Book Analysis: Towing Jehovah by James Morrow

Topics: Atheism, God is dead, Religion Pages: 3 (881 words) Published: November 27, 2006
“God’s big, dead body”

‘Towing Jehovah’ by James Morrow is many things. It’s a fictional story, an epic tale, and in my opinion a poignant social commentary on our ever-becoming atheist (at least in behavior and tendencies) world. Morrow uses no subtle manner to illustrate this point.

The basic premise of the book is that God is dead, and his giant body is floating in the ocean. The Vatican orders an oil tanker captain and his ragtag crew to literally tow the body (like a tugboat) to the North Pole to preserve it in a giant vault.

From shipwreck islands to WWII re-enactors dropping bombs on the body of God to the sexual exploits of the crew, this book is certainly and adventure. But, what does it all mean?
I viewed this book as a commentary on our continuingly lesser emphasis on religion (and in a lot of ways, morality) in our modern day culture. It’s no surprise that religion has gone more and more the way of the dodo for many people in our society today. Whether it’s from scandal in the churches, a stricter code of morals than what we are used to today, an largely unavailable amount of physical evidence, general malaise, or any other reason for that matter, people seem to be tuning God out of their lives and out of their homes.

So what happens to a society when there is no God? What happens when there is no ultimate consequence? How do people react? Do they still hold themselves up to the same laws, folkways, norms and standards they always have? Or, is it more likely they will simply cease to care and act on whatever instinct or desire they have?

Morrow addresses all of these issues in his own metaphorical way. Take the two dancing in God’s navel. This metaphor is a little tricky in its presentation. Some could argue that they become godless heathens when they find out the death of God has transpired, I view it in a slightly different way. I look at it as them praising God in their own respect and essentially celebrating in a reasonably tolerable...
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