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Julie G.'s picture

Why Religion?

I think the book contains at least one answer for why "Earthseed" had to be a religion. I don't have the novel in front of me, but I think...gosh, Harry is it? Sorry, I'm not great with names today. Anyway, the man in the initial trio asks Lauren the same question (or a similar one...I think he asks why "change" has to be called "God") and she responds by pointing to the goal of inhabiting planets. One interpretation of this could be the specific goal itself, but another interpretation could just be the concept of having a goal at all. A goal beyond survival. Or hope. The argument that religion, belief, faith provides motivation, hope and strength during otherwise unbearable circumstances is not a new one. It's a way to make sense of things.

In this light, Lauren makes sense of her situation through the concept of "Earthseed," and because it is "making sense" to her (what she "observes" and "deduces") it is "truth." Because "Earthseed" is Truth to Lauren, she shares it. For most, "Earthseed" also helps to recast the notion of God (from traditional religions' notions) and make sense of their senseless circumstances. With this type of read, Bankole can almost be seen as a foil to Lauren's insistence on religion: he appreciates the concept of change as both unpredictable and controllable (hmmm....sounds like our discussions on evolution) without agreeing with the religious component (at least that is my understanding of it). In this way, Bankole provides a perspective on how the concepts of "Earthseed" might be understood without their religious context. However, at the end of the novel, it is Bankole who is without hope and Lauren who is full of it. This has many implications, but one of them could be that, in order to effect hope, "Earthseed" has to be a religion.

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