Conspiracies, secret meetings, Gnosticism, and New Age thinking [are] so popular that the attacks on Christianity now come mainly from that direction. Instead of acting like followers of Ayn Rand who declare that believers in the virgin birth and resurrection are hopeless mystics (rather than heroic rational-minded individualists like they so obviously are!), Christianity's foes now argue that the Church has kept the deep mysteries away from the public as a way to enhance its control. Mystery and religion is in, but not the kind that requires self-sacrifice, repentance, agape love, and other such difficult teachings. Which is why seemingly intelligent people will believe just about anything -- as long as it doesn't include any of those traditional Christian elements.
That's Steven Greenhut writing at LewRockwell.com today. He nudges close to my perspective on the Da Vinci phenomenon, but gets lost in condemning the "foes" of Christianity. He's right that this isn't a conflict between Christians and "secular elites," as it will certainly be portrayed by at least a few of the usual suspects when the movie rolls out. It's a divide between the orthodox Christians and the New Agers, and it comes at a time when the New Age has deeply penetrated Christianity itself. Look at the ranks of the Da Vinci Code believers, and I suspect you'll find a lot of people who were big on the angel craze ten years ago.
I've got no dog in this fight (though I'll note that even friends who think Dan Brown is onto something will concede that his novel is filled with ridiculous, embarrassing errors). But speaking simply as someone interested in the history of American religion, the rise of grassroots New Age Christianity is fascinating to watch. I hope at least some of what's actually happening out there manages to squeeze its way into the media next month, alongside the inevitable, idiotic efforts to cram the debate into the usual red/blue format.