A historically Reformed seminary regarded as one of the oldest and most respected has launched a Web site to provide a balanced assessment and factual response to the spiritual, historical and scientific assertions in the upcoming movie "Angels & Demons."
TruthAboutAngelsAndDemons.com, which went live Wednesday evening, was created to help individuals sift through the mix of fact and fiction woven into the novel and presumably the film, according to Dr. Bill Edgar, professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.
"By providing biblically-sound facts and highlighting issues related to the intersection of religion and science that 'Angels & Demons' presents, we hope to educate people and empower them to engage in conversation about the book and film," he expressed.
Included in the Web site are articles on bio-ethics and the Church, facts about anti-matter, information about the real Illuminati, including an interactive map of the so-called "Path of Illumination," a central element in the plot of "Angels & Demons." Rumored to be a trail the Illuminati used to induct new members, the course involves four major locations in the city of Rome and plays a key role in a series of murder clues throughout the movie and the book from which it is based.
"Our aim with this new site is to follow the injunction of the apostle Peter, who encouraged the Church to be prepared to gently and respectfully 'make a defense' to those who question the hope they have," explained Dr. Peter Lillback, president of Westminster, who was among those who contributed articles to the site. "Whether an individual chooses to see the 'Angels & Demons' film, we trust this site will be a helpful resource and catalyst for people of faith to be better equipped to engage in spiritual conversation generated by this significant media and cultural event."
Those behind TruthAboutAngelsAndDemons.com are hoping for a similar – if not larger – response to their earlier site, TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com, another online cultural apologetics response sponsored by Westminster that launched in May 2006 before the blockbuster debut of "The Da Vinci Code," the prequel to "Angels & Demons."
The "Da Vinci Code" site received nearly 730,000 visits during May 2006 alone, and has had more than 5.6 million page views to date. Additionally, if the terms "Da Vinci Code" are searched on Google, TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com ranks No. 8 out of over 13 million results.
"In the wake of 'The Da Vinci Code's' popularity, many people began to question the validity of the Bible's message and its influence throughout history," explained Dr. Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster. "The Da Vinci Web site fostered doubt about doubt, which we also hope to again generate as it relates to 'Angels & Demons.'"
"Angels & Demons" is set to debut Friday and stars Tom Hanks as "Da Vinci Code" protagonist Robert Langdon, who is called by the Catholic Church to uncover the mysteries of a secret society called the Illuminati and to unravel a plot to annihilate Vatican City using destructive antimatter.
Based off the first best-selling novel by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, "Angels & Demons" has drawn significantly less attention, let alone controversy, than the 2006 blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code," which riled Catholic conservatives internationally for asserting that Jesus Christ married and impregnated Mary Magdalene and for vilifying the Catholic group Opus Dei as a secretive cult.
According to the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, the sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" is "harmless entertainment" that "hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity."
The newspaper compared "Angels & Demons" to a video game that "first of all ignites curiosity, and then, perhaps amuses a little also."