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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

If Dan Brown were Muslim

In a rare interview, Der Spiegel talks with Dan Brown about his upcoming trip to Germany and his views on the Holocaust:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Brown, you are a soccer fan and you like to play soccer. Will you be attending any of the soccer games in Germany?

Dan Brown: It depends. Naturally, I'll be watching the games in any case. I don't know yet whether I'll be at home in front of the television set or somewhere else. My decision depends upon a number of things.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Brown: How much time I have, how my latest book is coming along, whether I feel like it and a number of other things.

SPIEGEL: There was great indignation in Germany when it became known that you might be coming to the soccer world championship. Did that surprise you?

Dan Brown: No, that's not important. I didn't even understand how that came about. I don't know what all the excitement is about.

SPIEGEL: It concerned your remarks about the Holocaust. You stirred up a firestorm when you denied Jesus’ divinity, but it was inevitable that your denial of the systematic murder of the Jews by the Germans would trigger even greater outrage.

Brown: I don't exactly understand the connection.

SPIEGEL: First you made some recent remarks about the Holocaust. Then comes the news that you may travel to Germany -- this causes an uproar. So were you surprised by this?

Brown: No, not at all, because the network of Zionism is very active around the world, in Europe too. So I wasn't surprised. I was addressing the German people. I have nothing to do with Zionists.

SPIEGEL: Denying the Holocaust is punishable in Germany. Are you indifferent when confronted with so much outrage?

Brown: I know that DER SPIEGEL is a respected magazine. But I don't know whether it is possible for you to publish the truth about the Holocaust. Are you permitted to write everything about it?

SPIEGEL: Of course we are entitled to write about the findings of the past 60 years' historical research. In our view there is no doubt that the Germans -- unfortunately -- bear the guilt for the murder of 6 million Jews.

Brown: Well, then let’s have a concrete discussion. We are posing two very clear questions. The first is: Did the Holocaust actually take place? You answer this question in the affirmative. So, the second question is: Whose fault was it? The answer to that has to be found in Europe. It is perfectly clear: If the Holocaust took place in Europe, one also has to find the answer to it in Europe.

On the other hand, if the Holocaust didn't take place, why then did this regime of occupation ...

SPIEGEL: ... You mean the state of Israel...

Brown: ... come about? Why do the European countries commit themselves to defending this regime? Permit me to make one more point. I am of the opinion that, if an historical occurrence conforms to the truth, this truth will be revealed all the more clearly if there is more research into it and more discussion about it. The winners write history. We have to be willing to investigate history honestly, as I have a history of doing.

SPIEGEL: That has long since happened in Germany.

Brown: I don't want to confirm or deny the Holocaust. I oppose every type of crime against any people. But I want to know whether this crime actually took place or not. If it did, then those who bear the responsibility for it have to be punished, and not the Palistinians. Why isn't research into a deed that occurred 60 years ago permitted? After all, other historical occurrences, some of which lie several thousand years in the past, are open to research, and even the governments support this.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Brown, with all due respect, the Holocaust occurred, there were concentration camps, there are dossiers on the extermination of the Jews, there has been a great deal of research, and there is neither the slightest doubt about the Holocaust nor about the fact - we greatly regret this - that the Germans are responsible for it. If we may now add one remark: the fate of the Palestinians is an entirely different issue, and this brings us into the present.

Brown: No, no, the roots of the Palestinian conflict must be sought in history. The Holocaust and Palestine are directly connected with one another. And if the Holocaust actually occurred, then you should permit impartial groups from the whole world to research this. Why do you restrict the research to a certain group? Of course, I don't mean you, but rather the European governments.

SPIEGEL: Are you still saying that the Holocaust is just "a myth?"

Brown: I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it.

SPIEGEL: Even though no Western scholars harbor any doubt about the Holocaust?

Brown: But there are two opinions on this in Europe. One group of scholars or persons, most of them politically motivated, say the Holocaust occurred. Then there is the group of scholars who represent the opposite position and have therefore been imprisoned for the most part. Hence, an impartial group has to come together to investigate and to render an opinion on this very important subject, because the clarification of this issue will contribute to the solution of global problems. Under the pretext of the Holocaust, a very strong polarization has taken place in the world and fronts have been formed. It would therefore be very good if an international and impartial group looked into the matter in order to clarify it once and for all. Normally, governments promote and support the work of researchers on historical events and do not put them in prison.

SPIEGEL: Who is that supposed to be? Which researchers do you mean?

Brown: You would know this better than I; you have the list. There are people from England, from Germany, France and from Australia.

