illustration of a nature scene with a bird in the grass next to a puddle that shows a translucent reflection of a human

There Will Come Soft Rains

by Ray Bradbury

Start Free Trial

What "religion" does Bradbury refer to, and why does he emphasize its futility?

"But the god had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The full line from Bradbury's story that alludes to religion is as follows:

The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

The narrator is observing that the house...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

has become an altar to what the inhabitants had been worshipping: a life of ease made possible through the advances of technology. It may be that the whole of humanity were the "gods" in this technological age, because they were capable of creating their own destruction. The house, an empty shell, continues to function and perform the rituals of the life of ease: making meals, mixing cocktails, and cleaning itself. The rituals are empty because they serve no one, but arguably, the rituals were also empty when the family was alive, because their lives lacked any kind of spiritual meaning. The narrator implies that mankind had, before the nuclear fire destroyed it, already lost what was meaningful outside physical comforts and modern conveniences.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The "god" that "had gone away" in this case is the group of humans that inhabited the house as they were the gods of that particular place.  But the idea is that humanity in general had been destroyed, those who considered themselves the rulers of the universe and had been willing to create such destructive devices.  The idea of man being superior to nature, of being god-like is an important theme in Bradbury's work, particularly in this short story.

Bradbury aims to point out that humans are not god-like and that nature will triumph eventually, particularly if humans continue to believe that they can tamper with the forces of nature and just ignore the possible consequences, such as in the creation of and use of nuclear weapons.

The worship of technology and man's ability to create and manipulate it is also part of this "religion" and one that continues briefly by the working of the machines in the house until it is destroyed by a force of nature, in this case fire.

Approved by eNotes Editorial