21 May 2009

Angels and Demons: Theology for Our Time

Herewith are two insightful articles discussing the latest Dan Brown movie adaptation “Angels and Demons”.

The first is from NY Times columnist Ross Douthat: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/opinion/19douthat.html. (With thanks to Fr. Tony de Castro, SJ, for alerting us to this link.)

"Having dismissed Catholicism’s truth claims and demonized its most sincere defenders, Brown pats believers on the head and bids them go on fingering their rosary beads."

Ross Douthat gets it down right. Behind the conspiracy theory thriller lies a brewing theology borne out of a culture that favors a DIY spirituality, a generalized religiousness, a fast-food faith, over organized religion that only imposes morality (bad, bad word) and dares break its selective remembrance of Jesus as a human-only guru (divine, maybe, in a metaphorical way) who taught only about love and universal brotherhood.

Rev. Robert Barron also has some things new and old to say: http://www.wordonfire.org/Written-Word/articles-commentaries/May-2009/Angels,-Demons,-and-Modern-Fantasies-about-Catholi.aspx
“There is a stubbornly enduring myth that the ‘modern’ world—especially in its scientific expression—emerged out of a terrible struggle with backward-looking Catholicism. And thus many avatars of modernity feel the need on a regular basis to bring out the Catholic Church as a scapegoat and punching-bag, as if to re-enact the founding myth.”

Where Ross Douhat found an unseemly theology, Rev. Robert Barron exposes a worn-out philosophy that props up the clichéd phantom of a war between faith and reason, between religion and science.

Think: Dan Brown novels, the new spiritual reading of choice today. Now shudder. Then again, haven't Christians done the same already with Paolo Coelho's "By the River Piedra"?

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