Existentialism And The Power And The Glory

1019 words - 5 pages

Traditionally, Christian literary works are set in an idealized Christian reality, based upon values sourced from scripture. In this reality, the Deus ex Machina is strictly literal, admitting at any needed time a supernatural element to the story which, in all functionality, serves as miracle, in either pivot of the plot or in character arc. It’s a cliché of storytelling that has become heavily condescended by readers and critics because it leaves little challenge, application, or relation to both the characters in the story and the impact it makes on the audience. They’re experiences that a normal individual could never expect to have, leading many to frustration and confusion. Graham ...view middle of the document...

The Power and the Glory thrusts us directly into a deeply unsettled world where political revolution and poverty cast an overtone of oppression. That is to say, no-one is happy. From the dentist with family in England to the little boy who’s mother/brother is sick with fever, living is a burden. The whiskey priest himself was once a member of an exalted, decadent caste now find himself among the lowest citizens, and a fugitive. To these people, they either have never known the voice of God, or have come to believe that he never spoke to them at all, if he is even there. An existentialist would not critique the thought of isolation, but rather the expectations put into place in their belief.
The Christian church was born amid persecution, but in time, developed a subjectively respectable identity as an institution. Unfortunately the intrinsic tendency of institution is to establish a set of parameters by which a thing may be identified. In this way, a Christian is identified by his association with a religion, and under the scrutiny of some thinkers cease to be Christians functionally (Kierkegaard). The scene with the whiskey priest and the pious woman as an example shows this idea in action. She has a neatly formalized definition of Christianity by which she stands firmly, simultaneously losing sight of the empathy and action necessary to truly embody the meaning of that title.
With the priest, we have a man who has done wrong, and in his sin, continues to falter under human weaknesses on a daily basis, partly from sheer humanity, and partly from the sheer weight of his situation. Even so, he seeks to fulfill his purpose as a man of God. The intent behind his actions involve self-sustenance, but also a certain guilt that desires to be made right.
The most difficult question is always why? It’s most likely the reason why existentialism exists as a thought convention. The people in The Power and the Glory have experienced good lives though...

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