The Importance of Living Christianly
It’s not unusual for Christians to get all worked up over things that aren’t really that big a deal. I remember the furor over The Last Temptation of Christ – which was actually a pretty decent book but a terrible movie. I remember thinking distinctly that if Christians hadn’t made such a fuss the movie would have just petered out on its own – and quickly. All raising such a ruckus did was prolong the inevitable. I honestly think people went to see that movie who wouldn’t have if there hadn’t been protests and picket lines at the movie theatre.
Did Christians learn their lesson? Nope. Anybody remember the hue and cry a few years ago over The Da Vinci Code? It was going to be the end of faith. It was going to lead our children astray. Churches would close. Western civilization would unravel. Christians would once again be thrown to the lions if this movie became a blockbuster hit.
I saw The Da Vinci Code the night it opened. I had a vested interest. I had written a book about the heretical worldview of Dan Brown, the author of the novel. I had written about and spoken about the movie for nearly two years before the movie came out, so I knew I had to see the film in order to respond to it with any kind of integrity.
So, I bought my ticket and lined up with lots of other folks. The theatre was at about 80 percent capacity. I was surprised how many people brought their kids with them. There’s stuff in the movie I certainly wouldn’t want my children to see.
To be honest, I didn’t think the movie was very good. It was really long, and it felt like it ended three times. It just kept going and going and going. Ron Howard softened it a lot, and that made the story weaker than it should have been. But that’s just my opinion.
It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good, either.
That weekend I had a conversation with some folks who actually went out and protested. They made signs about how The Da Vinci Code crucified Christ all over again. They handed out tracts to anyone who came close and shouted at people who stayed far away. I don’t think they deterred anyone from seeing the movie – it made more than $77 million in its opening weekend.
And it got me scratching my head over what a Christian response to something like that movie ought to look like. Most of the people who I spoke with suggested what amounts to a “religious” response. But few of those people suggested anything distinctively Christian.
See, a Christian is someone who has made a commitment to following Jesus, to imitating him in his thoughts and values and actions. So, when we ask what a Christian response to The Da Vinci Code should look like, we’re really asking WWJDTDVC: What Would Jesus Do With The Da Vinci Code?
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time imagining Jesus picketing or being so casual with the language of crucifixion. I have a hard time imagining him handing out tracts or shouting at people from a distance. Those tactics seem too mean-spirited and impersonal for what I know of Jesus’ character and personality.
Sure, Jesus turned over tables and chased people with a whip once, but he is also the same guy who, while he was hanging on his cross, looked out at the very people who has just finished flogging him and were now killing him by the most excruciating means imaginable and asked that they be forgiven because, after all, they didn’t realize what they were doing.