Monday, March 28, 2005

In Da Vinci We Trust

First off, I just want to say that yes, The Office of Homeland Security - MU Division will return to its normal operations, which is to respond to the left-wing editorials found so abundantly within The Marquette Tribune every week, beginning this Thursday or Friday (at the very latest it would have to be Saturday, but it all depends on the amount of work I receive over this short week and how much I need to study for the history exam), but until then I will be taking some time off to work on my studies, specifically earnestly preparing for a Western Civilization 002 exam on Friday, and posting every so often only to comment on bits of news I find interesting.

Secondly, while on the subject of what content I will be discussing once normal operations begin once again, I would like to thank whoever sent me a comment about a recent entry I posted (whenever I posted “Born and Raised by Hypocrites”, which I can not recall at the moment) – nothing but typical liberal whining about how I should join the army if I am so pro-war (honestly, think about that – does that even make sense to you) and how hypocritical it was of ME to be both pro-war and pro-life – I would just love to dig my heels into this debate but seeing as how I want to save as much material as possible for the rest of the week, I will continue this later in another blog entry.

Third, another thing that may be cutting in on my time posting on this weblog will be the new books I attempting to read – note the word “attempting”, which I use because with all the homework I am jam-packed with and a situation going on in my personal life (yes, it does involve a girl, but it’s complicated) going on, along with the time I am trying to spend with my friends when I am not studying, it may be difficult to fit something like that in late at night. In any event, enough with my whining … The two books I am attempting to read are “Disney War” (which I am thirty-seven pages into right now … out of five-hundred and thirty-four …) and “Infiltration”, which discusses how Islamic operatives have snuck their way into the United States government just like the Soviets did during the Cold War in attempt to abrupt our efforts in the War on Terror. Interesting stuff, but as I said before only if I can find the time for it, which may be difficult for a little while at least.

And lastly, I will no longer be discussing the Terri Schiavo case; especially considering how even her parents have given up placing their remaining hopes with the failed judicial system of the United States and its liberal activist judges. Sure, I will post a little memorial prayer and picture when she is declared dead, which should be any day now given that it has been ten days since she had anything to eat or drink, but nothing beyond that.

Now, what was I going to discuss quickly this evening? Oh yeah … I had a bit of a “heated” discussion with my parents this evening while we were watching “Beyond the Da Vinci Code” on the History Channel (note, I blame television for this because if they had had something actually related to Easter on then we wouldn’t have been watching it in the first place). See, this is where I need to learn to cool down and not get so steamed about stuff like this or else political discussions I am involved with are going to go nowhere fast. When I get myself into these type of situations I tend to say things that I don't actually mean or explain clearly enough, which quite frankly can come back to bite me in the ass, and often do. In any event, I was arguing … how about I discuss how I feel about the book and religion in general before I get into that first?

Alright, here is my stance on “The Da Vinci Code” – I am not advocating a total boycott of the book for a number of reasons, most prominently because (1) there is a thing called “right to free speech” in this country (as well as most of the world) which allows those out there to say what they want but also allots others, such as myself, to rebuke their claims, and (2) numerous areas of historical and theological reference are up for grabs seeing as how records back in those times were sketchy at best, so no one is for sure on what any events took place during which times.

The problem I have with “The Da Vinci Code” is that it is taking a huge subject matter, namely the divinity of Jesus Christ (which it claims was a fraud in order for the Catholic Church to maintain power) due to his relationship with Mary Magdalene, whom some have claimed was his wife and bore his only child and whose bloodline continues to this day in secret, and reshaping historical facts in order to sell books, or perhaps advocate an agenda (who knows).

I would normally not have such a problem with the book or its popularity with the mainstream public if it was not for that first page in which Dan Brown states that the historical references (places, times, people, etc.) in his novel are accurate, which is not true at all. First off, Dan Brown may have had some things right, but there are a lot of twisting of facts, dates, locations, meanings, etc. in order to prove a “point”, or in other words an agenda. And secondly, in making this statement people, as naïve as they are, will take this for face value and believe, beyond the whole storyline of Robert Langdon searching and actually locating the “Holy Grail”, that the historical events, specifically that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child together, are true, which is sacrilegious.

Here’s the problem – as easy as it is to say that people can go on the internet or research books in the local library or purchase them at nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore, it is quite another thing to take time out of your hectic schedule to actually do just that, let alone read those papers or books. Unless you happen to be extremely interested in the subject matter, you won’t have the time – you will be unable to afford the “information costs” (see, those American Politics lessons are ready paying off). Even those who are heavily invested in certain subjects such as those referenced with “The Da Vinci Code” do not have all the time in the world to research every source … I am lucky to find the time every day to sit down in bed and read a chapter or two before heading off to bed at around two in the morning. This means that a majority of those reading the book (note, I am not saying everyone, but a majority of those people) are simply going to take what was stated in the book for face value. Throw in the first page of the book with the word “FACT” in bold letters and there is your problem.

Now that is out of the way, back to my story … I was debating with my mother and father that “The Da Vinci Code” did more harm then good and that Jesus Christ was never married or that if you truly believed that Jesus was the Son of God that he would never have been married because that would defeat the theory that he was “divine”.

