Saturday, April 15, 2006

Screwtape on DaVinci

Wondering what Screwtape makes of The DaVinci Code? Wonder no more!
My dear Wormwood, ... another extremely admirable facet of this book is the author's intimate knowledge of his audience's skyscraping ignorance, which he exploits to devastating effect. One must ever endeavor to capitalize upon ignorance, Wormwood. This is one of the chiefest weapons in our arsenal, and let me observe—and not without some glee—that the ignorance of contemporary Western Society in matters of history and theology both, is of an absolutely unprecedented greatness. Never before have so many known so little about so much of great importance. Ask your average fellow in the street the slightest detail of a daft sitcom of forty years ago and he will move heaven and earth to supply you with the answer, and then will likely prate on with other similarly inane details—as if knowing who lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane was his very passport to the Elysian Fields. Ha! But ask him to tell you about the Nicean Council, or ask him what are the Synoptic Gospels and you will suddenly find yourself in the presence of a weatherbeaten cigar store Injun! But then go ahead and ask him who played drums for The Monkees, or the name of that blasted itinerant peddlar on Green Acres and you will think yourself in the presence of a very Voltaire! Our television executives Down Under have been awfully successful! As I say, this book exploits the ignorance of its readership with an exemplary elan. One particularly daring example claims that the Crusades were principally concerned with gathering and destroying information! This is bold and laughable twaddle, but it fits so nicely into ye olde conspiracy theory—that the powerful religious hypocrites want to keep the "truth" out of the hands of their powerless subjects. And what do readers of this book know of the Crusades? Then there's that double whopper with cheese, about how the Emperor Constantine "invented" Christianity in the fourth century! Never mind that people had been believing it for all those years before it was "invented". And in the same masterstroke the author undermines the authority of the Bible by declaring that what it contains arrived on a strictly "political" vote. All of those wonderful "Gospels" that didn't fit with the "patriarchal" version of things were cruelly—always "cruelly"—suppressed and rejected; the oppressive messages it now contains were slipped in to fit Constantine's political agenda! Who among this book's readers will know that for three centuries most of those same Gospels were already considered a part of the scriptural canon? Who among his doughheaded readers even knows the meaning of the word "canonical"! My nostrils flare in admiration.

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