April 7, 2009

Angels and Demons

It’s the Holy Week and perhaps it is both the worst and the best time for me to write about this but I can’t help it since I got all too excited the other day when I saw the trailer of Angels and Demons. Being born as a Catholic like majority of the Filipino population, I know it’s a taboo to question Christianity but since I'm extremely sad these past few days and I can't even write about all that's going through my head right now, I guess discussing such a complex issue would somehow make me more relax.





We all know the story, from the Immaculate Conception up until that day of His fated crucifixion. We all know of his miracles, He can heal all kinds of sickness and he even brought a person back to life. Jesus and his divinity—the very foundation of our faith and the religion we all grew up with.

But, What if?

The greatest story ever told was a lie?

The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons made a controversy on a global scale. This is no surprise considering that 33% of the estimated 6 billion people on the planet are Roman Catholics. The perfect example of this statistics is of course—the Philippines being considered as the only predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. Our religion pretty much defines us in many ways. It influences our values and traditions in more ways that we can imagine. Many historians actually consider Catholicism as the greatest influence of the Spanish colonization in the country and perhaps that is why the outbursts against the Da Vinci Code were understandable.



Angels and Demons just like The Da Vinci Code focuses on Vatican’s attempt to suppress the truth behind Jesus Christ’s divinity and Christianity as a religion based on a supreme being. However, unlike The Da Vinci Code that used historical facts, Angels and Demons approaches the topic using science as a basis to disprove the teachings of the Church. Unlike most Hollywood movies where stories are exaggerated, I guess Tom Hanks' character Robert Langdon is actually softer compared to the Langdon on Dan Brown's books. Like what they did in the movie "Da Vinci Code", Langdon actually debated and argued against the idea that Jesus may actually have a descendant through Mary Magdalene's child. If you read the book, Langdon's character was more aggressive and that it actually appeared he was supporting the idea. I guess they intentionally soften his character for the movie to pass many countries film review board just like our MTRCB. I'm looking forward to the movie even if I read both books many times already.



Angels and Demons is about the secret organization called "Illuminati" whose member are supposedly composed by many influential people across all races. Historically, the group was persecuted by the church because of their advance and progressive ideas that contradicts the teachings of the bible. They eliminated the group back in the early years of Christianity because it posed a great threat to it's growth but it turned out that "Illuminati" and it's members lived on and the secret of the society is passed on. Like Da Vinci Code, the novel is fictional but it also contains historical facts interpreted in a way to support the story which makes it too difficult to separate which is fact and which is fiction.

The battle between History and Science against Religion is a matter of perspective--therefore there could be no end to this struggle unless one side is willing to think on that other perspective. Also, religion per se is not limited to Christianity and what is told in the bible. Though I personally believe in existence of God, I do not limit myself with just the teachings of the bible. I am in fact a non-practicing Christian--I do not attend the mass every Sunday and in fact I would probably avoid attending one whenever possible because I believe in the existence of God that much that I don't think attending a christian mass (or any religious ritual) is even a necessity for anything when it comes to worshiping God. I think, believing Him is well enough. On the same ground, I don't limit myself to ideas and concepts that history and Science has to offer because gaining a bit of knowledge of God's greatness is by no means againsts him. It's human nature to contradict each other but I personally think these things, despite of the competition that the differences implies...they can actually be put together to make much more sense.

Who are the Angels and Who are the Demons?

There is a clear distinction between God and religion. Unfortunately for Filipinos, we are often limited to just the teachings of the Roman Catholic church which gives us a very narrow stand on religious difference. Just consider how we treat our Muslim brothers in Mindanao and how we stare at them on the streets whenever we see them practicing what they believe in. As an exchange student, I was fortunate to actually be around not just Filipino Muslims but Muslims from other countries as well. I was also exposed to people with other religions and even to those who doesn't even have a religion. Religion is a double-bladed sword. It can do both harm and good but on some occasions it can actually do more harm. History tells us of those incidents in the past and even in the news today...we still see conflicts due to religious differences.


This issues is way too complicated to touch since each perspective has great ideas and means to prove them. In addition, no particular side can be considered as perfect and in fact, gray areas always outweighs those already proven facts. It's more than just a debate, like how Dan Brown put it...it's more a like a war in search of knowledge and truth. It's like a battle between what is true and what we would like to believe as true. A battle between faith and man's never ending curiosity.


P.s. If it's not too late. I wish everyone a blessed Holiday. ANG INIT!

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16 comments:

AkoSiDen said...

"battle between faith and man's never ending curiosity."

yep very well said!....

sang ayon sang ayon...

Marlon said...

AkosiDen, Thanks sa pagbisita. nyehehe..

Courage Philippines said...

I suggest you read this news article about Angels and Demons to uncover Dan Brown's motives in discrediting the Catholic Church through motion pictures such as Da Vinci Code, etc.:

www.ncregister.com/daily/priest_spy_on_demons_set/


Jesus is real and His love for you and me can never be questioned or doubted. Be very sure of that.

Marlon said...

Courage Philippines, I knew I'd get comments like this before I even write about it. Anyway, thanks for the article. I read it and so as many other articles either pro/anti Dan Brown or the Church. Countless documentaries were also made to "uncover" the truth behind both sides, Basically, what I'm saying is this post is not entirely about Dan Brown nor even about the Catholic church. It's about religion, and what it means to me, basically my own perspective. As a catholic myself, I hold Jesus as true, be it about his entire 'Divinity' or his human side. Historically or simply how the bible described Him. I appreciate the comment.

lucas said...

interesting post...

i just love how dan brown makes an effort to deconstruct the human faith through historical facts.

people will probably see these movies as forms of blasphemy against the Christian faith, but in my opinion...it somehow strengthens it. it just depends on how you firm you stand on what you believe in :)

excited nako dito sa angels and demons. visit the official site..lupit! hehe!

