Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
At a very fast pace science, religion, cliff hangers, murder, romance and architecture vary each other and will keep your attention focused throughout this whole book. Angels & Demons is a real pageturner and as soon as I started reading it I could not put it down. The main theme in the book is the ancient battle between science and religion, particularly the one between the Illuminati and the Roman Catholic Church. The Illuminati (literally “the enlightened”) are not a group you can easily define. If you Google “The Illuminati” you will find several groups claiming this name. Furthermore, a remarkable number of speculations about celebrities being part of those groups turn up, resulting in all sorts of different explanations and theories. The Author’s Note at the beginning of the book states that “The brotherhood of the Illuminati is also factual”. But what that brotherhood is, exactly, is what he fails to mention. What I recall from the book is that the Illuminati are a group that wants to destroy the Catholic religion because they want the power of science to rule. They want some kind of revenge, and have plotted this for years and years. To make their statement clear they follow a scheme that is ment to come across very symbolically. The Illuminati kill the four “Preferiti” (the preferiti are the cardinals who are the most likely to be elected pope in the Conclave) with the four forces of science; earth, air, water and fire.
The historical conflict, between science and religion, is still going on today. I find this ever lasting struggle very interesting. It has been current ever since science made some great breakthroughs. For example people like Galileo Galilei discovered things that contridicted what the Bible said. In the beginning, let’s say in the Renaissance, those scientist were immediately murdered or banned by the Roman Catholics. God was right, scientists were not, period. Most scientist in those days were both religious and scientifically interested and did not feel it was “either/or”. But as time passed by a new group was formed. A hard-core science group that really felt that science was the only truth. Of course there is also a group that feels science and religion go hand in hand but we are talking about the core here.
So we have group number one versus group number two. Let’s meet the contestants. Group number one: religion, read: everyone from the catholics to the moslems who believe some things exist but cannot be proven by mankind. Group number two: science, read: everyone from scientist to the well-educated on this earth who believe religion is something a bunch of people made up to get them some answers while they lacked of real knowledge.
The Catholic church has always been well known for their extreme enthousiasm in forcing non-Catholics into Catholicism. In a quite violent way, that is. I think the most of us remember the word “crusades” from our history classes. Journeys the Christians made, or “holy wars” as they called it, to kill everyone that didn’t agree with their Almighty God. They obeyed no objection of any kind and the only truth was that non-believers would end up in hell. Nowadays, the roles seem to have reversed. In the Netherlands, you may say that fundamentalists are considered plain stupid by a lot of people. And you really can’t blame them, can you? A pope that forbids the use of condoms in Afrika, a bisshop that denies the Holocaust, and not to mention the other dirty guys in dresses that did stuff with children not only God, but also the judge, and every other human being on earth disapprove of. Obviously, this does not really help for the degree in which Catholics are taking seriously. The new “truth” seems to be that as a well-educated, intelligent human being you ought to understand that fundamentalists just run behind a little bit and that modern people have found “real ways” to explain the world around us. Real ways meaning research, education and science. Not some twothousand-year-old book, some vague messages from Angels and Sons and a 83-year-old grey man in a dress telling us how we should live our lives.
I recently read a book about this reversing of roles by one of my favourite authors, Kluun. Well it is really more of an essay, about the role of God in our society nowadays. It is called “God is crazy, the dictatorship of Atheism”. In a nutshell; God does not seem to be as ridiculous as the media tells us, and what has happened unnoticed is that Atheism has become very rigid. Definetly worth reading if you find the battle between Atheist and Believers interesting. I, for sure, do!
(The video about “God is gek” where you can see Kluun at Pauw & Witteman does not work, so here is the link: http://pauwenwitteman.vara.nl/hoogtepunt-detail.101.0.html?&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=13290&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=91&cHash=0fe0884385 )
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