May 9, 2006

‘Seek the truth’
by John Fischer

The last time I mentioned The Da Vinci Code, I was on page 234. Well I have finished the book now, and as an author of three novels, I think I understand what is happening here. Let me explain.

I set my first novel, Saint Ben, in the late 1950s in Pasadena, Calif. For fun, I looked up events in the local newspaper, The Pasadena Star-News, and wrote them into the final week of my story. I found some very interesting connections that helped me create the story’s conclusion and tie it to actual events from the front page of the paper. I also staged a real event, the Tournament of Roses parade on New Year’s Day, only I had the mayor of Pasadena riding in a 1958 Edsel in the 1959 parade. This was a clear break with tradition (and with fact), but it served my story well.

Now if you read Saint Ben, you won’t know for sure what piece of the story is fact and what is fiction unless you go to the Pasadena Library, like I did, and search through the microfilm versions of the front pages of the Star-News, and check the Tournament of Roses archives for what car the mayor drove in 1959. You probably won’t bother doing that because you really don’t care, and hopefully, you are just enjoying the story for what it is: a piece of fiction.

Dan Brown, the writer of The Da Vinci Code, has done the same thing with his story, only with much more significant events and with potentially damaging results if people don’t take the time and effort to find out what is fact and what is fiction. What car the mayor drove in a rose parade is one thing; the origin of how we know who Jesus Christ is and what he did on earth is quite another, yet Mr. Brown has treated his story much the same way. He has concerned himself more with building an entertaining story than with the truth, and he has done that by creating his own unique blend of fact, legend, and his imagination, bending them all to serve the story he created. That his story pretends to be a legitimate conspiracy is more of a brilliant marketing scheme than a significant attack on history. You have to remind people where they found this book: in the fiction section.

It’s a good lesson for all of us about telling the truth all the time because if you blend any part of the truth with a story, it all becomes fiction, and no one knows how to separate the truth from the lie.

Ironically, the tag line for the upcoming movie is exactly right: «Seek the truth.» Anyone who seeks the truth in regard to this story will find out pretty quick that this isn’t it.

For resources in helping you seek the truth, we have compiled some informative tools for individual and group study. For more information and ordering, click here.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to discuss The Da Vinci Code with Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg!

Join best-selling authors Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg this Wednesday, May 10, at 1 p.m. (PDT) for a free conference call to discuss how we can prepare and respond to The Da Vinci Code. The call is free. For more information, including how to join, click here.

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