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November 21, 2009

Comments

SMD

I don't quite get your argument for the Road being religious. I see you arguing that it is humanist, perhaps, in its pursuit of persistent hope and compassion amidst contrary times, but having read the book and your comments, I really don't see it as something that is inherently religious. You can read a religious theme into it, but it's not something that is explicitly religious, since the ideas of hope and human compassion are certainly not isolated to religious viewpoints; they are present elsewhere. Those concepts seem more particular to a certain brand of the human condition.

That said, I guess it's a nice idea to try to market this movie to conservative Christians. I don't know if it will work, considering that many more radical conservatives would certainly have issues with the themes of The Road, but who knows?

Gabriel Mckee

It's been a few years since I read the book, but there's a *lot* of specifically-religious language surrounding the journey. They run into a prophet-type named "Ely" (read: Elijah); the father says he was "appointed by God" to protect his son; and that glimmer of hope at the end is accompanied by a conversation about God. There's a very, very strong suggestion that the son is some kind of messiah figure, or at least will become one in the future. The "fire" that they're carrying is gentleness/compassion/empathy, which are humanist elements but are also the ethical core of Christianity. (Conservative Christians are anti-humanist, but I'm not; I think most humanist values are also Christian ones. Blame Philip K. Dick.) In the greater context of the book, which suggests that compassion trumps pragmatism, even in the most bleak and violent setting imaginable, I read the values expressed in the story more as Christian than as humanist.

David Ellis


In the greater context of the book, which suggests that compassion trumps pragmatism, even in the most bleak and violent setting imaginable, I read the values expressed in the story more as Christian than as humanist.


That seems pretty prototypically humanist to me: the perseverance in maintaining a simple decency even in the most desperate of circumstances. The understanding that to sacrificing that decency is too high a price to pay for mere survival.

These are all ideals a humanist like myself embraces.

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