Americans believe the Bible more than Da Vinci Code, says poll

By May 11, 2006

USA (BP/MNN) — While “The Da Vinci Code” has sold more than 40 million books and hits movie theaters worldwide May 19, most Americans are not buying its key theological premises, according to a poll commissioned by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

While a poll doesn’t make things right or wrong, it does give an indication of what kind of credibility the Bible has with the average American.

The complex plot of Dan Brown’s fictional suspense-thriller revolves around a central theme claiming not only that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene, but also that the couple had a child together. Tom Hanks stars in the movie version.

NAMB commissioned Zogby International, a well-known research firm, to conduct the poll, which involved a sample of 1,200 adults surveyed by telephone in March.

Twenty-three percent of Americans have read it while 43 percent said they had not read the book but were familiar with the content.

Among those who had read it, more than 60 percent believed that the Bible is closer to the truth, while 10 percent believed “The Da Vinci Code” is more truthful. Thirty percent of those who had read the book believed neither was truthful or were not sure.

Among the entire sample, 72 percent believed that the Bible was closer to the truth; six percent accepted the novel�s account as the truth; and 22 percent were not sure or believed neither.

“The most striking result from the survey is that after either reading or hearing about The Da Vinci Code, 44 percent of respondents were more likely to seek the truth by studying the Bible, while only 20 percent were less likely to study the Bible,” says Ed Stetzer, missiologist and director of NAMB’s Center for Missional Research near Atlanta.

Stetzer says Christians should view “The Da Vinci Code” as an opportunity for outreach.

“Perhaps an invitation to Bible study would be a more effective response to the hype and hoopla surrounding The Da Vinci Code than protesting at the theater,” Stetzer says. “Since there�s not wide acceptance for the book�s premise or since many are unsure of the truth, Southern Baptists’ best response would be to bring them to the Word of God. We Christians believe we can trust the Word and the Spirit to work in people’s lives.

“So rather than protesting The Da Vinci Code, why not invite people to read a better book — the Book that tells the dramatic story of God who sent His son, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross and who rose again to break a curse, not a code. That�s an opportunity we Christians shouldn�t miss,” Stetzer says.

More information about the study can be found online at www.namb.net/cmr.

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