Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad. She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.
This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel. I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.
If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.
Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.
If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact. Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book. The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.
There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.
Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.
The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available. It is a story of apocalypse.
The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces. I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.
I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.
I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.
I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.
I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation. The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.
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