The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Dan Brown's portrayal of Christian history in "The Da Vinci Code" is inaccurate.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 616 times Debate No: 59999
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




My argument is that the various historical claims that Dan Brown makes in his fictional novel, "The Da Vinci Code," are inaccurate.

The claims include:
"Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and they had children."
"The Vatican suppressed science and truth in order to gain power."
"Da Vinci was a closet atheist and intentionally tried to undermine the Church."

...and other such claims.

In the first round, my opponent should choose one or two claims above or another claim that he or she wishes to defend. My opponent may choose to make a few introductory defenses of the claim, but they are not required to in the first round. The second round will include an initial debunking of the claim, and other arguments.


Hello! Thank you for an interesting choice of topic.

To begin with, it was a few years ago I read the novel, thus I am not l so sure as to how many, you might say, extraordinary claims he has presented in his novel nor in which way he has presented these claims. It is, after all, a fictional novel, so even though there might be a kernel of truth in most of his claims - for obviously he is a smart guy and he knows what he is talking about - it may be muddled with fictitious elements so as to might make it seem untrue. Frankly, I don"t have the time to read the whole novel to find out his exact intentions - but I might do one day - so I will focus only on the claims as you have portrayed them here in the first round.

The first claim is about whether Jesus was married and had children is, of course, completely fictitious so how exactly did you reckon we would debate that topic? Thus, I"ll choose not to debate this topic.

When it comes to the third topic, this is a fictitious claim as well. Even though there is some difference of opinion as to how religious Leonardo Da Vinci was, I can find no evidence whatsoever that would suggest that he was intentionally undermine the Catholic Church. For that reason I will choose not to debate this topic.

I will, however, debate the third topic. I will present my contentions in my next rounds, but before I do that I will start with a prelude that gives an outline to the topic at hand by presenting what we are actually debating about: the Catholic Church and its governing body, the Vatican.

during the 15th and 16th century, expressing any belief that was against the position that the Catholic Church held - atheism for that matter - was regarded as heresy. If you were discovered to hold such beliefs, you were held for trail as a heretic, not by an adversarial judicial system that we have in place today in which the court plays the role as an impartial referee and where the defendant has the right to an attorney, but by an inquisitional system in which the court - in this case consisting of cardinals appointed by the pope - played an active role in the investigating of the crime for the sole purpose of unveiling cases of heresy. Since the court was determined to strike down heresy no matter what and since they wielded immense power whereas the defendant was in no way able to defend his or her case against a religiously fanatical court, the defendant was practically forced to confess. In order to cover the expenses of the preliminary hearings, the defendant was confiscated by much of his or her property.

You could be essentially be charged for heresy by anyone. The identity of whomever had pressed charges against you were classified for the defendant, so there was no accountability whatsoever for that person. Once you were escorted by means of violence and gagged, you were taken to the inquisition chamber for closer examination. If that weren"t scary enough,
in reality, you had no actual means to defend yourself against the overzealous court. If you denied the charges put against you during the first hearing, the defendants were imprisoned for several months. The dungeons were located underground where the inmates were bound in stocks or chains, essentially unable to move about. The prisoners were starved and often held in solitary confinement with no contact with the outside world; usually the rooms had no light or ventilation, so the sense of solitude must have been rather poignant during their stay.

Besides that miserable faith, the horrifying torture chambers that occasionally awaited the defendants were sufficient to strike terror in the bravest of men or women. Not only did they have to endure the dread of not knowing when they were going to be tortured next, they were also aware of the risk of either perpetual incarceration or death at the stake. If you had not confessed during your first hearing, the chances for your acquittal was virtually impossible. The inquisitors were sanctioned to use any means of terror and intimidation in order to extract confessions from their prisoner. This included horrifying devises used to inflict pain by, for instance, slowly dismembering and dislocating the body.

Even those who managed to escape with their lives, were physically and/or mentally maimed for the rest of their lives, driven mad by the confinement and the torture they endured. Many willingly committed suicide in order to save themselves from the callousness of the inquisitors.

