Stephen Vincent Benét's short story "By the Waters of Babylon" examines a post-apocalyptic world in which "the hill people," the presumed survivors of some sort of devastating disaster, lead their lives with distant respect for the gods. John, the story's protagonist and the son of a priest, embarks on a spiritual journey to the forbidden territory of the Place of the Gods. After a harrowing trip during which he is chased by dogs and must wander the land alone, John discovers a "dead god" in one of the buildings.
As it turns out, the "gods" in this story are actually the deceased victims (that is to say, ordinary humans) of the aforementioned disaster which destroyed civilization, and the Place of the Gods is the ruins of New York City. Although John has no context to fully understand these matters, his journey to this land makes him realize that it is necessary for the hill people to "build again."