The Da Vinci Code Had A Profound Effect On Me & Other Things You Should Never Say On A First Date

Things were going really well. And then I let slip that The Da Vinci Code had a profound effect on me.

She laughed and I could have quit while I was ahead but I was betrayed by my face. A serious look came over it. The laugh died on hers. “Hang on, what?”

That’s when the waffling started.

I’m always dubious of things with mass appeal but I inevitably end up as hooked as everybody else (though usually a few months behind).

“So, Breaking Bad; Fifty Shades of Grey; The Artist?”

I nodded. “Right. Well actually I gave up after 3 chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey but everything else? At least 6 months behind everyone else on the planet. The Da Vinci Code was no exception.”

Yes, it has its flaws and, even though some consider it controversial, it’s not exactly edgy – but for all that, it’s a stonking good read! I tried to tell her that it wasn’t what she was thinking. It wasn’t the Fibonacci business that got to me or the secret society stuff or anything like that. It was the religious stuff…It occurred to me that that was worse. The doubtful look on her face said she concurred.

“That’s…that’s probably worse actually but… I didn’t know I had a faith to lose until Dan Brown talked me in to losing it.” It was only gone for an evening but what a weird, empty evening it was. The Da Vinci Code wouldn’t make my top 1000 (that’s not a typo) and Dan Brown will never be my favourite author but his novel truly did talk me out of beliefs I didn’t even know I had.

I went to a Catholic secondary school and RE was a compulsory subject throughout my 5 years there. In the grand scheme of things, I have probably heard more psalms and proverbs and been to more church services than most people my age. “ I can’t quote the Bible or anything (though I’ve always wanted to; quoting chapter and verse would be an excellent way to win arguments) but I’d say I knew it fairly well. Okay so I literally only found out recently that the phrase “Jesus wept” comes from the shortest passage in the Bible but I could probably get most multiple choice questions about it right.” Anyway, despite all that, I wouldn’t say I was an especially religious person. I haven’t been to church for anything other than weddings and funerals in decades and, even when I do go, I’m as lost in my own thoughts or as fascinated by the people around me as I used to be.

For RE coursework, we once had to write about the human side of the disciples. The doubts they must have faced when some dude turned up and said he was the son of god, and the difficulties of living and working with so many other people. I don’t know how good my essay was but I really enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed it for the same reasons that I love the recent spate of superhero and spy films with the Bourne Effect; that big splash of reality that makes everything that little bit more believable and interesting.

But Dan Brown’s dose of the Bourne Effect was a bit too much for me to take. It stands to reason that, if JC really existed, he would have had a family and descendants and stuff. But this whole business of the Council of Nicaea deciding the calendar, rites and rituals that most people have grown up with? Well, that’s what prompted the empty evening.

“The Dan Brown one, not the one that this is turning in to.” I said, trying to be a bit charming having told her all of that.

She smiled that one off and said,”Well, that the council thing is a bit weird but how did you think it’d all been decided?”

“Heh, I don’t know actually. I’d never really thought about it…I guess I thought it just came from the Bible or tradition or something.” I paused before trying, “It did pain and shame me to admit that you know.”

“I should think so!” She laughed. ” And Angels and Demons is 10 times better anyway.”

“You’re not wrong, you’re not wrong.”

We lapsed in to a silence. But a much more comfortable one than I could have hoped for after all of that. I reached over and topped up her glass. She smirked. “ So, politics – discuss.”

I blew the romance side but we have since become pretty good friends.

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