away from Christ and damaging our credibility with them. Lumping them together is unfair and inaccurate. We need to be honest.

Brother Bob said...

Perhaps you misunderstand. I am aware that there are Muslims and Jews who are offended by Dan Brown's book, as well. I am also aware that not all Muslims are the same. But I stand by my statement, which was that a boycott of violence would be how "many Muslims" would react under a "similar offense." By "similar offense" I mean if a book or movie offensive to Muslim faith. The actions of "many Muslims" regarding the offensive cartoons directed at Muhammad is a good recent illustration of what I'm talking about. Their actions speak for themselves.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

I see where you're going with your choice of words, but this is one where I think you're standing behind a statement that should be retracted, because if you want to say how 'many muslims' would reactin a 'similar situation' you might be called to remember how 'most christians' reacted to 'most situations' not that terribly long ago.

Brother Bob said...

Give me a specific example that applies to "most Christians" in "most situations" and that was "not that terribly long ago" so we can be sure that we are discussing the same thing. Be sure to define how many Christians, what the situation was, and how long ago it was.

Jesse said...

I think Trudy's point is taken, without the necessity of "proving" her point with specific instances - we Christians act stupid fairly often (although, with the exception of some radical groups in third world countries, we don't often become physically violent).
I agree that all of the violence on the part of Muslims in reponse to the cartoons was horrible and inexcusable, but I don't think its legitimate to use that as a rationale for us to get up in arms over DVC. From my brief reading of the subject, it appears that the Muslims who reacted violently to the cartoons (1) constitute a very small percentage of the 1.5 Billion Muslims worldwide (2) were whipped into a frenzy by a handful of instigators seeking to use the cartoons as an excuse to act out of an existing hatred for western culture and the specific actions of those acting under the banner of "Christianity" - politicized as it may be. Furthermore, a greater percentage of Muslims seem to view the cartoons in the same way that Jews view anti-Semitic material (according to one Muslim blogger I read). I know its not logical, but that's the way they look at it. Add to that the fact that a comparatively small percentage acted out violently - and they had to be instigated - and it starts to make me cautious about making blanket statements about Islam. (btw - I worked with some devout muslims while serving as a prison Chaplain. In my personal experience, the devout Muslims I knew were very passionate in their distaste for western culture and all forms of Christianity, but they demonstrated enormous self-control in their dealings with others. They weren't crazy wild-eyed extremists looking for a fight.)
I know this post is already too long, but I want to bring it back around to where we started by asking a (somewhat pointed) question: even if, for the sake of argument, "many Muslims" reacted violently to something as trivial as a cartoon, why should that make it ok for us to get upset over a novel?

Brother Bob said...

But thank you for bringing it back around to your main question. You asked: "even if, for the sake or argument 'many Muslims' reacted violently to something as trivial as a cartoon, why should that make it ok for us to get upset over a novel?"
I thought I already answered that question in the second and fourth posts of this thread (see above). But for the sake of clarity, I will repeat myself: First, I do NOT think angry Muslim reactions to offenses justify angry Christian reactions to offenses. I was NOT saying, "Muslims destroy things when they are offended, so Christians should be able to do the same." No. Instead, I was saying, "Christians do not respond as violently as Muslims do when we suffer a similar offense."
Second, "The Da Vinci Code" is a novel, yes, but it is a novel that claims on page one to be based upon facts, yet it twists those "facts" to plant the idea in the reader's mind that Christianity is false. Thus it is quite understandable for Christians to respond, especially since the novel sold 45 million copies and the movie has been seen by millions more.

It seems to me I have now answered this question two times in this thread of comments. Unless something new can be said, I see no point in further debate on this one.

Jesse said...

Bob, thank you for clarifying your positions, but I understood them when you posted them earlier. I simply disagree with them. I have enjoyed the dialogue because I like to probe the thought patterns of those whom I disagree with. I have found that if someone disagrees with me adamantly, they might have a good point that I'm missing somehow, and I'd like to refine or change my position to be closer to the truth.
To me, this issue holds particular relevance to something I'm studying - the divergence of thought patterns among evangelicals regarding how Christians should interface with our culture. Feel free to decline, but I'm still game if you are.

Brother Bob said...

NOTE TO READERS: I have invited Jesse to write a brief essay on the subject of how Christians should interface with the culture. I'll post his thoughts, along with my thoughts on what he says, and open it for your comments. So look for it on the main blog soon.

Janice said...

Bring it on......