Life of Pi Life of Pi discussion

GOD is wonderful

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Judy You will believe in God if you read this book!

message 2: by Kirstin (new) - added it

Kirstin Sure, and reading "Catcher in the Rye" makes me a possible serial killer.

Brody Lord of the undead this shows me how religion is full of shit, but god is real.

message 4: by Cam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cam This book is FICTION. It will make you believe in good writing.

Emily Rule Hm, I like your comment Brody. My mom always used to tell me that the church is made up of people, but the gospel is true. I really believe that and this book really did reaffirm that belief. God is real and true and, although people of the church may not be perfect, God is and will always be there for us.

Okay, random question that is very dumb blonde but I must know - IS this book fiction? What about the author's note at the beginning?

And, it really does make you believe in good writing, too.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I really enjoyed how the author's note ties in with the piece, especially because I read it after finishing the book. I don't know why I did that. And I doubt its nonfiction, but who cares? One of the major points of Life of Pi is that there is beauty in, and a reason for, mystery.

message 7: by Ari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ari I find Judith's comment "You will believe in God if you read this book! " hilarious, as I felt that this book poked fun at religion as a whole. On the other hand, Martel does argue quite convincingly faith does appear to be an important and effective coping mechanism.

message 8: by Roland (new)

Roland i want 2 b deluded!

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

It's one of the best books I've ever read,
but yes,
sadly it is fiction.

Jerometed What the hell do you even mean by god? chirst.

Christie Bogle "This book is FICTION. It will make you believe in good writing."

Yes! I totally agree. And, if you become invested in the story, it makes you want to believe in everything because you grow to love things so much...even when they aren't real. That's what Pi did, isn't it? And, in the fictional world, his personal fiction made Pi capable of loving what was real.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Well said.

Carrotmuffin I don't think it will make you belive in God. Now I am a Christian but this didn't afirm my belif in God any more. It is fiction. Just a figment of some ones imagination.

Melissa Loved this book. Don't believe in God.

Marielle Actually, you won't, unless you read the book completely shallowly.

At the end of the book, he asks the two interviewers "if you can't prove which story is true, why shouldn't you believe the more pleasant one?"

This comment is the entire point of the book, applying to all the fictions in Pi's life- most notably the three largest world religions, which he belongs to.

Pi's excessive religiosity in the book is emphasized to draw the obvious analogy between religion and real life, and the tiger story and actual story. Each is absurd compared to the other. One may be more pleasant, but the other is closer to truth.

message 16: by Elton (new)

Elton Which God?

Derrick I'm a Christian and I loved this book but I saw no where in this book that it would make me believe any less or more in God or faith or religion. It was a good book and very well written, after reading these comments i want to read it again. Maybe I read it too shallowly and just missed all the symbolism by just wanting to sit and enjoy a book. My question is: in what way does this book make you believe in God because I surely missed it.

message 18: by bup (new) - rated it 5 stars

bup I agree Marielle. The narrator claims the story will make you believe in God, but it seems to me the real message is that belief in God is an illusion that makes the unbearable bearable.

message 19: by Jiraiyathesage (new)

Jiraiyathesage I assume you refer to the Christian God Yahweh? I find it difficult to believe a novel can make you believe in God. I mean ancient texts which whole religions were based on (ie the Bible, Qu'ran etc) are one thing, but a recent novel is another matter altogether. If it's fiction it shouldn't persuade people that easily. If the book were based on someone's actual experiences that sounds more realistic.

message 20: by Ruth (new) - added it


Blair Agreed - it took some discussion with literary-inclined friends of mine after finishing this book, and some re-reading, for me to finally get what was going on.

The whole point of this book is that, just as the notion of this boy befriending a man-eating tiger on a raft full of talking animals is preposterous, so is all the lofty religious nonsense he so eagerly bought into in the beginning of the novel. Sure, maybe believing that you're god's child and guaranteed forgiveness when you die and blah blah blah is comforting, but is it real? Perhaps some people prefer the question, "does it make me feel better," and that's valid - but the question of authenticity, of truth itself, remains. And it doesn't look good for the god theory.

