I grew up attending a Christian school and like many others in my situation, the more I was preached at the more sceptical I became of the religion. If I’m being perfectly honest at one point the Bible, with its men walking on water and water turning into wine, started sounding less like history and more like a good science fiction novel. The bearded dude in sandals wasn’t exactly a convincing hero and the story itself had to many plot holes so my friends and I started developing our own theories as to how this story really came to be.
We came up with many theories but for a while we were stuck on the idea time travel. We had an entire story written about a lonely magician named Glenn who in 2098 discovered time travel. He used this to go back in time and change the course of history by claiming himself as the messiah. The magician part was crucial because this is how Glenn would create the illusions of walking on water and such. However eventually we grew up and realized that if time travel doesn’t exist now than it probably never will.
The more time I spend studying and thinking about religion the more I think its explanation is simple; it is a way to coddle the insecurities of humanity. It shelters people from harsher realities and reassures them that they are in fact important.
The Crakers are a wonderful example of this. When the Crakers start becoming curious about their maker Oryx gives them the simplest definition she could think of, telling them it was Crake but without reviling anything else. However when they are dragged away from the world they are used to Jimmy is forced to start explaining these changes to them in order to comfort them. The stories (or myths) Jimmy creates hold striking resemblance to those held in the Bible. He tells them that “Crake and Oryx are cleaning away the chaos,”(Atwood, 352) much like God flooded the world to rid it of sin. He builds Crake and Oryx up to be the rulers, the tellers of good and evil, the creators and the protectors. They’re dependence on religion and beliefs in Oryx and Crake are proven when Jimmy (the closest thing to a spiritual guide they have) leaves for a couple of days and they find themselves performing spiritual rituals in order to keep him safe.
The irony in this is that Crake (much like myself) didn’t believe in religion and so designed his people not to be capable of such a thing…………….yet he was the one who became their God.
So I leave you with this dear readers; what is religion to you? Is it just a simpler way of explaining our existence? A way to cope with inevitable death? A good fiction novel?Cra