SPIEGEL: You presumably mean, for example, the Englishman David Irving, the German-Canadian Ernst Z√ľndel, who is on trial in Mannheim, and the Frenchman Georges Theil, all of whom deny the Holocaust.

Brown: The mere fact that my comments have caused such strong protests, although I'm not a European, and also the fact that I have been compared with certain persons in German history indicates how charged with conflict the atmosphere for research is in your country. Here in the United States you needn't worry.

SPIEGEL: Well, we are conducting this historical debate with you for a very timely purpose. Are you questioning Israel's right to exist?

Brown: Look here, my views are quite clear. I am saying that if the Holocaust occurred, then Europe must draw the consequences and that it is not Palestine that should pay the price for it. If it did not occur, then the Jews have to go back to where they came from. I believe that the German people today are also prisoners of the Holocaust. Sixty million people died in the Second World War. World War II was a gigantic crime. I condemn it all. I am against bloodshed, regardless of whether a crime was committed against a Muslim or against a Christian or a Jew. But the question is: Why among these 60 million victims are only the Jews the center of attention?

SPIEGEL: That's just not the case. All peoples mourn the victims claimed by the Second World War, Germans and Russians and Poles and others as well. Yet, we as Germans cannot absolve ourselves of a special guilt, namely for the systematic murder of the Jews. But perhaps we should now move on to the next subject.

Brown: No, I have a question for you. What kind of a role did today's youth play in World War II?

SPIEGEL: None.

Brown: Why should they have feelings of guilt toward Zionists? Why should the costs of the Zionists be paid out of their pockets? If people committed crimes in the past, then they would have to have been tried 60 years ago. End of story! Why must the German people be humiliated today because a group of people committed crimes in the name of the Germans during the course of history?

SPIEGEL: The German people today can't do anything about it. But there is a sort of collective shame for those deeds done in the German name by our fathers or grandfathers.

Brown: How can a person who wasn't even alive at the time be held legally responsible?

SPIEGEL: Not legally but morally.

Brown: Why is such a burden heaped on the German people? The German people of today bear no guilt. Why are the German people not permitted the right to defend themselves? Why are the crimes of one group emphasized so greatly, instead of highlighting the great German cultural heritage? Why should the Germans not have the right to express their opinion freely?

SPIEGEL: Mr. Brown, we are well aware that German history is not made up of only the 12 years of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, we have to accept that horrible crimes have been committed in the German name. We also own up to this, and it is a great achievement of the Germans in post-war history that they have grappled critically with their past.

Brown: Are you also prepared to tell that to the German people?

SPIEGEL: Oh yes, we do that.

Brown: Then would you also permit an impartial group to ask the German people whether it shares your opinion? No people accepts its own humiliation.

SPIEGEL: All questions are allowed in our country. But of course there are right-wing radicals in Germany who are not only anti-Semitic, but xenophobic as well, and we do indeed consider them a threat.

Brown: Let me ask you one thing: How much longer can this go on? How much longer do you think the German people have to accept being taken hostage by the Zionists? When will that end - in 20, 50, 1,000 years?

SPIEGEL: We can only speak for ourselves. DER SPIEGEL is nobody's hostage; SPIEGEL does not deal only with Germany's past and the Germans' crimes. We're not Israel's uncritical ally in the Palestian conflict. But we want to make one thing very clear: We are critical, we are independent, but we won't simply stand by without protest when the existential right of the state of Israel, where many Holocaust survivors live, is being questioned.

Brown: Precisely that is my point. Why should you feel obliged to the Zionists? If there really had been a Holocaust, Israel ought to be located in Europe, not in Palestine.

SPIEGEL: Do you want to resettle a whole people 60 years after the end of the war?

Brown: Five million Palestinians have not had a home for 60 years. It is amazing really: You have been paying reparations for the Holocaust for 60 years and will have to keep paying up for another 100 years. Why then is the fate of the Palestinians no issue here?

SPIEGEL: The Europeans support the Palestinians in many ways. After all, we also have an historic responsibility to help bring peace to this region finally. But don't you share that responsibility?

Brown: Yes, but aggression, occupation and a repetition of the Holocaust won't bring peace. What we all want is a sustainable peace. This means that we have to tackle the root of the problem. I am pleased to note that you are honest people and admit that you are obliged to support the Zionists.

SPIEGEL: That's not what we said, Mr. Brown.

Brown: You said Israelis.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Looking for Baby Jane

Want to know why the government refuses to stop illegal immigration? Read the US Census Bureau numbers.

