Discerning Fact from Fiction in The Da Vinci Code – Part 3

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels I have been presenting a series of articles answering the allegations presented by The Da Vinci Code. In my first article I stated several reasons why the assumption that the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Texts contain any secret gospels is false. In the second article, I examined the notion that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and demonstrated that this was highly improbable. In this article I will examine Brown’s claim that the gospels do not represent an accurate historical account of Jesus life. In The Da Vinci Code, Brown presents these comments: “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book” (p. 231). “The twist is this, … Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man. To rewrite the history books, Constantine knew he would need a bold stroke. From this sprang the most profound moment in Christian history…. Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s

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Discerning Fact from Fiction in The Da Vinci Code – Part 2

Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? In the previous article, we exposed the fictitious idea that the Nag Hammadi texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls contain secret gospels that reveal the true nature and life of Jesus Christ. The second assertion from The Da Vinci Code is that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that the leadership of the church was given to her directly from Jesus. Here are some excerpts from The Da Vinci Code. “The greatest cover-up in human history. Not only was Jesus Christ married, but He was a father. My dear, Mary Magdalene was the Holy Vessel. She was the chalice that bore the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ. She was the womb that bore the lineage, and the vine from which the sacred fruit sprang forth” (p. 249). “Mary was recast as a whore in order to erase the evidence of her powerful family ties. … The legend of the Holy Grail is a legend about royal blood line. When Grail legend speaks of the chalice that held the blood of Christ it speaks in fact, of Mary Magdalene – the female womb that carried Jesus’ royal bloodline” (p. 249). “…this was the secret the Vatican had tried to bury in the fourth century. The threat Mary Magdalene posed to the men of the

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Discerning Fact from Fiction in The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code opens with a murder in a Paris museum. In the novel, the curator of the museum, Jacques Sauniere, was the last member of a secret society, the Priory of Sion. He holds a secret passed down for centuries that is so devastating it could destroy the church. The secret, held for ages, is the Holy Grail. The secrets of the Grail have been preserved in codes, the foremost code being the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci. In the gripping novel, Dan Brown creatively appears to present historical facts that shatter the foundational beliefs of Christianity. He asserts that the facts in the novel are accurate stating, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secrets in the novel are accurate.” Brown’s statement here can be misleading because he presents several historical facts that are true, but adds elements and his interpretations that are false. Therefore, Brown presents readers with facts laced with his fictional assumptions presented as truth. As a result, people who read his novel may be confused if they are unable to discern the truth from the author’s assumptions. Dan Brown paints a picture that the traditional teachings of Christianity are false. Following are some excerpts from his book, The Da Vinci Code: “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God.

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Politics and Religion

Nearly everywhere you go, it seems, you hear statements like, “You can’t legislate morality,” or “Christians shouldn’t try to legislate their morality.” Like dandelions, they pop up out of nowhere and sow seeds of deception in the fertile, secular soil of our society. Unfortunately, I have also heard these cliches repeated in many churches. Even Christians seem confused about how they are to communicate a biblical view of issues to a secular world. Part of the confusion stems from blurring the distinctions between law and human behavior. When a person says, “You can’t legislate morality,” he or she might mean simply that you can’t make people good through legislation. In that instance, Christians can agree. The law (whether biblical law or civil law) does not by itself transform human behavior. The apostle Paul makes that clear in his epistle to the Romans. English jurists for the last few centuries have also agreed that the function of the law is not to make humans good but to control criminal behavior. But if you understand the question in its normal formulation, then Christians can and should legislate morality. At the more basic level, law and public policy is an attempt to legislate morality. The more relevant question is not whether we should legislate morality but what kind of morality we should legislate.

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Can Homosexuals Change?

Can Homosexuals Change? Is It Possible for Homosexuals to Change? Mike {1} was marching in a Gay Pride parade when God got a hold of him. He had been high for four days and his “buzz” suddenly evaporated as he heard a voice in his head say, “You don’t have to live like this.” He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God offering him a way out. He put down his Gay Pride sign, left the parade, sat down in a nearby stairwell, and repented of his rebellion. He gave his heart to Jesus Christ and starting walking out of homosexuality that day. Today, several years later, he is married with a child, and living a very different kind of life. Not just on the outside; his heart was changed from the inside out. Randy was on a self-destructive path of drug and alcohol abuse and homosexual activity. When he told his mother he was gay, she threw him out of the house, and the only place he could find belonging, safety, and identity was the gay community. As he spent more and more time “escaping” the pain in his life through sex and alcohol, he began to realize how bad his life was. He wanted to die but God had something else in mind. Randy

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God, 911, The Tsunami, and the New Problem of Evil

