Quote 5

“The Bible represents a fundamental guidepost for millions of people on the planet, in much the same way the Koran, Torah, and Pali Canon offer guidance to people of other religions. If you and I could dig up documentation that contradicted the holy stories of Islamic belief, Judaic belief, Buddhist belief, pagan belief, should we do that? Should we wave a flag and tell the Buddhists that the Buddha did not come from a lotus blossom? Or that Jesus was not born of a literal virgin birth? Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical.”

Langdon, who speaks these words, thinks that ignorance is sometimes preferable to harsh truths. Langdon is an academic and a religious scholar, not a man of the Church, so to some degree he can hold himself apart from controversy over religious doctrine. Unlike Teabing, he has refused to judge Christians who believe that Jesus was the son of God and therefore could never have been married, and that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. He sees the secret of Jesus’ life as one that could probably lie undiscovered for years without any particular poor effect on the world.

In this quotation, Langdon refuses to politicize religion. He believes that people who have faith should be allowed to have it, because they’re not hurting anybody. Langdon’s statement seems at odds with other stories he tells in the course of the novel. It is he who mentions women being burned at the stake for helping other women give birth without pain, and tells of the paintings of Da Vinci that were painted over because they were inconsistent with the teachings of the Church. Perhaps this quotation is an attempt, however inconsistent with Langdon’s character, to provide a counterpoint to Teabing’s fanaticism.