Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Humanity is an experience. Shaped through both individual and collective encounters, we understand the self and the world around us as an amalgamation of interactions over the course of our lives. Arguably, one of the most common experiential archetypes is religion, and more specifically the relationship one has with a divine being as it has been framed by a religious institution. While the United States does not have an official religion, there is a host of people who refer to the U.S. as a “Christian nation,” and it is therefore irresponsible to elide the panoply of inequities that run through this specific religious institution, like cracks in a glass pane. What happens if we let that stained glass pane brake and shatter, watch it scatter across the floor; would civilization lose its shape at the death of their god? And with one divine thing being absent what would step in to take its place? Would it look anything like the old thing, or would it be so emphatically different, so opposite what the old world was, that old notions of what divine would be are relegated to dusty books and “savage religions”? This issue lies at the heart of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and was the source of outrage and offense at the time of the novel’s publication in 1932, with many countries decrying the novel for its overt “anti-family” and “anti-religion” themes. While the global civilization within the novel mirrors our contemporary lifestyle (e.g. consumerism, mass consumption, instant gratification) personal identity is discarded and replaced with an inherent desire to be part of the community. While monotheistic religious institutions thrive on collective individualism, the society in Brave New World is held together by soma, a hallucinogen that takes the user “out of time” and creates what I call the New Divine.