Science and religion: two of the most fundamentally contrasting notions, yet both attempt to explain and how we choose to live. Whether the discussion be about the ongoing debate about how the universe began or the unceasing chatter about Darwin’s Evolution, it is no wonder these themes seem embroiled in an endless state of war. However, King delves into them head-on, developing and presenting characters to the reader that are simultaneously fascinating and horrifying, but most of all, thought-provoking.
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Interestingly, many people of different religions and stages of scientific expertise see absolutely no contradiction. Many will merely acknowledge that the two utterly different foundations deal with dissimilar realms of human experience.
Science investigates the natural, explainable world, whereas religion examines the spiritual and supernatural. In the novelCarrie, written by Stephen King, I found these concepts not only fascinating when juxtaposed, but also working in harmony to balance one another. Carrie, raised in an immensely religious household, possesses a rare scientific ability: telekinesis. As said in The Observer, I found this religious hindrance to be peerless imagination (1). The layers of depth that this central conflict contributes to the novel, provides a more realistic quality to its message. Although faith and fact may appear entirely opposing, King conveys that some amalgamation of both are necessary for personal and societal stability.
Margaret, Carrie’s mother, believes in the all of the notions of Christianity except for the aspect of community; not only does this lead to Carrie’s instability, but also Margaret’s perpetual state of atonement. I find Christianity to revolve around the idea of communal integration; whether it be in Church or during prayer, there is always a feature of togetherness. However, Margret keeps all of religion to herself and Carrie: Momma held worship on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. These were called Holy Days. Momma was the minister, Carrie the congregation (61). By definition, a congregation is a group of people assembled for worship. I felt that solely having Carrie White embody the entirety of a congregation is a great offense towards the Christian faith. Furthermore, I feel as if this image plays into the power dynamic among Carrie and her Mother “ Margaret stands while Carrie sits, Margaret prays while Carrie listens. Moreover, I believe Margaret distances herself from civilization not only because she truly feels people are incompetent, but because they come from sin: ?the raven was called Sin, and the first Sin was Intercourse’ (63).
Therefore, following Margaret’s logic, if intercourse is sin, then all people must be innately sinful. I find this to build off of the concept of original sin “ a Christian belief in which humanity is inherently rebellious. Stemming from consuming fruit from the forbidden tree, original sin ranges from insignificant tendencies to something more drastic like collective guilt. In a sense, I feel Margaret believes she is living in a constant state of ultimate atonement “ atoning for her own sins and everyone else’s. However, I think the only way Margaret feels she can truly atone is by praying to her own god and not the community’s: The door slammed and the key turned. She was alone with Momma’s angry God (67). When I first read this quote, I found it absurd for someone, especially Margaret, to have their own god. But on second thought, the idea is fairly common. Throughout the last 50 years or so, there has been a great emphasis put on the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus.
Likewise, our understanding of Christianity, of God, and of ourselves is significantly molded by an individualistic worldview motivated by the notions of me and my. Evidently, Margaret White boarders on insane. But the line that separates her irrationality from her Christian beliefs is so indistinct that it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference. Thus, I believe Margaret’s life has no space for joy, hope, or even happiness since every inch is clouded by doom.
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