Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Empires And Religions
Poul and Karen Anderson's King of Ys Tetralogy recounts the decline of the Roman Empire.
Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization recounts the rise and decline of the Polesotechnic League, then of the Terran Empire, then the rise of later civilizations.
In one period of Robert Heinlein's Future History, religious fanatics control society and use technology to fake miracles.
In one period of its history, Asimov's Foundation cynically uses technology to fake miracles, using religion only as a means of social control.
The Andersons show us the inwardness of religious experience. Gratillonius, now consecrated a Father in the Mystery of Mithras, lifts the chalice, drinks the blessed wine and weeps:
"...abruptly, blindingly, the sacredness of it came upon him. Did the Sun lift out of the night in his spirit, to blaze in terrible majesty from his heart?" (Gallicenae, p. 96)
To this day, anyone brought up as a Catholic understands Gratillonius even if they are not priests. Tears of awe occur in diverse traditions:
"I see Lord Krishna and I weep." (here)