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Thread: Religion in Writing.

  1. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Other than a few movies over the years has anyone here or otherwise tried to portray God in there works of fiction and if so then how did you or thay go about portraying him?
    I don't get what you mean with the "other than a few movies" comment but yes I have used religious Christian imagery in a few stories to give context to the story and for entertainment value. I haven't written a purely religious story like that a hardcore churchgoer would expect from his supplementary literature. If I find it fun to use and if it adds depth then really, I don't mind.

    I'm sure most people would shy away from talking religiously in an entertainment context. There's quite a few famous actors who are Christian but they never talk about it and you might be inclined to believe they were atheist because of that omission.

    But as far as describing God himself I have never done that.

  2. #72
    Music Guru Trollheart's Avatar
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    With respect to the God as terror angle, sure it was a comedy film but Gilliam's "Time Bandits" represented God (the Supreme Being, as he was called) as a pretty vengeful, frightening figure who was after the dwarves for having stolen his map. I'm sure there are other examples, though often it's his opposite number who gets the terror aspect. Sorry to harp on Rice, but look at how she describes The Ordinary Man in "Memnoch". He turns out to the the Devil, of course, but the way she writes him, both as a raging demon and a man in a nondescript suit, somehow both manage to be disturbing.

    Of course, if you want God as terror, well, maybe you only have to look as far as the Old Testament...
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989

    Quoted by Ralph Rotten
    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego.

  3. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I admit I have a little bit of a peeve when it comes to speculation over certain people's lives 'lacking meaning' in the context of religiousity.

    Even if God exists (and I neither make nor invite any speculation on that) then it seems His existence would do nothing for 'meaning' other than kick the can further down the road, complicating the question with an extra layer rather than answering it.

    With that in mind, in a Christian book, I would reeeeeeeeally hate to be told that belief in God is what makes [sad character] find meaning in their life. I find that particular Hot Take to be incredibly asinine and rather patronizing...but, more importantly, it isn't even necessary to explore the supposed benefits of religion. C.S Lewis managed to write very powerfully about Christianity without once mentioning life's meaning - or lack thereof. It's probably not an accident that its part of the canon and beloved by millions of Christians and Atheists alike, while most other Christian fiction gets ignored.

    I think the difference is simplicity. Subtlety. Not bashing people over the head nor engaging in pseudo-intellectual masturbation through use of terms like 'meaning'. A little philosophy here and there is fine, but this is first and foremost about telling a story. And, let's face it, most philosophical novels are grotesquely crap aren't they? They just are. Grotesquely crap novels are particularly rife with those authors who set out to focus on message rather than letting one develop organically, or not, through the story.

    I'm not sure why this subject is even being discussed when the OP hasn't even started to write his book yet. I'm not really sure why the OP is concerned about it. I don't think (s)he should be worrying about how to push the religious component of their story at this juncture.
    I figured the OP wanted to discuss it because it's a huge part of the novel. If a central theme is supposed to be a character's spiritual journey (and hopefully hella huge trials and temptations away from his faith) then I think it's wise to consider the issue when plotting the story. You wouldn't want to start writing a redemption quest without plotting out events in it either (or at least putting some thought into it).

    Generally, the more complicated the character arc and prominent the theme, the more effort it takes to plot out and write--to get the character where it needs to go for the story and to avoid preachiness. Totally agree about avoiding preachiness. If one starts with a big theme, it's easy to make it preachy, so care has to be taken to avoid being so overt. Last thing anyone wants is to be thunked with a Bible over the noggin while they're trying to pleasure read. Subtlety's a difficult thing to manage.

    Regarding your dislike of turning sad characters happy with spiritual meaning, I was reminded of all the love stories where a person has to lose weight and put on makeup to get the attention of their love interest. Comes off as... pretty bad... but it seems like the norm. Fat people don't get no love till they lose weight. Frumpy ladies get no love till they make their appearance change. This seems especially true for female characters, but maybe I just notice it more. Dunno. It's still another head-thunker character arc/theme to mess with.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  4. #74
    Personally, I like panentheism, which is the idea that God is present throughout every aspect of Its creation. It isn't pantheism. (i.e. the grass doesn't cry when I mow it. At least, not to my knowledge...) LOL

    It's basically the idea that God is not this remote Moses-like figure who lives somewhere beyond the stars on a bunch of clouds, but that God is omnipresent and breathes life through every living thing.
    Her: I love my computer! All of my friends are in there!
    Me: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about my freezer...
    Her: What?
    Me: What?

  5. #75
    Music Guru Trollheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amnesiac View Post
    Personally, I like panentheism, which is the idea that God is present throughout every aspect of Its creation. It isn't pantheism. (i.e. the grass doesn't cry when I mow it. At least, not to my knowledge...) LOL

    It's basically the idea that God is not this remote Moses-like figure who lives somewhere beyond the stars on a bunch of clouds, but that God is omnipresent and breathes life through every living thing.
    I think you're confusing that with The Force...
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989

    Quoted by Ralph Rotten
    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego.

  6. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
    I think you're confusing that with The Force...
    LOL! Where do you think George Lucas borrowed the idea from?
    Her: I love my computer! All of my friends are in there!
    Me: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about my freezer...
    Her: What?
    Me: What?

  7. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    I figured the OP wanted to discuss it because it's a huge part of the novel. If a central theme is supposed to be a character's spiritual journey (and hopefully hella huge trials and temptations away from his faith) then I think it's wise to consider the issue when plotting the story. You wouldn't want to start writing a redemption quest without plotting out events in it either (or at least putting some thought into it)...
    That's all fine, but what i think riles Lucky a little (at least it does me), is the idea that there are only two outcomes to such a spiritual journey: either find God or drown in meaninglessness. Not only are secular alternatives available, decrying the Myth of Sisyphus, but other world religions came up with different takes on this well before Christianity, or even Judaism, was created.

    That's not to say a typical 'finding God' story in the Christian sense isn't any good, just that there are many other paths a spiritual journey character arch might take.

  8. #78
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus View Post
    That's all fine, but what i think riles Lucky a little (at least it does me), is the idea that there are only two outcomes to such a spiritual journey: either find God or drown in meaninglessness. Not only are secular alternatives available, decrying the Myth of Sisyphus, but other world religions came up with different takes on this well before Christianity, or even Judaism, was created.

    That's not to say a typical 'finding God' story in the Christian sense isn't any good, just that there are many other paths a spiritual journey character arch might take.
    This is true but in my own personal exsperance I've rarely seen a good Christian take on a spiritual journey done right. I've seen all kinds of media about the Christian nutcase that thinks God is telling him to kill people. I've read stories about the zealous crusader out to cleanse the world of evil while they themselves are committing the very evil they hope to destroy. And I've read about the people who fight evil and God's power over evil does absolutely nothing to said evil force. It's just annoying as a Christian to see all of this slandering material being circulated without any positive being portrayed. The one good example I have is the castlevainia Netflix series. And that buck's a lot of trends of the genre.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

  9. #79
    Heinlein portrayed God as a lower ranking deity in the big scheme of things. I think it was Job...God get in trouble with his boss for abusing Job.

  10. #80
    Music Guru Trollheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Heinlein portrayed God as a lower ranking deity in the big scheme of things. I think it was Job...God get in trouble with his boss for abusing Job.
    That sounds interesting. What's the title?
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989

    Quoted by Ralph Rotten
    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego.

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