While this may seem as an overload of information pertaining to one particular misdeed by the Roman Catholic Church, it is a rather striking one and it tells a lot about its character during the course of history. you might ask yourself, if the Vatican is able to go to such extreme lengths to counteract heresy that it deemed as threatening to the Roman Catholic Church, then why wouldn't"t it suppress scientific findings that went against the catholic paradigm and which, in extension, would threaten the credibility and the power of the Catholic institutions? The inquisition is but one of numerous crimes against humanity that points to the unscrupulous manner of the Catholic Church when it comes to efforts to the usurping of power and the eradication of whatever it deemed as a threatening to the institutional power of the church. Apart from the Inquisition, this includes a long list of abhorrent acts committed by the power-hungry Catholic Church such as: the Crusades against Muslims, pagan Slavs, Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites and political dissidents of the Pope; the leading role of the Catholic Church in the dissemination of antisemitism, such as the several series of homilies in the later half of the fourth century by the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, against the Jewish people, that eventually led to their ejection from Granada in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella; etc.

These as just a few of the horrendous crimes that the Vatican has been responsible for in order to assert its power. Thus it is no question whatsoever in my mind that it would endeavor to suppress scientific truths that ran contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church if that were to threaten the Catholic institution. I will expound upon this matter in my next rounds since this is just a prelude or an introduction to the discussion at hand.

Debate Round No. 1


Zwickar forfeited this round.


It doesn't seem like my opponent has been online for over three days. If it were the case that he or she has simply forgot or has been busy for whatever reason, we can cut the person in question some slack and let them respond and ignore forfeit as a basis for bad conduct.
Debate Round No. 2


Zwickar forfeited this round.


Even though my opponent forfeited all his rounds, I still believe that I have the burden of proof to demonstrate how the Vatican has suppressed science and truth in order to gain power. In my introduction I showed that the Vatican has committed many pernicious deeds in order to gain power, and thus we can rule out that the Vatican has been an innocuous and virtuous institution over the course of history. Hence, we can deduce that if the Vatican would have discovered any truth that would stand in opposition to what the Vatican held to be true, then those voices of truth would surely be silenced.

First it is important to note and emphasize, as I did illustrate in my introduction, that the fear of heretics spreading teachings and opinions that ran contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, led the Vatican to persecute scientists who were deemed as heretics if they didn't agree with the Bible, and it forbade any books by those scientists that were at odd with the Catholic Church by placing these books on the index of Prohibited Books.

Essentially a war was fought between science and religion - and the casualties were heavily skewed on the side of the science. Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galileo were two scientists who printed books that later became banned.

Copernicus faced no persecution when he was alive because he died shortly after publishing his book. Galileo, on the other hand, was tried by the Inquisition after his book was published.

Common for these two scientists were that they held the same theory, that the Earth revolved around the sun, which we now know be true. However, the Church wasn't fond of this theory because the Bible states that the Earth is at the center, not the Sun. As the contents of the Bible were taken literally, the publishing of these books were taken as proofs that they were sinners because they contradicted the Bible.

Copernicus published his book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies in 1543 shortly before his death. There are some interesting aspects in his books that deserves to be pointed out. In Revolutions, Copernicus states that the Sun is at the center and the Earth revolves around it while rotating on its axis daily However, the phrasing Copernicus utilized was "that if the earth were in motion then the observed phenomenon would result." Why this phrasing is so important is because Copernicus would have been able to deny any charges of him believing in heliocentrism; by fashioning it as a hypothesis (and not as a result) subject to scrutiny and correction by astronomers, rather than as a firm belief, he could effectively rid himself of any accusations of heliocentrism.

Because he deliberately did not fully develop his theory, the hypothesis seemed weak and ill-contrived. Hence, Revolutions was not placed on the Index of Prohibited Books until 1616, seventy-three years after it was first published. A version with sections that was altered and with certain aspects omitted was released four years after it was prohibited. It is possible that Revolutions was not banned immediately because of its hypothetical nature. Thus, Revolutions managed to evade prohibition for many years and eventually influenced Galileo Galileo, who read it and wrote on the subject himself.

