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Rejection of Religion a Mistake

Socialists usually offer an optimistic view of mankind, and so Orwell's 1984 ends surprisingly pessimistically evil conquers. Some have suggested this pessimism came because Orwell was dying as he wrote. Actually he was merely expressing a dilemma he had seen for some time. He knew that man's central problem was the death of Christian belief.

In 1944 he wrote, "Since about 1930 the world has given no reason for optimism whatever. Nothing is in sight except a welter of lies, hatred, cruelty, and ignorance, and beyond our present troubles loom vaster ones which are only now entering into the European consciousness. It is quite possible that man's major problems will 'never' be solved. ... The real problem is how to restore the religious attitude while accepting death as final. Men can be happy only when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness."

Before then, in 1940, he had written of Europe's rejection of God which he approved this way: "For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came. But unfortunately there had been a little mistake: The thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all, it was a cesspool full of barbed wire. ... It appears that amputation of the soul isn't just a simple surgical job, like having your appendix out. The wound has a tendency to go septic."

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