Jesus in the Life of Pi 2

Continuing the conversation between Pi and Father Martin in Yann Martel’s fable The Life of Pi:

“That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fare share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers and usurpers … Adversity yes. Reversals of fortune, yes. Treachery, yes. But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine the Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped, naked , whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and to top it off, crucified – and at the hands of mere humans to boot. I’d never heard of a Hindu god dying … It was wrong of the Christian god to let his avatar die … The Son must have the taste of death always in his mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father. Why would God wish that upon himself? Why not leave death to the mortals?”

Compared to the power and might of the Hindu gods who can rescue and save and put down evil, “This Son, on the other hand, who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers who don’t get it and opponents who don’t respect him – what kind of a god is that? It’s a god on too human a scale that’s what … This Son is god who walked, a pedestrian god-and in a hot place at that-with a stride like any other human stride, the sandal reaching just above the rocks along the way; and when He splurged on transportation, it was a regular donkey. This Son is a god who died in three hours, with moans and gasps and laments. What kind of a god is that? What is there to inspire in this Son?”

“And this Son appears only once, long ago, far away? Among an obscure tribe in a backwater of West Asia on the confines of a long-vanished empire? Is done away with before He has a single grey hair on His head? Leaves not a single descendant, only scattered, partial testimony, His complete works doodles in the dirt? … what could justify such divine stinginess?”

Father Martin’s one word answer to all of Pi’s questions is “Love”


Jesus in the Life of Pi 1

This blog will at times be fantastically out of date. I could argue some profound reason such as a principled stand against the ‘tyranny of the new’ but usually it will be because I’ve got round to reading a book years after it was popular.

One I’m reading with my younger daughter at the moment is Life of Pi by Yann Martel, winner of the Man Booker Prize with way over 7 million copies sold. Haven’t finished it yet but we’re enjoying the crazy unpredictable ride so far as our hero, Piscine Molitor Patel, becomes a Christian and a Muslim as well as a Hindu.

His first encounter with the story of Jesus from a local Priest called Father Martin goes like this: [and I’ll post it in two parts because there is a lot in it]

“And what a story. The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price? I tried to imagine Father [a zookeeper] saying to me, ‘Piscine, a lion slipped into the llama pen today and killed two llamas. Yesterday another one killed a black buck. Last week two of them ate the camel. The week before it was painted storks and grey herons. And who’s to say for sure who snacked on our golden agouti? The situation has become intolerable. Something must be done. I have decided that the only way the lions can atone for their sins is if I feed you to them.’

‘Yes Father, that would be the right and logical thing to do. Give me a moment to wash up.’

‘Hallelujah, my son.’

‘Hallelujah, Father.’

What a downright weird story. What peculiar psychology”