1. shake the constant
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    shake the constant New Member

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    brainstorming religious hypocrisy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by shake the constant, Oct 7, 2006.

    i love macabre horror movies.
    blood, guts, screaming, psychological torture.
    saw, saw 2, the like
    but im also a christian
    ...
    i decided to preside over the marriage of these two conflicting issues and write a novel about the hypocrisy of the church in general.
    ...
    this is the basic idea
    a group of college students [i know, the most overused group of people in a horror scene] go back to one of the friends' hometown. they go by his church which he had abandoned long before, and finds it completely empty, as though no one had been there for a very long time.
    they cause some trouble with the law and decide the only real place to hide is at the church.
    from here on out, the horror stuff begins.
    ...
    now i know it sounds like a standard, horribly done movie, but this is whats in my mind:
    [1] each character represents a different type of person in culture [think pride and prejudice]. by different type, i mean in terms of how they treat religion
    ...
    this where i have trouble.
    everything in the church is symbolic. the pews, the walls, the nursery. each part of the church is calling on the college students to realize the damage being done to it.
    so, my question is, what should each part of the church symbolize?
    or, better yet, what have you noticed about the church -or religion in general- that should be adressed?
    ...
    i do have one thought
    the nursery will have a stone walkway to the manger scene
    and the stones will be crying out
    blood

    any thoughts?
    -rio
     
  2. lioness1612
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    lioness1612 Senior Member

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    Ooh, controvertial. There is plenty of conflicting Ideas in religion. I think one of the largest problems we face and I suppose we have always faced is closed mindedness. (ie. People who believe that their beliefs are the "right" or "only" way, and condem any and all who believe differently)
     
  3. shake the constant
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    shake the constant New Member

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    i agree. and that works on both sides of the religion issue, as experience has shown.
    -rio
     
  4. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Who's the bad guy? The priest? Someone else? These movies/novels usually revolve around a mysterious killer. If it's about the hypocricy of religion, it sounds like the priest would be the killer.
     
  5. WhispWillow
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    WhispWillow Contributing Member

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    True college kids are used a lot during horror. But why?:confused:

    Hmm, looks like an interesting idea.
     
  6. shake the constant
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    shake the constant New Member

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    my mind dictates that the church they are in should be the "mysterious killer". perhaps im thinking more of a modern dante's inferno-esque style.

    my thought is that the church is trying to give a message to the students to give to everyone else: "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME!!!" Im not sure how a priest would work towards that objective. Its more a psychological journey than anything else.
     
  7. Laimtoe
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    Laimtoe Senior Member

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    Bare with me because you might think that I'm not answering your question when I am. Also keep in mind that this is an intellectual observation that I’ve studied for a book of my own, it is not intended to be accusatory.

    People think that they know what an Agnostic is but really don't. People say that they think it's someone that doesn't know if there's a god or not.

    It's actually a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable.

    I happen to be agnostic. A person can believe in God or NOT believe in god and still be agnostic, so long as they reserve the possibility of the alternative.

    God is not a proven fact. That’s why it’s called FAITH not "fact".

    Look faith up in the dictionary and it says: a belief that is not based on proof.

    I DON’T believe in God, but I reserve the possibility that he might exist. That makes me Agnostic and not an Atheist.

    An Atheist is a member of the Atheism Religion. It may not have a weekly meeting place, but it's not the conventional religion. Instead of missionary work to spread their word, instead they use their freedoms of speech to attempt the obliteration of all alternative speech (a bit of an oxymoron, which is why I don't belive in Atheism). They're a whore of a Religion if you ask me. Because they're the anti-religion-RELIGION... another oxymoron. They intend to obliterate all lines of thought in the name of enlightenment in order to make their line of thought the only line of thought. Which begs the question: Where's the enlightenment in that?

    Since I recognize that God is not provable as cut and dry fact, I’m equally a man of faith as any preacher.

    It takes equal faith to believe in something unproven, it doesn’t matter what end of the fence you might be standing on.

    And the first response you got was “Close mindedness” and this is where it comes from. Many religious people believe and speak of God as cut-and-dry-fact, when God isn't. It's a matter of faith, not fact. Often times they over dramatize their belief as well, and I'll explain the reasoning for that in a momment.

    Here’s the next issue – Religious people have a scripture that says that Faith without works is dead. Yet they read that all they have to do is believe in Jesus and they’re going to heaven.

    Since I don’t believe in Jesus having been a Messiah, I’m said to be going to hell. Now – that’s a legitimate belief, HOWEVER I’ve seen myself living a cleaner life than many religious people and I’m still going to hell and they’re going to heaven? That’s hypocrisy.

