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Would You Read a Story With Religious Overtones?

  • Yes

    Votes: 24 35.3%
  • No

    Votes: 14 20.6%
  • I'd Give It a Try and Put It Down If It Got Too Intense

    Votes: 30 44.1%

  • Total voters
    68
  • Poll closed .
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Discussion Starter #1
Would you read or be put off by a story/series that includes a spiritual experience and religious overtones? I'm working on getting a short story published, and I honestly can't work out how to remove this scene without seriously wrecking the progress of the story. It was never meant to be "Christian fiction" and I would never want to write for that sort of audience, anyway.

It's about one 12-year-old witnessing the murder of another. The genre's basically military sci-fi. Oh, and the experience isn't represented as particularly "Christian" or denominational, but it's undeniably religious. (Actually, there is no Christianity or other familiar religion in the story because it's set in an alternate universe. But it's realistic so they do have alternate religions/philosophies/creeds.) But I just let the story unfold naturally and tapped it all out before I realized it might sabotage my chances of publication. I'm also interested in writing a collection of related stories, and trying to get them published together, and now they're all starting to have this spiritual/religious overtone... I'm working on a novel that's experiencing the same problem. It seems impossible to remove the religion entirely, at least from the novel, and it's set in a highly advanced civilization/s, so I can't just switch it over to some kind of indigenous "tradition" or something equally "benign."

To be fair, all of the religions I deal with are presented quite frankly, with faults, shortcomings, political perversions and all. But "all" includes some redeeming features, and the main characters tend to take one or another of them quite seriously--sometimes to a fault, and that's presented as a bad, sometimes fatal, thing.

There's nothing preachy about any of the stories. Actually, they're quite stark and savage. I'm trying to get an idea of whether the religious aspect would kill my chances of being published by a mainstream press (and read by the general public), so please share your thoughts on the matter.

(Incidentally, while my non-religious friends are split on the issue, the Christians I've shown it to unanimously say that not only would it be rejected by a Christian publisher--that I have no intention of approaching, anyway--but that the story shouldn't have been written by a Christian. Apparently it's "inappropriate" and "vengeful." They say the religion presented isn't remotely Christian, even a naturalized Christianity. Which of course, I took issue with, but that's another story...)
 

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I think you should carry on with the novel without worrying about this.

I am not Christian by birth. And I am atheist by belief. So when there is a lot of Christian allegory in a book (eg. Narnia: The Last Battle, Perelandra), it puts me off. But if religion is described in a realistic manner, without preaching, and if the story is good, I would read it (eg. All other parts of Narnia, His Dark Materials). Also I kind of do like to read about various fictional religions, as long as they are considerably different than our real-world religions.


Also, you should take a look at other, non-Christianity like religions, if you haven't already done that. :)
 

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As a person, whose first exposure to any kind of religion was at age 16... I could care less if the books has religious aspects or not. As someone with no belief in higher powers, I have had the time to analysis what religion is to people and I understand why religion is important in the world we have today. I appreciate that for what it is, and would not have a problem reading a book with such an overtone. In reality, most books have that overtone... I imagine many people don't realize it because it is an everyday thing for them... that is how things are supposed to be in their eyes.
 

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I don't really have a problem reading religious books, I'm just not interested enough to pick them up. If a book is written with "religious overtones" but is not innsuating that I should join their cult and is not wasting my time trying to promote their religion, then I don't care. It's like reading fantasy or sci-fi.
 

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I'd give it a try, but I prefer religious metaphors than an actual religion, like instead of them saying "PRAISE GROX and the holy book TOENAILS" which are just placeholders for religious we have in our society, I would prefer a religious or prophet metaphor that are at least thinly veiled, so I feel a little more clever for "getting it".

It's a bit of a drag, especially in the sci-fi genre when something that's pretty much Christian/other religion but in a slightly different context, it just doesn't seem imaginative enough.
 

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I am an atheist, but I have no problem reading things with religious themes--I might even be more drawn to something because of it. I am only put off if a work seems to make an assumption or judgment about, or attempts to influence, the reader's beliefs.
 

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Not sure... while general spiritual overtones can add interest and depth, religiousity per se really turns me off. It almost always feels a bit pushy and "in my face" (at least in the fiction I tend to be drawn to). Honestly, if I could tell, prepurchase, that a novel is likely to have religious (not necessarily spiritual) overtones, I will likely put it back on the shelf and keep looking. I really hate being preached at.
 

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I'm okay if some characters believe in religion, and I'm okay if there's a little bit of religious symbolism. When it gets to the point of preaching, dubious converting, and other such pushing of religion, that's when I drop the book. I don't remember abandoning many books due to religious reasons. There was one recently, The Soulkeepers, which did the stuff I mentioned (IMO), so I stopped maybe halfway through.

I do have to admit, though... Learning how Narina is entirely Christian doesn't really make me eager to read it. Not the best reaction, I know.
 

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Religions are a part of every culture and people's lives so for me a fictional story with religion would not at all be a turn off.
 

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Would you read or be put off by a story/series that includes a spiritual experience and religious overtones? I'm working on getting a short story published, and I honestly can't work out how to remove this scene without seriously wrecking the progress of the story. It was never meant to be "Christian fiction" and I would never want to write for that sort of audience, anyway.

It's about one 12-year-old witnessing the murder of another. The genre's basically military sci-fi. Oh, and the experience isn't represented as particularly "Christian" or denominational, but it's undeniably religious. (Actually, there is no Christianity or other familiar religion in the story because it's set in an alternate universe. But it's realistic so they do have alternate religions/philosophies/creeds.) But I just let the story unfold naturally and tapped it all out before I realized it might sabotage my chances of publication. I'm also interested in writing a collection of related stories, and trying to get them published together, and now they're all starting to have this spiritual/religious overtone... I'm working on a novel that's experiencing the same problem. It seems impossible to remove the religion entirely, at least from the novel, and it's set in a highly advanced civilization/s, so I can't just switch it over to some kind of indigenous "tradition" or something equally "benign."

To be fair, all of the religions I deal with are presented quite frankly, with faults, shortcomings, political perversions and all. But "all" includes some redeeming features, and the main characters tend to take one or another of them quite seriously--sometimes to a fault, and that's presented as a bad, sometimes fatal, thing.

There's nothing preachy about any of the stories. Actually, they're quite stark and savage. I'm trying to get an idea of whether the religious aspect would kill my chances of being published by a mainstream press (and read by the general public), so please share your thoughts on the matter.

(Incidentally, while my non-religious friends are split on the issue, the Christians I've shown it to unanimously say that not only would it be rejected by a Christian publisher--that I have no intention of approaching, anyway--but that the story shouldn't have been written by a Christian. Apparently it's "inappropriate" and "vengeful." They say the religion presented isn't remotely Christian, even a naturalized Christianity. Which of course, I took issue with, but that's another story...)
if its a good book, then by all means. I honestly care about if its good, not about "oh, its got WEIRD christian influences.... RUNN!!!!!!!!!" or islamic, etc.... if its good, then by all means, publish it.
 

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"I'd Give It a Try and Put It Down If It Got Too Intense"

I've always been a theist, but I find religion boring and too constraining and prefer to do things my own way (within acceptable boundaries). A story with religion in it may or may not be something I can get into.
 
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