I still don't get the island thing.

Carrotmuffin The thing I don't get is why you have to base your belif of God of this fictional book. This book has nothing to do with God. In the book he does have some refrences to religion but it doesn't have anything in there to make you belive in God. If you want to belive in God and you want stories about how good God is then read the Bible. It has non-fictional truths about how wonderful God really is. So don't base your belif in God on a book. The writer is just a guy who lives in canada. Big whoop! He is no one special. The people who wrote the bible talked to God. They walked with Jesus. That is something to make belive in God. Don't base your belif on some book. I really did enjoy the book but don't read it as some inspiration, inspired, spiritual book. Cause it's not. But as a fictional book it was great.

message 23: by nicolina (last edited Jul 22, 2008 12:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

nicolina God's existence is inconsequential; one's *faith* in God is what matters. Pi wasn't interested in the tenets of any one religion, but in finding vehicles through which to express faith, possibly for its own sake. The book seems to be less about religious truth, than the importance of allowing yourself to believe, and not necessarily in God. You don't have to be religious, or believe in God to get "the better story." You just have to be willing to entertain the thought of it.

Susan I don't know what is inconsistent with writing that moves one to faith and fiction. It seems to me that one of the most significant values of fiction is that it so often tells true stories, that is it speaks truth about life, regardless of whether the particular characters or setting, etc. actually exist. -- Having said that, I'm inclined to agree w/ bup that the real message is that belief in God is an illusion that makes the unbearable bearable. That disturbs me because, as a Christian, I believe that God is real. I love this book, but struggle with its message.

Susan How is it that God's existence is inconsequential? I don't mean to be accusatory at all. I am truly curious. It seems to me that God's existence can only be inconsequential if God is not God. I agree that Pi's faith was a combination of three dominant religions. An important question within the context of the book is if this is a valid attempt on Pi's part to approach some kind of viable truth or viable religious experience OR if it is a hint from Martel that his character is going to manipulate reality.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

well said.

Algernon If you read this book, you will probably think about it and make something out of it. And you will probably believe what you think.

If you eat this book, it will make you believe in indigestion.

Niral The point is not to believe in God. the book is marketed as that because it can attract so many people.

Martel writes that he adores both the religious and the atheistics, for he considers their words to be a faith, a brother to religions. But the agnostic wants proof for something which inherently cannot be proved. He uses the term "leap of faith" which is what an atheist does as he dies, in his own direction. He goes wherever reason takes him and then jumps. The agnostic sits in the crossroad and waits for someone with evidence of something which one can't find evidence of. In a way, it is like those who doubt that the quotient of 22/7 exists (pi) because they do not know the last digit. (coincidence? I think not. Additionally, the most important chapters in the book are 22 and 7, read them in that order, and Pi was on a boat for 227 days. Not coincidence, genius.) They want evidence when Pi is just a number that is inherently mysterious.

Therefore the question is not what you believe, but if you believe. I picked up the book as a Hindu, and respected all religions, but after reading, I'm not stronger, but sturdier in faith. And I respect all those who have made the leap of faith as well.

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Pi's faith was completely irrelevant to me the reader. It didn't make me question my atheism, I actually thought it quite sad that the little boy felt he needed god, that his family wasn't enough to provide him with love.
This book made me believe in god, like king kong made me believe in bigfoot.

message 30: by Rebecca (last edited Aug 24, 2012 03:03AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Rebecca I respect and enjoy everyone's right to choose whichever story they want to believe :)

Andrea Notably lacking in most of the commentary above: references to the text. Many interpretations can be valid, but only when you can show how the text spoke to you.

