Accuracy in Media

Carl E. Olson says the The Da Vinci Code book by Dan Brown can be easily refuted by examining the history of Christianity, using mostly non-Christian sources. The Brown book, which insists that the figure of Jesus Christ is a fraud concocted by desperate church leaders, claims Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child, producing a bloodline and a shocking and scandalous truth that has been protected over the course of human history by a secret society called the Priory of Sion. True Christian believers, in other words, are fools and dupes.

Olson, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax, says, “The majority of our sources-and we have almost 600 footnotes-is from non-Christian books and scholarly articles.” His approach, he told AIM in an interview, is that there is nothing to be afraid of by looking at the truth. “We shouldn’t fear the truth,” he said. “Our approach is let’s look at the evidence. Let’s look at what reputable sources, historians and scholars have said, as opposed to the sources that Dan Brown relies on, which are not just few in number but very dubious in their historical veracity. And that’s putting it kindly.”

The problem with The Da Vinci Code, Olson says, is that it purports to describe historical characters and events: “When The Da Vinci Code refers to Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Leonardo Da Vinci, Emperor Constantine, and other historical people who clearly existed and events that happened, then the question is: what did happen and who were these people?” 

But when the novel is challenged about factual matters, Brown and his publisher “want to have their cake and eat it too,” he said. They dismiss criticism on the ground that it is a novel but also want to sell the book as well-researched.

The media like this cake, too. It’s an opportunity to bash Christians as simple-minded. But it’s doubtful the media will take the time or trouble to read the Olson book and discover the true facts. We should.

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