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In the movie Angels and Demons:

Robert Langdon: "The Illuminati did not become violent until the 17th Century. Their name means 'The Enlightened Ones'. They were physicists, mathematicians, astronomers. In the 1500's they started meeting in secret, because they were concerned about the church's inaccurate teachings. They were dedicated to scientific truth. And the Vatican didn't like that. So the church began to, how did you say it? Oh, hunt them down and kill them."

It arouses my curiosity. After reading the wikipedia page about Illuminati, I find that it partially agrees with the description above.

It seems that the Illuminati, historically, were just a group of freethinkers promoting science, skepticism and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition, intolerance and some abuses by church and state (an offshoot of the Enlightenment).

And it makes me more curious.

If they were really just some scientists promoting sciences, why are their survivors (if there are any, after its downfall in 1777) always being portrayed as an antisociety group trying to take over the world?

[I suppose there were many other secret societies that were forced to be shut down by governments at that time too. Why is the Illuminati the one being portrayed so negatively?] Have they done something socially abhorrent that gave a bad impression to the society?

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The Wikipedia article says it was founded in 1776 in Bavaria. The rulers of Bavaria then closed all secret societies, raided some individuals and published their secret documents which indicated a conspiracy as well as some recently invented superstition about their origins. What is your question? –  Henry Dec 3 '12 at 8:13
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"Angels and Demons" is fiction. –  DJClayworth Dec 3 '12 at 16:04
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@Arch Even when talking about organizations that actually existed, fictional works will generally use only the bits of truth that are useful for the fiction; treat rumour, allegation and speculation as if it were fact; and invent anything else they need to make the story more interesting. –  DJClayworth Dec 3 '12 at 16:11
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@DJClayworth Yes, that is pretty much what's going on in Hollywood. My question here is not asking if the fiction is describing Illuminati based on facts. I'm more interested in it historically, particularly what makes it so special and I'm just taking a paragraph from the fiction for reference. –  user10546 Dec 3 '12 at 16:19
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@Arch The Illuminati aren't the only society that get's portrayed this way. Freemason get portrayed the same way. –  Christian Dec 3 '12 at 18:01
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closed as off topic by Christian, Sklivvz Dec 4 '12 at 20:51

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