1. bastionbalthazar
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    bastionbalthazar New Member

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    Religeon: What I don't know

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by bastionbalthazar, Feb 7, 2011.

    So here's the deal! I'm trying to put together a story having a great deal to do with the religeons of the world however find myself lacking in the knowledge to do such a task justice. I would be happy to discuss the details of my plot with any who are curious and welcome the oppertunity to share in with the thoughts and suggestions of others.

    Aware of only very basic values in some religeons and seeking advice from people of ALL backgrounds to come forward and talk with me about their faith and what that faith is to them.

    The core concepts and beliefs of any religeon are always more than just what you may read in a fact finder so I would like to also hear any stories you may know from religeous text that are important to your faith.

    Also the history of religeon is fascinating and will also have a great deal to do with my story so for all those book worms out there, here is your chance to shine!

    Anyone taking part in this interview will be kept in confidence if they like as these can be very personal issues and I am here only to learn. If you would like to your message to be kept private please feel free to send me a private message.

    Thank you all for your time and the help of those that reply.

    Balthazar

    P.s. While I appreciate the ethusiasm about my thread I would also appreciate that no slurs or generalisations be made about any religeon. I am looking for SPECIFIC examples that uniquely illustrate what makes that faith it's own.

    Thank you again
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's going to take a hell of a lot of research, my friend. This also has a potential to be a very loaded thread, as people take their religious belief seriously.

    I'm a Christian, so I have no idea about the Jewish and Muslim faith. If I wanted to write a character that was Jewish or Muslim, I'd have to explore every nook and cranny I could about them, talk to the people, study their customs.

    Religon is a tough subject to handle. You're talking about thousands of years of tradition here. Info that has been interpreted and re-interpreted by the kings of xyz country because they didn't like the first guy who interpreted the Bible. Especially if that guy's a member of the country they just conquered. It was not until King James who made his scribes sit down and write an official version of the Bible, and guess what? They probably wrote it based on their own interpretations too!

    Take Christianity for example. You've got a bunch of Christians saying Jesus said this thing, and another sect saying Jesus said another. Let's take....Catholics vs Episcopalians (as I am an Episcopalian). Catholics believe that whatever sin you think of, you are already guilty of it. (That's what I've been told at least.) Episcopalians do not believe that. They think whatever you imagine is between you and yourself. Your actions is the thing God cares about. That's good as seeing as I'm a writer, I'd be worse than the worst tyrant who ever lived. XD (Y'know, wars, characters being the last of their own kind, people getting killed left and right, Earth exploding in one story, etc).

    Well, that's my two cents.
     
  3. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I'd be happy to help, but I'm not a very religious person. I'm part of a rather unusual religion called Unitarian Universalism, which is much more of a philosophy than a dogma. I have a complicated relationship with faith, and I ultimately do not really accept Jesus Christ, although I admire the story and the lessons it teaches. I equally admire Buddha, Quetzalcoatl, and a variety of other "Pagan" gods, and I've never really been able to see why they are mutually exclusive. I have come to accept that there is a god of some sort, but I have decided that it is more complicated than I can ever know. I suppose this is a form of existentialism, but I've never particularly felt the desire to label it.

    If you're interested in Vodou, I highly recommend a book called Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn. We read it in my Anthropology of Religion class, and it was extremely fascinating (and surprisingly readable).
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Tbh, I consider myself more of an agnostic. I used to think I was Christian, consider myself a bit Christian, but I think I'm more agnostic these days.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It's spelled religion. If you're gonna write a book on it, you should at least be able to spell it correctly. Which I guess leads to the question: what makes you qualified to write such a book? I mean, there's certainly a market for books about religion at the moment, for and against, but they're written by people who (generally) have decades of experience in relevant areas. Furthermore, their books are written with a particular thesis in mind; the entirety of religion is far, far too vast a subject to even come close to fairly representing in one book, fictional or not.

    Your enthusiasm is great, but you seem to be diving in at the deep end. Maybe start smaller, with something concrete you can research and write about, rather than just 'religion'.
     
  6. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I'm an atheist and as such I've been very interested in why people believe and so I've read the documents of most religions anyone has heard of. I've been doing that since I was a young person and it takes a long time.