Non-Hispanic whites make up 67 percent of the population, but they accounted for only 19 percent of the nation’s total population growth. While the nation as a whole is 36.2 years old, the white majority is, on average, 40.3 years old. Only 22% of the white population is under the age of 18, even though 25% of the total population is under 18.

What It Means In English
America's Caucasian population is, by and large, over 40, and they are getting older, not younger. They haven’t had enough children over the last twenty years. They are largely past all opportunity to have any more. They're done.

The Whining Generation can complain all it wants about the changes in America’s culture, but it is kind of absurd. They got what they asked for – a life of partying and little responsibility. As a result, the next generation won’t look like them. Sorry.

America’s blacks are somewhat better off, but only on a theoretical basis. Blacks account for about 17% of total population growth, that is, they are growing even more slowly than the Caucasian population. American blacks have roughly three times as many abortions as American whites, so the fact that the two groups have similar rates of population growth is a strong statement about lost opportunities.

Black America's future is bright on paper. The median age of black America is 30 years old, compares to 36.2 for the whole nation. There are still lots of young blacks, enough to have a chance to recover. But, in order to do that, they have to stop killing their babies.

Given the enormous social pressure on blacks to abort, this seems unlikely. It is estimated that up to 70% of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are deliberately located in minority neighborhoods. Indeed, in 1993, Ron Weddington, one of the lawyers who litigated Roe V. Wade in front of the Supreme Court, wrote a letter praising President Clinton’s support for abortion, since it reduced the black population.

These pressures have created a forty-year habit of abortion in America’s black culture. As a result, it seems unlikely that blacks will be able to reverse the cultural trend. They may have the youth, but legal abortion will see to it that America’s black population continues to decrease as a percentage of the total population.

Similarly, while Asians, American Indians and Pacific Islanders all have much younger populations (median ages of 33, 30.7 and 28.2, respectively), their actual numbers are so low to begin with that it hardly matters. They won’t be contributing much to the structure of the culture in the next few decades.

The Baby Pay-Off
When we look at the various subpopulations in the United States, there is no way to generate enough children to support white baby boomers in their old age. American politicians will only be re-elected if the elderly vote for them. The elderly will vote for them only if they have all their needs met, i.e., servants taking care of them.

Thus, politicians recognize that they need a population with an enormous economic incentive to have children in the United States. Whites are too old and too comfort-driven to have children, black children aren’t wanted, and the rest of the subpopulations are too small in terms of actual numbers to have any real effect on increased fertility.

Enter the Hispanic “anchor baby.”

The Great White Hope
The people who will shape America’s culture for the foreseeable future are the Hispanics. They accounted for 49% of America’s population growth: 800,000 births, 500,000 immigrants. With a median age of 27.2 years, Hispanics have the youngest of all the populations in the United States. While roughly one-fourth of the general population is under 18, one-third of the Hispanic population fits in that category.

Now, why do we allow all that illegal immigration? Look around.

Russia pays its women to have babies but finds no takers. Norway and Sweden have only been marginally more successful, while even France – which has provided the most successful payoff of the bunch – cannot get the fertility rate up to replacement level.

The populations of all European countries are (a) dropping and (b) becoming Muslim. Within fifty years, we will be faced with a much smaller Europe that is much more Islamic and probably more militant. America answers this problem by creating enormous incentives for Hispanics to enter the country and have babies here instead of in Mexico. If the plan works, the elderly white baby boomers will all have their noses wiped at appropriate intervals by young Hispanic nurses and will therefore keep today's politicians in office. But there is more.

The white baby boomers will all be dead in fifty years, either via natural causes or euthanasia. But if the Hispanic replacement population is successfully purchased from Mexico (which will experience its own population replacement problems within the next decade), America’s population will (a) not drop and (b) still be Judeo-Christian.

Americans who know how to read the numbers and who want America to survive an increasingly Islamic century understand this. Today, the person who is doing the most to assure America's future is the pregnant illegal immigrant. Too lazy to have children ourselves, we have created an unofficial "rent-a-womb" guest worker program.

So, while the Whining Generation throws a tantrum, screaming that it is unjust to expect anyone their age to learn the Spanish word for “fajita,” George W. Bush and subsequent presidents will continue to make sure America’s borders remain porous. There really isn’t anything else to do.

Monday, May 15, 2006

AP Wire Story

This just in from the AP wire desk:

(Los Angeles) - Cities across the nation are in upheavel as Catholics, Christians and Jews riot over the imminent release of the Da Vinci Code movie.

