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  1. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    How much does religion influence writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CDRW, Jul 2, 2008.

    I was looking around on the internet for a list of famous Sci-Fi authors in order to respond to another thread. While I was doing that I came across this list of some of the most famous Sci-Fi authors and their religious affiliations. It made me wonder just how much role it plays in peoples writing. Any comments?

    Edit: Religion is a sensitive topic for many people, so please be respectful in your posts.
     
  2. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    It plays a huge role in my writing. I'm a Christian and though I wouldn't specifically call my work "Christian fiction," I do incorporate my values, morals, and beliefs into my writing.
     
  3. Sandy Banks
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    Sandy Banks Member

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    Religion has had such an influnce on the history of mankind that it probably filters in to almost any work of art even if its just sub consiously. In my own writing i never think of religion so i would say consiously it plays no part.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I commonly have biblical references and quotes from The Bible in my short storeys.
    Religion is also a small part of the novel i'm working on.

    Though i'm not religious in anyway... I would say I like to think about it when writing.
     
  5. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    I'm not religious at all, but as the whole concept and the questions of creation fascinate me, I usually find that my stories end up being something to do with challengeing the question of the origins of the universe, or some along a religious line.

    It's actually surprising to me that my work never seems to try and depose religion, or God, but infact every time I think of a plot that could revolve around descovering that the Christian ideas are wrong, I still end up with some kind of scene in which the characters realise that God still plays a part, or that they can't dissmiss him.

    Hope I wasn't offensive to anyone, just my opinion.
     
  6. emo_mz
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    emo_mz New Member

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    I would say all my writing is definitely influenced by my faith, though I detest obvious "Christian Fiction" (such as Left Behind).

    I like to write in the Fantasy genre, which almost always has spiritual overtones of some sort. Most of my modern fiction is also influenced by my faith, though my characters are rarely sure of who or what they believe in. I find it very interesting to see how people struggle to match faith or religious practice with their life experiences.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspect that it does have an influence, more major with some authors than with others. Religious beliefs play a part in how an individual sees the world and events in it, including but not limited to poverty, wealth, struggles for justice, revenge, love, war, friendship, right vs wrong, politics, the death of others and ultimately themselves.

    Does that mean that the writer cannot look beyond his faith and employ imagination in other directions? No.

    Terry
     
  8. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can say that my religion doesn't have that great of an effect on my writing. I'm a christian, but my MC is an antheist. I tried to write a story with the MC being a christian like myself, and it was dull.
     
  9. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt anyone would find what you said offensive scribe.

    My writing is heavily influenced by religion, in fact the main premise of the book I am writing right now is taken straight out of scripture (conspiracy destroys nations)

    This was interesting

    It seems that writers are pretty evenly spread across the board as far as belief in God is concerned, what I wonder is why the predominance of Christianity and Judaesim among those that have a specific religion? Christianity might be able to be explained because that is the dominant religion in the west. Judaeism however is relitivly small, but is also well represented. It turns out that there are more Sikh than Jews in the world.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I'm panentheist (look it up if you need to, not getting into it here :D ), and I've found that this heavily influences my fantasy writing, if only because the subject of said writing is often related to nature spirits/the presence of "Spirit" all around us and how people relate to the world around them. It's weird though, because I think it was the other way around with me and my writing gradually influenced my spiritual beliefs, instead of vice-versa. But a lot of the basic beliefs I have now are present in my writing, and are often strong themes (for example, everything has the potential to have a living spirit; you must pay for what you receive (equal exchange); you must thank when a service is given, and apologize for a wrong; what you do is likely to come back to you; there is no real boundary between secular and spiritual; etc.).

    This isn't present nearly as much in my writing on different subjects, simply because a panentheistic worldview doesn't fit into that work, but I can't say for sure if it's absent entirely. Maybe it's just more subtle?
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    For me, since I am a person of no religion, but who finds religion to be a fascinating subject, it does sometimes come into play in my writing.

    That will be all I have to say on this somewhat delicate topic. Have a great day! :D
     
  12. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I write religious fiction, so go figure. :p However, even when I'm writing a completely nonreligious story, religion greatly affects it. GREATLY.
     