Introduction In the new heaven and new earth, according to Revelation 21, there will be no more sea. Many people feel disappointed by this. The sea is a perennial delight, at least for those who don’t have to make a living on it. What is going on? The sea is part of the original creation, part of the world of which God says that it is “very good.” But already by the story of Noah the flood poses a threat to the creation, with Noah and his floating zoo rescued by God’s grace. From within the good creation itself come forces of chaos, harnessed to enact God’s judgment. We then find Moses and the Israelites standing in front of the sea, chased by the Egyptians and at their wits’ end. God makes a way through the sea to rescue his people, and again to judge the pagan world; like the Noah story, though now in a new mode. As later poets look back on this decisive moment in the story of God’s people, they celebrate it in terms of the old creation myths themselves: the waters saw YHWH and were afraid, and they went backwards. But then, in a passage of enormous influence on early Christianity, we find in the vision of Daniel 7 that the monsters who make war

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UFOs and Alien Beings

A Tale of Two Hypotheses It seems that almost everyone is interested in reports of UFOs and alien encounters. But how should these reports be understood? Where do these “unidentified flying objects” come from and what are they? Are intelligent beings visiting us from another planet or some other dimension? Or are UFO reports merely a collection of hoaxes, hallucinations, and misidentified phenomena? Can all UFO reports be adequately explained, or are there some that seem to defy all natural explanations? These are just a few of the questions we want to consider in this article. First, however, it’s essential to note that most UFOs (unidentified flying objects) become IFOs (identified flying objects). John Spencer, a British UFO researcher, estimates that as many as 95 percent of received UFO reports “are turned into IFOs and explained satisfactorily.”{1} For example, the report might be found to have been a clever prank or to have some natural explanation. Planets, comets, military aircraft, and rockets (among many others) have all been mistaken for UFOs. But even if 99 percent of UFO reports could be satisfactorily explained, there would still be thousands of cases that stubbornly resist all natural explanations. These are called residual UFO reports. If residual UFOs are not hoaxes, hallucinations, or some natural or man-made phenomena, then what are they? Most

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The Five People you Meet in Heaven

Brief Synopsis Eddie lives an insignificant life as a maintenance man for the rides at the Ruby Pier amusement park. One day a mechanical failure causes a fatal accident. Eddie rescues a young girl from her death but in the effort, he is killed. This is when the adventure begins. Eddie enters heaven where he discovers it is not a garden but a place where he will meet five people whose lives intersected with his in some significant way on earth, some readily known to Eddie and some unknown to him. These five explain the meaning of Eddie’s life and the purpose of heaven. Through this fictional story, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom teaches us his understanding of the meaning of life. In heaven, Eddie learns five key lessons from the five individuals. First, every life is interconnected with others so each person impacts others’ throughout his or her lifetime in ways that may not be recognized. Second, we should live sacrificing for others, for such acts inevitably lead to good outcomes. Third, forgiveness is necessary to find inner peace. Fourth, love is a powerful virtue that lasts eternally. And finally, our life, as insignificant as it may seem, has a purpose. Heaven is a place where we find inner peace with ourselves when we learn

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The Controversy over Evolution in Biology Textbooks

Texas, Textbooks and Evolution Public school textbooks are big business in Texas. Texas is the second largest purchaser of textbooks behind California. Texas also employs an extensive review process which involves input from the public. Independent school districts in the state of Texas can purchase whatever textbooks they prefer. But if they want state assistance in the purchase of textbooks, they’d better pick those texts that are recommended by the State Board of Education. Publishers know that whatever books Texas approves, other states will adopt as well. Therefore the decisions by the Texas State Board of Education regarding textbooks influence what many students across the country will be reading over the next few years. Publishers pay very close attention to what goes on in Texas. Evolution has been a contentious issue before the State Board for decades. A few years ago, they passed a resolution that said textbooks were to be free from factual errors and that the information in the texts should allow students to “analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including scientific hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.” This certainly sounds scientific and fair. I mean, who doesn’t want both sides of scientific controversies presented? Any “scientist to be” needs to be able to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations.

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How to Talk to your Kids about Evolution

Ray and Sue Bohlin discuss how to talk to your kids about evolution and creation. Sue’s questions and comments are in italics, followed by Ray’s answers. Problems with Evolutionary Theory Why is there a problem with evolution in the first place? Someone once asked you, “What should I believe?” Remember what you told them? Basically I said you should only believe what there is evidence for. After spending years studying evolution in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, I can tell you that, first of all, there is evidence for small changes in organisms as they adapt to small environmental fluctuations. Second, there is evidence that new species do arise. We see new species of fruit flies, rodents, and even birds. But when the original species is a fruit fly, the new species is still a fruit fly. These processes do not tell us how we get horses and wasps and woodpeckers. Third, in the fossil record, there are only a few transitions between major groups of organisms, like between reptiles and birds, and these are controversial, even among evolutionists. If evolutionary theory is correct, the fossil record should be full of them. Fourth, there are no real evolutionary answers for the origin of complex adaptations like the tongue of the woodpecker; or flight in birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles; or

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