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Austin Cline

Ian McKellen: Bible Should Have 'Fiction' Label

By May 28, 2006

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Most people don't realize that actor Ian McKellen is an atheist - but if he is an atheist, what's he doing in the movie The Da Vinci Code? Simple: he thinks that it's a really good story (the book, at least - reviews indicate that the movie isn't as good). He's not bothered about playing a role in a fictional story, though he thinks that the Bible is just as fictional.

Writing about his decision to take a role in The Da Vinci Code, McKellen said:

“The Catholic Church is upset by the suggestion that Jesus Christ was married and that his bloodline survives to this day. As an atheist I am indifferent. As a reader I couldn’t stop turning the pages of Dan Brown’s book.”

NewsBusters reports on more recent comments of his:

British actor Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings], piped up: “Well, I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it’s true, not that it’s factual, but that it’s a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they’ve seen it.”

With the camera focused on McKellen, one could hear a distinctly nervous laugh in the background, seeming to come from either actor Tom Hanks or director Howard. McKellen’s stunning bit of blasphemy is likely to test the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

Quite a few people — including many fans of Dan Brown’s book — will probably be displeased with such sentiments, but it’s difficult to argue that significant amounts of the Bible aren’t fiction. Obviously some portions are historical to one degree or another, but any more historical than the “true” parts of Dan Brown’s novel?


Religion & Religious Beliefs:

May 28, 2006 at 10:42 pm
(1) Chuck says:

Hi Austin,
[Thanks for all your 'Hard Work!'...what!...ala Dubya?]
I digress?…
Let’s also not forget, that acting is, bottom-line, for mucho $…and acting ‘gigs’ are mostly in fictional roles anyway. It’s refreshing to at least have someone like Ian McKellen show SOME intelligence and, what!…moxie? [OK...Balls!]
As an atheist, I couldn’t care less about the book; or the film. As for the critics, Ebert & Roeper liked the film! [Thumbs up!] They, of course, made no comments about the truth value of the gospels…”Duh”! I’ve seen some of CNN and Discovery channels specials on the Da Vinci shtick…showing almost all of the book’s claims to be totally bogus. The Media really has no guts when it comes to digging further into all the Biblical crap. “Mustn’t disturb all those mesmerized ‘numbnuts’! Hey,…They also shop a lot at Wal-Mart; and we certainly wouldn’t want them to panic, either!” [Oooh,...pardon my bit of vulgarity! I've been watching too much "Deadwood"! [HBO]]
When they do appear on any reasonably probing ‘Investigative Special’, most of the so-called scholars are, overwhelmingly,…nothing more than biased believers, with little ‘objective’ knowledge of NON-theological sources such as: recent archeology, independent and ancient historical studies, as well as all the ‘other’ Ancient World Mythologies.
I think we need to see more people like Acharya S, Dawkins, Dennett, et. al. Bring Penn Jillette into the mix, and it could really be fun!…["Party on Dudes!...and, oh yes,...dudettes?"]
But then,…alas!…waddo-I-know?
[Well,...Hey!...like my, long deceased, dad used to answer: "Enough to blow hot soup!"]

June 2, 2006 at 3:36 pm
(2) Todd says:

Magneto is right on! The bible and similar texts should be in the fiction section, right beside Da Vinci Code.

June 3, 2006 at 2:33 pm
(3) Owen says:

Personally I do think that the Da Vinci Code (book and film) is damaging, if only because it provides so much publicity for Opus Dei.
It also gives them a chance to play down their negative side saying “it’s only fiction”.
For a better assessment of the work of Opus Dei visit the Opus Dei Awareness Network http://www.odan.org or a good Opus Dei FAQ written by a non-member at http://www.mond.at/opus.dei/opus.dei.uo.faq.html
On the main topic, my local bookstore puts the bible in its ‘philosophy’ (non-fiction) section, but then it also puts Voltaire’s Candide and other philosophical fiction alongside it. Maybe they’re just confused.

August 9, 2008 at 10:15 pm
(4) Eric says:

I was happy to find another amazing person who is Atheist.


January 1, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(5) jj says:

you atheist freaks will burn in hell!

August 21, 2012 at 9:16 am
(6) Chris says:

Such a tolerant Christian attitude you have, you utter cretin.

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