  13. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    To be honest, although I'm an atheist, I like putting different parallel's of religious figures into my writing. I have based some characters off of figures in the Christian religion, and I have even based characters off Greek and Egyptian Mythology.

    Now, I am not a person who particularly likes the idea of religion, and I'm not elaborating, but it's nearly impossible in this world to make some sort of spiritual parallel in one's writing whether or not you are a religious person.
     
  14. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    Well, religion and faith are among the many things that interest me, so of course they influence my writing. I don't believe in God anymore, but I was raised Christian, and I'm very familiar with many of the religious sides of human life. They interest me. The need for God interest me. Of course it influences my work as well.

    But what influences my work even more is kindness. I want to show different sides of kindness in my work. I want to reveal the beauty of it, and how it's within almost anything we can see. :-D I think many writers have hearts that dream just a bit deeper dreams.
     
  15. Adelaide
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    Adelaide Member

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    Along with what everyone else has said, I think people who were brought up Catholic and are no longer Catholic (or Jewish or whatever) often have many emotional attachments, reactions, grudges, nostalgia, etc. associated with whichever religion they were raised with and that can certainly permeate into writing, whether directly or not.
     
  16. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    I agree and can attest to that.
     
  17. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I'm non-religious, but I do, as Libby said, incorporate my values and morals into my writing.
     
  18. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I'm agnostic, and fairly anti-religious on the whole.

    But I tend to leave things to do with religion/God out of my work, because I think I would find it difficult not to be biased, and I don't want people to be put off what I write because of what I believe. They're completely separate things as far as I'm concerned.

    On a different note, the Bible is the best selling book in the world, and it probably has the most influence over our language and our literature of any book. And it is a great work of literature (just that's as far as it goes, in my opinion) so why not make Bible references in stories? THey don't have to be used to make religious points.
     
  19. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    I think the crux was touched on, its not simply religion, but the values and morals that we bring to our writing. My religious history is at best comical at worst ridiculous. Most of what I've penned does not revolve around a spiritual level, its just not important to what I write. The human interaction is, the mystical omnipotant figures are not.

    Exception is, on the broader scale of fantasy. Religion plays a part, but it must be shaped to the world I'm creating. For that I use my own code of ethics, and if its suiting, I'll use some portion of some religious theme. (One-god, multiple-gods, goddess etc. Are they the Greek gods, that like to meddle or the never responding one god. Do we need many gods to grow the plants and bring the rains?) Those however are not my religion but simply the religion/world I use in my writing.
     
  20. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I think the difference with fantasy writing is that the gods are usually real, provable beings, who actually appear and talk to the characters, or have some sort of "magical" influence which they use to help/ hinder the characters.
    If there are gods in real life, they don't have this obvious, undeniable level of influence.
     
  21. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I'm a Christian, but I make up religions for my stories. In fact, the whole basis to one of the books I'm writing is someone from hell escaping. I am fascinated with other religions and mythologies, such as Norse, Egyptian, and Greek. But I do find that my morals come across in my writing as well.
     
  22. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I'm with Kratos, I find ancient mythologies fascinating.
    I've been interested in Norse mythology since I read Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess, which is based on a Norse legend.
     
  23. CommieKing
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    CommieKing New Member

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    I wouldn't say religion is a huge influence on my writing but there are times that I have used my dismay towards religion/organized religion as an influence, also the fact that I am from glasgow where there is a religous divide has also contributed towards ideas for stories or characters, though I have yet to really impliment it but will at some point.
     
  24. Shizai Ko
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    Shizai Ko New Member

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    You forgot Atlantian (Age of Mythology). Kinding.

    Religion and science are so connected, an explanation of existence or the desire to understand and/or explain existence. Stargate SG1 has done an excellent job in intertwining religion and sci-fi. Assassins Creed is another that I like. Also, I believe that it is religion that allows me to explore my imagination, (as blasphemous has my imagination may seem).
     
  25. Chickidy
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    Chickidy Contributing Member

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    Just look at such great authors like Stephen King, religion plays massive roles in all of his books. I've referenced the bible in my writing from time to time, being a devout Catholic myself, so I can personally attest that it is a big thing in writing, and thats all I'll say seeing as more of the people around here seem to be, err, not so keen on religion.
     

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