Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Da Church and Da Vinci
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
One of the things that appealed to the whole "Matrix" series in the 1990’s was the general storyline. Yes, the special effects were absolutely mind-blowing, but that wasn’t the only thing that was. The story was also mind-blowing.
Here’s the whole Matrix story in a nutshell: people living out their lives in the middle of a bustling metropolitan city, not knowing that it’s all just a collective electronic simulation called "The Matrix". The people inside The Matrix have no idea that they’re really being used as huge living batteries. Everything about them says that the things they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell are all real, so that’s what they accept.
But for some people, they know that things just aren’t right. There’s something wrong with the world, but they just can’t put their finger on it. Some of these folks will actively seek to know the truth, while other folks will actively look to escape from it. And they do so through raves and drugs. And there’s a huge conspiracy from positions of authority to keep the masses from knowing the truth. And then, when the truth is revealed, these people see things in a completely different light. The world that they knew, the world that they grew up in, even the things that they believed in, those are all gone.
And for the whole Matrix series, there are LAYERS of truth that get peeled away one after another. Each story in the movie trilogy, and in the animated movies, and in the graphic novel, and in the video games… each one of them strips away a different layer of truth. And I’m sure that it’s a bit of a shock for those of you who only knew about the three movies as well to know that you’re only getting part of the whole story.
But the key thing here is that we have people who have been conditioned to ACCEPT certain things without question, even when they know that there’s something wrong with it.
That brings us to religion…
In a couple of weeks from this rant, a certain movie will make its debut that has both Roman Catholics and Christians in general pissed off. It’s called "The Da Vinci Code" and it’s based on the best-selling book by Dan Brown.
Now I’m not going to give any twists away… mostly because I’ve never read the book… but there’s already been some public hype about the "big secret" anyway, so at least I can talk about that.
One of the big speculations mentioned in this book and in others like it is that the Catholic Church, long before it splintered into its various factions, suppressed certain knowledge about Jesus. For instance, it suppressed various other "gospels" by other apostles, and even one by Mary Magdalene that claimed that she was more than just a pre-Christian groupie… that she was actually his wife! That little tidbit would obviously fly in the face of Catholic Church’s own pronouncements that only MEN could be ordained priests and that only MEN could be leaders of the Church!
Now that’s just ONE of the dirty little secrets that’s making the rounds. Another one is the recent release of the "Gospel of Judas", which claims that the man forever damned for betraying Jesus actually was doing him a favor… literally! According to this document, Jesus ASKED that Judas tell the Romans where to find him, because he WANTED to die and supposedly transcend into this spiritual being. Not only that, but Jesus knew that Judas was going to get damned for doing it.
Rather hair-raising stuff if you think about it. It makes Jesus more of a flake and Judas into a tortured friend.
And… no matter how accurate it may be, if it even is, the Catholic Church simply CANNOT accept it! Even if they wanted to!
You see, this is what happens when you CANONIZE a document like the Bible. You can’t add to it. You can’t change it. You can’t subtract from it. It’s basically deifying a document full of info that was passed on for generations by the world’s largest game of telephone, so even if it’s wrong or if it leaves something out, you can’t do anything to change it!
It’s the same with Mormonism. The Mormons have their own gospel that goes along with the New Testament. But even if it’s true, the Catholic Church CANNOT accept it! They can’t because they can’t go against their own proclamations about the Bible being unquestionable.
But the whole "Da Vinci Code" story is opening some serious wounds for the Catholic Church and for Christians in general. And because of that, the Catholic Church is not only launching their own so-called "truth squads" to counter the claims made in this movie, but they’re also calling for boycotts of the movie.
And that makes you wonder what the Catholic Church is AFRAID of? Listen, folks, IT’S A STORY. It’s a work of fiction!
But while the movie is based on a fictional story, the story itself is based on a couple of other speculations that some people believe to be REAL.
There have been several books out that challenge the very principles of the New Testament. They all question the assertions made by the Catholic Church over the centuries, and talk about the lengths that the Church went to keep those nuggets of information hidden.
Now conspiracy theories aren’t new. Remember the assassination of President Kennedy and the movie "JFK"? Oliver Stone really opened up a hornet’s nest of speculation there, but not without good reason. The nice-and-neat "single shooter" and the "magic bullet" theory can only hold up as long as nobody compares it to some of the unexplained facts surrounding Kennedy’s assassination.
And let’s get brutally honest here… THAT’S what the Catholic Church is REALLY afraid of! They’re afraid that the simple mention of a conspiracy theory might make people think that there really IS some truth to the allegations! It makes them wonder if the Church REALLY IS actively trying to withhold the truth from people!
You see, THAT’S why the Catholic Church canonized the Bible all those years ago! It’s not about them believing that the passages and stories that were passed down over the countless generations by word of mouth and a few transcribed parchments really did come from God. It was simply to remove any kind of criticism or question about their interpretations of it! It was about preserving their power base.
And it doesn’t help to know that the Church has some things that it has to atone for as well. How many generations of people had to suffer because of the arrogance, pompousness, and cruelty of Church officials? How many children were molested by repeat pedophiles who were simply shuffled around by the Church? How many people were wrongly and brutally persecuted during the Inquisitions? It took fifty years before the Church could even admit that they failed to hold true to their own doctrines during World War II. It took CENTURIES before they could even admit that they MIGHT have been wrong about persecuting Copernicus and Galileo for saying that the Earth revolved around the Sun… something that we take for granted today! Even IF the conspiracy theories about the Church are wrong… the Church itself isn’t in a good position to refute them with any kind of credibility. They have a long history of concealing the truth from others, and that only helps to strengthen the allegations against them.
Look, the best way to deal with these things is not to take the fundamentalist route. The more that institutions try to suppress these kinds of allegations, the more people will start to believe them to be true. Conspiracy theories thrive on secrecy and concealment. Rather than tell Christians to NOT see the movie, church officials should ENCOURAGE people to go see "The Da Vinci Code". Remind them that it IS a work of fiction, not a documentary, and then be ready to answer any questions they may have on it.
Of course, that last part is sort of dangerous… because it gives the followers the option to develop their own conclusions, which is something that religious institutions pretty much do not want to do. They’d much rather TELL people what to think. And again, that only serves to strengthen the conspiracy theory.
(Computer – Matrix explained)
(Fade Music In – "Who am I" by Peace Orchestra)
You know, one of the more damaging things that any religious institution can do is to encourage blind obedience from the masses. We see that with the Muslims today, and we know exactly what that has led to… millions of idiots who throw temper tantrums and carry out acts of violence over cartoons that they’ve never seen.
Do you know who’s the more devout religious believer? It’s the person who has opened his or her mind up to various beliefs and various ideas, and then come up with their own reasons why a certain belief is right. Their belief is stronger because it’s not dependent on just ONE doctrine or just ONE book to validate it. If that one doctrine or that one book is wrong, then their faith is not deterred one iota.
Then again, those who can develop their own beliefs and their own justifications for those beliefs are also not dependant on religious leaders for guidance, and that, I suspect, is the real reason why religious institutions often encourage ignorance and blind obedience. It’s not a spiritual thirst that motivates them, but rather a thirst for power and control.
This is why Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that you should "beware the man of one book", because that person isn’t a believer… he’s a cult follower. True beliefs are the ones that hold up under scrutiny. They’re road-tested. They’re the ones that you can justify on your own, not just recite from some book or a scroll or parroting off other people.
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!
(Computer – Ending/"End of Recording")
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