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Code comfort

I know we shouldn’t talk about it, but, as the BBC said the other day, an astonishing 50 million people have read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, some without even moving their lips. Here’s Charles Moore. I particularly like the last sentence:

This [Spectator’s Notes] column has not been kind to The Da Vinci Code, but it strikes me that there is a useful lesson to be derived from Dan Brown’s fiction. His idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, a line of descent ending up with gorgeous Parisian police cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), shows the wisdom of the Catholic Church in insisting on priestly celibacy. Where families and power meet, dynasties are created; and where dynasties are created, rivalries abound; and where rivalries abound, killing and war ensue. The history of Christianity has been bloody enough as it is; imagine what it would have been like if Christ really had had children. Actually, you don’t need to imagine it — you can simply study the history of Islam. Because Mohammed had many wives and many children (though no surviving son), there was, almost from the beginning, a dispute about who was his rightful successor (caliph). That is why Sunnis and Shias fight one another to this day.

For his next novel, Brown should ‘uncover’ an amazing Muslim conspiracy to conceal the fact that Mohammed had no children and that the early caliphs made it up. That should do a roaring trade at airport bookstalls.

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