life of pi 3 - Period 6 March 6, 2008 Hybrid: The Voyage...

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Period 6 March 6, 2008 Hybrid: The Voyage for Truth in Life of Pi In the novel Life of Pi , Yann Martel documents the life of Pi Patel, an Indian boy shipwrecked and forced to survive on a lifeboat with a tiger for 227 days. Pi has an interest in zoology and religious studies, two seemingly unrelated topics from which Pi draws connections. Pi views religion as something personal and sees the ability to have faith as a respectable characteristic in and of itself. His unique view of religion challenged my beliefs, and I believe the elegant simplicity of his rational rings true for members of any religion. Pi recognizes and embraces religion as a necessary, malleable truth dictated by the individual’s own beliefs, an interpretation with which I tend to agree. From its outset, the story asserts that it “will make you believe in God” (X). On a basic level, Martel may be referring to the incredible nature of Pi’s story itself. But there are many stories of miracles that have failed to dissuade the disbelievers from their agnosticism. Martel may mean the novel allows the reader to suspend disbelief and have faith in something beyond himself, a process akin to the leap of faith one must take in order to believe in a higher power. Father Martel affirms to Pi that stories are used to spread the beliefs of a religion, but that they are also part of a larger, more universal message about faith in God and love. Pi has trouble comprehending Jesus’s willingness to suffer as a human. He comes to Father Martel with questions about the story of Jesus everyday, to which Martel only replies, “’Love’” (56). Love is the overarching idea in the story of Jesus in which the details are not nearly as important as the message. Pi’s experience with Christianity shows him it is not the content of the stories that allows one to believe in God, but instead the ability to have faith in the story.
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Pi embraces all religions, including atheism, but condemns agnosticism, crediting it as an unmotivated, cowardly decision. “A number of my fellow religious-studies students—muddled agnostics who didn’t know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool’s gold for the bright—reminded me of the three-toed sloth” (5). As both a religious-studies and zoology major, Pi had previously described his research on the three-toed sloth, an animal that is generally uninterested and partial to staying in one place. Like the sloth, agnostics stay in their comfort zone, refusing to participate in any spiritual advancement. Pi believes that agnostics have become so confused that they completely remove themselves from the equation, refusing to continue their questioning in favor of giving up. Unlike atheists, who have considered the possibility of a deity and subsequently made a definitive decision that no such higher power exists, agnostics “choose doubt as philosophy of life” (28). Like Christians who have faith that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, atheists have faith that no God exists. Agnostics, however, claim that
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This note was uploaded on 08/21/2008 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Bielajew during the Spring '07 term at University of Michigan.

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life of pi 3 - Period 6 March 6, 2008 Hybrid: The Voyage...

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