With all of the fallacies in The Da Vinci Code it gives priests, preachers, and fundamentalists the perfect opportunity to convince people of even more fallacies. Many of the things that Dan Brown presents as "true" in his work of "historical fiction" are in fact false, gross misstatements, or products of proven mistakes or misrepresentations, and this provides an easy target for Christians to fight against.
I have already been able to see many historical fallacies being promoted by Christians in opposition to The Da Vinci Code. Here is an analysis of some of the "best":
1) CLAIM: Jesus was merely a man, not God. Brown says that the “pagan” Roman emperor Constantine, for the purpose of consolidating his power, created the “myth” that Jesus was resurrected after being crucified. (231-234).
ANSWER: Constantine, who converted to Christianity and ended Rome’s persecution of Christians, convened the Council of Nicea in 325, but only to sort out differences among church leaders, all of whom believed Jesus was divine. Early church historians referred routinely to Christ’s divinity, including Ignatius (105 A.D.) and Clement (150 A.D.)
Ironically, there is plenty of support for the claim that there was no Jesus at all. Nevertheless, Constantine did not convert to Christianity until he was on his deathbed at the very least, if this even happened. So many of the stories about Constantine are forged that it is hard to separate fact from fiction, but certainly we do know that many of the stories about Constantine were fabricated by later priests and popes in order to lay claim to imperial property and provide a basis for their power, claiming that it was granted to them by Constantine, who had for all his life been the high priest of Deus Sol Invictus. Constantine always believed that Jesus was just another representation of the sun god Helios.
Additionally, not all of the early Christians did think that Jesus was divine. Yes, there were many early church fathers that did refer to him as divine, but there were others that did not. The ones that didn't believe he was divine have simply been rejected, and are not counted as "true Christians" today, so this self-imposed filtering is just a bit of nonsense. Everyone who didn't believe in a divine Jesus was rejected, but that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of people who didn't believe in a divine Jesus.
3) CLAIM: The four New Testament Gospels (the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) comprise a false account. Numerous ancient writings tell a more truthful story.
ANSWER: Brown bases his view on 52 books collectively called the Gnostic Gospels, discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. All were written more than a century after the Biblical Gospels were written. None of these books has any tie to eyewitnesses in Christ’s time, unlike the Gospels themselves.
The Gospels have no ties to eyewitness accounts either. None of the stories about Jesus are based on eyewitness accounts. All of the Gospels about Jesus, including the ones that didn't make it into the Bible, such as the Gospel of Thomas, were written as if they were eyewitness accounts, but none of them were. This is most obvious when dealing with the story of the birth of Jesus, which is written as if it were based on eyewitness accounts, even though that would obviously have been impossible. The same can be said for all of the other myths of the ancient world. Stories about Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Orion, Hercules, etc., are written as if they were eye witness accounts too.
5) CLAIM: Jesus did not die on the cross but married Mary Magdalene and fathered children with her. Brown claims the church was led by Mary Magdalene, whose role was covered up by a ruthless Catholic Church.
ANSWER: Jesus’ crucifixion and reappearance after the resurrection are perhaps the best-documented theological events in history, with literally hundreds of eyewitnesses. The Roman pagan historian Flavius Josephus recorded the event this way:
"He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him."
The nonsense about Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and having children with her came from the Plantard forgeries and the Gnostic gospels of Phillip and “Mary Magdala.”
First of all, the quote that is referenced here is widely acknowledged to be full of errors. Secondly, the writing from which the quote is supposedly taken was not written until 93 CE and would, even at best, have been based on claims of other people, not a first hand account. Adding to that the oldest existing copy of the quote comes from a Christian source from the 800s, and there are many different copies of the text which don't mention Christ at all. For the many errors in this quote see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus
Thirdly, the Bible has many contradictions about the number of people Jesus supposedly appeared before after he died. All of the books except one state that "only a few" people saw Jesus after his supposed resurrection:
33 Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
34 Then Peter began to speak: ... 39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
The number of people, and who they were, that Jesus appeared before according to the Bible is different according to every account.
Luke: 13 plus an ambiguous amount: "them that were with them"
Paul (I Corinthians): 500
For more information on the contradictions in the story of Jesus' resurrection see: http://www.outreachjudaism.org/crucifix.html
There are no claims of a crucified person, Jesus or otherwise, appearing to people after death, aside from in the Bible. Likewise there are dozens of other myths from the same time about other people or man-gods who supposedly came back from the dead and appeared before people too.
The claim that Jesus appeared before 500 people comes from one source, Paul, whom we know never saw Jesus at all or had any contact with anyone who had ever actually seen Jesus. None of the Gospels state that Jesus appeared to 500 people, only that he appeared to the apostils and a couple more (each Gospel lists different people that he appeared before). Far from being "the best documented theological event in history", the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is quite contradictory between all the accounts, and none of them can be considered "documentation", since none of them are eye-witness accounts, they are all STORIES.
Fourthly, however, even if we take the Gospel accounts of Jesus' death at face value, and this whole event isn't just a fabricated myth, then that does nothing to say that he didn't simply survive the crucifixion (he was supposedly taken down after a short period of time according to the story, not left for weeks to rot on the cross as was typical) and then leave town.
8) CLAIM: The “sacred feminine” was at the heart of the early church, but was ruthlessly suppressed. “It was man, not God, who created the concept of ‘original sin,’ whereby Eve tasted of the apple and caused the downfall of the human race. Woman, once the sacred giver of life, was now the enemy” (238).
ANSWER: Once again (and throughout the book), Brown calls Scripture a colossal lie. Far from oppressing women, the church has proved to be a liberating force. Women have achieved unprecedented status in nations where Christianity has had an impact. Jesus honored women among His followers. Mary Magdalene was the first to discover the empty tomb, see the resurrected Christ, and to tell the other believers.
Let's see, the Bible states that wives "should submit to their husbands", Jesus had basically no relationship with his mother, the 12 apostles were all men, Eve is the one who "cursed us all", women haven't been allowed to have leadership roles in the church until just recently, against much church opposition, etc., etc.
In what way did Christianity help women? Women were leaders in civic and religious life in the ancient world until Christianity came along. Women had positions of power in society in Greece and Rome and among many of the other so-called pagan cultures in Europe prior to Christianity. What examples are there of the church "liberating women"? By making them cover their heads and bodies and become nuns? Women have achieved unprecedented status in nations where Christianity has had any impact - IN SPITE OF Christianity, not because of it.