Art historians agree that Da Vinci's paintings contain hidden levels of meaning that go well beneath the surface of the paint. Many scholars believe his work intentionally provides clues to a powerful secret... a secret that remains protected to this day by a clandestine brotherhood of which Da Vinci was a member.
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She saved my life...and I've ruined hers. They sat in silence for a full minute, the air between them growing heavy, as if they both wanted to speak, and yet had nothing to say. They were strangers, after all, on a brief and bizarre journey that had just reached a fork in the road, each of them now needing to find seperate paths.
In 325 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to unify Rome under a single religion ... Historians still marvel at the brilliance with which Constantine converted the sun-worshipping pagans to Christianity. By fusing pagan symbols, dates, and rituals into the growing Christian tradition, he created a kind of hybrid religion that was acceptable to both parties.
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Politics was not just about winning the election, it was about winning decisively--having the momentum to carry out one's vision. Historically, any president who squeaked into office on a narrow margin accomplished much less; he was weakened right out of the gate, and Congress never seemed to let him forget it.
The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven. The Bible is the product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.
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Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious - that is, that we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment.
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Coincidence was a concept he did not entirely trust. As someone who had spent his life exploring the hidden interconnectivity of disparate emblems and ideologies, Langdon viewed the world as a web of profoundly intertwined histories and events. The connections may be invisible, he often preached to his symbology classes at Harvard, but they are always there, buried just beneath the surface.
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Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this: when we as a species abandon our trust in a power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faiths... all faiths... are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable. With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. The church consists of a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.
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Professor Langdon, ' called a young man with curly hair in the back row, 'if Masonry is not a secret society, not a corporation, and not a religion, then what is it?' 'Well, if you were to ask a Mason, he would offer the following definition: Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.' 'Sounds to me like a euphemism for "freaky cult." ' 'Freaky, you say?' 'Hell yes!' the kid said, standing up. 'I heard what they do inside those secret buildings! Weird candlelight rituals with coffins, and nooses, and drinking wine out of skulls. Now that's freaky!' Langdon scanned the class. 'Does that sound freaky to anyone else?' 'Yes!' they all chimed in. Langdon feigned a sad sigh. 'Too bad. If that's too freaky for you, then I know you'll never want to join my cult.' Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women's Center looked uneasy. 'You're in a cult?' Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. 'Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.' The class looked horrified. Langdon shrugged. 'And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.' The classroom remained silent. Langdon winked. 'Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.
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Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh... And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.
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Mr. Langdon, I did not ask if you believe what man says about God. I asked if you believed in God. There is a difference. Holy scripture is stories... legends and history of man's quest to understand his own need for meaning. I am not asking you to pass judgment on literature. I am asking if you believe in God. When you lie out under the stars, do you sense the divine? Do you feel in your gut that you are staring up at the work of God's hands?
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Omnipotent-benevolent simply means that God is all-powerful and well-meaning.' 'I understand the concept. It's just... there seems to be a contradiction.' 'Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man's starvation, war, sickness... ' 'Exactly!' Chartrand knew the camerlengo would understand. 'Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn't He?' The camerlengo frowned. 'Would He?' Chartrand felt uneasy. Had he overstepped his bounds? Was this one of those religious questions you just didn't ask? 'Well... if God loves us, and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring, or benevolent and powerless to help.' 'Do you have children, Lieutenant?' Chartrand flushed. 'No, signore.' 'Imagine you had an eight-year-old son... would you love him?' 'Of course.' 'Would you let him skateboard?' Chartrand did a double take. The camerlengo always seemed oddly "in touch" for a clergyman. 'Yeah, I guess, ' Chartrand said. 'Sure, I'd let him skateboard, but I'd tell him to be careful.' 'So as this child's father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?' 'I wouldn't run behind him and mollycoddle him if that's what you mean.' 'But what if he fell and skinned his knee?' 'He would learn to be more careful.' The camerlengo smiled. 'So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child's pain, you would choose to show your love by letting him learn his own lessons?' 'Of course. Pain is part of growing up. It's how we learn.' The camerlengo nodded. 'Exactly.