    Anyway, I have no idea what you're looking for. Is it stories about why people believe, what parts of the religion is important to them, or straight up facts. Why do you want to write this?

    I can provide a combo of facts and what I believe religion is and does for people. This may drive people insane, by the way.
     
  7. nzric
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    nzric Active Member

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    It would help if you added what your story is about. A lot of people use religious symbolism in their stories - yes if you use Christian mythology you probably need to be very accurate because the readers will have a fairly broad knowledge, but if you concentrate on norse mythology you may be able to use some of the main symbols only, as long as they're not major plot devices.

    What do you want people to get out of the story when they read it?

    Also, I don't think people can give you a summary of "what makes their faith its own". No-one can claim to 'represent' any religion. Take christian-influenced beliefs - what perspective will you look at as representing the faith, Coptic christians, gregorian monks, seventh day adventists, catholics, protestants, new age christian revival rock singers, Haitian black madonna worshippers...?
     
  8. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Religion is just like any other subject you choose to incorporate into your writing. Before you write about it you have to know about it. That doesn't mean asking other people what they know or what they think - it means doing the research yourself. And, as others have said, it's a subject that takes years of study to understand.

    Only after you have a reasonably good knowledge of anything you want to write about should you be asking others for their input. Then you can use that knowledge to sift out the accurate from the inaccurate, opinions from fact.

    If you have only a surface knowledge of this vast subject, I think you may be treading on very unsteady ground.
     
  9. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it sounds like a good idea. Asking people about their personal beliefs isn't a substitute for researching the literature, of course, but it sounds like a nice complement to get a personal perspective.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That strikes me as odd, considering the Old Testement IS the Torah. You can't be a Christian without at least a small inkling of how the Jewish one works! And just read the Gospels - tonnes of culture there. Tonnes more if you read stuff like Daniel, Leviticus and the like. I mean, Jesus came as the Messiah that the Jews themselves were waiting for (and then rejected). Hence we have this split between Judaism and Christianity - but really, the Christian God is the same as the Jewish God - Jesus claimed to the the Great I Am, and that's the name of the God of Abraham, Jacob and Issac.

    All in all, I can see why the Jews would say they're a different religion, and that's fine. But if you're a Christian, you would recognise the Christian God to be the same God as the Jewish God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, remember?

    As for my own reply to the OP's thread - I'm a Christian and I love Jesus for the fact that it's all about grace. There's nothing I can do to earn His love, to earn forgiveness, to earn salvation. And therefore the verse in Romans 8 stands true: "there's nothing in all of creation that can ever separate us from the love of God, which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord." Because you can do nothing to earn it, you also can't lose it, as long as you live by faith in His goodness and eternal love.

    I find the best portrayal of our relationship with Jesus Christ is that of the parent and child. If you look at the way children treat their parents sometimes, you'd see they often don't deserve the sacrificial love that the parents continue to show. But the parents do it anyway. No matter what happens, they keep loving, unconditionally. And the child often doesn't even know it, doesn't want it, doesn't appreciate it, until much much later in life. And I find we're like this towards God - we don't see how much He loves us and we don't think we need Him. And because He loves us so much, the Father sent the Son to die for us, while we were still sinners, while we still hated him. It was then, when it was still undeserved, before we even knew God or loved God, it was then He sent His Son to die for us, so that we can have forgiveness and be with him, be His children once again if only we accept Him.

    That's the God I know. A life by faith, and grace, and we are to do good and be a better person - but not ONLY because it's right, not ONLY because we should - but above all, because I love God. It's no longer duty but a joy when you do it out of love. And when it's out of love, it becomes more than just a grudging action - but you actually mean it when you do it. And I think, whether you're religious or not, you can tell the difference when it's that way.

    That's why religion has such a bad name - people think it's all about works. And people see the hypocrites - the man who sings to God whilst cheating on his wife, or shouts at his mother, or bullies someone at school or at work. But in Christ, we're meant to actually be transformed as people, see things differently. It's all about the heart - the Bible says, "Man looks at the outward appearance [for example, how many times you pray, how often you go to church etc], but the Lord looks at the heart."