Catholics and Christians call the movie "a blasphemous cartoon" image that asserts Jesus is not God.

Jews are offended by the work's anti-Semitism, not the least of which is its assertion that Hebrews held orgies in the Temple and that Yahweh had sexual relations with the Shekinah. The idea that God has a body is blasphemy in both Christian and Jewish theology.

As thousands gathered around Sony studios, holding placards and chanting "Death to the Great Satan" police stood by in full riot gear. Violence erupted when firebombs were thrown over the studio walls and the crowds rushed the gates, throwing security men to the ground. At least one sound studio was torched as firefighters and police officers fought to maintain control.

Meanwhile, at least twenty cities across the United States saw thousands of cars and buses burned, metro stations firebombed and figures of Dan Brown burned in effigy. Catholic bishops and orthodox rabbis issued calls for Dan Brown's immediate execution. Government officials moved quickly to outlaw the release of the movie and to ban further sales of the book, as Congressmen united in their calls for a Congressional investigation of the fact-checking processes in the publishing industry.


Update:
Contrary to earlier reports, the news of Christian riots appears to have been somewhat exaggerated. The Associated Press regrets the error.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bootleg Liquor

In the early twentieth century, social justice types decided that liquor was evil and must be banned. Laws were duly passed outlawing demon rum and its cousins. Because nothing had been done to reduce demand, the laws simply created a thriving market for the bootleg variety. After battling the problem for several years, the nation eventually scrapped the whole experiment as a failure.

American immigration laws have had a longer run, but they are very likely to end up on precisely the same scrap-heap of history, and for pretty much the same reasons.

Outsourcing

Although outsourcing jobs to foreign countries has long been a contentious issue for the American public, most American economists see no problem with it. As both Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell like to point out, there is no functional economic difference between outsourcing a job to Korea and automating that same job through the purchase of a computer whose parts were made in Korea. In both cases, the job is no longer available to the American worker. Let’s examine this a bit more thoroughly.

Technology not only permits a computer to replace a local worker, it permits a worker half a world away to replace a local worker. Modern shipping, built on modern technology, has long been rapid and reliable enough to replace the local worker just as assuredly as a machine would. But transportation of goods is not always sufficient to solve the problem.

When Walmart buys a shipload of goods from Thailand or Reebok sews sneakers in Singapore, the corporation leverages third world muscle. The practice works because the corporation moves goods and not people. But, from a purely economic perspective, there is essentially no difference between outsourcing factory jobs to people in the South Seas and importing South Seas citizens to fill factory jobs in the United States.

In both cases, the American worker has been replaced. In the first case, he has been replaced by someone who ships goods subject to tariff into the country. In the other, he has been replaced by someone who pays tariff (sales tax, income tax, etc.) to live in the United States.

From the viewpoint of strict economics, whichever is the more cost-effective solution is the better solution.

Insourcing

Reebok imports goods rather than people primarily because it is cheaper to import goods rather than people. Not every industry is so blessed. Agriculture, for example, is tied to the land. The fields on which they produce goods cannot be transported to the laborers, so the laborers must be transported to the fields. Similarly, the slaughter of livestock or the remodeling of houses is tied to geography. Even if it were possible, it would make no economic sense to ship this raw material to the laborers.

Thus, corporations in the business of selling easily transportable goods have an economic advantage over corporations that depend on goods with fixed geographic locations. Reebok is driven to reduce costs. It does so by employing cheap foreign labor. By a quirk of fate, it is able to do so without running afoul of US immigration law. Tyson Foods, the immense chicken farming conglomerate, is driven by the same pressure to reduce costs, but enjoys no such legal economic advantage in producing its end-product. So, it levels the playing field by employing foreign labor anyway: illegal immigrants.

But, this isn’t the whole story.

Homesourcing

As a recent survey points out, using illegal immigrants as day laborers is not limited to the corporations involved in harvesting livestock or produce. As it turns out, illegal immigrants make up a substantial portion of day laborers, and the number one employer of day laborers is homeowners.

Now, the homeowner is the smallest of the small-scale economic players. From an economic point of view, illegal immigration allows Joe Q. Public to leverage the economic advantages of cheap foreign labor in exactly the same way that Reebok and Walmart do, but without the shipping costs incurred by either corporation.

Thus, illegal immigration not only helps large, geographically fixed corporations, it also gives small business, especially the micro-business that is a family household, an edge. In fact, it gives micro-businesses the edge necessary to stay competitive with corporate giants who can afford massive just-in-time inventory control and the economy of scale possible through massive bulk purchases of items.

