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Young Adult Version of The Da Vinci Code?

A woman walks past an advertisement of film Penguin Random House announced Wednesday that it will release an abridged young adult version of The Da Vinci Code for teenage audiences. The controversial book has already sold 82 million copies since its release in 2003. It has been translated into over forty languages. But now, this newest translation will bridge over into one of the more nebulous dialects known to parents: teenager.

Author Dan Brown said in response to the news: "It is my sincere hope that this adaptation of The Da Vinci Code sparks in young adults the same thrill of discovery that I feel while exploring hidden history and the mysteries of the world we live in." Though Brown is thrilled, others are less so.

The Guardian writer Sam Jordison wrote a satirical article entitled "The Da Vinci Code rewritten for YA readers? Please spare them." In it, he observes that, "the implication I took from the news is that The Da Vinci Code is about to be dumbed down. Even further." Identifying himself as a "literary snob," Jordison begrudgingly understands that this book has a winning formula, though he is not happy about it.

He may be a self-proclaimed literary snob, but Jordison is not the only one unhappy about this new version.

The Da Vinci Code received great criticism for its truth claims when it was first released.  The book follows symbolist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu as they uncover secrets that are being held by Priory of Sion. Such secrets include: Jesus was not divine, was married to Mary Magdalene, had children; the Christian church altered the Bible; it also denigrated women for the sake of a patriarchy. According to Brown, Pandora was let out of her box and there is no putting her back in.

But in this case, Pandora is putting on some teenage clothes and wanting to hang out with the kids after school.

Brown's books are entertaining and compelling, but more than that, they are untruthful. His claims are cloaked in garments that give the appearance of thoughtfulness and tug at the emotions. But in reality, they have audacious points that breach past the faux truth garment and beg for a response, like a shirt that is tucked into your underwear instead of just the trousers. But a powerful way to battle untruth is not to silence it, but to show it for what it is—wrong.  

The Christian tradition has a long history of battling falsehoods. The men and women in this tradition have never been afraid of questions and accusations, because they know they have the truth on their side. This allows them, like Isaiah, to offer the invitation to reason together with the dissenters (Isaiah 1:18).

We have been tasked to renew our mind (Romans 12:1–2) in order to prove what is good and right. We do not silence claims; we listen to them (James 1:19). And after careful consideration, we answer in a way that balances truth with grace (Ephesians 4:15).

We should not be afraid of various claims that are contradictory to the truth. Because as John Milton said, "Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

On September 8th, the newest edition of the book will go on sale and audiences will yet again contemplate the truth claims and be captivated by the story. The book will change slightly to accommodate a younger audience, but the living and active Word will remain unchanged because it contains timeless truths. The audience may be new, but arguments with parents are not.

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