Marlon said...

Lucas, great point there, I also think that it doesn't matter what other people say, if you believe something. Then believe it without a doubt--that's what makes it true.

The Pope said...

It is only disturbing that Mr. Brown is using the Church in his literary writings for entertainment purposes which is devoid of moral values such as using God's name in vain.

It is a challenge in our traditional theologies but it does not weaken our faith. This challenge strengthens faith because the search for truth widens knowledge and brings us closer to the miracle of life in this universe and in spiritual relation with God.

JessQ said...

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed Holy Week. May this season give you a chance to be together, to share your love for each other, as well as to share your gifts to others. Stay healthy and enjoy the day.

Pamela Tan said...

"Unfortunately for Filipinos, we are often limited to just the teachings of the Roman Catholic church which gives us a very narrow stand on religious difference."

You might be surprised that it is not especially true that Filipinos are limited by the Catholic Church. I think the most appropriate term for that is "Catholics are limited to the teachings of the Catholic Church."



"Just consider how we treat our Muslim brothers in Mindanao and how we stare at them on the streets whenever we see them practicing what they believe in."

This is only true for those living in Luzon and some in Visayas. I'm from Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga. We don't "stare" at our Muslim residents and "friends". We don't treat them the way you imply. We co-exist in a community and we are not ignorant about their ways. Unfortunately, many Manilenos are.

I have a Muslim friend who wears a turung, and for the desire of a better life, she sought her luck in Makati. Not everybody readily accepted her and in fact she was even harrassed by a man in Makati, hitting her in the head and shouting inappropriate things at her just because she's a Muslim. She was even asked to remove her turung so people wouldn't treat her that way, but that's an insult to say to a Muslim.

Marlon, I'm just saying that it's not fair to generalize Filipinos that way. You might be surprised.

And oh, yes Marlon, you need to go to Mass if that's the Catholic way of giving thanks. For all God's done, that's just one thing that you can do in return, at least.

Just dropping by! Have a nice weekend.

Marlon said...

The Pope, "It is a challenge in our traditional theologies but it does not weaken our faith." This is similar to what Lucas said, This is true. It can challenge us in a lot of ways however if you have a firm stand then that shouldn't be an issue.

Jess Q, thanks for the drop.

Pam, Hi! Ang init ng comments. Nakakatuwa. "Catholics are limited to the teachings of the Catholic Church." this is also a good way of saying it. However, I placed this on the Philippine context that's why I only used Filipinos...,

You're probably right. I personally haven't been to Mindanao, but I am fortunate that I know a lot of Muslims who came from various parts of Mindanao, Also, these people I speak of are mostly of my age, and I've shared a lot of interesting conversations with them and specially that one guy who told me everything about how they always get discriminated whenever they are in a place where it is dominated by Catholics, I think the reason why in some places in Mindanao Catholics and Muslims are able to co-exists is when Muslims dominate the are or if not it is when they have great number. I believe it's not fair to generalize Filipinos in that way, however I feel I have the basis to say that because if not all, majority of us are like that. Just witht he example you've provided yourself and so many others I personally experience just being with them. Sometimes, they even think I'm a muslim because I always end up talking about them and depending them whenever I am asked to speak whether it is in a formal occasion or just through simple conversations.

Also, about the mass. Like what i said, as a catholic, I'd go to one whenever I need to, but whenever possible. I would avoid it. Not because I'm not thankful or anything, It's just that I get frustrated whenever I see a lot of people doing inconsiderate things during the mass. Based on my observation, those people who goes to a mass has a different reason for going there. It's almost like out of habit why they attend a mass. I realized this when I was in the States. I was hosted by a catholic Family that is why we attended the mass every sunday the entire time I was there. I saw the difference between American catholics and Filipino Catholics. It's a shame to see that I saw more "Catholics" there than here in the Philippines where we are so proud of our faith.

Anyway, nabasa ko iyong post mo about sa trip mo, I'm waiting for the pictures...lols!

Pamela Tan said...

hihihi, sorry kng medyo mainit ang comment ko, hehe. It just saddens me sometimes that some people confuse on how to respect the person's religion and the person itself. If they don't respect the religion, at least the person right? Naiinis lang talaga ko kng bakit may mga people na nagdidiscriminate.

Yes, Catholic din naman ako and some masses are just plainfully meaningless. I understand, di rin naman ako nagmamagaling. I just learned lang kasi that there is so much more responsibility being a Christian than just believing. Unfortunately though, di ko yan natutunan for being Catholic.

Salamat sa magandang discussion dito. I love reading and I like Dan Brown's books, but after the Da Vinci Code, I think he overdid it on Angels and Demons. Hehe.

Salamat din sa pagdaan. I have the pics of the trip pero I'm still sorting it out. Di madali mag sort ng 500+ unique shots ah, hehe.

cyndirellaz said...

i have read the novel, grabe nga eh kahit ako na test ang faith ko. Pero here I am, malakas pa din ang tiwala kay God ^^
God bless!

The Pope said...

Kaibigan, hatid ko ang isang Neno's Award ngaung Easter Sunday para sa iyo, sana'y pagdamutan mo ito, its posted in my blogsite.

A Happy Easter to you and your family.

Amorgatory said...

same perspective i guess...

Cutter Pilar said...

kuya, daan ka sa blog ko i have something for you :)

netaholic21 said...

Awww, Dan Brown is a genius. Though, I just read the Angels And Demons, I am trying to buy the The Da Vinci Code if ever I have money already, ~Lol. Well done for this entry, nice nice, Dan Brown's novels are way too perplex to discuss, but thumbs up for yah, :D

x-link po kita :D

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