Monday, May 31, 2010

"The Lost Symbol" is just that...utterly LOST.

The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown:
A Book Review
*
Disclaimer to all you Dan Brown fans out there:
This is MY blog and I will use this forum to voice MY opinion :)
However, I willingly welcome your comments and thoughts.
In fact, I encourage it.
*
I just finished the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. A friend had recommended it and I was hesitant to read it because I am not a Dan Brown fan. The author's writing has been called sacriligious and for that very reason I refused to read the highly controversial DaVinci Code.
*
Its nice to break out of your typical reading genre every once in a while, so I decided to try something different and read The Lost Symbol whose overall message was supposed to be good.
*
I actually liked the majority of the book - until the end. The majority of the book reads quick because I have to admit the author is a good writer; his style is solid.
*
Here is my beef with the book.
*
The overall message of the book equates to: "men as gods" or men having god-like powers.
*
It praises man as "being made in God's image and likeness" and having similar powers. Whats worse is it takes passages from the Bible (and other religious doctrine) - snippets out of context and twists them to misconstrue/mislead readers of its true message.
*
The book has not shaken my faith- but in many respects has offended me. If you are solid in your faith in God, I think a book should do little to challenge that.
*
I guess in many respects, readers might say that those books that challenge a notion and make a reader question, ponder, or think about something in a new light are deemed quality intellectual books. To some degree I think this is true, however this book just felt wrong on so many levels. Rebellious even to give its mixed messages consideration or credence.
*
However, what ruffles my feathers is how subtle the author is in manipulating readers, planting small seeds throughout the book - a small snippet of scripture here, a religious connonation there, and suddenly you're turning the final pages of the book finding yourself backed in a corner you are uncomfortable with, scratching your head and saying "just how did I get here?" I felt like I was running saying "wait! wait!" This is not where I thought the book was headed and it was disappointing to have a good book go [what felt like] so wrong.
*
The last few chapters felt utterly stifling in that you didnt like where the story/message was going, but you could do little to change the outcome. I was waiting for the lost symbol - what the book called the "Ancient Mysteries" to provide me with something substancial, a moral of some sort to be learned. I got nothing. I wanted the book to have one of those cool DVD options where you can choose a different ending....sadly, I found the Lost Symbol just that. Lost.
*
The final few chapters lead to a conclusion of man having godlike powers - those powers being lost to mankind over time and only being redisovered through "Noetic Science" - a science that lays claim to giving mortals superhuman powers.
*
Case and Point: I quote from page 501:
*
"Exactly. Our physical bodies have evolved over the ages, but it was our minds that were created in the image of God. We've been reading the Bible too literally. We learn that God created us in his image, but its not our physical bodies that resemble God - its our minds. "This is our great gift, Robert, and God is waiting for us to understand it. All around the world we are gazing skyward, waiting for God...never realizing that God is waiting for us. We are creators, and yet we naively play the role of 'the created." We see ourselves as helpless sheep buffeted around by the God who made us. We kneel like frightened children, begging for help, for forgiveness, for good luck. But once we realize we are truly created in the Creator's image, we will start to understand that we, too, must be Creators. When we understand this fact, the doors will burst wide open for human potential."
*
See what I mean? This passage shows the author hailing man as 'master of our own universe' - basically implying man does not need god. We have godlike powers of our own.
*
The problem here- where the author has gone astray, is that the book tries to mesh religion and science - a mix that has a long history of repulsion similar to that of a positive magnet meeting a negative. Like oil and water, the two may be forced together, but will never mix.
*
The problem trying to coerce the two together is that science tries to find answers for everything while faith is okay leaving the unknown. Science seeks to find answers for things outside our realm of understanding. Religion doesnt need answers for everything - those who have faith are okay with there being gaps in the story- miracles/acts of God that supersede our understanding. I'll use the ol Evolution arguement to bring these two differences to light.
*
There are those who mock the creation story. This always makes me laugh. Its more plausible to think we evolved from apes than to think we are created by the hand of God? I cant wrap my head around that. I've had this discussion with many (I like Ben Stein's "Expelled:No Intelligence Allowed which covers both sides of the debate. Evolution vs. Creationism) and those on the Evolution side are always like - "you cant fight science" or "its proven". Last time I checked it was called the Evolution Theory because its not proven- its just an answer we've come up with because we dont have a better one. I guess its easier to create an answer that doesnt necessary fit -simply for the sake of having an ANSWER than to have blind faith. I guess thats what the basis of faith is - not relying on our own wisdom, but trusting God has the answer.
*
Honestly, Im okay with there being gaps in the story of how we were created- I dont expect to ever comprehend the magnitude of God. I am not god, why on earth would I need all the answers. This is where religion and science differ. Are you ok with not having answers about things beyond our {mortal} understanding?
*
What also bothered me is that Brown's villain - a character by the name of Mal'akh is eerily reminiscient of what we presume the "Anti-Christ" to be - a false prophet who claims to be god, or have the powers of one, who will miscontrue truth, lead believers astray, and whose evil will bring darkness.
*
My concern is that a popular author, like Dan Brown, will use deceitful writing to mislead readers who are not familiar with the Bible (its passages/meaning/message) into believing the sacriligious garbage this book perpetuates. People who are either early in their faith with God or those who are on the brink (they believe in a higher being or want to believe in God- but have their doubts) into the delusional thinking that man is just as powerful as god and that we dont need him since we can do the job ourselves.
*
The epilogue is meant to leave you with the warm fuzzies:
"In that moment, standing atop the Capitol, with the warmth of the sun streaming down all around him, Robert Langdon felt a powerful upwelling deep within himself. It was an emotion he had never felt this profoundly in his entire life. Hope."
*
Hope? Hmmm, interesting. I was feeling lost - so I think the titles serves its purpose just fine.
*
Now- dont get me wrong. I like a good fiction story, but the author is trying to do more than that here and I hope people are smart enough to see through it.
*
When his next book comes out, remind me to skip it.
*
Rach
Couple clips from Expelled: NO Intelligence Allowed
*

1 comment:

  1. Wow....Aunt C is impressed, and that's no easy to do!
    xxoo

    ReplyDelete

Whatcha thinkin?