Due to the content of this book, I am planning to avoid using some of the more explicit terms that Dan Brown uses. This is not out of prudishness, but because I want to avoid getting this website blacklisted from key word filtering software. 🙂
If you are unaware of the content of this book, let me bring you up to speed. According to popular presentation, this book postulates that Mary Magdeline was the literal bride of Christ (who was only a man) and that she carried his daughter. Supposedly, the Catholic church has sought to silence this truth in an effort to protect their power and in an effort to subjugate women. Brown calls this the “greatest cover up in the world.”
OK. That’s is how I’ve seen the book is described in the media and elsewhere. That is also misleading. Peel back the layers of the book just a bit, and you find the real point of the book. Dan Brown didn’t write a novel; he wrote a philosophy book. He teaches a philosophy (the sacred feminine) that inverts the two basic premises upon which God founded human society.
First, Brown inverts the position of the genders. He places woman over man. Now, I am not chauvinistic; I believe that women are more competent than men in many (if not most) areas of life. I don’t understand why God chose to place men in the position of authority. Why did God choose Isaac over his elder brother Esau? Why did God choose Abram and make him special? Abram worship a pagan deity when God called him. Why pick him? Why not Job (who lived in the same time frame)? The apostle Paul wrestled with these questions in Romans 9.
We don’t understand why God chooses the lame and the unlovely (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), but he does. I don’t know why God chose men to be in authority over women, but the fact remains that God did choose to do so. Women are to support men; men are to lead.
Of course, since the Fall, sin nature has tried to invert this ordering by God. What is one of the biggest weakness’ for men? The desire to be lazy: not to work or lead as God commanded. Women are the opposite; they are to be submissive but desire to lead. This is sin. Both sides have to invert their sinful desires
Brown raises the female gender to a position worthy of worship. He takes the inversion of God’s natural order to the extreme. This approach appeals to people, because it appeals to the sin nature. Men and women both hunger for this twisted view of creation, thanks to our sin nature.
Second, Brown deliberately splits the marriage relationship. He separates the “one flesh” from Genesis 2 and calls for open relationships. Archeology (and sorry, I don’t have a source in front of me) tells us that this form of physical worship service can be traced as far back as Abraham’s time in Palestine. Of course, just because it is old doesn’t make it right…. Simply put, this is an inversion of God’s natural order.
Again, God saw fit to build the family unit. Why did God determine that monogamous relationships were best? Could He have organized creation in such a way that open relationships were better? Sure He could have done that, but He chose not to do so. Therefore, Brown is expressly rejecting God’s natural order.
The story is not so much about the characters, but about the philosophy.
You could ask why people enjoyed the book so much since it’s a philosophy book. Honestly, Brown did a great job. Considering that the book is mostly lecture intertwined into a conspiracy theory, most people would failed miserably in making this style readable. Brown does a great job.
And why does modern America accept or give credence to these preposterous theories? Well, Brown uses a Professor character (Robert Langdon) to teach this as fact. (J0hnny Long, has repeatedly demonstrated a simple truth: if you act like you know what you are doing, no one will question you. A corollary is found in this book: if you brazenly treat it as true, no one will question you.) Sophie is the intellectual cop that is slowly converted from skeptic to convert. The professor teaches these “facts” without proof. In fact, whenever proof is required, Langdon trots out the usual proof: “… well documented,” or “the Dead Sea Scrolls prove this,” or even “scholars all over the world agree.”
The only “proof” that he places on the table are the gospels of Judas and Mary Magdeline. What gets me is this: There are few copies of these two apocryphal books, but Brown treats them as completely reliable. There are numerous copies of the New Testament and Brown treats that as unreliable. Why does he choose to ignore the preponderance of evidence in favor of that which is clearly unreliable? Simple, Brown has an agenda.
Brown made up most of the facts in this book. While many books have been written to challenge Brown on religious and historical grounds, Brown acknowledges that he falsified the facts but claims to believe the premise regardless. Truly, that is the definition of tragic.
This book is not for teens unless the teen is quite mature. Though details aren’t terribly explicit, the implicit nature of the story puts this easily into a PG-13 level.