How does the role of religion impact the theme of this book?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The role of religion impacts on the book 'Gilead' by Marilynne Robinson by showing firstly, how God can separate as well as unite. Religious divisions and disagreements have contributed to wars down through the centuries and still do today, dividing country against country and brother against brother and in this case, father against son. The minister's view about what he deserves (in comparison to his friends) is vastly different from the life his son wants to lead. Yet the book shows how moral responsibility rests upon the individual, each one of us has a separate relationship with God and it is up to us to build it, or not build it, ourselves. This can't always be done as a married couple, a family or a church community. We must contribute as individuals too. Religion can also unite: forgiveness and overcoming grievances can bring damaged relationships together again in families and also in communities and countries. The minister struggles with this, even though he has the scriptures to guide him.