At around 1610, Galileo came into conflict with the Catholic Church. In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), describing the phases of Venus and the Galilean moons of Jupiter. These observations bolstered the heliocentric theory that Nicolaus Copernicus tacitly promoted in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and that Galileo further promoted in his works.

With these observations he promoted the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus (published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543). Galileo's initial discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church, and in 1616 the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be formally heretical. Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to refrain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas. In fact, In 1616 Galileo was issued an injunction not to "hold, defend, or teach" heliocentrism.

Before that, Galileo had to defend his thesis because several Christian scholars from all different denominations were condemning it as heretical since they deemed it to violate Scripture. Galileo responded to the criticism of his Copernican views by writing a letter to Castelli, a mathematician whom was one of Galileo's most trusted friends, in which he defended the notion that Scripture shouldn't be interpreted literally. hence it would seem senseless to try to defend one view of the physical universe. He famously asked: "Who," Galileo asked, "would dare assert that we know all there is to be known?"

Galileo thought that the letter might ease the tension between and reconcile faith and science, but the letter only served the increase the tensions further. His enemies, clergy and devoted Christians, accused him of attacking Scripture. One of those infuriated clergy was Father Lorini who in February 7, 1615, sent a modified copy of Galileo's letter to the Roman Inquisition.

Galileo hoped that his Letter to Castelli might foster a reconciliation of faith and science, but it only served to increase the heat. His enemies accused him of attacking Scripture and meddling in theological affairs. One among them, Father Lorini, raised the stakes for the battle when, on February 7, 1615, he sent to the Roman Inquisition a modified copy of Galileo's Letter to Castelli. He submitted the following as a remark on what was written.

"All our Fathers of this devout convent of St. Mark are of opinion that the letter contains many propositions which appear to be suspicious or presumptuous, as when it asserts that the language of Holy Scripture does not mean what it seems to mean; that in discussions about natural phenomena the last and lowest place ought to be given the authority of the sacred text; that its commentators have very often erred in their interpretation; that the Holy Scriptures should not be mixed up with anything except matters of religion....When, I say, I became aware of all of this, I made up my mind to acquaint your Lordship with the state of affairs, that you in your holy zeal for the Faith may, in conjunction with your illustrious colleagues, provide such remedies as may appear advisable....I, who hold that those who call themselves Galileists are orderly men and good Christians all, but a little overwise and conceited in their opinions, declare that I am actuated by nothing in this business but zeal for the sacred cause."

The clergy was unanimously of the opinion that it ran opposite of the scriptural teachings and, consequently, was a danger to their faith. As a result, the Vatican needed to "provide such remedies as may appear advisable" in order to thwart the "Galileists". One such measure taken was to shut him up by the injunction imposed 1616.

However, later in 1633, he was was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to face trial for holding his Copernican beliefs. Galileo's rational arguments were dismissed on the basis that the Copernican doctrine ran opposite to scripture. He was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life and he agreed not to teach what the Vatican considered to be heresy anymore.

Other astounding examples of the anti-science stance that the Vatican has held over the course of history are, for instance, that at the time of the Black Plague in the 16th and 17th century, the very Idea of vaccinations and Inoculations were shunned and forbidden by the Catholic Church and the fact that dissection of deceased human bodies wasn't allowed until the Black Plague reached its peak during the 18th century. The Vatican has, thus, to say the least halted and aggravated scientific advancements.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Swedishperspective 2 years ago
To dsjpk5: My opponent challenged me to choose one of the issues he proposed. Of course some of the claims are inaccurate since it's a freaking novel! I conceded that, yes. However, I chose to debate him on the topic concerning the Vatican and whether or not it has halted science. As my opponent himself stated, I didn't have to face every single claim he invoked, so I have done nothing wrong here. You just just completely misunderstood it all.
Posted by Brian_Zwick 2 years ago
I would say it helps to know the claims the book makes, but it's not essential to the debate.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
Let me.know when this ends
Posted by TheDebateMaster1 2 years ago
Does one need to know the book to accept
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by KhalifV 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF and I am quite impressed by con's thorough arguments.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times. Con conceded pro's arguments in round one.