    It's not just about giving. It's about giving out of love. It's not how much you give, it's whether you're willing to give, for what reasons. Christianity is, ultimately, about a relationship with the Living God, whom you can call your Father, your Friend, your Saviour, your Master, your Lord, your God, your Peace, your Comfort, your Refuge, your Hiding Place, your Joy, and your Love. It's so much more than a bunch of rules. There's freedom in Grace, and I have not seen this concept of grace anywhere else in the world. In fact, daily as I live, I am realising how much the idea of grace is very alien to our minds, our societies. We seek justice, we seek fairness, we seek returns and rewards and blessings - but no one ever thinks of grace. When someone wrongs you, yes it is your right to be angry, and yes it is your right to demand an apology. But it would be gracious to forgive - and no one ever "deserves" forgiveness - that's the beauty of it. It's a gift. Christ gives forgiveness, the very thing we need most. And we humans are terribly bad at forgiving.

    And sometimes we manage to be gracious, and those moments are beautiful and people cherish it, religious or not. People can see this, whether you believe in a god or not. And I'm saying what makes me love my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is that He is gracious, always, and faithful.
     
  11. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Precisely. In fact, Catholics do not believe that(I'm a Catholic, I should know.) They believe that only thinking of being angry is a sin. Nothing else is sinful, if you don't actually do it. Interpretations and Misconceptions, the Twin Brothers of Controversy.
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yes! Listen to this poster, OP!

    I do know that the Old Testament in the Bible is essentaily the Torah and I have a basic knowledge of Judasim. I'm talking about the inner detail of religion. We don't celebrate Passover, Hannukah, etc.

    Now, I'm not saying its impossible to study religion. Dear Lord, no! Studying other religions will enrich your life, make you aware of culture different from your own.

    Mind if I ask you questions about Catholicism? :3 Via PM of course?
     
  13. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    In the NT Jesus says that it's adultery to even think about adultery. I recall he also said the same thing about maintaining angry feelings for a fellow. So, from that we can extrapolate and conclude that all sinful thought are sins.

    The only time this is serious trouble is if you don't ask for forgiveness and strive to never do it again.

    Interestingly, this is just the same as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy! You recognize your negative thoughts and attempt to reframe them into the less negative and repeat as needed.
     
  14. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Knowing it all:

    I've met a lot of people and most have no idea about their religion. For instance, a Jewish friend of mine asked why she got grief fro eating a cheeseburger. Many Christians support the death penalty and will mention the Bible when discussing it, which is beyond absurd.

    It's really not because unless you've studied the religion you've only heard a bunch of things and don't really know much. I can explain how a nuclear power plant works, but not really, and it's the same thing.

    So, if you want to write religious people you could read up on some random points and construct your character like that. It's a rare person who knows and follows each point in a religion and does so in a logical manner.
     
  15. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    The way I see it, all writers are obligated to research, lest they want to continue misrepresenting cultures. As a film writer, continual reinforcements of stereotypes, and bad research, do more harm than good for enriching our cultural resource that is literature.

    Currently, I'm struggling with my peers to incorporate an Asian protagonist - for they fear that will alienate audiences, (particularly american ones), although their main argument is they cannot understand such a culture. That latter argument is fair, but I'm keen to research. Knowing these people is most helpful.

    But above all, I'm trying to avoid ignorance...stupidity...Captain Nemo(s), Aladdin, Prince of Persia - all feature white protagonists playing asian roles, with distinctly asian antagonists.

    I'm going off one, but my primary argument is that writers and artistic creators are under a moral obligation to -at least- think about the impact and implications of their message, representations, and authenticity. Whether that be gender, ethnic representations, sexuality, or in this case religion. Whenever I touch upon serious issues such as abortion, that I cannot really comment on - I bring on my cowriter, Laura, who is very educated on the matter. (Works of fiction are after all like an essay.)While my Christian friend, Mark, intended to write an abortion script (which Laura hated.)

    My point is, if you superficially approach things - critics will know, and you won't get away with it :p
     
  16. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    In the US we don't call Indian people "Asian" as you do in the UK, but I would love to see more characters from Asia and India. We have a TV comedy over here called Outsourced featuring Indians and it's doing well. Meanwhile, many Americans love Asian martial arts, but filmmakers will use White actors in Asian stories. Meanwhile, films like Crouching Tiger did very well and are classics. So, I don't understand the lack of Asian actors in Hollywood.

