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There are several cases in Fahrenheit 451 where it is clear that Christianity, while evidently extremely rare, is still heard of. For instance, Faber notes that Jesus is still known, though in a much different form than before:

"It's as good as I remember. Lord, how they've changed it - in our 'parlours' these days. Christ is one of the 'family' now. I often wonder it God recognizes His own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He's a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn't making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs."

At the same time, the Bible (a copy of which Montag saved from a house before it was burned) is evidently no longer read, and certainly not held in any high importance. This is highlighted when Mildred asks Montag, "Who's more important, me or that Bible?"

Is religion at all a factor in the society, and if so, has it played a role in keeping old literary fables and stories alive, if only in the oral tradition? Has Christianity - or other religions - been a source of conflict and rebellion against the overwhelmingly anti-literary world?

5

It isn't, at least not in the form we know it. The society presented in the book is one of leisure, easily consumed entertainment and carelessnes. Any thoughtprovoking material (i.e. books, especially critical or philosophical ones) has been banned, as it might lead to earnest and meaningful thoughts, discussions and questions. Of course the people fail to notice that this is how progress as a society is achieved, so they are stuck in an endless loop of meaningless entertainment programming.

Religion doesn't fit in this hedonistic society at all, as faith and spirituality aren't 'fun' per se. Also religion and religious beliefs are tied to philosophical questions and considerations, so they would be regarded as equally evil as books by this society.

Of course, religion isn't banned or forbidden. It's rather instrumentalised by the entertainment industry, it's symbols and ideas turned into commercial byproducts and advertising media (as indicated by your quote). This way, even though religion still exists and people may use phrases such as 'my God', it doesn't hold any meaning any longer, therefore I make the case that a real religion in our understanding of the term doesn't exist any longer.

This is a common pattern in the book. Things that are considered a bad influence aren't banned or outlawed directly, they are rather turned around into a commercial product or they are disencouraged through peer-pressure and twisted rhetoric.

Of course, for those who have not yet succumbed to the world of leisure (such as the old man that Montag confides in), religion might still hold value and be a source of peace of mind or comfort. So religion still exists, but it doesn't have any meaning for the society at large.

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    I would like to see some evidence from the book to support these claims. More importantly, Christianity is a part of people's lives in Fahrenheit 451: in fact, I'm not sure if it makes sense to say religion was discouraged. – user111 Feb 7 '17 at 23:02
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    @Hamlet The quote from the question is a good example. Religion might still exist, but not in a way that we may call meaningful or insightful, so it doesn't have much to do with religion as we know it. If I recall correctly this isn't adressed directly in the book, so we are left with extrapolation from quotes like the one in the question and guesswork – MoritzLost Feb 7 '17 at 23:20
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Jesus clearly plays a role in the society. When I look at the passage you selected.

Christ is one of the `family' now. I often wonder it God recognizes His own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He's a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn't making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs.

This shows that Christ exists in the society (I will get back to that passage)

However, despite there being Jesus, there are no bibles in the country

"Professor Faber, I have a rather odd question to ask. How many copies of the Bible are left in this country?"

When I again look at the passage you picked

Christ is one of the `family' now. I often wonder it God recognizes His own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He's a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn't making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshipper absolutely needs.

I re-highlighted a part that I found important that was not in your question. It calls Christ a member of the "family" which in the context of the book was a term used to describe the T.V. "Family" which acted as perfect models of society.

"Now," said Mildred, "my `family' is people. They tell me things; I laugh, they laugh! And the colors!"

So in response to your question, the society clearly has religious, but I believe that the society removed the "religious" aspects when they started censorship, and in doing so turned the Heavenly Figure into a less controversial figure.


I took some time to edit this question based off the feedback from @Hamlet and @HDE 226868

  • I'm not quite convinced by some of your quotes. "Jesus God" is similar to other exclamations that are often used in secular contexts by non-religious people; it could simply be an anachronism from the past. I'd also like to add that the second quote you attribute to Montag is actually from Faber - who is not at all representative of society at large, being, among other things, a retired English professor. – HDE 226868 Feb 7 '17 at 18:25
  • @HDE226868 I will fix the Faber quote. However my penultimate quote seems to reflect society as a whole quite nicely – Matrim Cauthon Feb 7 '17 at 18:36
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    I'm also a little bit concerned by your claim "the government has changed the religion to fit their needs of a perfect society": not sure how you can understand the themes of Fahrenheit 451 and then make that particular claim. – user111 Feb 7 '17 at 18:58
  • @Hamlet how would you interpret a society that removes the bible and turns Jesus into a proponent of the Government? – Matrim Cauthon Feb 7 '17 at 19:02
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    The theme of the book isn't of a totalitarian government, but of the government being a reflection of the people. When the government burns books, they're doing it because people want the government to burn books. – user111 Feb 7 '17 at 19:04

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