"I don't need someone to interpret God for me," Mr. Jacobs said. "When I want to commune with others, I go to church."This is representative of a new personal spirituality, no clergy required thank you. So what about American?
"Americans by and large consider themselves to be Christian, but when you try to drill down to figure out what they believe, you find that among those who call themselves Christian, 59 percent don't believe in Satan, 42 percent believe Jesus sinned during his time on Earth, and only 11 percent believe the Bible is the source of absolute moral truth," said Mr. Barna, a conservative evangelical who regards these as troubling indicators.While the Catolics and evangelicals may be upset not everyone is.
Da Vinci Christianity is not so disturbing to Gregory Robbins, an Episcopalian who directs the Anglican Studies program at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver.Organized religion has always been more about consolidating power than spirituality. Those who have the power will fight anything that threatens it.
"When I talk to groups, they say, tell us about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the discovery of the Gnostic gospels, what went on with Constantine, was there a massive book burning by the church in the fourth century" — all elements woven into the Da Vinci plot, Mr. Robbins said.
He said he emphasizes in his talks that in its first few centuries, Christianity was not monolithic. There were Palestinian Christians, Jewish Christians, Pauline Christians who appealed to gentiles, Gnostic Christians, and Ebionite Christians who saw Jesus as merely a prophet.
Among Christians today, he said: "I have found a willingness to entertain the idea that early Christianity was very diverse. Then they're able to talk about the diversity that characterizes Christianity in the 20th century."