Religion of the Crakers

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for Oryx and Crake

More tha halfway through Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, we know little of what lead to the biological apocalypse, just somehow it was related to something Crake, formerly Glenn, did. What we do know is that Jimmy is left, watching over the Crakers, and serving as the priest of the religion he created to pacify the species.

In a sharp criticism, Atwood critiques the possible human need for religion, as a pacifying force and partial scare tactic. It harkened back to a line from the new and popular TV show, True Detective: “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of s***. And I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What’s that say about your reality?”

The combination is caustic – do we, as a species, need the threat of eternal damnation to control us? On the flip side, what would a loss of this control look like? Madness?

Then again, maybe that’s not what Atwood is saying at all: After all, the Crakers are not human. Moreover, Snowman made the religion up, after knowing about religion before the apocalypse. If there was no Snowman, would religion have been made by the Crakers at all? It a large leap to assume that religion would sprout rootless from a post-apocalyptic situation. To me, it’s interesting to think that it might…

So what does this say about the nature of man? If we need to be controlled by fear, maybe we’re heading to damnation regardless…


For some more great True Detective quotes, see here


~ by maxhkushner0 on April 5, 2014.

One Response to “Religion of the Crakers”

  1. Personally, as someone who is not particularly religious, I don’t feel compelled to do things for any reason besides the fact that it seems like the right thing to do. Is that selfish? I don’t know. But I think the point that you raise about the seeming necessity of a higher power to control our actions is definitely one that Atwood is exploring in the novel. Do the Crakers act peaceably because they don’t need religion to guide their morals or are they so beyond human that they don’t commit acts of violence? In Oryx and Crake, what is Atwood trying to contribute to the conversation about religions, morals, and the human spirit?

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