Books Magazine

What Does ‘The Road’ Teach Us About Morality?

By Ajfitz @theajwriter

Do we need religion to understand morality?

“The child is my warrant. All I know is that if he is not the word of God, then God never spoke.”

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

In Cormac McCarthy’s chilling post-apocalyptic book ‘The Road’ the ideas of morality are in the words of the Boy. The Boy has grown up in a world where civilization has disappeared, where the trees and animals are long gone and the world is getting colder. Where the good people (including his mother) have mostly committed suicide and the bad people kill and eat others to survive. A world where religion and God simply does not exist. And yet it was through the words and deeds of this boy that the writer was able to convey the idea of morality.

The Boy understands nothing of God. The Boy simply knows what he feels inside of him, what he and his father call ‘carrying the fire’. To carry the fire is to carry the goodness we all have inside of us. This goodness or fire does not come from Religion, it comes from within. An innate understanding of morality, of what is right or wrong, we are all born with. It is our actions that determine if we are good or bad not the words of God.

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