April 20, 2006

Venetian blinded

Fiction from Faith.

That is what the forthcoming Philippine release of  The Da Vinci Code expects us to think about.    So too the recent revelation that there is  what is called a Gospel of Judas—note it is not the Gospel According to Judas but the Gospel of Judas.  The title alone tells everything.

In DVC, the title tells us of a code that comes from Venice—not from Leonarda Da Vinci.  That, by itself, should tell us to take what it says with a large heaping pinch of salt. Any reference to Leonardo Da Vinci should be to “Leonardo” and not “Da Vinci” as the former is his name, the latter is a reference to his roots—Venice.  At least, the Ninja turtles got it right.  So, how do we look at DVC?  As a work of fiction, as a work of suspense, as a novel—but certainly not as truth nor as gospel truth.  Will I watch it?  Sure, I like Tom Hanks and I love a good suspense movie.  Will it affect me and my faith?  NO.  On matters of faith, I turn to God’s Word not to Dan Brown or to any other “gospel” he may be referring to.

The so-called Gospel of Judas also tells us a lot by the title alone.  Gospel means “good news”;  that’s why the four Gospels in the Bible are “Gospels According to” and not “Gospels of.”  The four Gospel writers clearly point to one direction only—the good news comes from Christ and the good news is salvation.  So, there is a Gospel of Judas;  that means its essentially a brief for the man who betrayed Jesus and is intended to propagate the “good news” about Judas, not about Jesus and his salvific love.  Would I read it?  Given a chance and assuming someone translates it into understandable English, sure.  Will it affect my faith?  NO.  On matters of faith, I turn to God’s Word, not to Judas and his “good news.”  

These are simplistic ways of insisting on our faith.  But, for me, we have to start somewhere and differentiating fact from fiction is the most logical starting point.  Let’s not ban DVC or any the supposed Gospel of Judas—doing that will simply pique curiosity. Let the movie be shown but insist that it is a work of fiction and not faith and encourage the faithful to know the difference—at the pulpit and also in schools, forums  or any other gathering of the faithful.

If you want to watch DVC and be entertained for two hours, go and watch it.  But if you want to know God, seek Him out in prayer, seek Him out in reading His Word, seek Him out in the Lives of the Saints, seek Him out in the lives of the many men and women He sends to touch our lives—hopefully, these will take more than two hours and perhaps even a lifetime.  

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