The Most Important CodeBy Philip Dominguez Mercurio
Maybe I missed something.
Recently, I went to watch that controversial film the Da Vinci Code, two days after its premiere.
Now, I’m not really sure why there was so much controversy behind this film. The movie was O.K. lang. Although, it wasn’t the best produced movie this year and was lacking some pizzazz in the suspense category, overall the movie came out as a cool classic, a nice detective story about a conspiracy behind the origins of the Christianity.
Catholics and other Christian groups came out strongly against the novel/movie because of that. But if they did it to stop me from watching, it didn’t help. Actually, to tell you the truth, the fact archbishops denounced it as “gross and absurd” and full of “cheap lies,” made others, like me, even more interested in what the fuss was about. If you really didn’t want me to watch the film, please don’t make a big deal about it. Keep it off my radar screen. Don’t come out with comments about “excessive self-flagellation” and “fleeting sexual rituals” like Filipino Catholics did. Even the satirical show, The Daily Show, made it clear such comments from back home could actually be perceived as encouraging and not the other way around.
But, what really raised my eyebrows about the criticism coming out about the Da Vinci Code was the sense that questioning the Bible was wrong. I’m not saying that being able to criticize movies like the Passions or the Da Vinci Code shouldn’t be allowed. That’s not the country we live in. But making things, even as sacred as the Bible, out of the reach of those who may question its validity is unfathomable.
At the high school I attended, we questioned the Bible all the time. The Jesuits who ran the school had such a reputation that it was feared they would go totally against Catholic ideals before the 8th graders graduated.
Just look at their curriculum. The first semester of freshman year started off with an in-depth look into the Old Testament. Stories in Genesis like Adam and Eve and the Tower of Babel were explained as stories created just to help explain to early followers how language and humans came into being. Other stories such as Noah’s Ark were explained scientifically: The great flood Noah encountered for 40 days was really just a local flood occurring in some portion of the Middle East.
In sophomore year, we examined the New Testament. Discrepancies in the Gospels were solved by seeing if stories matched up in two or more books which made them more likely to be true than if it were found in only one gospel. Jesus’ miracles, such as walking on water or multiplying loaves of bread and fish, were seen as exaggerations by writers to emphasize that Jesus was the Son of God. Only miracles involving helping and curing others were seen as true and in line with Jesus’ real message. Basically, since the Bible was just like any ‘oral’ tradition, it was likely to have been passed on with major modifications and some exaggerations. We were basically asked to look through all those changes and filter them out to find the true messages in those books.
Now, should you be totally convinced just because the Jesuits teach these to their students? Of course not. We are all entitled to our own opinion. The same kind of thinking should apply to the Da Vinci Code. Believe what you will but there should be nothing wrong with presenting them either.
Who cares if Jesus was celibate or had a lasting bloodline stemming from his relationship with Mary Magdalene. The most important part of being a Christian are the values that we share with others. - PDM
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