Also, fiction is often closer to truth than fact is. A good fiction writer can see and communicate larger "truths" through their craft. This is why storytelling has always had so much power.

message 32: by Denise (last edited Aug 24, 2012 04:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Denise I now believe in Zeus.

message 33: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV All hail, Lord Zeus.

Brian Judy wrote: "You will believe in God if you read this book!"

What a ridiculous statement.
It is fiction, not fantasy.

message 35: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Heyne God IS wonderful, isn't it!

message 36: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV I dunno, I'm sure there are some kids starving to death somewhere that probably don't see what's so wonderful.

message 37: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl How does this book make someone believe in a tyrannical dictator in the sky?

message 38: by Karl (last edited Aug 25, 2012 04:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl People should have faith in themselves. There's enough beauty in the natural world to be awestruck by, there's enough human creativity and human ingenuity for 100 human lifetimes to be entralled by.

I like these concepts called Humans and people.

message 39: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV "It suggests that faith, however absurd or however illogical, will make you a better, stronger person."

There are many problems with this. The book doesn't suggest this. If anything, it merely suggests that faith makes life easier to cope with, but that's exactly what delusions usually do, it doesn't make it valuable just because it can help to cope with reality.

"Also, I think it means to say that people's practices ought to be respected, not mocked or ridiculed (as above)."

Should we respect Islamic terrorists that think they will receive a heavenly reward of virgins if they blow themselves along with some heathens up? Respect should be earned by the person, not thrust upon someone merely for a belief.

message 40: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV "Well, I'm sorry if I offended"

You did not offend, not me at least.

"all that matters is the EFFECT the faith/delusion has on the person."

Oh, but this is such a terrible outlook. Truth is always more important, even if it is more difficult to handle.

"And in Pi's case, he became "better" at handling his perilous situation and "stronger" in the face of adversity"

How do you know this? As it was happening to him, I don't think he was imagining animals instead. He applied these delusions after the fact in order to cope. Suppression is not an ideal coping mechanism

"not to mention happier"

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. - George Bernard Shaw

"but I gathered that Martel believes everyone is for the better if they believe in SOMETHING"

Everyone does believe in something. I've never heard of someone who doesn't believe in anything.

"But belief, hope, irrational faith in SOMETHING will alter your life for the better."

It might alter your life, but not always to the better.

"Faith is about a declaration of certainty in the face of the unknown etc."

I agree with this statement, I just don't agree that it's a good thing. It's actually quite arrogant to claim certainty without knowing.

"I believe everyone and every faith deserves an inherent respect. I also, however, believe that respect can be lost through hurtful actions. If people make harmful choices and try to justify those decisions through some radical interpretation of the text, the manmade justice system should be implemented."

So then you are saying that not every faith does deserve respect, or at least it doesn't if it crosses certain lines, but isn't that why religions should be criticized in the first place? To encourage critical thinking so that dogma doesn't cross into irrational territory and effect those around them (which dogma certainly does)?

Why should scientology be respected? Or mormonism (founded by a con artist)?

People dedicate their lives and money to these things. Sometimes people DIE for them. There are a lot of faiths that do a LOT of harm. Have you ever looked into faith healing? If I can wake someone up to reality by being impartially harsh and critical of their beliefs, then I have done a good thing.

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." -Thomas Jefferson

message 41: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV "An artistic perspective would suggest that more truth can be found in fabrications than facts, thus the reason why people turn to artists and playwrights (as you just did) for wisdom."

There is a difference between gleaning truth from a fabricated story that is not advertised as fact, and a made up story that IS sold as fact.

"Obviously, there are different schools of thought. But both should be respected."

On this, yes, if someone wants to be deluded, or doesn't CARE if what they believe is true or not, then I'm perfectly happy letting them bask in their delusion, so long as they don't tell others they must believe the same or suffer some terrible fate.

"That is an interesting point you bring up about making up the story afterwards, you could be right, of course."

I mean, I am. In the book, Pi is telling the story as an adult, so he is telling a version that he has made up after the fact.

