The Da Vinci Code movie arrives in cinemas later this week. In Sydney, Australia, the Anglican Church has been anticipating this moment through the screening of its own light hearted cinema advertisment.
The 20 second ad begins with an adaptation of Da Vinci’s Last Supper. In Monty Python style the focus moves around the painting. On the left we have Dan Brown talking with two fellow guests. The voiceover asks, “Has the Church been lying for 2000 years?”. The camera moves to a lip sticked woman, sitting in the place of the ‘beloved disciple’. “Is this Mary? Did she bear Mary’s child?” On the right 0f Jesus we have Templar knights. “Has someone guarded this secret for centuries?” The view switches to Jesus, who is reading his own copy of The Da Vinci Code. “Is this all news to Jesus?” “Hmm?”, says Jesus. The tagline, “FIND THE TRUTH”, is connected with a web site, www.challengingdavinci.com.
On the web site we have more questions to explore.
Did Jesus Have Sex? Are there secret documents about Jesus? Was Jesus really God? Was Mary Magdalene Mrs Jesus? Where is the Holy Grail? Is the Bible the World’s Best Piece of Fiction? Is the Church Full of Paedophiles? How can I join the Priory of Sion? Was Leonardo Da Vinci A Gay Genius? Is Dan Brown a Liar?
‘Christianity’ is a link to ‘God Makes Sense’ at www.christianity.net.au.
The majority of the text on challengingdavinci.com has been written by Dr Greg Clarke, director of CASE, Centre for Apologetic Study and Education, and author of the book, “Is it worth believing? The Spiritual Challenge fo the Da Vinci Code”.
Anglican Media Sydney
The Challenging Da Vinci project was developed by Anglican Media Sydney for the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia. The cinema advert is screening on 250 screens across Sydney for 4 weeks from May 11. It is screening as part of the Val Morgan movie mix, which means that it is screening before a wide range of movies.
‘Our aim is to get people to discover the truth about Jesus. The concept for the cinema advert was to engage with the same questions raised by the Da Vinci Code, but then also raise the question of how Jesus himself might respond to these claims,’ says Allan Dowthwaite, CEO of Anglican Media Sydney.
Bishop Robert Forsyth, chairman of Anglican Media Sydney, says that the campaign is important because, ‘When it comes to Jesus, there is a huge information void for many people’.
‘Our concern is that the Da Vinci Code will mislead people about the truth,’ says Bishop Forsyth. ‘We are not afraid of the film. We are not seeking to discourage people from seeing it. But we are well aware of the power popular films have in filling the information void about Jesus.’
A key part of the strategy involves linking people back into local congregations. As a result, the site also encourages people to find out the truth about Christianity by visiting seminars run by local churches.
This aspect of the campaign fits within the Diocese of Sydney’s goal of seeing 10 per cent of the population of Sydney Diocese in Bible-based churches by 2012.
In October 2005, at the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, money was made available to Anglican Media Sydney for evangelism through the media in order to further the Diocese’s mission goals.
‘In 2006 alone, Anglican Media has set aside $150,000 to spend on promoting the gospel through the popular media,’ said Mr Dowthwaite. ‘About a third of this money is being spent on this particular campaign.’
Challenging Da Vinci Code Online
The Challenging Da Vinci cinema ad is also available to view online: