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how do I keep this from sounding anti-christian?:
OK, in one of my stories, the protagonist is a female Vampire Detective, whose backstory involves Stockholm Syndrome from The Spanish Inquisition. Now, in the interests of being historically accurate, I obviously had to make her a Catholic fundamentalist. She is obsessed with trying to atone for the 'sin' of being a vampire (despite living in a verse where non-angsty FriendlyNeighborhoodVampires coexist with cold-blooded killer vampires and everywhere in between). She sees everything in black and white, good or evil. And through the course of the story, I make it obvious to everyone but her that she's wrong and somewhat mentally unhinged. Oh, and her main antagonist, who everyone but her can see is a troubled but basically good kid, happens to be an atheist. Now, this is not intended to criticize christianity. It's intended as a deconstruction of the Vampire Detective trope, where I show how unhealthy that kind of character really is. But I'm worried that, given that she's Catholic and I'm an atheist, people will mistake that book for an anti-Christian Author Tract. How realistic is that fear? Would it help if I edited the story to make it clear that her sidekick (whose religion is never stated) is a more secular Christian?
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
Ahr riverAs long as you have characters who are christian who are NOT like that, you should avoid most implications. It doesn't even have to be the main characters. It can be the culture, the nice old nun down the street that gives them refuge, maybe a victim was a pastor and the entire community is in shock...
edited 24th Mar '11 3:50:28 PM by MrAHR
What he said. I'm christian and I see no problem with it. EDIT: Correction, I can't think of any justifiable reason to be offended.
edited 24th Mar '11 4:04:33 PM by Borkless
I don't always comment, but when I do, expect me to edit the crap outta it.
Writer's Welcome WagonPeople will be offended, but that will only provide free publicity.
Ahr riverThere is a difference between being justifiably offended and unjustifiably offended. Some people will be offended regardless, it's the justifiable offenses Ettina is asking about.
Generally speaking, Unfortunate Implications are most common if all members of a race/belief/orientation/whatever are shown in a similar way. Like others have said, as long as you depict healthy and normal Christian characters, no one should be justifiably offended (I wouldn't, anyway).
The Puzzler@ Ettina: As long as you make some sympathetic Christian characters in your story you should be fine like Mr. AHR said. Personally I'm a Christian* , and I don't feel offended by the synopsis. However if you still have worries that you would offend Christians after you have finished your rough draft, then you could have me look at it to. I'm not a Catholic, but I'd be glad to help you out. @ chihuahua 0: People get offended over the stupidest things. I remember I got a bit offended for being called a "Yank"* by some British person on the Internet. Yeah, some things I did as a teen were rather irrational.
So now I know that my lack of success in college is due to ADD — or sleep apnea. I need to do a sleep study some time.
Cool Celtic CompositionDoesn't seem that offensive to me, and I'm a Christian. If you want to be sure about a lack of offensiveness, just have her have a discussion with a priest or something - maybe she goes to a confessional every year or so. Maybe she talks with another Catholic about the implications of her vampirism, and the other person tries to convince her to see the world in grays. Just be sure to not portray all of Catholicism badly.
"The Uncertainty Principle isn't about uncertainty and it isn't a principle; other than that, it's perfectly named." — David Van Baak
Unfortunately, there are Christians who will take offense at a perceived attack on Christianity where none exists, ala Victoria Jackson re: Glee. Or those people who make fuss every year about the War on Christmas. Ignore them. If you're worried that your story seems anti-Christian and that people might misinterpret that to be point you're trying to make, you could (as other people have suggested) include a sympathetic Christian character. You could also have a character at some point actually state the things you aim to show through deconstruction, but framed completely within a religious context, complete with scriptural quotes as supporting evidence.
Feels Good, ManMy suggestions - ditch the regular Christian sidekick. Any halfway normal Christian is going to be creeped out by the vampire's behaviour. Also, if you're worried about offending people, having a "The Reason You Suck" Speech delivered to the vampire, preferably with a detailed logical deconstruction* of her fucked up theology, would certainly drive the point home. *By which I do not mean "Quote Matt 7:1 out of context" because seriously a person who lives several hundred years can counter that sort of bush league bullshit in their sleep. Get a serious Christian scholar to help you on this one.
Wolf1066I tend to be very careful when portraying an unsympathetic character of any group to include more rational members of that group for contrast - and usually aim to have the more rational ones despairing of the actions/excesses of the unsympathetic one, possibly to the point of trying to get them to lighten up a tad and cut back on the frothing-at-the-mouth shtick. Not only does it show that the Author is impartial in the portrayal of different groups it makes the actions of the unreasonable characters even more noticeable by contrast with "normal people".
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Storm the bastille!I don't think I will offensive to any mainstream christians, but as an atheist I have to question the use of a 'non believer' as the antagonist.
edited 25th Mar '11 6:59:30 AM by joeyjojo
Mòn Hovercraft êst pleïn deš Änguillës
turning and turningAs an atheist, you're questioning the use of an atheist character as the antagonist?
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
Feels Good, ManIt seems to me that the OP is going for a Grey and Grey Morality thing, with an Anti-Hero whose issues caused her to do fucked up things in the pursuit of justice, with a Designated Antagonist who opposing her because he needs to uphold the law and due process.
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