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'Let the Da Vinci Code be'

Surfers insist the book and the movie in no way insult Jesus and Christianity.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 10:57 IST

The news: movie based on best selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is banned from being screened. Reason: Indian Christians are hurt and insist the film hits at the very foundations of the faith.

Encore of Danish cartoonist lampooning Prophet Mohammed. The Muslims are up in arms calling it a blasphemy. The West says it is just creative freedom.

We asked our surfers how surfers how much is too much. Where should we draw a line vis-a-vis creative freedom and an act of blasphemy.

An overwhelming per cent of our surfers wrote back to say that in the case of Dan Brown's book, it certainly nothing wrong with the book.

Here's how it went.

Book, movie are fine

"I have read this book and it is very logical. Jesus was married for sure. And I don't see what is the problem. Why could Jesus not have married and have kids? After all if one believe that He was son of God. In Hinduism, we have Ram who had two kids. If you believe that Jesus was Son of God then you can also believe that he was married and had child. The problem is with church which always made all women look unclean. That is very true and we see that women have little or no place in church," said Saurabh Tandon from Michigan, USA.

Elucidating the point further, Deb Chatterjee from Overland Park, USA has this to add.

"I have read Dan Brown's novel with much interest. In my view, it could be offensive for conservative Catholics. This book does indeed make the claim that Christ married and had kids whose bloodline exists even today.

"That questions the very foundations of the Christian belief. The novel does not question the divinity of Christ. Dan Brown does not question Christ's teachings. Much furore has been raised, but please note that with the latest discovery of the manuscripts of the Gospel of Judas, many of the canonical facts about mainstream Christianity comes under the scanner.

"But, just as the Gospel of Judas does not question the divinity of Jesus Christ, so does not the book by Brown."

He further goes on to ask why Christians should feel threatened.

"But, so what? Is Christianity that fragile that it would be viewed as in danger if someone writes a novel that contains intelligent speculations and or half-truths? Would Dan Brown receive death sentence like Salman Rushdie, Naguib Mahfooz, Tasleema Nasreen, or worse, be brutally killed (decapitated) like the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh?

"We as civilized humans, have the exercise of free speech, a gift of the western civilization - a legacy from Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet). Would we simply those hard earned value because a certain viewpoint/story would not capitulate before conventional (and sacred) wisdom?

"Is this what we are descending to?"

Speaking in a similar vein, S Bhattacharya from London said, "Education should teach us that everything could be and should be challenged, debated and questioned. There should be no constraints on art, like there is none in science."

Love Singhal from Irvine, USA too felt there was nothing in the book that could defame any religion.

"The book is an excellent story which shows how sometimes facts could lead to wrong conclusions. There is nothing in this story that could defame any religion. However, the growing trend of some people to protests for their religion in asking for a ban is worrisome.

"The freedom of expression of everyone is a fundamental right and it has to be respected by everyone. If someone disagrees with any painting, movie or a book, then the best thing to do in a civilized society for that person is to not look at it, watch it, or read it."

Chitra from Canton, USA wrote to ask, "Why do they have a problem with Jesus being married and having a family? If, as they believe we are made in the image of God, and we are mostly born of and in families the normal biological ways, why should it be blasphemous for Jesus?"

Ramesh from New Delhi thought it was a work of fiction and ought to be viewed just as that.

"Da Vinci Code is a fantastic book and those who have not read it must get a chance to see it in form of a film because then only they will realise that what a magician Dan Brown is! The novel takes you on a roller-coaster ride through murders, cryptic messages, banks, chases, history and religion!"

Joseph from Bangalore was of the opinion that "Da Vinci Code is a wonderful novel and maybe a thrilling movie. Let fiction be fiction. As Gandhiji once said let the winds with the culture from all the lands flow in through my window. But it's up to me what to accept and what not to accept. Being a Christian I don't believe that Jesus was married. However, I enjoyed reading the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and am looking forward to the movie. Freedom of speech is a part of our Constitution. Don't meddle with it on silly pretexts."

Aditya from Mumbai felt that Brown's book makes few interesting observations and they ought to be made public.

Here's how he saw it.

"Early Christianity entailed 'the cult of the Great Mother' Mary Magdalene represented the feminine cult and the Holy Grail of traditional lore. She was also Jesus' wife and the mother of his children.

Magdalene's womb, carrying Jesus offspring, was the legendary Holy Grail (as seen in Da Vinci's encoded paining, The Last Supper).

Jesus was not seen as divine (God) by His followers until Emperor Constantine declared him. So for his own purposes The Nicean Council of the 3rd century was the context for Constantine's power grab and the relationship of Magdalene as paramour of Christ was quashed there.

Brown sees a connection between the Nag Hammadi documents (a.k.a., Gnostic Gospels) discovered in 1945 and this storyline The 'truth' about Christ and Mary Magdalene has been kept alive by a secret society named the Priory of Sion that was lead by great minds like Da Vinci.

So is this book anti-Christian?

No. This book is not anti-anything. It's a novel. This story in an effort to explore certain aspects of Christian history, of interest to me.

The vast majority of devout Christians understand this fact and consider The Da Vinci Code an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate. Even so, a small but vocal group of individuals has proclaimed the story dangerous, heretical and anti-Christian.

The no-screening club

There were some who didn't want the movie screened.

"I respect Dan Brown's freedom to write anything he pleases, but when I see that the lies he has written are actually misleading people, then raising my voice in protest is not just my right - but a deep need. Otherwise I am weakening my own faith, and my love for my saviour," said Ann from New Delhi.

This particular movie has drawn flak for the obvious reasons that it's a work of fiction, sold as a fact. It's nothing but a smear on the image of Christ as the world knows the bible is the only credible source available today that given an insight to the life and teachings of Christ. Mr Brown has made millions because controversy sells. Just because Christians have been tolerant all this while, that this has taken this turn. Imagine what would have happened if somebody were to make a film on a 'secret marriage' of Prophet Muhammad? We have seen what the cartoon controversy did," commented Siby from Bergen, USA.

Disclaimer
All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.