1. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico

    Do your beliefs allow?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Sep 15, 2009.

    Now, I don’t normally take this risk, but here goes.

    At a different forum there is a thread currently running concerning the difficulty adherents of a particular faith have with their personal love for reading and writing Fantasy.

    The crux of the thread has to do with wether reading and writing this genre is in conflict with the teachings of their faith, and wether they should actually continue with the espousal of the genre.


    My question to the forum is this:

    Does your faith, or lack thereof for that matter, induce or preclude the genres that you read and write?

    When I say you, I mean the personal you, not the greater you.

    You yourself.

    Please note that if the conversation does not remain civil, cordial, and of an academic nature, I have no issue at all in asking the mods to close my own thread.
     
  2. Lavarian
    Offline

    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4,562
    Likes Received:
    93
    No. The point of any kind of fiction is that it isn't real.
    Tolkien was a devout Catholic, after all.

    I do sometimes put in themes from my own faith in my writing because I think that they're important and I feel that it's important to reflect myself in some way, but I don't like it when books become too preachy. It's one thing when a character shows thoughts and feelings about any given subject, but when the narrative voice begins preaching, it's a bit of a turn off.

    If I wanted to be preached at, I'd buy a self-help book, not a fantasy novel.
     
  3. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Since I don't believe in any faith or higher power, anything and everything is fair game. This is true for both writing and reading. It's always interesting to learn about things from someone else's perspective, regardless of what they believe in.
     
  4. CDRW
    Offline

    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,532
    Likes Received:
    27
    My faith has no issue with reading or writing fantasy at all. In fact I did some research and number crunching once and found out that my faith is over-represented in fantasy and even more so in sci-fi. For me, the conflict comes in the form of content.

    There are many guidelines designed to help members stay away from harmful material, and sometimes those guidelines take on the force of social law. The problem comes from the fact that, just like an internet search engine, the guidelines can't make informed decisions about content and often steer you away from worthwhile material. I enjoy searching for gold nuggets on the other side of the fence, but sometimes feel condemned for being willing to wade through mud to get them.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. losthawken
    Offline

    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Maine
    Yeah I used to have that issue. I'm very much a person of faith, and have strong feelings about morals. However, I don't see fiction or most any genre as 'bad' because they are merely tools to demonstrate real life thoughts in ways that would be much to difficult (or boring) without a healthy dose of imagination.

    I also don't mind violence and 'evil' in a story because those things are real, and pretending that they are not doesn't help anyone. Kind of a straw man argument I guess.

    I do have one faith related issue however, but I haven't fully rationalized it and so don't push it on the world. My issue deals with, evoking emotion just for the sake of evoking emotion. In my mind literature is meant to inspire the best in people, inspire personal growth, inspire change inspire refection, etc. But I don't have use for works that do nothing more than evoke feelings of fear or arousal (or any other emotion for that matter) with no purpose. That's my opinion anyway.

    It just seems hedonistic to me to thrive on pure emotion, and I'm not much into hedonism myself. It also seems like an addictive behavior which I wouldn't consider a positive factor in life either.

    I'm rambling a little, and I haven't explained how that all relates to faith, but it does. You'll just have to trust me ;-)

    My side of the coin.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. ChimmyBear
    Offline

    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    In the arms of the man I love at home in NC.
    Yes, I have had an inward struggle with some of the things I write and my faith. I write a lot of stories involving crime and the struggle of the people who are caught up in it the drama.

    I had to cross many moral issues within myself when I first started writing from my heart. The process was difficult but necessary for my own growth as a writer.
     
  7. PS Foster
    Offline

    PS Foster Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I don't read or write fantasy, but I don't see much of a problem as far as others writing it. It still boils down to a conflict and its resolution, sometimes good vs evil. It's entertainment, not meant for anyone to take seriously.
    Erotica is what is hard to write if you are a religious person.
     
  8. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I am an atheist, but I have a character in one of the novels I'm writing who is a devout Christian. His faith is important to him, but he has yielded to temptation, and that temptation still pulls at him.

    It's an important conflict in the story, but it's not an easy thing for me to write, because of my beliefs.

    Still, I don't want to be limited to characters who think and believe as I do.
     
  9. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    The problem is that there are people out there who think that just because you read a book that goes against your values, then you will somehow be influenced more by those few books than all you've been taught since you were born, or that there is harm in knowing different views that disagree with your own. I am a pacifist, but see no reason to stay away from books that accept war as a viable option to conflicts.
     
  10. SonnehLee
    Offline

    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    6,112
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Far away from home
    Quite the opposite, actually. Many of the things I write are written so I can explore things that would be forbidden in my own faith.
     
