The Catalyst is made up of so many different ways. It depends on the person how it relates to them to find the meaning.
For me this is where we the people need to realize that we can make a difference in our lives things cant be out done out fought out run but we can make them better than what they are. They go to god and ask to bless everyone not just christian or muslims or whatever religion because religion shouldn't matter. We all have a god, in my mind it's the same god just being worshiped differently. The band wants everyone to be safe and to know that they are cared for no matter what the consequences are. If we all just stood together in this world life would be soo different. Why do we need guns? Why do we need to start riots? We are broken people under a loaded gun is why. We need to be healed and to have god save us to bless us and show us yes we are strong and we can out fight out run and out do so many things.
I think the reply from "chris s" sums it up pretty well, except for the whole BP oil spill reference. I didn't quite pull that part from the song. Either way, I've enjoyed LP's music for the longest time now, THEY ARE BRILLIANT MUSICIANS!!!, and recently after watching the video for this song - the Catalyst video seems to encapsulate the feelings of a pain, rage, and pure loneliness from the imagery of what looks like hell. After just seeing the LP at the VMA's Observatory performance for this song, it's prevalent that the same uprising energy is with them. Although the audience may not understand the impact The Catalyst's message brings them as warning, it does shows us a sign of the times, as the entire crowd hammers their fists into the air. Now I know these men in the band don't align themselves with Christ, but the prophecy in the lyrics of this song really holds some weight in the Book of Revelation. Actually, I'd say most of the lyrics in this song applies to that book, but because their message is not completely aligned with this book, this would be considered a false prophecy and they'd be false profits. Go figure... It's crazy how God is still continuing to fulfill his promise to all the people through out these past couple thousand years, even through people who may not want to be used to fulfill his prophecy. Anyways, this is my honest depiction for any deep or intrinsic meaning in this song. If you read this, then thanks. I know, it's a tad overkill.