Wolfgang Wiebach's Light Musings on Heavy Subjects

    The da Vinci Roller Coaster

    Up and down with Dan Brown's "The da Vinci Code"
    Dan Brown's book "The daVinci Code" is difficult to put down, but when reaching the last pages, it dawns: man, the guy took me for a loop! The improbabilities and outright logical flaws of the story slowly become clear, one after another.
    The first fishy turn of events: why did Teabing not simply remain on friendly terms with Langdon and Sophie? They would have continued to share the secret's unravelling without reservations. A few pages later, he tried to regain their cooperation at gun point, a cooperation he had willingly all along.
    More fundamentally: Is it not uncharacteristically naive of "The Teacher" to assume that the four gurus who know the secret would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the first time they are threatened? And is it not clear that killing them would most likely preclude any further clarification and bury the secret forever?
    How unlikely was it that the Master, fatally wounded, would and could manage to set up such an expansive trail for his granddaughter

to follow, a granddaughter he moreover always tried to keep out of this morbid and hazardous affair?
    Yet the supreme piece of nonsense, which actually constitutes the foundation of the whole story: Why did those four sages set up at all such an expansive chain of riddles that no normal person could solve when they carried the location of the hiding place, supremely easy to remember, in their heads anyway?

    Of course, the book fascinates the reader on another level: by unveiling the underside of the Christian Church, well known by historians for a long time, but hardly precipitated in the mind of the contemporary "man on the street". The website by Lisa Shea discusses these matters in depth. Was Jesus Christ married to Mary Magdalene? According to da Vinci, certainly: the young person next to him at the last supper: markedly relaxed and slightly absent-minded; Peter talking behind her back to the Master, a word man to man and none of her business - would the youngest aide sit like this next to Donald Trump?
    How many people were murdered by the inquisition? Five million, as Dan Brown says, or "only" 50,000? Just in Spain, during their 200-year reign, the population dropped from 20 to 6 million. The head honcho Torquemada personally sent 10,220 people to the pyre and 97,371 to the galleys (that's the ship in which you sit and row until you're dead).
    And let's not forget the many other killings in the name of Christianity. The first crusade began with the total loss of 12,000 advance foot troops and ended with the slaughter of 70,000 Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem; the last crusade, 200 years later, ended with the butchery of 60,000 Christians in Akkon. There was also an "internal crusade" against heretics which, at one point in Béziers (France), murdered 20,000 men, woman and children. During the 30-year war, fought presumably to reestablish the "correct" Christian order,
the population of Germany decreased from 12 to 8 million. And did not the Nazi regmine enjoy the pope's tacit approval for the extermination of the Jews?
     Which brings us to another logical flaw of the book: After this past of bloodshed and lies, what other dirty secret could the Church possibly have to hide? What still unpublished account could surpass the horrors that are already known?
    Yet the final irony is this: even if more damning facts were unearthed - the Church couldn't care less. It has learned during 2000 years that most people - your silent majority, solid middle-class - want so desperately to believe in its promises that all trespasses are instantly forgiven.
    "The da Vinci Code" propels us to high expectations but we slide quickly back to the ground level of reason and realty - the roller coaster of Dan Brown.
    Nice reading, though.