    Those people have faith, but no works. But often times, people read that scripture “Faith without works is dead” and think that they have to do works. So all they do is execute labor in the name of God and sometimes don’t even believe in the reasons why they do it. They realize they’re doing good deeds without any true desire to do it, so this is why they over dramatize everything – they lack faith.

    To say that Faith or Works is more important than another is like saying that one blade is more important in the use of scissors. (Don’t use this analogy, please. I’m exposing quite a bit of ideas for a book I’m currently working on in faith that no one will screw me over.)

    Faith and Works are one and the same. Without one, you can’t have the other… somewhat like space and time or something.

    I hope I’ve answered your question.
     
  8. IndianaJoan
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    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

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    Frank Perretti did this very well in his book series Piercing the Darkness...each emotion was basically a demon of some sort..IE:

    Anger
    Jealousy
    Madness
    Lust
    Murder

    He gave each of these a person..

    I would perhaps start out by writing out some strong emotions that religion tends to bring to the forefront..

    Sounds like an interesting project!
     
  9. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    I think laimtoe brings up a good suggestion in his post. You want symbolism to use. Why not use religious hypocrisy itself.

    For instance, your main character claims to be of that religion but has not practiced or lived by its testament for a great while. That in itself is passively hypocritical.

    You could go a million directions with this. Religion is wrought with hypocrisy and I am sure you could find tons of research material on it.
     
  10. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    A particular snag that most writers get all caught up in is the "personal truth" character in stories like the one you intend to write. If you have seen the film 'Se7en' then hopefully you'll understand what I mean.

    And that is the religious zealot handing out his own definition of his view of "righteous punishment" based on his beliefs that does not necessarily conform to anyone else's. I.E, all the victims of the John Doe character in Se7en met their doom by the preaching killer because they had lived their lives according to the Seven Deadly Sins (that he so fanatically followed), but the fundamental flaw in this that I haven't yet seen anyone question is that the morals etc in the Bible DO NOT and can never be thrown upon people that are not of that religion. The victims in the Se7en story may not have even been of any religion at all so I only saw them as nothing more than vicims of am intellectual but simple-minded killer (my assumption is that the original writer may have wanted some sort of social conscience of what John Doe was doing).

    So if your story happens to have people who are not CHRISTIANS then the punishments thrown out by the CHURCH (or some Christian authority) will be seen by an unsympathetic audience/reader as a weak justification.

    I know I'd be bored and unsympathetic towards a psychopathic Muslim killer preaching the word of Allah whilst slaughtering "infidels" to clense the lands of evildoers. See where I'm going with this?

    When it comes to using religion in your stories be careful where you tread as it's really easy to foul up!

    Religion is not actually hypocritical...it's the everyday people who use and abuse it for their own selfishness etc.
    Think of this, if Jesus were alive today do you think he'd really be bothered anymore with his Church the way people have abused it over the centuries (crusades et al)?
    Would he simply take one look, see all the corruption and bastardisation of it, and think, "Ah, fuck it! I'd rather be a car salesman instead! Let these motherfuckers destroy themselves as they obviously haven't learned a damned thing!"?

    So, in short, there's very little that religion represented by Church today should be addressed. It's people. Always have been...always will.

    And there's no way in hell I'm even letting you in on my idea. Controversy is assured! :eek: :eek: ;)
     
  11. zerobytes
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    zerobytes Contributing Member

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    Very interesting concept here...if I understand right you're looking for a religious horror story with a moral twist. If you are going to make the 'church' a character you might want dig up a book called "The Theif of Always" by Clive Barker (Hellraiser). In that book the house is the bad guy. As for the symbols - think about how you want the church to "live". If it's actually a being then everything can represent a different body part (like in the movie Monster House). The pews could be a sort of "gills" that breaths in the spirits of those that have sat on them for years. The cross the heart etc. Look into some creepier church doctrines like indulgences, the inquisition, and transubstantiation (the sacrament actually turning into the flesh of Christ in your mouth). Perhaps they'll start eating one of the characters. If you want the Dante's inferno thing then make sure you know his story well so you can access it while you are writing without having to interrupt your "flow".
    And then you want each character to be an embodiment of a different cultural stereotype. You'll need to be very specific or well annotated for people to get it without some major digging. Try the holier than thou art stereotype (typically a front for deep sin), the political church goer (who attends for status), and maybe the angry at God stereotype (took a loved one or something like that). OR you could have each character embody the breaking of 1 of the ten commandments which would be a lot more difficult since you'd need to develop 10 characters PLUS the villian/house. So maybe you could pick 4-6. Hope that gives you some ideas and good luck! Can't wait to read it

    ZB
     

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