The Loss of Belief

The “I Believe” monologue defines the central idea of American Gods.  Each god is fighting for survival in a world where people have ceased to believe in them. They were taken to America in the minds of millions of immigrants and then forgotten as modern living took over and destroyed all faith. People began to worship technology and the media, among other things, and left their own gods behind.  The monologue emphasizes that anything is possible and faith does not necessarily have anything to do with worship. Faith is about believing in everything whether it’s visible or not because you don’t need evidence to know it’s true. Faith is a belief in beauty and in love and anything else that matters to a person. While this does not necessarily mean that a higher power is involved, it goes beyond the simple worship of an object or person. An object will either do what it is meant to do or it will not, faith is not involved, yet people worship objects because they have nothing else to look to. They offer their time and brain cells to television or give up some other part of themselves but only because they have no faith. Without faith in something people will turn to anything else in a search for meaning in their lives. They loose tradition and culture in the search for the “next best thing” and forget the gods and feelings that meant everything to their ancestors. They abandon that which actually means something in the hopes that there will be something better when there is nothing more important than the connections and values that come from faith. Faith in anything is what brings people together, not only because they have something in common, but because they are passionate about what they believe and put that passion into everything that matters to them.  The energy that comes from any moment of faith in a person is what holds the universe together because people have to believe in something to truly live. Without belief they live a simple illusion of life. The gods mentioned in American Gods have all been pushed aside for modern conveniences and no longer have the connection to the people that they need to survive. They see faith dying and the people dying with it, even if they are only concerned with their own survival. Comparing the people that they see in modern times to those who still had their faith in the many “flashbacks” throughout the book, those who still believed in something had more to live for and more to share with the people around them.  People must maintain their faith to escape everything that people despise about modern life, because faith and love and family and any connection one person can feel with another person are essential while the technology and obsession with the superficial and the lack of connection brought about by everyday life are what is destroying people almost every day.

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