L. Neil Smith's
Number 369, May 28, 2006

"Data Privacy is a Fundamental Right"

On The DaVinci Code and L. Neil Smith's Comments
by Alan R. Weiss

Credit The Libertarian Enterprise

First, I'm a relatively new Christian who was formerly an atheist (and before that agnostic, and . . . but still a libertarian), so what I'm about to say is based on my current research into my faith.

(The subject of my conversion is available for discussion, but that is not the topic of this particular reply on Neil's blog—just contact me directly and I'll be happy to share what happened to me).

Second, I love a good novel as much as the next reader. I've read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons (a better book than The DaVinci Code, in my estimation and that of most folks it seems), and of course TDVC. As Neil points out, hey, its a story, folks.

It is a story, however, based on gnostic nonsense and vast amounts of historical silliness. For example, the New Testament began to be laid down about 2 years after Jesus Christ died (if you're a Christian, you add "and was resurrected . . . if not, you don't). Mark, and possibly a precursor, "Q", was finished about 20 years or so after his death (and resurrection). All of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Luke, and Matthew) were written while many Jewish Christians (which is what they were) were still alive. The gnostic gospels were written a hundred years or more (2nd and 3rd century)—thus are much farther away from "the events in history" and much more unreliable. In fact, "Judas", "Mary", and "Thomas", if you read them, are full of silliness (as Neil would say)—if you want a good laugh, look up Thomas 114!

Neil is quite wrong that there is "no proof that Jesus existed." First, you have the writers of the Bible, New Testament version—Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, and of course Paul the Buzzkill. Much of the NT was written while people were converting like crazy, by the people that knew Jesus personally.

There is also the fact that the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus wrote of Jesus, and other, non-Biblical corroborating evidence. There is also all the archeological evidence.

By the way, there are a lot of Christians who know that Mary of Magdala (i.e. Mary Magdalene) was not a prostitute—that indeed was a later invention and mistaken. They know that Mary, the other Mary, and hey, there were a *bunch* of Mary's . . . all were close friends of Jesus of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene financially support Jesus' ministry. Jesus was quite the revolutionary in His day, you know. Pity Paul and some of the apostles were such . . . putzes!

If you want a good read on this, and if you have an open mind, I refer you to Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. Strobel, a former Chicago crime reporter and hard-core atheist, applied his investigative techniques and skills to, well, "the case for—or against—Christ" and came away a believer. Now—if you're not willing to have an open mind and read it with your full faculties of reason (not faith, reason), don't bother. But I think you'll find it very interesting indeed.

Back to The DaVinci Code . . . what pisses off Christians so much is that, if you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is pure blasphemy and even slanderous. For some Christians, it is analogous to statists and Marxists slandering your favorite heroes—say, L. Neil Smith, or Adam Smith, or Smith and Wessson (OK, OK, the last one deserves it :-) It is analogous to the gun-phobes lying about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

And no one likes a liar.

Christians have plenty of opportunities to embrace the dialogue that can come with people discussing these sorts of issues, and if we're smart, we'll take advantage of the chance to at least have "good talk." It has been said that the hard-core atheist is even closer to God than they think (it was true for me, but hey, I claim no speciality in all this). Let it not be said that the hard-core atheist is close-minded enough to not understand how utterly offensive slagging of Jesus can be.

Do I advocate censorship? No!! No way. But then again, no Christian I know is, either. Boycotts are libertarian, are they not? They may indeed be very bad strategy, but they're free to have that strategy, eh?

Alan R. Weiss is the nom de real of a guy in Austin, Texas who, up to 20 weeks ago, was an atheist, is still a libertarian, and is still overworked. He can be found by google as "Alan R. Weiss". He is the Roving and Peripatetic Editor for The Libertarian Enterprise.


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