The illegal immigrant is the poor man’s automation. But why would small business need this kind of automation? Because the government has outlawed low-wage jobs.

Bootlegging

Now, keep in mind that fully 99% of all enterprises employ less than 500 people. 52% of all workers are employed in small business. Small businesses produce three-quarters of the new jobs, and are much more economically nimble, able to respond to market pressures more rapidly than large corporations. Unfortunately, this is precisely the sector hit hardest by the minimum wage.

The minimum wage law is essentially a tax, a tariff on low-cost goods and services. The Smoot-Hawley tariff on foreign goods that economists have long lamented has been transformed today into the minimum wage tariff on low-end jobs, a government-imposed tax which not only outlaws low-wage jobs, it forces businesses who offer such jobs to pay the cost of enforcing the laws.

By taxing low-wage jobs, the minimum wage thereby abolishes such jobs. How? It artificially transforms them into high-wage jobs. At least, that's the theory.

In fact, the government actually creates a black market for low-paying, low-end jobs that cannot be legally filled by entry-level workers. But, on closer examination, the law actually does something much worse than this. Because it essentially outlaws low-wage jobs, it creates in those same entry-level workers the belief that low-paying, low-end jobs should not exist at all.

That is, the artificially imposed minimum wage creates in the American public an erroneous notion of what constitutes a just wage. This notion is not shared by most of the rest of the world. As a result, neighbors who do not accept the American government’s notion of what constitutes a just wage are more than willing to step in and do the job for what the job is actually worth, rather than demand the price of the job plus the government tariff.

Thus, perversely, while large corporations do employ illegal immigrants, the economic necessity which creates illegal immigration is not created by the corporations themselves. It is, instead, created by Joe Q. Public via the day labor market and the small business community in reaction to the government interference in the marketplace. Illegal immigration enhances the economic clout of the average American consumer by allowing a lower price for goods and services than would otherwise be possible.

Given the American appetite for low-cost comfort, an appetite which has caused Americans to essentially stop having children, illegal immigration is both inexorable and inevitable. Stopping illegal immigration would require a change in American attitudes towards their own comfort and bank accounts, and that simply won’t happen. A nation which can't be convinced to stop killing one-third of its children will certainly not want to give up its cheap lettuce, no matter what the demagogues say.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pagan Flesh, Protestant Bones

As with the recent frothing at the mouth over Christmas, the Christian concern about the Da Vinci Code is rich in irony. As I recently noted, the assault on Christmas was begun not by secular humanists, but by Christians. Non-Catholic Christians opposed the Catholic Church and its liturgical holy days, its celebration of the Mass. They worked hard to take the “Mass” out of Christ’s Mass – Christmas. They succeeded.

But, when secularists wanted to take Christmas out of the year entirely, the same Christians grew perversely angry. How dare anyone strip away the skeleton whose Flesh we stripped away! We must keep the white-washed tomb!

Similarly, many Christians have blamed the success of the Da Vinci Code on Gnosticism not because the Da Vinci Code is Gnostic - it isn’t - but because the Gnostics are safely dead. As a moment’s study shows, the Da Vinci Code is simply the Protestant Christian take on history, warmed over. Consider the congruence.

The Great Apostasy
1) “The Roman Emperor Constantine invented the Catholic Church in order to crush True Believers!” This is the standard Protestant line, most popular among fundamentalist Christians like the Baptists and the Assemblies of God, but not unknown even among evangelicals and mainline Protestants. In this mish-mash of historical fact and pure invention, Christians were an essentially unmolested minority until the dastardly Emperor Constantine invented the Catholic Church in order to crush the True Believers.

The True Believers are invariably whoever happens to be telling the story: Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Seed Baptists, Jack Chick, etc. This is how all of those groups explain the fact that all the early Christian documents show early Christians engaged in Catholic worship. The Whore of Babylon (i.e., the Catholics) burned all the True Believer’s and their documents!

Winner Takes All
2) "The failure to find True Believers in ancient history is due to the fact that the winners write history." As is obvious from the previous point, this is a purely Protestant theme.

Dan Brown kept his mother’s Protestant story line; he just swapped out the identity of the True Believer. Pre-DVC the True Believers were Jack Chick aficionados. Post-DVC the True Believers are the Wiccans. In every other respect, the story is the same. Every apostasized fundamentalist immediately recognizes the playbook, despite Brown’s change of players.

