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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Book Review

The DaVinci Code: A Quest for Answers by Josh McDowell.

After reading the DaVinci Code, I picked up this book to see if it would be a helpful rebuttal. I picked the McDowell edition, quite frankly, because it was sent free to our church and required no work for me to attain it.

In many ways, McDowell's book is the complete opposite of the DaVinci Code. McDowell is careful to footnote every chapter, carefully sourcing each claim he makes. The bibliography at the end of the book is nearly 11 full pages long, establishing that McDowell is not merely offering opinion, but is presenting careful thought through research.

In all, the book examined most of the issues I assumed it would. McDowell does a good job of walking through the basic objections that Dan Brown brings to the Christian faith with relative ease. He does all of this without attacking the character of Dan Brown (in fact, any scorn projected in the book is targeted at the fictional historian Leigh Teabing). He exposes that the book even misses in statements about architecture and art that wouldn't effect Brown's claims...thus showing the nature of the book is fictional with minimal attempt to be accurate.

There is one area where McDowell's "DaVinci" and Brown's are similar, however. McDowell's book is also largely fiction. All of his research and all of his refutations are factually backed, however, they are presented in a dialogue of fictional characters. Somewhere along the way, McDowell began using the novel genre to try to teach the lessons of his books. To be honest, I hate it. Since the focus of his work is based on the content and not on the development of the story (and rightfully so) the conversations often feel forced and the characters are not remotely believable. I think the intent was that Chris (a fictional believer talking to his two unbelieving friends) would model how we could enter conversations with others.

Personally, I would have preferred for McDowell to have systematically worked through his arguments. After doing so, it would have been more efficient to have included a chapter about how to use this book, or even "So what do these finding mean to our lives." I do appreciate, however, that he makes a plea for the gospel at the end of the book, reminding us of the true issue.

If you would like to pick up a book to help you refute the claims of Brown's book, this is certainly a cheap way to do so ($3.50). just know that it's fictional style means it will take you about twice as long to gather those facts than it needed to. But also allow the book to remind you not to end with disproving the conspiracy of Jesus having a wife. Have the person consider what they will do with the conspiracy caused by the resurrection!


  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    thanks again for deleting your comments gary!!!!!!

    (that drives me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    however, i'll still clarify what i meant by "i hate it" in the post.

    i do not hate mcdowell.
    i do not hate fiction.
    i do not believe the story isn't a powerful way to teach.

    but i hate when mcdowell (clearly a systematic guy) tries to write a fictional novel to teach his objective points. if you get a chance to read the book, i think you will see that it's just not good fictional writing. no character is developed, not traits for characters are really consistent.

    it would probably be better, if he believes this is a necessary venture for his books (this is the third novel-companion i've looked at based on his other works) for him to find a fiction writer and assign them with developing a story. of course, that book would need to be twice as long as his non-fiction work it is based on, for it would need to present the facts as well and develop the story.

    consider brown's work. it would have been much shorter had brown just presented his "thoughts" about the grail and wouldn't have bothered to develop robert, leigh, and sophie.

    so yes, i'm annoyed by mcdowell's need to turn his research into novels, but hate is probably too strong. hate is probably best reserved for how i feel about seeing comments deleted!!!! :)

  • At 9:18 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    whatever, dew.

  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I wonder if McDowell looked around the Christian bookstores, and saw the 27 books already written in a "point-counterpoint" theological discussion regarding the Da Vinci Code, and said to himself, "Christians are so creative and diverse that they all wrote the same book about the same thing with the same thoughts."

    So Josh tried to do something different. Sounds like it didn't work on you, but I bet there are 27 other books on the Da Vinci Code that would.

    Books by Bock, Strobel, Lutzer, etc.

  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I promise not to delete this comment.


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