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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 that 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.
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He respected the power of faith, the benevolence of churches, the strength religion gave so many people... and yet, for him, the one intellectual suspension of disbelief that was imperative if one were truly going to "believe" had always proved too big an obstacle for his academic mind. "I want to believe, " he heard himself say.
You mean the day they stop needing the church, " Vittoria challenged, moving toward him. "Doubt is your last shred of control. It is doubt that brings souls to you. Our need to know that life has meaning. Man's insecurity and need for an enlightened soul assuring him everything is part of a master plan. But the church is not the only enlightened soul on the planet! We all seek God in different ways. What are you afraid of? That God will show himself somewhere other than inside these walls? That people will find him in their own lives and leave your antiquated rituals behind? Religions evolve! The mind finds answers, the heart grapples with new truths. My father was on your quest! A parallel path! Why couldn't you see that? God is not some omnipotent authority looking down from above, threatening to throw us into a pit of fire if we disobey. God is the energy that flows through the synapses of our nervous system and the chambers of our hearts! God is in all things!
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He had been haunted his whole life by a mild case of claustrophobia-the vestige of a childhood incident he had never quite overcome. Langdon's aversion to closed spaces was by no means debilitating, but it had always frustrated him. It manifested itself in subtle ways. He avoided enclosed sports like racquetball or squash, and he had gladly paid a small fortune for his airy, high-ceilinged Victorian home even though economical faculty housing was readily available. Langdon had often suspected his attraction to the art world as a young boy sprang from his love of museums' wide open spaces.
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Energetically speaking, antimatter is the mirror image of matter, so the two instantly cancel each other out if they come in contact. Keeping antimatter isolated from matter is a challenge, of course, because everything on earth is made of matter. The samples have to be stored without ever touching anything at all-even air.
Matter, ' Vittoria repeated. 'Blossoming out of nothing. An incredible display of subatomic fireworks. A miniature universe springing to life. He proved not only that matter can be created from nothing, but that the Big Bang and Genesis can be explained simply by accepting the presence of an enormous source of energy.' 'You mean God?' Kohler demanded. 'God, Buddha, The Force, Yahweh, the singularity, the unicity point-call it whatever you like-the result is the same. Science and religion support the same truth-pure energy is the father of creation.
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For centuries the church has stood by while science picked away at religion bit by bit. Debunking miracles. Training the mind to overcome the heart. Condemning religion as the opiate of the masses. They denounce God as a hallucination - a delusional crutch for those too weak to accept that life is meaningless. I could not stand by while science presumed to harness the power of God himself! Proof, you say? Yes, proof of science's ignorance! What is wrong with the admission that something exists beyond our understanding? The day science substantiates God in a lab is the day people stop needing faith!
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I'm relieved to see that even brilliant physicists make mistakes.' Kohler looked over. 'What do you mean?' 'Whoever wrote that note made a mistake. That column isn't Ionic. Ionic columns are uniform in width. That one's tapered. It's Doric-the Greek counterpart. A common mistake.' Kohler did not smile. 'The author meant it as a joke, Mr. Langdon. Ionic means containing ions-electrically charged particles. Most objects contain them.
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Leonardo believed his research had the potential to convert millions to a more spiritual life. Last year he categorically proved the existence of an energy force that unites us all. He actually demonstrated that we are all physically connected... that the molecules in your body are intertwined with the molecules in mine... that there is a single force moving within all of us.
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Truth has power. And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true... written deep within us. And when we hear the truth, even if we don't understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us... vibrating with our unconscious wisdom. Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called... re-membered... -re-cognized... as that which is already inside us.
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Scientific advancement carries risk, ' Kohler argued. 'It always has. Space programs, genetic research, medicine-they all make mistakes. Science needs to survive its own blunders, at any cost. For everyone's sake.' Vittoria was amazed at Kohler's ability to weigh moral issues with scientific detachment. His intellect seemed to be the product of an icy divorce from his inner spirit. 'You think CERN is so critical to the earth's future that we should be immune from moral responsibility?
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