Study Guide

Snow Crash Religion

By Neal Stephenson


So you think you know a little something about religion. Well guess again, because Snow Crash is going to school you. The Garden of Eden may have been a political metaphor. The Tower of Babel might've been the best thing that ever happened to humanity. And Sumerian mythology? Don't get us started on Sumerian mythology. That stuff is a trip—and it might also hold the answers to why the human brain works the way it does.

Never fear, atheist friends, there's something in here for you as well; not all of the characters in Snow Crash are religious, and the non-believer characters get to have a say in how to interpret and implement religious ideas, too. We see a range of religious believers—from fanatics to hackers—and the underlying message is that religion is complex. Just like humanity. Imagine that.

Questions About Religion

  1. What is Juanita's approach to religion, and why does it work for her? 
  2. How did the message of Jesus Christ get "hijacked" by the Church?
  3. What are the basic tenets of ancient Sumerian religion and society? 
  4. How have religious institutions changed in the future?

Chew on This

Humans are hard-wired to have religious beliefs.

Religious fanatics are the worst kind of fanatic.