Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The gospel of Judas, The Da Vinci Code, unsolved mysteries, conspiracy theories and intrigue. Today's unlimited television channels are filled with endless explanations and questions into the unknown and mysterious. It's simply a natural part of the human psyche and nature: to pose the question, "What if?"
I will preface this reflection by stating that I have yet to read the book or see the movie The Da Vinci Code. As well, I have only read three articles [which includes an extensive cover story in National Geographic] on the subject matter of the supposed gospel of Judas. Having said that, I do not personally advocate for perusing materials/movies on these subjects, nor do I advocate for boycotting their suppositions. In recent months, I have heard very strong opinions and viewpoints concerning these works and many others; so vehement are the opinions that they concern me.
In my early sociological education, I was introduced to the varying concepts of conspiracy and agencies' need to harbor and withhold information from the general public. It was believed by these agencies (including the U.S. government) that the general populace would not be able to withstand the horrible truths withheld, if suddenly shared. And yet, as with any great lie, deceit or conspiracy, it is only a matter of time before the truth is revealed. It may take 40 or 5o years (or longer), but eventually it will show its face. Honestly, does anyone today believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and was the lone gunman in President Kennedy's assassination?
When we have been fed a lie, digest it and then realize later the truth, does it surprise anyone that we would be leery of trusting that same source again? And does it surprise anyone that we would readily entertain future conspiracy theories concerning this same source. In fact, we've become a nation that seems to live in a judgmental state of "assume they're guilty, until proven innocent." For better or worse, it has been nurtured within and around us over generations.
Now add to this distrust the very inquisitive nature of humankind. We are a people who want to discover new worlds, new truths, new wonders and new life forms. We want to be proven wrong that we are the only ones alive in this universe, but we don't come out and actually proclaim aliens exist. We will sail to the ends of the cosmos to find someone else. It's in our very nature; almost encoded in our very DNA. It is my belief that it is this inquisitive nature and drive that most likely propels our faith in God.
So, does it surprise anyone that The Da Vinci Code would sell 40 million copies, while individuals are lined up to see its soon-released movie version? Does entertaining the notions of the storyline mean the certain demise of the Christian faith? Does entertaining the possibility of gospel of Judas mean the almost certain discounting of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? I highly doubt it in the least.
Were there others besides Lee Harvey Oswald? What if Santa Claus actually existed? Wouldn't it be great if our daytime drama stars were real? What if aliens are listening to us now? We can make all the suppositions and conspiracy pipedreams we wish, but eventually the pages end in the book and the movie theater doors open to the outside world... back to reality... well, at least until another truth shows its face...