Sunday, March 27, 2005

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

I know I should have read this before The Da Vinci Code. It is, after all, the second book to what I would call The Robert Langdon Series.

Angels and Demons is the first of the Robert Langdon mysteries by Dan Brown. I have just finished reading this last night (read: actually it was more like 3 in the morning!) and was again spellbound by the intricate web of mystery created by Brown. The story happened in Rome, more specifically in the Vatican City (for some reason, they call it "the smallest country in the world). It was an excellent mix of religion (more input from the Vatican!), renaissance art (heaps of reference to Michaelangelo and Bernini), weapons of mass destruction (!) and of course, the ever helpful police (hmmm... can I hear a hint of sarcasm there???)

It is also about the infamous Illuminati, a secret brotherhood known for their vendetta against the Catholic Church. It is a well-known and documented fact that the Catholic Church was responsible for a lot of executions of men who delved into the sciences during the early days. The most famous one being Galileo (whom, by the way, was mentioned A LOT in this book). The Illuminati, according to lore, apparently was founded by Galileo as a means for people of science to meet in secret and discuss things that were banned by the Church. The book also discusses the use of renaissance sculptures and other works of art as a means to lead other Illuminati members to the Church of Illumination, the house of the Illuminati, which is filled with pagan symbols and tributes to the sciences.

Simply said, this is a book about the age-old war of Science vs. Religion. There are characters in this book that are working towards the ultimate reconciliation of both parties, that is, proving once in for all through science that God exists. A bit far-fetched, yes, but utterly convincing, thanks to Dan Brown's excellent prose. Of course, not surprisingly, there are also characters, noble but misguided fools who believe there can never be a reconciliation, that science is here to mock the wonder and miracles of God.

I have been completely entranced by this novel. Not only did it appeal to my own beliefs and religious philosphy, but it also gave a completely different look at the people behind the Church. I have known and believed all along that the Church is flawed because man presides it (not a gender thing mind you... I am just using the term "man" as a general thing). They are susceptible to greed and temptation. They may be holy and have the best intentions at heart but they sometimes fail to see the bigger picture.

The same goes for science. They may look at the bigger picture and tend to believe that the "end ALWAYS justifies the means." Unfortunately, this also comes across as heartless and cold. Scientists are, unfortunately, built this way. They may mean well, but they fail to see the human side of things.

Science vs. religion? Why? Why can't they just work together? Why can't each see the good in the other and work towards a better understanding of the other? I am not a fan of religion myself, but I do see something good in it. It is an organization that teaches people morals and values to become better people (I am talking about the proper way a religion should educate their followers. Of course, not all do this I'm afraid).

Please, please read this book. If there is one thing that this book tells you, it is that understanding is the key to a spiritual way of living.

Angels and Demons - 4 out of 5


At 9:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 8:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[quote]The story happened in Rome, more specifically in the Vatican City (for some reason, they call it "the smallest country in the world).[/quote]

hmm...maybe they call it the smallest country because it is a county and its the smallest in the world?

At 5:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what they say about the difference between Australia and Yoghurt...


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