Dan Brown has finally surfaced in front of a live audience. Granted it was an audience in Portsmouth New Hampshire near where he lives, and granted it was for the New Hampshire branch of NPR which I had to have a friend from Hong Kong help me find the link for to hear this program, but he has surfaced. Here is the link--
http://www.nhpr.org/audio/audio/ex-2006-04-24.wax What he offers here is a lecture on the relationship of science and religion-- both of which he sees as evolving, and he sees this as a good thing.
Little tidbits from the lecture of note: 1) His father was a mathematician who taught at Philips Exeter Academy, one of the elite prep schools in America, his mother a church organist; 2) he tried a career in music, and was in Hollywood for a while. He didn't like it and it didn't work. He skedaddled back to New Hampshire; 3) he has not read any of the response books to his novel. He says the debate is great, and may it carry on; 4) he is still talking about the divine feminine, and the evolution of spirituality, and he still seems to think that the God Mithra was said to be born on Christmas and died and rose from the dead. In other words he subscribes to the theory that we are dealing with archetypal myths found in various religions; 5) his Dad inculcated a love of codes and mystery in him; 6) he used to love to read the Hardy Boys; 6) yes, he would like to be Robert Langdon; 7) when he can't figure out a plot twist, he puts on his gravity boots and hangs upside down for a while until something comes to mind. This must explain some of his upside down thinking about early Christianity.
What we see in Dan Brown is syncretism--- the amalgamation of various religious ideas, histories, claims into some kind of pan-spirituality. And in our pluralistic culture that likes smorgesbords this plays very well. Of course the amalgamation is done at the expense of accurately representing any of the discrete elements he has blended together. This however does not much bother him-- he thinks that it is the big ideas that count. At one juncture he reads an outtake from the Da Vinci Code novel-- where Langdon playfully suggests he belongs to a cult where they eat the body of a god on the day one worships the pagan sun god, and he urges his students to join him. Then he reveals he is inviting them to the Harvard Chapel and to the Lord's Supper celebration. This is a very revealing moment. Dan Brown sees the rituals as universal and polyvalent. They reflect the human search for God, not God's attempt to reveal himself to us. They are many and varied. At another juncture he serves up the mantra that "history is written by the winners" which is far from an accurate statement that one could apply widely to the writing of history. He adds that all his history writing is interpretive, which is of course true.
There is much here to confuse the ordinary listener or even the erudite one, but what is clear is that while Dan Brown still says he is a Christian, what he means by that is something very different than would be ordinarily understood by the term. And he seems to see himself as part of a movement to reinvent Christianity in a different image.
You should find this troubling..... and oh by the way-- He says he is thrilled with the movie, and that it in no way waters down the controversial claims of the novel.
I ask once more--- Are you ready to rumble?