The Da Vinci Code - "a work of fiction"
Gay knight Serena McKellen has started work on the big-screen adaptation of Dan Brown’s controversial book, The Da Vinci Code, which is due in theatres in May 2006.
The film will also star Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, and will be directed by Ron Howard.
Of course, the Vatican has denounced the book, saying it was filled with "shameful and unfounded lies", which, translated from church-speak usually means “the truth”.
Another Catholic Cardinal said "It astonishes and worries me that so many people believe these lies."
No, it wasn’t a rare case of introspection nor was it the Cardinal thinking aloud about his congregants during an unguarded moment – he was also talking about the book, the Da Vinci Code – not The Bible, that is – are we clear. It can be very confusing.
So confusing, in fact, that the Catholic society Opus Dei agreed to participate in a mock-trial to evaluate the evidence presented in the book that Jesus had a kid with Mary Magdalene.
Sir Ian, of course, is openly atheist.
CelebAtheist.com, a website listing of celebrity atheists, quotes him as saying:
“I was brought up a Christian, low church, and I like the community of churchgoing. That's rather been replaced for me by the community of people I work with. I like a sense of family, of people working together. But I'm an atheist. So God, if She exists, isn't really a part of my life."
In answer to a question about the “promotion of witchcraft” through movies like The Lord of The Rings (which he starred in) and the Harry Potter series, put to him via his official website, McKellen answered by noting a remark by “an atheist friend of mine” who said how refreshing it was “to see a film about good and evil which doesn't link morality to religion.”
See also this interesting article: "Lord of the Rings" Stirs Religious Arguments
But of course, The Da Vinci Code is different. For one, it challenges not just American bible-belters, but the Mother Church (I almost said Mother Ship) – The Vatican, which is a potent global political force, and secondly, it appears to attack some fundamental orthodoxies. It is not merely showing same-sex love or affirming science, or the other quibbles Christian fundies have with secular movies. This, they fear, strikes right at the heart. Indeed, people might start confusing new myth with old myth. A mythtery play, as it were… and then where would the be? Here perhaps.
But if you need further convincing that the faithful have trouble sorting fact from fiction, take a look at this website apparently debunking the Da Vinci Code (which most sensible people realise is fiction and never thought otherwise).
Take this prise piece of bunkum for instance:
“Many people might not realize this, but there is a great deal of historical evidence that shows that pagans tried to eradicate Christianity and that pagans copied Christian symbols and ceremonies in the hopes of surviving the rapid spread of Christianity, especially during the first three centuries after the time of Jesus.”
[Please feel free to post any other examples of stupidity and historical revisionism in our comments section.]
Not content with internet loons doing the “debunking” job for them, The Vatican appointed its own official Da Vinci Code debunker.
McKellen, in any event, lashed out at the Catholic Church, calling their opposition to the book “pathetic”.
He added: "People are always interested in mystery, but when it's a mystery that suggests that a major influence on all our lives - the Catholic Church - has perhaps been misleading us all this time, then it becomes spectacularly sensational.”
Of course, Sir Ian is an old hand at (unintentionally) upsetting the religious loonies. Most of his other films have been attacked by the fundies. His X-men movies were criticised because they gave credence to evolution! Yes, folks, that what the reviewer at Christian Spotlight on the Movies said, labelling the movie “very offensive” to Christians. Gods & Monsters was labelled “extremely offensive” and predictably Apt Pupil was also “very offensive”.
Anyhow… Opus Dei finally issued this warning about The Da Vinci Code to, well, presumably all people with library cards:
“We would like to remind them it is a work of fiction and not a reliable source of information.”
But that goes for their book as well!