Sunday, June 11, 2006

Da Vinci Cud

The Da Vinci Code has come and gone, and it left Manila without so much as a fart of an impression. All the brouhaha and panic that the Catholic church went through prior to its release served only to drum up interest in an otherwise uninteresting movie based on an otherwise ordinary book. It's publicity money can't buy, and the Catholic church was more than happy to give it. This is the problem with the Catholic church nowadays, which can't seem to buy good press with all the gold in the Vatican. On the heels of the Da Vinci Code, a movie which was pitifully incompetent compared to the already ordinary writing of the book, the CBCP issued an official statement to answer of its claims. The unfortunate thing is, the CBCP didn't have to. The movie felt like cheap fiction, and was forgettable as it was controversial.

The CBCP serves up several points to counter what was written in the Da Vinci Code, the most sensational one being that Jesus Christ was (just) a human being who married Mary Magdalene and whose Divinity was a fabrication of the First Council of Nicea in 325. The CBCP counters the statement with a statement, "Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human," and a paragraph later, concludes, "The Church does not manipulate revealed truth. It serves the truth." Right. Uh-huh.

The problem with Faith and modern theology is that the old methods of delivering gospel truth (pun intended) no longer work. The Church's citation of Bible passages and concluding with statements like "(we serve) the truth" are woefully inadequate in a modern society where information is available and easily accessible. Today's youth (mostly youth, anyway) ask more questions. They're more skeptical. They have more choices in food, clothing, lifestyle, and yes, even religion. And contrary to what many conservatives feel, that's a very good thing. An embrace of Faith in the midst of contradictory arguments and perceived evidence is the most remarkable thing.

Jesus was completely and unapologetically human. That may be the coolest thing about Him. He was one of us, a human being, which means he can be imitated. That he was completely and perfectly Divine isn't in any way challenged by the suppositions of Dan Brown and his referencing of the Council of Nicea. Christ's Divinity isn't explainable by history, and it shouldn't be! Acceptance of Christ's dual nature is a matter of Faith and attempting to explain it in human terms is unnecessary and futile, like attempting to explain quantum physics to an amoeba. Speaking of quantum physics, while we're at it, Christ's dual nature is Schroedinger's Cat -- humanity and divinity aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, and this is what upset many theologians and church leaders at the time, Christ's existence suggested that humanity and divinity may actually be mutually inclusive. His message, should it be lost in all the controversy, is that we are ourselves divine by virtue of our capacity to love.

In the most simple terms, Jesus Christ was 100% human and 100% divine because He had exercised His capacity to love in the fullest sense. We become more Christ-like (i.e., divine) when we love more. Whether Christ exercised that love with Mary Magdalene, well, you can serve that up to the conspiracy theorists.


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