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Belief in Religion and God in Life of Pi Essay


In the introduction of the novel, Pi says, I have a story that will make you believe in God (p. x). Lets begin by reflecting how heavy of a claim that is. One must first take into consideration that storytelling has been used throughout history to instill a belief in god. Holy scriptures could probably be deemed some of the best pieces of fiction of all time, depending on whom you ask and how seriously they take their religion. However, could such a modern, and relatively short story do the job some of the worlds largest organizations attempt to do on a daily basis? I will discuss some of the proofs Pi encounters that show a presence of god, as well as if and how this story made me believe in God.

In the first part of the novel, Pi expresses his curiosity and devotion to religion. When Pi is stranded at sea is when he exemplifies the power of faith above reason. In chapter 40, after Pi sees a shark, he says, Had I considered my prospects in the light of reason, I surely would have given up and let go of the oar, hoping that I might drown before being eaten[] I just held on, God only knows why (p. 107). There are several instances like this when reason tells Pi he has no chance and he will soon die, but faith in god keeps him alive. Faith is more powerful than reason, because it is believing in things that are beyond reason. During Pis interview with the Japanese, Pi makes his strongest argument for the existence of God asking, Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals? [] And so it goes with God (p. 317). I am glad I read 200 pages about animals suffering, rather than 200 pages of cannibalism. The same must be true of real life. If I want to believe in God, he exists. And for some, I am sure their lives are much better because of it.

Before I do any criticizing of religions, I will agree that the majority of religious teachings have good intentions and important lessons to be learned. I can agree with a large amount of different religions similar ideals. I dont like to affiliate myself with any religion, but I do have strong beliefs that might be affiliated with certain religions. In chapter 16, Pi is reflecting on his Hindu beliefs saying, There is Brahman, the world soul[] Brahman expressed not only in gods but in humans, animals, trees, in a handful of earth, for everything has a trace of the divine in it (p. 48). I can strongly relate to this belief. I believe the world has an important collectiveness that is often overlooked. Anythings actions whether human, animal, or landscape can have several effects on many different things, sometimes substantial, and most of the time it goes unrecognized. It is in this belief that myself, as well as people who practice religion find love and appreciation for the world in all of its glory.

What make religions unappealing for me to practice are their seemingly unnecessary rituals and worship. I have always felt that religions restrict humans from their freedoms and control them in a uniform manner. I could relate it to an animal encaged in a zoo. The kinds of free thought I like to practice, are not encouraged under religions I have encountered.

Despite my grievances, I would like to think this book has strengthened my respect for religious practices. It has better help me understand how making religion ones reality, as opposed to the fictitious disposition I attribute to it, can make life better and more worthwhile for an individual. Although I never would have wanted to disrespect or deny someone their beliefs, I hope now I will not feel sorry or wish I could help those with religious beliefs. Has this story made me believe in God? The answer is both no and yes. After reading this novel, I do not believe in the existence of any higher being, but I do believe in the existence others have.

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