Monday, May 22, 2006

Culture: The Da Vinci Code and Sexual Mysticism

The movie is out and it pulled in $77 million in its opening weekend.

Tonight, I'll be heading off to hear a talk that tackles a different angle on the Da Vinci Code phenomena.

Here is an excerpt describing the lecture:
Indian philosopher Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi will suggest that Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel, The Da Vinci Code, has the potential to turn the eccentric fringe movement of sexual mysticism into a mainstream phenomenon. Brown condemns the biblical story of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and in its place offers the "APPLE" of secret "knowledge" (Gnosis) to help men and women realize their divinity through sexual union. Many teachers and gurus in the last century have promoted sex as a path to mystical Enlightenment. But The Da Vinci Code teaches "sacred sex" not on the basis of Pagan, Hindu, or Buddhist philosophies but by invoking the authority of Jesus - albeit a Gnostic rather than Jewish Jesus. Many Christians have responded to The Da Vinci Code, but hardly any have addressed the book’s central point - the spirituality of the "Sacred Feminine".
For reality checks on the film be sure to visit these sites:

Mark D. Robert's FAQ

Christianity Today's Round-up

The Da Vinci Dialogue

UPDATE: A friend of mine found this page where Dr. Mangalwadi has an extended essay on the Da Vinci Code phenomena. The talk I heard makes many of the same points.

Mangalwadi acknowledged the weak history of the Brown novel. However, he went on to stress two other aspects of the Da Vinci Code phenomena.

(1) The advocacy of sacred sex as a pathway to experiencing the divine. This notion is advanced in the discussion Langdon has with Sophie where she described the ritual she saw her grandfather involved with. The other way this concept is advocated is the whole Jesus getting married to Mary and turning the Last Supper and the Holy Grail into a pagan/Hindu sex ritual.

(2) The Da Vinci Code concepts tries to show that humankind's problem is a lack of enlightenment which is counter to the Christian world view that says that humanities problem is sin and the need for forgiveness. Mangalwadi drew this idea out further to say that by advocating mysticism as the route to enlightenment and salvation, Brown is attacking the role of reason and revelation which is an essential part of Christianity.

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