It struck me today (i.e., I heard someone else saying) that the controversy over The Da Vinci Code only demonstrates the religious need that people feel, how unsecular most of us are. The book is hugely successful not because it was antireligious but because it answered a religious thirst, to learn more about a great teacher, Jesus. The institutions that exist to address that religious thirst are threatened by a book like this because it is accessible and timely, while these institutions are hierarchical, forbidding, backward-looking, and crammed with ritual and bizarre doctrine, which altogether defy the common person’s ability to comprehend them. TDC is reinterpreting these arcana in a fresh way for our age.
So The Da Vinci Code is a moment of religious excitement (and change, and growth, conceivably) not its opposite, secularism. (Now I better read the book or see the movie before saying any more).