College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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Location: Elizabethtown, PA, United States

The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Gospel of Dan Brown

My latest CPYU assignment is to research and write about the cultural malaise caused by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I have until May 1st to complete an article that helps students, parents and youth workers navigate the many questions and challenges to the Christian faith that this popular novel (soon to be a movie) has created.

As you know, this blog serves as a window to my desk, giving readers a look at the pile of articles that continues to grow in the bin next to me. Now, here’s a window into my life: My wife and I are having our basement finished by a family friend. This morning I was up early to help him carry equipment into the basement. We finished and I offered him a homemade chocolate peanut butter egg. Over our “egg,” my carpenter friend (ironic?) had some questions for me. He wanted to know what I knew about the new discovery of the “Gospel of Judas.” A good Christian man, he wasn’t sure what to believe. Last night he had watched a show on the National Geographic channel and he commented, “They are pretty sure that this old book should have been included in the Bible.” We had a nice conversation and then we both headed off to work.

I offer this story as an example of the kind of situations that many of us may face in the coming months. Of course, this is nothing new. Every year, right around Easter time it seems, a “new discovery” is made the “challenges” our understanding of Jesus. Two weeks ago it was the Jesus Papers, last week it was the “Gospel of Judas,” and in the past year The Da Vinci Code has many people reading the supposed “Gospel of Thomas.” Whatever it is, the line runs something like this: Everything the church has told you about Jesus is not true… This fill-in-the-blank “new discovery” has uncovered the secret that we have all been looking for in our quest to find the “true Jesus.” The church has lied to you in order to control you and to exercise power over you.

I’m not undermining the importance of research and scholarship. I’m not trying to sound trite or be patronizing. It’s just that it is beginning to sound like a broken record. (I mean, CD. Do CDs skip when they are broken? We need a new saying!) Anyway, you get the idea. In a “suspicious” culture like ours, any hint of suspicion can quickly get many Christians off track. And many times, the target is Christian college students forced to “defend” and explain their faith for the first time. This is a good and important exercise, to be sure, but it isn’t always easy. Hopefully my article will help students (and those charged with helping students) navigate the challenges cause by The Da Vinci Code.

I could really use your help as I do research for this article. Has anyone come across any good resources (books, articles, websites) for “Decoding the Da Vinci Code”?


Blogger Tim said...

Here are some resources I've used for preparing to address this topic with the youth group.

Also, the Da Vinci Code outreach tools at and "Breaking the Da Vinci Code" by Darrell Bock.

10:49 AM  
Blogger splitrock4jesus said...

I'm currently reading "The DaVinci Code: A Quest for Answers" by Josh McDowell. It's been really good and easy to read so far. It's written as a narrative, which makes for easy reading. Also, he backs up everything he says with footnotes. Check it out.

10:43 AM  
Blogger splitrock4jesus said...

I finished reading that book by Josh McDowell. I thought it was excellent. I'm buying a bunch to share with my teens. I'm a youth minister.

3:31 PM  
Blogger madonnaymc said...

The website for this is Jesus Decoded. Also on this site you can order the DVD and bulletin inserts.

If you want more detail, a good book is Breaking the Da Vinci Code

11:04 PM  
Blogger sgc said...

I like Mike Metzger's suggestions in his recent Clapham Institute Commentary for "A Different Way to Discuss Da Vinci".

You can read them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

6:06 PM  

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