Can Life of Pi make you believe in God?

I’ve read Life of Pi over two years ago and being the season that it is it made me wonder how well it must have been written to make you believe in God. But does it really do that? It’s filled with doubt and fear and wonder. I would say that’s what makes a good Christian.

“Mr. Patel, Piscine’s piety is admirable. In these troubled times it’s good to see a boy so keen on God. We all agree on that.” The imam and the priest nodded. “But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose…”
“Hmmm, Piscine?” Mother nudged me. “How do you feel about the question?”
“Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.

“God is universal,” spluttered the priest.
The imam nodded strong approval. “There is only one God.”
“And with their one god Muslims are always causing troubles and provoking riots. The proof of how bad Islam is, is how uncivilized Muslims are,: pronounced the pandit.
“Says the slave-driver of the cast system,” huffed the imam. “Hindus enslave people and worship dressed-up dolls.”
“They are golden calf lovers. They kneel before the cows,” the priest chimed in.
“While Christians kneel before a white man! They are flunkies of a foreign god. They are nightmare of all nonwhite people.”

Not all pluralism is bad. However, when people try to misrepresent all faiths as being essentially the same, they prove themselves ignorant. This is an age-old argument that has been debunked over and over. Rationally speaking, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion canNOT be the same because they are inherently different in their premise.

“Christianity stretches back through the ages, but in essence it exists only at one time: right now.”

Karl Marx called religion the “opiate of the masses,” numbing people to the reality of life’s pain. This movie perceives religion along the same lines, in a more positive light. Religion is merely a psychological coping mechanism.

We may be entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts – Douglas Groothuis

The authorial voice within Life of Pi recognizes the importance of trust: “Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane… But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transport.” (Life of Pi, p.28.) When the New Testament talks positively about trust, or ‘faith’: “it only uses words derived from the Greek root [pistis] which means ‘to be persuaded.'”

Christianity is a religion in a rush. Look at the world created in seven says. Even on a symbolic level, that’s creation in frenzy

The argument made by the movie is that religion is merely mystical stories or beautiful narratives we tell ourselves to find meaning in the dark and ugly events of our lives. In essence, whether God is real or Jesus really existed doesn’t matter. What matters is how we as humans use these “stories” to find meaning in the mess of our lives. If it gives humans hope and purpose to live, does it matter whether it’s real or not? The real question is what do you prefer: the dismal reality of fatalist existence on earth or a mystical interpretation that helps give purpose to that very dismal reality?

We are all born like Catholics, aren’t we—in limbo, without religion, until some figure introduces us to God?

I am a Hindu because of sculptured cones of red kumkum powder and baskets of yellow turmeric nuggets, because of garlands of flowers and pieces of broken coconut, because of the clanging of bells to announce one’s arrival to God, because of the whine of the reedy nadaswaram and the beating of drums, because of the patter of bare feet against stone floors down dark corridors pierced by shafts of sunlight, because of the fragrance of incense, because of flames of arati lamps circling in the darkness, because of bhajans being sweetly sung, because of elephants standing around to bless, because of colourful murals telling colourful stories, because of foreheads carrying, variously signified, the same word – faith.

But once a dead God, always a dead God, even resurrected. The Son must have the taste of death forever in his mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to the mortals?

Pi struggles with the tenets of the Christian faith. How could its God suffer and die? Isn’t that what God gets to avoid? Don’t humans suffer and die while pining for the white light and glory of heaven? Pi’s acceptance of Christianity, in some ways, prepares him for his own suffering and near-death experience on the Pacific. Christ elevates what Pi thought were solely human events: death and the suffering leading up to death.

“I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion.”

أتحدى أن يفهم أي كان روحانيات الإسلام ، ولا يحبه . إنه دين رائع قائم على الأخوة والتفاني

“These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.”

If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation

I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in my heart. The voice said “I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.

One can get used to anything, including murder.

يمكن أن يعتاد المرء على أي شيء، بما في ذلك القتل.

I wept heartily over this poor little deceased soul. It was the first sentient being I had ever killed. I was now a killer. I was now as guilty as Cain. I was sixteen years old, a harmless boy, bookish and religious, and now I had blood on my hands. It’s a terrible burden to carry. All sentient life is sacred.


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