Monday, April 9, 2012

The Hunger Games is all about religion

Where is religion in the Hunger Games? There are no secret Masses, no churches, no agonized imprecations to God. Has the saga of this haunting dystopia left out religion?

Diana Butler Bass in the Washington Post:

No religion in "The Hunger Games"? The story eschews religions that glory in crusades, jihads, nationalism, militarism, and imperialism. In Panem, there is no place for religion that supports injustice. The enslaved neither want nor need such a religion. Banished are religions that celebrate bloodlust. There is too much of that already. 
Yet "The Hunger Games" celebrates faith--faith in family, faith in friendship, faith in song, faith in justice. "The Hunger Games" proclaims that beyond the fences of fear built to enslave, control, and guard, there is joy, beauty, and wonder. In the end, there is true freedom, and the hard-earned hope that human beings can create a better world based not in sacrificial violence but in sacrificial love.

Bass sees the Hunger Games as celebrating humanism while eschewing organized religion. And perhaps that is Suzanne Collins' intent. But there is a deeper truth to Hunger Games that perhaps even its author didn't intend.

Hunger Games is all about religion. It is about a society ravaged by materialism, in which every shred of transcendence has been stripped. Panem is state atheism-- worship of the state, a remarkably accurate portrayal of real communist and national socialist hellholes that have cursed mankind in this past century of atheism. The worship of power, the totalitarian control of intimate aspects of citizen's lives, the reduction of civic life to banality and circuses and violence is the hallmark of atheist-materialism in power.

Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China and Kim's North Korea are our real world antecedents to Panem's dystopia. Hunger games resonates because we've been there, as often as we have been ruled by atheism.

Hunger Games is about atheism's inevitable totalitarian end. In that the story is very true.

But we must not forget that in the real world-- our real world infested with real Panems-- it is Christianity, not feckless secular humanism, that has been the source of hope and strength and of victory over totalitarian evil. The heart of the resistance to Communism in our time has been the Church.

There is no real humanism, and no real defense against totalitarianism, without God.  


  1. I see the Hunger Games as a prediction of what America would be like under Paul Ryan's budget. Ryan's avowed muse is Ayn Rand, an athestist who regarded Christ and the Christian faith he inspired as the worse thing that ever happened to civilization. Rand saw Christ as a philosopher who emasculated the human race by asking us to forgive our enemies instead of killing them, to show mercy to each other, to care for the weak, the sick, the poor. And, worse of all, to treats others as we would have them treat us. Rand worshipped money and the power it secured. Period. And apparently so does Paul Ryan and his political cohorts. So if you want the odds to be in your favor, vote for Obama in 2012.

    1. Ryan is a devout Catholic, so he's not exactly an Objectivist. He likes some aspects of Rand's libertarian economics. So do I, although I detest Rand in virtually ever other way (I was an Objectivist in college, by the way).

      Ryan's budget will ensure the solvency of Medicare and Social Security, and balance our budget. It will bring us "back" to circa 1998.

      Bill Clinton would be surprised to hear that he inaugurated the Hunger Games.

  2. I do not understand the hostility in the sidebar towards this man. I saw nothing wrong in what this man said. He gave his interpretation on a movie that many people said had no religious references at all and he simply stated that he thought otherwise. Nowhere in this blog is he at all hostile or forceful about his beliefs he is just simply stating them as given. Dr. Egnor i may not know a lot about you but i want to personally thank you for this post. It really helped me in my curiosity and I hope God blesses you abundantly sir (: And as for what other people say I like to look at the Bible where it Jesus says that those persecuted for his sake are among the holiest in Heaven.

  3. I don't really see what exactly is supposed to be atheistic (lacking belief in a theistic religion that is) about the regime in Hunger Games? Seems to me you're just using the same old (stupid) straw man every religious person has used at least once...