Religion in books makes me uncomfortable. There, I said it. It’s not because I have anything against religion, it’s just that in a lot of my experiences, books that are based on some sort of religious myth tend to draw heavily from Christian mythology and that’s really where I start feeling uncomfortable. It’s not that these myths cannot be done well but in a lot of my experiences what ends up happening is that all other religions become excluded from this world found on one kind of myth and as a reader who isn’t Christian or really aware of many of these myths, I am excluded from the novel.
I realize this isn’t unintentionally done but this brings us back to the issue of diversity in literature. BECAUSE DIVERSITY. Religious diversity, is surprisingly hard to find. It’s not like everyone is born Christian or that other religions don’t have amazing myths to use.
So what brought on this post? I just read a book that said God was real. And God can be real. I think, especially in fantasy, religion can add so much more to the world building of a novel but by saying God is real, you already exclude other ‘religious realities’ such as the existence of multiple Gods, no Gods at all, etc. So where does it leave all those readers?
I am not really religious and wasn’t brought up in a religious household so I don’t have a problem with religion (it was never shoved down my throat so I never really thought of religion in negative terms), I have a problem with one religious identity being presented as the norm. If there is a book that wants to borrow from Christian Mythology that is fine but how does one do that without alienating other religions? How does one create a world that acknowledges that not everyone is Christian but is also able to create a world based on one mythology?
That is real question, to be honest. I don’t know the answer, I just want to bring forth something that has been making me rage-y. I don’t want this post to be seen as me telling people what they can or cannot believe or saying that their beliefs are right and wrong. I just want people to be aware of the fact that this can be a problem for some readers like me who find it super frustrating when they aren’t represented in literature and when books seem to imply that there is one ‘right’ belief.
How do you feel about religion in books? Do you think we need more representation in terms of religion? How do you think books could be more inclusive? Let’s TALK!
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