Life of Pi

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In the movie, Theories of Everything(2014), Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) did not believe in any religion, because he believes that religions and science are controversial. However, as Justine Jordan’s review mentioned, Life of Pi, explained the balance between science and religion. In his review, Justine Jordan said: “Faith and science, two marvelling perspectives on the world, coexist throughout the book in a fine, delicate balance.” As an atheist, I also believe that science and religion cannot exist together, however this book showed that they can cooperate well.


In Life of Pi, Pi survived physically based on his science knowledge. For example, Pi used his knowledge about alpha-male animal that is mentioned in Chapter 13 to tame Richard Parker, which indirectly saved his life. “They are in the presence of a strongly dominant male, a super-alpha male, and they must submit to his dominance rituals. So they open their jaws wide, they sit up, they jump through paper-covered hoops, they crawl through tubes, they walk backwards, they roll over.” Moreover, Pi used his survival manual to save his own life, such as turtle blood is nutritious, gaining distilled water and getting the bait for fishing. His scientific knowledge brought him food and energy, which kept him alive.


Even though Pi used his scientific knowledge everyday, faith and religion also occupies a large part of Pi’s life on boat, and they were his spiritual support. In Chapter 63, where Pi wrote about his agenda everyday, we can see that prayers occupies his main time on his boat. He prays no less than five times every day. Pi considered these prayers just as important as any other physical, survival preparations: "I kept myself busy. That was one key to my survival." We can even argue that it was his faith which saved him for many times.“My heart stopped and then beat triple speed. I turned. "Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu!" I saw a sight that will stay with me for the rest of my days. Richard Parker had risen and emerged. He was not fifteen feet from me. Oh, the size of him! The hyena's end had come, and mine.” In Chapter 53, where Richard Parker could easily kill Pi, a rat suddenly appeared, and it saved Pi’s life by distracting the tiger. At one of the most dangerous moments Pi faced in this survival story, he chose to believe the god, and that was probably the reason why he was saved.


As a result, the question, how can science and religion exist together, is solved in this book. Science helps establish one’s physical base, and religion provides spiritual support. And the reason why Pi survived for living alone with a tiger in the ocean for 227, is the balance between religion and science.






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