"By allowing himself to believe the made-up animal story, Pi was able to make peace with himself and what happened."

At least temporarily. Perhaps he was still haunted and that is why he still clung to more than one religion as an adult.

"You say it's arrogant to have faith, that...seems strange to me. You keep criticizing other people's beliefs when you have no certainty of whether or not they ARE the truth, or what good it does for them as people. THAT is what I call arrogance."

Not at all, I correct my views when they conflict with evidence and reality. I don't claim to know all the answers like religions do.

"The only difference is that your belief interferes in the lives of others."

How so? What beliefs? That people should be critical of their beliefs? That's my stance. Surely this doesn't interfere in the lives of others more than religions do; surely you aren't claiming that?

"but they do not harm anyone or inflict their beliefs forcefully"

No, they just convert you after you are dead. Did you know about this?

"Also, Mormons are some of nicest and most wholesome, cheerful people I have ever met."

I have nothing against the people, I have problems with their claims of truth that are counter to what we KNOW to be true.

"Basically, I mean to say that religions are not at fault for terrible things, it is people."

This makes no sense, without the religion, those people wouldn't have a MEANS of "brainwashing, blackmailing, physical and mental abuse, and more horrible things that are commonly practiced by the officials of the Church." The books have no power without the religious structure, the belief system behind it.

"and the fundamental beliefs of Scientology are not harmful in any way."

Really? How about the money they give to the church, which goes to... What about the brainwashing of the CHILDREN. These are not harmless belief systems like you claim.

"I know that Mormonism has bettered the lives of believers"

You can not possibly know this unless you know how their lives would be without it.

"As far as people dying for their faith, that may seem stupid to you, but that was their choice and the way they chose to spend their life."

Yes, but would they choose it if they were not brainwashed into thinking that what they are dying for is the ultimate truth?

"If you manage to "wake someone up" to agnosticism or atheism by showing them reason, then that person never really possessed faith to begin, or even understood it."

This just isn't true. I used to have very strong faith. I believed the bible to be the inerrant word of god. I went on mission trips to "spread god's word," I studied scripture intensely and believed with my entire being that Jesus was the son of god. I "lost" my faith when I started to pursue reason, when I asked myself if it mattered to me if what I believed was true or not. When I answered "yes" to that, I began pursuing the truth. It is through reason that I lost my faith.

"Nice quote, you know Thomas Jefferson was a deist?"

Yes, so?

message 42: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl Spinoza says "No Matter How You Slice It, There Will Always Be Two Sides".

Gide Says "Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it".

There are some good words to live by.

message 43: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl Shit, I'll be getting notifications for months now. I forgot Americans love arguing about faith.

message 44: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl Shit, I'll be getting notifications for months now. I forgot Americans love arguing about faith.

message 45: by Will (last edited Aug 26, 2012 03:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV Nah, as soon as I read her No True Scotsman fallacy, that effectively ended the conversation for me. I won't be responding unless I get really bored.

message 46: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV Also the blatant misrepresentation of many of my arguments.

message 47: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV You said: "I do not want to offend you, but by my definition of the word, you never had faith. It was a conclusion you constructed from evidence"

The "evidence" part isn't true. I constructed my faith on what I believed to be true in my heart. To say I never had faith is to deny any meaningful definition of the word faith, or to present a No True Scotsman fallacy.

The rest I will just have to say I greatly disagree with, and much of it seemed to misrepresent my arguments in strawmen arguments. I'll grant that you may not have done so on purpose.

message 48: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl Can we all agree there is no MAN in the sky at least?

message 49: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl Also, the burden of proof is with the believers.

message 50: by Will (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will IV While I strongly believe that religions are very destructive institutions and I do not think they all deserve any more respect than political institutions or governments, I think we can find common ground in the fact that here and now for sure exists, and that that is what matters: that we be good to each other because we are on this lonely planet out in the vastness of space and that is what we know for sure.

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