Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Vinci Blah 2

Wel I have seen the much talked about film version of Dan Brown’s  book “The Da Vinci Code”.  I can summarize it all in one word… OK two words… ho hummmm. Yawn!

Well the movie version has the Opus Dei cast in extreme stereotypical terms. Do Opus Dei members talk in Latin? I don’t think so. I know a lot of Opus Dei people and  many can’t say a single coherent Latin sentence. Their joke is that the best Latin they know is the name of their organization, Opus Dei. Now this writer a taxonomy trained PhD knows enough Latin to read some Latin texts, still can’t construct a decent Latin sentence aside from Mulum spectat Episcopos.

Although I do not agree with some aspects of the Catholic expression of belief by the Opus Dei, I have to give the Opus Dei its fair go. And as a Catholic I know that the Opus Dei is just part of the diversity of Catholic expression of spirituality.

And why single out the Opus Dei as a conspirator? Why not the Jesuits? who have been traditionally ascribed to be the schemers in the Church. Why not the separated Traditionalist Catholics who insist on the Latin Mass. If anyone can construct a decent Latin sentence, then it should be them.

I really cannot understand why certain Christian groups are horribly afraid that the movie and book can ruin a believer’s faith. To assent to the “Code” as truth requires faith. To assent to Christianity also requires faith. Now the question is which belief system is more coherent and logical? Both Christianity and the “Code” can be considered fiction under some circumstances. Christianity can be fiction since no one on earth has physical evidence of Christ rising from the dead. The “Code” can be fiction since no one has physical evidence that Christ’s DNA has been passed to his descendants. Si Corpus Christi non est,  DNA Christi est non.

Science provides the only way to say that the “Code” can never stand as fact. I present this thesis since the Teabing character admits that without the mortal remains of Christ and Mary Magdalene, there is simply no way to test directly a “bloodline” using the techniques of molecular biology. So if we accept the “Code” we can only rely on historical evidence and genealogies. Now genealogies are often forged or constructed to suit a belief.

The Shinto religion in Japan teaches that the present Emperor, Akihito descended from the Sun Goddess Amaterasu and there is a genealogy that supports the idea. This idea defines the uniqueness of Japan. But Akihito’s dad, Emperor Hirohito, being a renowned scientist , said that this idea is unscientific and he “divested himself of his divinity”. No one in Japan save for a few ultranationalists seriously accepts the Amaterasu idea as a historical fact. And Akihito himself considers himself like any other Japanese, a mortal and not a god. Well that is what you can expect from a Scientist-Emperor.

Of course anyone can join all sorts of facts to support a constructed idea. Of course one of the things to accept on faith is whether the Saint John the favoured apostle is Mary Magdalene in Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. Could be. That figure looks so feminine. And so is the Christ. So we can propose the hypothesis that the Christ is really Mary Magdalene! And that is the whole fact that ties the other facts in the “Code”!

So let us go back why a scientific worldview can shoot down this “Da Vinci Code” theory. It is likely that if ever the remains of Christ or his relations are found and their DNA is recovered (provided that it hasn’t been too degraded), the similarity of DNA with the general population will be so great. The National Genographic project has found a man in Uzbekistan with a unique marker that makes him the direct descendant of the earliest Asians!. But then his bloodline would be a majority of Asians including a Pinoy like me. So if a Jesus or Mary Magdalene genetic marker is indeed found, what do we make of it?

Chances are a huge segment of the Middle East population will have this marker. And that is Christ’s bloodline. Then they are the grail! And with genetic exchange among the world population, this marker has probably spread throughout the planet. We are the grail of the Holy Blood!. The Priory of Sion will have a huge job before it!

And this science is more consistent with Orthodox Christian teaching. Christ became human and lived amonst us. He died amonst us. His blood conmingled with the rest of humanity in the act of saving them. The Holy Grail is the rest of us. No wonder many religious traditions consider that people enshrine the Divine and to degrade the human is to degrade the Holy One.

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