The great and witty Christian writer Malcolm Muggeridge once observed that, in the west, the 20th century's affirmation of being fully human could be found in a revised version of Descartes famous Cogito (I think, therefore I am). According to Muggeridge, the 20th century version could be renamed the Copulo (I have sex , therefore I am) in order to reflect our continual obsession with all things sexual. I believe it was also Muggeridge who made the observation that "sex is the mysticism of materialism."
Just the other day, it occurred to me that Muggeridge, were he still with us, would find the success of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" to be a rather amusing affirmation of his observations. "The Da Vinci Code," of course, claims that ancient Israelite worship included ritual sex as a means of getting in touch with the "sacred feminine," which it identifies with the Shekinah glory (the physical manifestation of God's presence in the holiest part of the Hebrew temple). It wasn't until latter that the mean spirited, pleasure hating, patriarchal misogynists of the early Christian church came along and suppressed this view through political power plays that this original version of Judaism/Christianity was lost. To a culture obsessed with the pursuit of personal pleasure in general and sexual pleasure in particular, this surely reads as good news. "The Da Vinci Code," far from offering something new, is simply a reflection/affirmation/justification of one of our culture's primary values packaged in the form of a novel.
Somewhere, Malcolm Muggeridge is laughing.