Study Guide

Arrowsmith Religion

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Martin Arrowsmith might not be the biggest believer in God, but he'll bow down any day to the holy altar of Science. The same goes for his mentor Max Gottlieb, who is willing to forsake all worldly success for the sake of saying something that's True with a capital T.

However, most of the early 20th-Century Americans we read about in Arrowsmith are deeply religious. These religious folk don't always take kindly to the secular, scientific views of Martin and his comrades. Religion is just one of the many obstacles standing between Martin and the kind of life he'd like to live.

Questions About Religion

  1. What effect does Martin's lack of interest in religion have on his career and personal relationships? Can you think of any specific instances where it hurts him in the eyes of others?
  2. What does the book mean when it says that Max Gottlieb's belief in science is the same thing as a belief in himself? Use specific evidence from the text to support your answer. 
  3. Do you think Martin would benefit from a little more religious faith? Why or why not?
  4. How is a belief in science similar to a belief in religion? How is it different?

Chew on This

In Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis shows us that there's little difference in putting one's faith in religion and putting one's faith in science.

Arrowsmith portrays religion as a dusty old set of beliefs that takes away from the true progress of science.

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