Neil Gaiman’s 2001 fantasy novel, American Gods, couldn’t have been more prescient as soon as it to be written. Currently that the series is getting the tiny screen treatment, the clash that gods—mythical and also modern—reminds united state that there really is a battle going on, and the battlefield is our hearts.

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In the old days, people worshiped god of wood, metal, and also stone. Today, we bow down at altars—just various ones. In Mr. Gaiman’s take, the “old gods”—real-world incarnations of beings such as Norse mythology’s Odin, Africa’s Anansi, Germany’s Eoster—are upset that the “new gods” the media, technology, and also globalization, amongst others, space winning the allegiance that mankind. Mr. Wednesday (Odin) attempts to regroup the old gods to fairy a war on the brand-new ones and also regain their hegemony over people.

While many in our “enlightened” Western society would assume us are beyond the actual worship of the gods the end of old myths, the truth isn’t so clear-cut. Gaiman was onto something when he posited the Americans have actually merely shifted allegiances come a pantheon that “new gods.”

Take modern technology for example; numerous put their belief in it. Millions perch on the sheet of your seats at any time a brand-new innovation from Apple, Google, or facebook is around to be announced. We space obsessed v what’s the newest, fastest, finest feature. We criticize when we aren’t wowed by a Tim chef presentation and also think the company has lost its mojo. Us complain once Facebook or Twitter, heedless to our prayers, transforms the means their site works, forcing us to get used to something new. Many of all, we trust, placing our belief for salvation in innovation. Ann Fernandez and also Catherine Lutz created in The Guardian, “We expropriate the doctrine of this common faith: that modern technology provides the main path to boosting our lives and also that if it occasionally fails, also catastrophically, it will simply take another technology to make it every better.”

It’s not only modern technology but the media the we’ve offered our understanding to. Us make “stars” the entertainers and also media personalities, obsessing over your every tweet or Instagram post, both criticizing and idolizing.

Sports is another huge little-g god. Because that years now, human being have been referring come arenas and also stadiums as churches and also fans together devotees. So late last year, Tom Brady and also Michael Strahan produced a documentary collection titled The faith of Sports. Brady referred to as the synergy in between fans and also players a “spiritual experience” and said he to be privileged come play ~ above the very same stage together his “childhood idols.” Strahan testified that, growing up together a young soccer fan in Germany, the didn’t understand it in ~ the time, however he “was having a spiritual experience.”

Even something together inanimate together a gun has its countless defenders. (Gaiman & company felt it important to cast a “new god,” Vulcan, to personalize this pseudo-deity top top TV.) It appears as though some are prepared to dice to keep hold of a weapon the kills. Speak about religious devotion.

Christians aren’t exempt from bowing down before various members the the new, trendy pantheon. Often, I’ve had to pause and also question mine enthusiasm for an author I love or a television collection I can’t get enough of. Every now and also then, once the Cowboys get on a win streak, i feel a tinge of that religious passion sports fans talk about. I’ve had actually to wonder if I’m building idols in mine heart.

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American gods isn’t simply entertainment. It’s a an obstacle to reflect top top what we placed our to trust in and what we are all set to expend energy for.