    It's so bad that Jackie Chan (Chinese) had to star in the Karate Kid (Japanese) remake. Jackie knows Kung Fu, and most Americans know that, so what the hell? The answer is that we have NO Japanese American actors! As an American I must say, this is the United States of Freakin' America!

    Anyway, good job.

    Stereotypes:

    It's cool to break these, but some people act like stereotypes and that doesn't help eliminating them. Just because someone is "foreign" doesn't mean they're a benevolent god of goodness and everyone at home is wrong. There's poor personality jerks everywhere and that's where stereotypes came from.
     
  17. Soul
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    I am not trying to underestimate or to insult you in any way,but as someone said what makes you thing you are quialified enough to write such book.

    You see whole deal with writing about religon or God in total is that you can visit your local church,synagoge,temple or whatever and ask there about faith,get slammed by some preaches and whatever not.Then again you can go ask around friends and family or forum,so that you can get in most cases superficial answer,or someone will try to sell some sort of philosophy.

    Overall it is going to be rather hard,why not chose some passage from Bible and work on that,cause it certainly is easier :)
     
  18. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh man, this is a huge can of worms!:rolleyes:

    Religion, along with politics, is an area know for controversy and brings up issues that people can be very passionate about---which you no doubt realize anyway.

    I am willing to bet that I understand world religion a bit better than most, but not to brag. I think I understand religions better than most becase I study them as a hobby. I don't specialize in any one, but I as an atheist I can say I'm not unfairly biased for one over another.

    My opinions on religion are a bit colored too, as I'm not just an atheist but an antitheist, but that usually does not prevent me from analyzing them critically---I have been doing so since I was a Catholic boy loving mythology to a spiritual college boy reading eastern philosophies to an apostate heretic who reads the Bible with a more objective eye.


    If you have specific questions about Christianity, the religion I know the most, you probably should engage people me (and individuals) in one-on-one dialogue, I can easily see a thread like this erupting into a multi-faceted debate! My advice.;)
     
  19. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Yes, but that exactly reflects reality.

    To paraphrase Voltaire, any subject so argued over is clearly bullsh!t. No one argues that water is oxygen is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
     
  20. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't forget there are also many other religions besides Christian, Jewish, and Muslim.

    There's Voodoo (as someone mentioned :)), Wiccan, Pagan, Buddism, Tao-ism, and many more.
     
  21. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    Not really, actually. The Bible says "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," meaning just retaliation is acceptable and even sanctioned by God. Furthermore, the book of the Maccabees justifies killing the Seleucids due to their repression of the Jewish religion. I understand why Christianity does not SEEM to support the death penalty, given several of Jesus's comments about loving thine enemy and turning the other cheek as well as the Commandment "Thou shalst not kill", but the truth is that there are and have always been many ways to read the Bible, and this particular reading is not really "absurd". The Bible supports compassion and justice: some people read this as compassion and justice for the criminals, and some read it as compassion and justice for the victims. Who are any of us to say one reading is more correct than another, given that the Bible potentially supports both points of view?

    I don't mean to bring in a theological debate, I promise. My point in bringing this up is that with an issue as sensitive as religion, we should be very careful about what we call "absurd."
     
  22. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Scientology!!

    Except you know you'll probably get sued if you were to use it.
     
  23. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    You don't know what you're talking about, and thankfully that illustrates my points.

    These stories are so easy to understand a child can figure them out, but of course he has to read them first. Thus, christians who want to murder people just use Jesus as a cynical cover for their blood lust. I don't even let ignorant adults off the hook because something as dramatic as murder should make one want to double check what Jesus said.
     
  24. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I've done lots of reading about it and it has some interesting aspects. It's a lot like Gestalt Therapy, with the use of a lie detector, to determine your Congruence which means the same as the Scientology term Clear. I could explain why all of that is very cool, but it's a bit long so I won't unless requested.

    The alien stuff, is completely equal to any other religion. Plus, these guys don't mass murder people, only sue.
     
  25. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    nevermind
     

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