Change the Bible
3) Few people realize that the Old Testament existed in two versions at the time of Christ: a Hebrew original and a Greek translation, the Greek version being called the Septuagint. Due to some odd events in history, the Greek version of the Old Testament not only has books that the Hebrew version does not, many of the passages in the two are not the same: Isaiah and Jeremiah, for instance, are notably different in several places. Which version did Jesus and the apostles use? Well, 80% of the Old Testament verses that are quoted in the New Testament are demonstrably from the Greek version. Jesus clearly preferred the Greek translation.

Not so Martin Luther. Although Luther was a rabid anti-Semite, he was more than willing to accept the Jewish opinion on one point: what constitutes the Old Testament. Why? Well, if Luther accepted the version that Jesus used, he would be forced to accept that his faith-alone theology was not Scriptural. The Greek Septuagint clearly accepted the existence of Purgatory, for instance, a place that has no place in "faith-alone" theology. So, Luther threw away seven books in the Old Testament and parts of two others. Not content with that, he was preparing to discard several New Testament books as well - Hebrews, James, Revelation - and was only barely talked out of it by Melanchthon.

So, Luther essentially argued that the decision about which Old Testament books prophesied Christ's coming (i.e., which books were really inspired Scripture) was best decided by the subset of Jews who refused to accept Christ as Saviour. The argument is ludicrous, but it was the only way to save Protestant theology.

Protestants change the Bible to suit their theology. So does Dan Brown. The only difference? Instead of taking away books to make the theology fit, Danny wants to add some books. But the principle by which he argues for the change to Scripture is thoroughly valid in Protestant thought, as Martin Luther demonstrated nearly 500 years ago.

Get Rid of Peter
4) "Peter isn't the true head of the Church!" Catholics yawn at this one. Non-Catholic Christians have always either steadfastly denied the supremacy of Peter among the apostles or they steadfastly denied the possibility that Peter’s office could be passed on to any successor. Even the Eastern Orthodox sympathize with this position.

Again, Dan Brown took that line straight out of the Christian playbook. All he did was swap Mary Magdelene in for St. Paul as the real lead apostle.

Get Rid of Celibacy
5) “Jesus was not celibate.” Martin Luther insisted celibacy was non-Scriptural. He left the Augustinian priesthood in order to marry a nun and have children. Thus, it is no stretch for non-Catholic Christians to say that Jesus was not celibate. Indeed, many DVC debunkers don’t fight this assertion. They find his marital status irrelevant to his salvational work.

Putting the celibate Jesus into a marriage with children, simply makes Jesus a prototype for Martin Luther. Dan Brown’s major break with the Protestant version of history is not in the marriage, rather, it is in his handling of marriage. Luther insisted marriage was in no way holy, rather, it was just a legal fiction, a means by which God allows us to slake our lust without sinning. Brown was smart enough to throw THAT demotion away.

He returned instead to the Catholic understanding of marriage and sex: marriage is holy, a sacramental encounter with the divine. Sex is sacred. These Catholic alterations to an otherwise Protestant take on sexuality is central to what sells his book. After all, most modern conservative Christians reject Luther’s assertion that marriage is just a legal fiction.

Why? Well, they have finally realized that Luther's position leads directly to homosexual marriage and polygamy (something Luther understood and accepted). Thus, Martin Luther’s original theology of marriage – identical to the modern secular humanist understanding of marriage – is rejected by most non-Catholic Christians. Ironically, non-Catholic Christians are again embracing the Catholic understanding that marriage is a sacrament. Dan Brown simply builds on that Catholic embrace.

Market Share
Now, of the two dozen or so books that debunk the Da Vinci Code, not one of the non-Catholic Christian books point out any of these similarities between DVC's paganism and historical Protestantism. Of the four Catholic books on the market, three do not point out any of these similarities.

Why not? Well, it would hurt market share. Both non-Catholic and Catholic Christians find it much safer to follow Protestant professors and blame Dan Brown’s theology on Gnosticism. It doesn’t matter if the rebuttal is thereby rendered theologically incoherent – we are on the side of the angels, don’cha know.

In fact, the failure to recognize these points of coherence means we are not rebutting essential points of Dan Brown's work. Instead, we are just doing his advertising for him. By insisting his work has Gnostic roots, we freely give to his work the same ancient veneer that Protestant Christianity has always sought, an ancient veneer neither Protestantism nor Dan-Brownism has ever actually possessed.

Dan Brown played Christians like a violin. And we played along. You may hate his book, but you’ve got to admire his marketing. It is simply brilliant.