Friday, July 20, 2007

Religion and writers

Yesterday, Deb posted a discussion on her freelance job blog about what writers will write about. With 36 comments currently, the discussion seems to be a pretty hot one.

I've noticed a few patterns in other writers' responses. A common response is that a writer won't lie or write anything immoral, which you'd think would be common sense, but perhaps not. However, the most glaring response that I keep seeing is that a lot of writers won't touch religion.

I am firmly grounded in agnosticism, so I have to agree with the first commenter (and a few that followed suit later on): I won't write anything pro-Christianity. I simply wouldn't feel comfortable promoting a belief that I think is... No, I'll follow Allison's lead, and simply say "that I don't agree with."

However, I don't have a problem writing objective essays or studies on Christianity and other religions. I've often thought that it would be interesting to research religion and write papers about it. I took a class in college called "The English Bible as Literature" and it was fantastic -- I learned things that I never knew, both about the Bible and about its background. For that class, I wrote a paper -- one of my best, in my opinion -- on Biblical symbolism in the Matrix movies. I have no problem at all treating religion as objective research, just like any other topic.

Of course, there were also several commenters after that who commented that they would never write anything anti-religious. Fair enough.

Perhaps it's because the first commenter brought it up, but religion remained a pretty constant theme throughout the thread. I suppose that goes back to the saying that the topics off-limits in small talk are religion and politics: writers just don't want to get into it.

What is your take on writing about religion?

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