Tonight, I went with a friend to see the movie “Angels and Demons” based on the novel by Dan Brown. If you remembr, Dan Brown is the same one who wrote the Da Vinci Code. That was a movie I thought was a snoozer. The book is good as a novel, but the information in it is not accurate to say the least. However, while I haven’t read the book this time, I must say that overall, the movie really wasn’t that bad. I think there were a number of nonsense claims made, but there were statements that were also commendable.
The overall idea of the movie, and if you want to see it you might want to wait to read this blog lest I leak out some spoilers, is that there is an organization that has been warring with the church for 400 years known as the Illuminati. The war has been over the debate between science and religion. These two are often pictured as mortal enemies, although there are a number of parts of the book where the position is stated that they are not enemies.
Consider the statement that is made by one character that religion is concerned because science is young and does not know that there are some areas where it ought not speak. Who is more ignorant? The one who does not know how lightning is produced or the one who denies its power?
I would hold of course that there is no quarrel between science and religion. That does not mean there is not a quarrel between some beliefs held in the area of science by people and beliefs held in the area of religion by people. There are religious truths and there are scientific truths. Truth cannot contradict truth. This was an idea Aquinas argued against called “The Double Theory of Truth.”
There is also the point when the main protagonist, Robert Langdon, is asked if he believes in God. He says that he is an academic, which is one point in the movie I wanted to groan. It is as if if one is an intellectual, then that means it is harder for them to believe in God automatically. There’s this idea that the more educated someone is, the less likely it is they believe in God.
Well it depends on who’s doing the educating.
If we base it all on saying that there is no truth out there that can be discovered and we must look to ourselves and science alone, then I’m not surprised that most people don’t believe in God if they are considered “educated.” If education consists however of reading the ancients and the moderns both and learning both sides of many an issue, I think you will find that there are more believers. We’ve cut ourselves off from the past in our time.
At this point, Langdon was asked about his heart and how he thinks he just can’t find the faith. I wanted to say “Thank you Kant.” There again is the idea that religious truth is for the subjective realm and academic truth is for the intellectual realm. I consider all truth of the intellectual realm and the responses to such truths to be emotional.
One last point that concerned me was the electing of the new pope and this will definitely have some spoilers. They had someone in mind who had just done a heroic act, but it turns out this one was a major villain and it hadn’t been found out yet. The cardinals were together and saying that if they followed a certain procedure it would mean the voice of the Holy Spirit was speaking through them. Well, since that guy was found to be someone criminal, what would that mean? The cardinals obviously aren’t led by the Holy Spirit. Now I am not Catholic, so you can guess my stance on the matter as a whole, but I wonder if there is something saying that no church overall is guided by the Spirit. Of course, I could be over-analyzing, but that thought did occur to me.
What is Brown’s theology? I really don’t know. There is one point where YHWH and Allah are used side by side as if they’re really the same deity. That overall is my impression of Brown. He’s a religious pluralist. I don’t think he’s an atheist. He just wants all religions to get along. I’m not definitive on that, but that is how I see him now.
Overall however, I found this to be a rather enjoyable movie. If you have a few bucks and you want to see it, by all means. I really would like to see this movie get people started talking about the relationship between science and faith. It is my hope that those ideas which are intended to be attacks on the truth of Christ, will end up sparking a fire under the Christian church so that it will rise out of its ashes and change the world in the 21st century.