  11. Nervous1st
    Offline

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    I don’t read or write fantasy at all and not because of my faith but because I genuinely dislike the genre. I am a Christian and I can understand why some Christians choose not to read this type of material. I am referring to Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code and so on.

    But since we are talking about me personally and not Christians as a whole... I don’t see the problem. Dan Brown has not corrupted my mind, even through many Christians may tell me otherwise. On that note, neither has the movies I've watched or the music I've listened to. If I wanted to allow myself to be corrupted, It would have taken much, much less than a magical fantasy about Harry Pothead. I don't take other people's disbelief and/or theories as a personal attack on my own.

    Whenever I think about the subject, I think of C.S Lewis who writes powerful Christian non-fiction and also fantasy.
     
  12. SayWhatNow?
    Offline

    SayWhatNow? Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    My own little world
    Whether my religious beliefs allow it or not, it won't change.

    Personally, I am totally torn between agnosticism and Christianity, but even so, I do not believe fiction is a sin to write(or read, for that matter)

    Even if I am Christian, I believe you can read anything you want, even the Satanic Bible, as long as you can seperate reality from fiction.
     
  13. Agreen
    Offline

    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,143
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Canada
    It has prevented me from reading fanposts of the Montreal Canadiens and the sports section of the Ottawa Sun.

    But beyond that, perhaps as an extension of studying religion I like to read books which incorporate different faiths- because it's one thing to study the theoretical aspects of a religion, and quite another to see how belief can influence a writer's work.
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. Trakaias
    Offline

    Trakaias Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well my beliefs do affect what I write. But it doesn't affect what my characters believe. Even what kind of music they listen to doesn't reflect my favourite music. But I highly doubt an atheist would write a christian novel, maybe a christian character but...I don't know.

    Reading:
    In the past I would read anything, but as I got older I became annoyed with books whose underlying message was abstinence, or devoted marriage, just subliminal messages. I became very aware of those messages. But despite being Agnostic myself, I wouldn't mind reading about a girl whose father is a pastor, believes in God, questions a little, but still has her faith by the end as long as it's realistic. At the same time I have refused to read books that mention God is 'my' saviour repeatedly and how to be closer to 'God' and I have refused to read books that talk about God as a predominant factor of the book, where it takes a lot for me to sift through to what's really going on.

    So yeah...but a really good book with a good plot and all that transcends beliefs and the sort and those are the books I enjoy. Kinda like a really good song transcends genre, same rule applies for me with books :-D.
     
  15. Carmina
    Offline

    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    3,909
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Woodland California
    I have no moral problem writing anything. I have written everything from children's stories to erotica (don't worry...not children's erotica or erotica involving kids). I don't think imagination is a sin nor fantasy.

    However, I work at a church. So, while I may write erotica...I am not going to publish it under my own name. I don't know if that makes me a coward or not, but there it is. I don't want to lose my day job.
     
  16. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I don't think it makes you a coward, just a realist.

    We have to live in the real world which nearly always comes complete with the accessory judgment pack (while supplies last).

    I also write in the world of no-one-under-17-allowed,-even-with-adult supervision, and should I ever get it published it would be under a pen name. I don't think this denotes cowardice, just the will to leave other publication options open for future date.
     
  17. Mystery Meat
    Offline

    Mystery Meat Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    In answer to the OP I have to say that, no, my beliefs do not influence the genres in which I write, or the content of my writing.

    My upbringing (I was raised a Catholic in a large Catholic family) does influence my writing - I often write stories based in and around the Christian mythos. I am very interested in the cycle of birth to destruction and rebirth that these myths possess, especially in those stories from the non-Jewish Semitic cultures.

    My faith, or rather my unwillingness to point a finger and declare "THAT is God", probably does creep into my writing - but only on the periphery, where it can hide and creep about, nibbling at the edges of the storyline.
     
  18. Trakaias
    Offline

    Trakaias Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ooo I keep reading these and now I'm thinking people are talking about genres. My beliefs don't affect what genres I write, but...what I believe does affect other things, like the theme of it. In the sense of I won't give it any religious undertone unless the religion is made up, being examined, or it's a minor character's thing (but reading over my works...the only time I gave religion to a character was to a woman who went crazy)... (lol sorry just had to add that because I think I misread the question :-D).
     
  19. Neha
    Offline

    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,060
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    India
    NEVER-If I use my religion, or even ethnicity, I'm careful about what I write. Controversial country we are..
     
  20. luckyprophet
    Offline

    luckyprophet Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    I'd like to be nearby Jupiterian
    When I found a religion to follow, I "burned" all the stuff I had written, till then ... (Deleted my own stuff, threw away some books.)

