Christianity has shaped society European and English-speaking countries’ society to a great extent. Because of this, it is a common theme in our literature. In selecting the texts The Da Vinci Code, Stigmata, ?The Maori Jesus’, ?The Ballad of Calvary Street’, and Theo’s Odyssey, I included a wide range of points of view on the topic of Christianity. With conspiracy-theory-driven films that attempt to bring down the Catholic establishment, James K Baxter poems that force audiences to take a second look at their societies, as well as a French novel that looks at many world religions, I intend to analyse differences in characters’ beliefs, and messages of the texts.
How does a character/society view Christianity?
Characters in my texts often portray negative or at least sceptical views of the Christian Establishment or those within it. In The Da Vinci Code, Sir Ian McKellan plays Sir Leigh Teabing, an eccentric Englishman who is very knowledgeable regarding Christian history. Teabing views Christianity as a doctrine of lies. At the beginning of the film, his views are openly negative towards the Church, but only to a relatively mild extent. He jokes about the divinity of the bible, saying “The good book did not arrive by facsimile from heaven.” He continues to explain the happenings at the Council of Nicaea, where he claims any gospels that alluded to Jesus being mortal or married were rejected. Teabing’s true, darker thoughts towards the Church are alluded to when he states “As long as there has been One true God, there has been killing in His name.” His feelings become more obvious when he speaks of the Council of Shadows, a shadowy group within the Church that kill off the descendants of Jesus in order to keep them a secret. The audience learns that his knowledge of past atrocities in the name of the Church, and of the dark sects within it, has evidently led him to believe that it must be destroyed, when he shouts “Drive this Church of lies to its knees!” Knowledge of the past and of the secrecy within the Holy Catholic Church are not enough to drive away the faith of all though.
In Stigmata, Father Andrew Kiernan is a scientist-turned-priest within the Church that, while seeing how many secrets are kept from the public, still believes that faith is too important to lose. His feelings towards the secrecy are similar to Teabing’s saying “Nothing gets out of here does it?