Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Dan Brown in "Angels and Demons"

டான் ப்ரௌன் (Dan Brown) - தி டாவின்சி கோட் (The Da Vinci Code) என்ற நாவல் மூலம் "அதிக விற்பனைப் பட்டிய"லில் (best-seller list) முதலிடம் பிடித்த எழுத்தாளர். நான் வாரா வாரம் போய்விடும் க்ராஸ்வேர்ட் (Crossword) புத்தக சங்கிலிக் கடையில் டா வின்சி கோட் தான் கடந்த நாலைந்து மாதங்களாக நம்பர் ஒன்.

அவரது இன்னொரு நாவல் ஏஞ்சல்ஸ் அண்ட் டெமன்ஸ் (Angels & Demons). முந்தைய நாவல் போலவே இதுவும் ரோமன் கத்தோலிக்க மதத்திற்கு எதிராகப் பணியாற்றும் ஒரு ரகசிய குழுமத்தைப் பற்றியது தான். ஆனால், எனக்கு டாவின்சி கோடை விட இது கொஞ்சம் நம்பகத் தன்மை மிக்கதாய் இருக்கிறது. எடுத்தாளப்படும் ரகசியக் குறியீடுகளும் ரோம் - வாடிகன் நகரின் உண்மையான கட்டிடங்கள் ஆலயங்களை அடிப்படியாகக் கொண்டு ஆர்வமூட்டுபவையாக இருக்கின்றன.

அந்த நாவலில் எனக்குப் பிடித்தமான ஒரு பகுதி - போப்பின் அந்தரங்க செயலாளருக்கும் (The Camerlengo) வாடிகன் நகரக் காவல் அதிகாரி ஒருவருக்கும் இடையில் நடைபெறும் ஒரு உரையாடல். நல்ல கருத்தை எளிமையாக விளக்குகிறது இந்தக் காட்சி:
"Father," Chartrand said, "may I ask you a strange question?"

The camerlengo smiled. "Only if I can give you a strange answer."

Chartrand laughed. "I have asked every priest I know, and I still don't understand."

"What troubles you?" The camerlengo led the way in short, quick strides, his frock kicking out in front of him as he walked. His black, crepe-sole shoes seemed befitting, Chartrand thought, like reflections of man's essence... modern but humble, and showing signs of wear.

Chartrand took a deep breath. "I don't understand this omnipotent-benevolent thing."

The camerlengo smiled. "You've been reading Scripture."

"I try."

"You are confused because the Bible describes God as an omnipotent benevolent deity."


"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 do everything in your power to prevent pain in his life?"

"Of course."

"Woudl you let him stakeboard?"

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 waht 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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