    Once, I told this with some regrets to a fellow, at College, a guy of other faith, and he said "well, at least you were honest with your faith".

    He was right.

    I had written only one important thing, actually, that I threw away. I eventually wrote it again.

    My writings since 2001 began with a thought of a story that had relation with the religion I follow. After that, it all started again. And I was "grown up" enough to think what I considered right or wrong to write.

    In my case, my faith doesn't tell me what genre to write, nor forbids any kind of writing ... well, there's pornography, that I can think about which I forbid myself.

    I like to create on what some people might call "fantasy" (there's a dragon! :) -- only one), and futuristics, which might be considered to be fantasy, but, in my case, it isn't, because it's as much realistic as it can (no lightspeed/warp/jump, no artificial gravity besides the experimented kind, no alien lifeform, no laser weapons, very restricted a.i.).

    I have more difficulty with writing on the present. I think it has something to do with religion. Present time has always been difficult for me to deal with.

    P~
     
  21. jlauren
    Offline

    jlauren Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Queensland, AUSTRALIA
    You know, I was only just thinking about this exact thing yesterday. For me, yes, my faith absolutely comes into play. Not in a good way though. See, as a Christian, I'm supposed to believe that sex is reserved for marriage....BUT....the characters that I write about aren't necesarily Christians, so they're gonna wanna have sex, right? But what do I do? If I ever get published, and I have content that is contradictory to my beliefs, am I seen to be endorsing it?

    It's giving me a headache already.
     
  22. Eric Aiello
    Offline

    Eric Aiello Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Saugerties, NY
    I, like Cogito, am an Atheist (non-theist, non-believer, humanist, philosophical materialist - label me what you will). I was raised with Christian beliefs but as I grew up I began to study more and more science, eventually eliminating any supernatural beliefs I once had. I wouldn't say my lack of beliefs affect what I read fiction wise, but you won't find me reading books that deliberately try to undermine science. When I go to Barnes and Noble I typically stay clear of the "New-Age" and "Religion" sections.

    I fear that my writing, however, is affected by my beliefs. I write more poetry than fiction, but most of the fiction I have written involves a character with ideals similar to my own. Only one of the poems I've written deal anything at all with religion and I've been told that it is preachy. Perhaps I should try to write a piece with a speaker who revels in his/her religious faith. Who doesn't like a challenge now and again?
     
  23. Dermit
    Offline

    Dermit Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Iowa
    I confess to confusion.

    I don't see how reading/writing fiction has anything to do with the particular religious beliefs the reader/writer adheres to. It's fiction, after all. Made up. If a character I create is a horrible, baby eating serial killer, does that mean I'm a horrible person doomed to burn in hellfire for bringing them into "existence"? Because I thought such horrible things?

    Is it really sacrilege merely to contemplate the existence of other beliefs, or a lack thereof?

    If I was writing a nonfiction text, or a memoir, or an autobiography...I could, perhaps, see room for some complaint. Those at least pose themselves as truth. But fiction is, well...fiction.

    How can I expect to write a compelling cast of characters if I don't allow myself to examine motivations and mores outside of those which I myself possess?

    My mind is boggled.
     
  24. Unsavory
    Offline

    Unsavory Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Eugene, OR, USA
    Since most of my stories have some kind of commentary on human nature or society, my writing is certainly affected by my beliefs, though not necessarily religioius ones.

    If I were religious, I imagine that my messages would reflect that in some way. As it is, I have no problem writing about religion, but my perspective as a... um... whatever-the-hell-I-am obviously isn't going to be the same as it would be if I were a Christian.

    EDIT: I realize now that I didn't really even answer the question posed in the thread. I don't personally see a relationship between the genre I choose to write and what my beliefs are. The genre is only the vessel for a message and is pretty interchangeable.
     
  25. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    I'm kinda opposite to the Christian who won't read pagan literature. I'm agnostic (believe that we cannot know the truth about anything metaphysical), and if I sense that a story is attempting to preach a religious set of values onto me, I'm probably gonna dump it.

    Now, if certain characters in a story are devoted to some religious doctrine, it's fine by me. My own writing has many characters who are like that, and I'm not putting them down. Sometimes I get tempted to, but I feel that's unprofessional. I think the key is whether it's the view of a character or the writer that comes through in the story. Once you as a writer let your own personal beliefs triumph over all else, your work of fiction turns into propaganda. Propaganda in fiction is my pet peeve.

    My biggest problem with fantasy religion is that all too often, everyone in the story seem to agree about how their world works, and present it through factual info-dumping as if the writer had told them the secrets of the universe. How can this be, when we, in our world, can't agree on anything? It seems like poor writing to me.
     

Share This Page