Raised By Wolves premiered on September 3, 2020, and brought absolute insanity to HBO Max. With Ridley Scott as an executive producer, the science fiction drama created by Aaron Guzikowski locked audiences in from its first episode with its captivating visuals and fascinating storyline. Raised By Wolves centers on humanity being torn apart by religious differences which leads to a ton of religious, specifically Christian, references.
Raised By Wolves tells the story of Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim), two androids sent to a new planet, Kepler-22b, with the task of raising human children after Earth was destroyed by “The Great War.” The series, taking place in the 22nd century, depicts civilization being torn apart by two religious factions, the Atheists and the Mithraic, now vying for control of this new world.
This article contains spoilers for Raised By Wolves
The Mithraic are a monotheistic faction dedicated to the god, Sol. Sol is associated with “the Light,” leading all the Mithraic to wear a sun pendant, while the soldiers and clerics have the sun emblem on their clothing. The Mithraic consider all nonbelievers to be impure and unworthy of Sol’s light. To be deemed pure, a convert is required to undergo a baptism where they proclaim their belief and acceptance of Sol.
The Mithraic of the show get their name from the god Mithras, who was the center of an ancient Roman cult (and is considered by some to be the basis of Christian iconography). The god Mithras or Mitra dates back to ancient Persia, modern-day Iran, and was very popular with soldiers. Although the sun god Sol was a separate god, Sol and Mithras were often worshipped together under the “Sol Invictus” (Unconquered Sun). In Raised By Wolves, writers have blended these two gods together to bring us the Mithraic god Sol.
The other faction in Raised By Wolves is the Atheists. The Atheists do not believe in a deity and are the only true opposition to the Mithraic. They are technocratic people and believers in science, considering themselves to have “opened their eyes” to the possibilities of the universe. They believe that human potential comes from within as opposed to being a gift from a god.
The Atheists follow the Trust, a quantum computer built by the same creator as Mother and Father, Campion Sturges (Cosmo Jarvis). The Atheists consider the Trust to be an ideal leader due to the fact it is always impartial, truthful, and will not make judgments based on emotions. Under the direction of the Trust, they were able to grow a prosperous colony in the topical zone of Kepler-22b.
Christianity and Raised By Wolves
From the very start of Raised By Wolves you are given themes from Christianity. From the first episode, it feels like you are watching a sci-fi version of the Bible, specifically the Old Testament and the origins of Christianity. Mother and Father resemble Adam and Eve, being a male and a female dropped into a new world with the task of starting a pacifistic civilization. While Mother and Father build their colony, the Mithraic traveled to Kepler-22b on a ship called the Ark of Heaven, and like Noah Ark’s, only a select number of people are able to travel to this new land to save humanity.
When Paul (Felix Jamieson) enters the picture, you are instantly given the vibes of Cain and Able or Romulus and Remus. Both stories are about twin brothers with one brother leading to the destruction of the other. These stories heavily discuss the idea of good triumphing over evil, which is a theme throughout Raised By Wolves. Another biblical connection to evil that the show uses is the serpent, which Mother becomes pregnant with by immaculate conception. She tells Father, who in this scene from the New Testament would be Joseph, that she was impregnated by their “creator.” Even though Father is an android, he feels jealous but stays out of duty, much like the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible.
The Mithraic just scream Christianity. Their belief that “Sol is the light” is exactly like the Christian belief that God is light (or, as 1 John 1:5 reads, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is Light; in Him there is no darkness at all.”) The Mithraic have a hierarchy with their Eminence, just like the Christian Pope, being at the top. The Mithraic have complete and blind faith in their leader, whom they believe can speak to God. They constantly talk about the Tree of Life, which once planted gives the feel of the Garden of Eden. The story continues with the evil serpent eating the tree, a symbolization of the story of mortal sin.
The Religious Wars of Raised By Wolves
The religious themes in Raised by Wolves continue with the Religious Wars of the 22nd century. The Mithraic were able to defeat the Atheists with their use of the Necromancers. The Necromancers were lethal androids that were able to fly, and when they fly they very closely resemble a flying Jesus (perhaps in the midst of the Ascension). The Atheists, with their children soldiers, were no match to the superior technology of the Mithraic. The Mithraic were able to decode formulas they had found in ancient scriptures, believing they were gifts from heaven and proof that Sol existed.
Most stories about a religious war tend to pull ideas from the Crusades, and Raised By Wolves was no exception. The thought that either you accept our god or perish is not specific to the Crusades, but it is one of the most talked about wars in history. Even the outfits the Mithraic soldiers and clerics wear are clearly inspired by the uniforms of the Crusaders.
Although both seasons of Raised by Wolves were well received, it was canceled after its second season, which premiered in 2022. The story left fans with a massive cliffhanger, which led the cast and fans to launch a campaign to save the canceled series. Even if the series does not see a resurrection, the moral of the plot is clear: humanity just cannot help itself.