What Becomes of Religion in a Post-Apocalyptic World?

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Marc Rastoin, SJ

 Marc Rastoin, SJ / Issue 1801 / 18 January 2018

In recent decades, there has been a literary genre that has developed exponentially: the post-apocalyptic genre. These are works of a cultural nature, particularly films and novels, that describe the human condition following a major catastrophe, which, regardless of the reasons that caused it (wars, deadly viruses, climate change, extraterrestrial invasion and so on), has destroyed civilization as we know it and has left a small group of survivors who are in search of a way to salvation.

Although there were some works of this type prior to 1945, it is a widespread opinion that the accumulation of atomic bombs by the superpowers following Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the underlying cause of this new genre.[1] With the ecological and climate crisis becoming increasingly recognized, works in this vast genre have gradually developed in a parallel manner.[2] Some of these have even become iconic works, winning literary awards and leaving a mark on popular culture. One only needs to think of the Mad Max series in the movies,[3] or the influence of the novel by Cormac McCarthy, The Road, which was published in 2006, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and was brought to the big screen in 2009.

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