Absence of Paganism in Dystopic Fiction

Perhaps its because we are entrenched in a Christian-centric society, but I was wandering my home the other day thinking dystopian societies portrayed in media. What stuck in my head was the idea, propagated by mainstream and many indie creators, that the God of Abraham will be the rally point for survivors of a non-Biblical apocalypse centered on the United States.

Yet I am also struck by post-societal collapse entertainment, exemplified by the HBO adaptation of Tom Perotta’s The Leftovers, it often appears many have turned their back on the church entirely. This supposes large numbers of religious or “spiritual” people would throw up their collective hands and walk away from the greater question they sought out previously. There is a missing devotional component to modern dystopian fiction. What strikes me about the scenarios portrayed, either pro-church or anti-religion, is the absence of a new form of North American paganism. I am speaking strictly in the realm of fiction, as paganism in all its forms is alive and well, and growing in North America and around the world.

Why wouldn’t forms of paganism rise in the communities of survivors spread around the United States? If we fall back on Judeo-Christianity in times of hardship in fiction, why wouldn’t there me a lateral shift to adopt pagan ways by communities? Assuming collapses in mass media and broader cultural homogenization, would there be a shift to the especially among communities primed for such thinking? Would it be immediate? Or would it take generations, where old ways, folklore and myths, require time to germinate and evolve?

This is by no means an exhaustive look into the subject of faiths in dystopic fiction. I am merely pondering the idea of faiths or methods of worship that survivors would cling to in the years after a major cataclysm. If we are ready to accept Judaism, Islam and Christianity, as well as sweeping atheism, in the wake of a world altering disaster, why wouldn’t there be pagan constructs added to the mix? If so, what kind of pagan communities would grow from a post-technological world?


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