Let’s get something straight here – I am a Roman Catholic by birth and so is the rest of my family (or as far as I know … never really been brought up beyond our immediate family, and believe me, there are plenty of relatives who no longer have any contact with) but as of late, whether it has been because of my depression or something else related to it, I have been distancing my self both from the Catholic Church and Christianity in general. I have nothing against those who are excessively spiritual (if you have ever been to a private high school then you know what I am talking about here), but that is not my cup of tea. I truly wish I knew why I was like this, but perhaps that is something I can bring up in the next therapy session. In any event, recapping – I believe in the basic values of Christianity and the concepts that are taught within it, but I have become rebellious, you can say, against the absolute authority of the Catholic Church (namely the power of the Pope and him telling members what to believe and what not to) and God in general. Yeah, it’s complicated, but I will be sure to get into this discussion even further some other time, but for right now I will try and make this discussion quick. In any event, my disagreements with the following assertions, made by either Dan Brown or investigators into these historical time periods, are based on how they are triffling deep-seeded religious doctrines, values, and theological beliefs with no firm proof that their "scenarios" ever occured.

First, there was no possible way Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and there is no proof, suggestive or otherwise, within either the authorized gospels of the Bible or the “secret” Gnostic gospels which support the theory. discusses the “Gospel of Phillip”, the Gnostic source that is always referenced by those who do believe Jesus was married, and how the interpretation of it is wrong:
The main problem with the "Phillip" passage is that it clearly shows that even in the context of this Gnostic text, Mary Magdalene and Jesus could not have been married. If you read the passage, as shown on page 246 of The Da Vinci Code, you'll see for yourself:

"the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?'"

If, in the context of this Gnostic text, the Savior and Mary Magdalene were supposedly married, then why would the disciples bother to ask their leader why he loved his her more than them?

Can you imagine a scenario in which a group of men would ask a married man, "Why do you love her (your wife) more than us?" Such a question doesn't make any sense if the two are supposed to be married. In fact, it wouldn't make any sense if the two were merely engaged, or even if they were simply dating.

The only way that the question would make sense in the Gnostic text is if there was no reason for Mary Magdalene to be treated any differently. And the only way that this could be true is if Mary Magdalene was supposed to have the exact same relationship with the "Savior" as did the "other disciples." In other words, only if she was not married, or otherwise intimately involved.
Furthermore, there is not one single reference in either the authorized gospels or the Gnostic gospels that states directly that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married. If they were, there would at least be some reference somewhere. If you believe in the conspiracy that the Church covered it up, where in the Gnostic gospels does it state directly that they were married? Nowhere, probably because they were not married. More importantly, Brown glares over one prominent flaw in his theory:

Finally, consider this from page 41 of The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, by Richard Abanes, in regards to the Gnostic Phillip text: “Ironically, if this text does anything, it cuts out the very heart of any assertion about Mary and Jesus being wed. It does so by adhering to one of the basic tenets of ancient Gnosticism, which declares that all physical matter was inherently evil. Consequently, sexual relations were intrinsically debasing! The Gospel of Phillip goes so far as to say that marital relations defile a woman”.
Also, if there are those out there claiming that since Jesus was Jewish and therefore had to be married, read “Breaking the Da Vinci Code” in which the author states that there were plenty of Jewish communities that did not require marriage, and more importantly, Jesus went against a lot of common Jewish practices, which kills that explanation in the water.

Secondly, by the time the “official” Bible was put together at the Council of Nicea, it was already affirmed to Christians of the time what were the legitimate texts and texts that were Gnostic gospels, those which deeply questioned the divinity of Jesus Christ. explains once again:

This is essential to the plot in The Da Vinci Code because it requires that the reader can believe that Constantine replaced the Gnostic writings with what we now call the New Testament. But, Constantine could not have had a hand in shaping the New Testament for two reasons: He wasn't born soon enough and he didn't live long enough. Based on writings from early church leaders, which date from A.D. 96 through 112, 24 of the 27 books that are part of today's New Testament were already regarded by early Christians as being authoritative, a full 213 years before Constantine convened the Council of Nicea. And, the Council of Nicea did not canonize anything. The canonization process occurred a full 70 years later, on a different continent. In addition, there were several writings by early church leaders, who died long before Constantine was even born, that collectively quote thousands of New Testament passages. It would have been extremely difficult for Constantine to have altered, shaped or otherwise influenced the New Testament.
There puts another debate to rest.

And lastly, concerning the “Last Supper” painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, the one which advocates of the “conspiracy theory” believe shows Mary Magdalene not only sitting next to Jesus but clues others into the fact that she was the Holy Grail, also known as the royal bloodline.

The Catholic Educator’s Research Center explains the matter best:

First, the idea that Da Vinci used any kind of code pertaining to any issue Dan Brown raises is unsupported by art historians.

Brown says that in this painting Da Vinci is telling us that the figure always identified as John the Evangelist is really Mary Magdalene, and that these two figures together form an "M," and that, because there is no grail in the picture, Da Vinci is telling us the "grail" is the sacred feminine of Mary Magdalene.

Unfortunately for Brown, art historians tell us that the effeminate-looking John is quite a typical representation for the time, as is a Last Supper portrayal emphasizing betrayal rather than the institution of the Eucharist. In addition, the Last Supper is a dramatization of a scene from the Gospel of John, in which the institution narrative is not even described. No chalice? No problem. In context, it makes sense.
And below is a picture that proves that John’s feminine qualities were not uncommon in depictions of the apostle at the time Da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” (there was a better painting then this, but I believe this serves its purpose for the time being - by the way, he is the man on the left side of Mary, or her left side):

There’s my grandstanding for the weekend … whew!! That was a lot more writing then I had expected to post this evening, but I believe I have proven my points thoroughly nonetheless. Well, back to the grindstone, immediately following a few short hours of sleep, which I desperately need.

Oh, before I forget … if you are interested in the concept of “The Da Vinci Code” or anything related to it, please purchase some of the following items through our site, which helps keep us running.

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Da Vinci Code Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answering the Questions Everybody's Asking The Real History behind the Da Vinci Code