Stranger in a Strange Land Stranger in a Strange Land discussion


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dead Foster, Digby

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message 1: by richard (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

richard What are your thoughts on the scenes with characters that had died? I thought it was inconsistent with the message about the corruption of religions. Those Fosterites in power are depicted as exploiting their followers' faith for their own personal gains, and yet we later see two of these men working as angels "in heaven." Is this just to lend credit to Mike's belief that the Martian Old Ones are as real as living Martians and to give him a place to go after the stoning? Or is this really a vindication of the Fosterites and other religions?


message 2: by Abby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Abby While I agree that Heinlein is definitely making a judgment call about mass religion in general, I did not read that "Fosterites in power are depicted as exploiting their followers' faith for their own personal gains" Instead, I read the Fosterites as serving a purpose - while it is definitely not my choice, they did give faith and happiness and a certain sense of security to many people in this fictional world. I don't believe they were entirely magnanimous, but they were not evil in any sense. I think that Heinlein shows us these two in "heaven" in order to back up Mike's understanding of the true nature of existence. I think it also underscores the ridiculousness of dogma and ritual when it becomes stagnant and routine.


Steven I wasn't quite sure what was going on there, but my best guess is that they're like the Martian Old Ones. I don't think their depiction was corroboration of the Fosterites or any other religions depicted in the book, just kind of an analogy of the Old Ones that we might be able to relate to.


message 4: by Ronald (last edited Aug 02, 2011 03:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ronald You could also look at it this way:
Foster, Digby, even Mike, none of them are really in "heaven". It's just a metaphor for their continuing legacy. Even after their deaths, they got the ball rolling on some things that will continue having an effect for some time. Thus they are shown metaphorically to be working still as angels/old ones. Then after Mike's martyrdom at the end, he sort of "takes over for awhile", meaning that the seeds he planted with his new church will grow after his death, especially seeing as he made such a grand show of it.


message 5: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam Simpson I got the impression that Foster himself was not a particularly bad guy and may indeed have reached a level of spiritual consciousness on par with Mike, but his religion over the years had been corrupted by his successors.


Ruby Hollyberry I've been rereading the book for 20 years, and my first impression has never varied: the message is that all religions, taken seriously, lead to the same afterlife where petty doctrinal differences no longer separate one religious person from working with the others. I don't necessarily agree with this, but it is a nice thought.


Marcel I got confused between Foster/Digby/Mike and the OldOnes... surely wouldn't they be in the same 'studio'? Why do we not see Old Martian ones in the studio?
But then we see that Foster considers the option of destroying earth as an outcome of the Martian's artistic evaluation. At that point I wasn't sure any more whether the Martian Old Ones were equal to Foster and his guys or 'below' them...
confused


Marcel Actually, thinking about it, I didnt get what Heinlein wanted to say at all... So there are those guys who effectively run the Universe and from time to time send saints and martyrs down to earth.
But I was left dis-satisfied by them seemingly working in an office/bureaucracy, while at the same time deciding on the fate of entire planets...
what's the point!?!?


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