The Testaments: Is Margaret Atwood’s Booker Prize winner anti-Christian?

Oct 31, 2019 by

by Megan Cornwell, Premier Christianity:

[…] Somebody reading The Testaments with little or no knowledge of the Bible may come to the conclusion that Gilead is a critique of Christianity, or worse, that Christianity is fundamentally repressive. Gilead is steeped in religious language and the Bible is used to justify the most abhorrent acts…

…It’s interesting that in both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments most of the protagonists cling to a desire for God and even pray in private despite the negative portrayal of God’s character and their own dire circumstances. Gilead hasn’t managed to eliminate real personal faith and neither has Atwood sought to discredit faith in general. In fact, the author suggests that Gilead is not a true representation of Christianity. The underground resistance in both novels, for example, is heavily made up of Christian groups. Catholics are found hanging on the executioner’s wall in The Handmaid’s Tale (for resisting the Sons of Jacob), and Quakers help smuggle women across borders to Canada in The Testaments. Christians with a genuine faith are depicted as those willing to sacrifice their own lives for their beliefs or to help liberate others.

Atwood has said that her novels are less a critique of religion and more an indictment of those who use it to gain power over others, and many have chosen to read The Testaments in particular as a criticism of Trump’s America and his acquiescence to the evangelical right.

For example, some have suggested similarities between the US and Gilead with its repealing of abortion laws in many states and its separation of mothers and children at the Mexico border.

Interestingly, Atwood has dismissed the idea that Trump is recreating Gilead. “That’s not true. If it were, we’d not be having this conversation,” she told Esquire.

Read here

See also:

The pro life Christian message of The Handmaid’s Tale, from Scottish Catholic Observer

Is The Handmaid’s Tale actually an attack on Christianity? by Jessica Crooke, Christian Post

The Handmaid’s Tale come true? Not in the way feminists think, by John Stonestreet, BreakPoint

 

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