Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Religion poisons everything, 7 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Things Fall Apart (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
As there are already enough five star reviews giving general praise to this superb novel, I thought I'd consider one aspect of the book, the religious. The culture that Achebe introduces us to is, by and large, a very positive one. The storytelling, music, and justice system is of a very high order. But the thing that spoils it is the religion. The African people we are introduced to know what justice is, and are themselves bemused when their religion forces them to believe, for instance, that twins are evil, and should be disposed of in a part of the forest (supposedly) inhabited by evil spirits. The thinkers in the tribe also wonder why many people are outcast for no good reason, but only because they have supposedly upset a spirit. This hideous religion is easily displaced by Christianity, as it slowly converts people, because, on the surface, it is not so obviously wrong (e.g., outcasts & twins & parent of twins are easy converts...) Of course, Christianity has always had its muscular and intolerant side, which is quickly revealed in this novel. The Christian God is a jealous God and as soon as it gains any significant power the missionaries, combined with the imperailists, are quite willing to kill any supporters of the old gods, for no good reason. So things do indeed fall apart in the struggle between the old religion and the new. As the late great Christoper Hitchens once said, "Religion poisons everything".
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