Religion in your writings:

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Real or fictional ones.

part of the societies or just the character's convictions.

Whether or not it has plot significance or a side note.

Weather or not it effects the characters' interactions.

Lastly, this is not a debate topic [for any religion being right/wrong]. Play nice.

edited 26th Sep '11 9:31:56 PM by jasonwill2

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
2 nrjxll26th Sep 2011 09:31:32 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Just gonna pop in here to say that this seems like a really broad topic for a thread.
It is supposed to be. But ok then, I'll try to narrow it down do you incorporate religion into your writing, and how important is it in your world building/plot?
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
4 Merlo26th Sep 2011 09:35:01 PM from the masochist chamber
Well uh... it's a major part of one of my protagonists.

Except for him all of them are pretty aspiritual, though. Is this a problem?
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am...

as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
6 nrjxll26th Sep 2011 09:44:32 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Thanks for that - I may be a lumper in the wiki, but in the forums I like fairly specific subjects.

So far, I haven't written a work with a religion as a whole playing a major role in the work - there are several powerful churches in my fantasy setting and at least one alien species in my comics is a theocracy, but the former is unwritten and will quite possibly stay that way, and the latter are not a major player in the comics space setting, and so aren't terribly relevant.

Individually, however, religion is one of the many aspects I try and incorporate into a character. The role it plays varies depending hugely on the character (like most other things) - for some, it's almost negligible, while for others it's a major motivating force. I've never had any problem with my own religious beliefs affecting a work, since I try to treat my works as worlds of their own - the existence, or lack thereof, and nature of god(s) in a fictional work has no reason to have anything to do with the same in our own.

I did, however, adopt a stance of "metaphysical neutrality" for my comics - effectively, embracing the Lowest Cosmic Denominator, except that I left even vague stuff like The Powers That Be out of it. While my comics characters certainly have their religious beliefs, whether any of them were right or wrong was (mostly) left unanswered. I did this for two reasons: firstly, while it is explicitly Alternate History and slightly in the future, my comics are closer then anything else I've ever written to taking place in the real, modern world, and secondly, they are primarily, well, comedic - bringing up the Big Questions of metaphysics is not something that would fit well with the tone.

edited 26th Sep '11 9:47:25 PM by nrjxll

well in my book Islam and Catholicism are both the two main relgions on Mars, followed by a grouping of fictional occult religons pretty much exclusive to the colony. Protestantism is actually somewhat of a minority, with non religious people outnumbering them in many population centers. The only truly small [population wise] minority in the book is Jewish people, since, well, there are only a few million jewish people today, at least that is my understanding, I didn't want to over represent them. Also a sizable amount of Wiccians are on the planet as well.

There are religous overtones in teh first book's plot, to act as a kind of forshadower for the more religiously plot centered second book. the genre shifts over time kind of...
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
I need a drink
One story is set on a theocratic dominant planet and follows the exploits of an excommunicated priest. The religion itself was a big mash-up of Islam, Christianity and Judaism with elements of Animism and Buddhist teachings (alot of research went into this I'll tell ya) while the actual administration was modelled heavily on Soviet Russia during it's hey day. The whole point of the story was to talk about conflict and how religion wasn't the root of conflict and that people were. It was doomed to fail from the start.

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
Shadowed Philosopher
I ignore it, basically.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
10 Wolf106626th Sep 2011 11:38:01 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
As I find religion is a major factor in real people's lives, it plays a major part in my character's lives as well.

Usually I play it as Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane - whether or not prayers are being answered or it's just fortuitous circumstances and/or selective memory is a matter of opinion for the characters and the reader.

I don't portray any one religious stance as more valid than any other, but the characters can be very devout in their beliefs.

edited 26th Sep '11 11:38:22 PM by Wolf1066

Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
I'll show you real magic.
Real or fictional ones. Well, the main character, his family, and his mentor are all devoted Roman Catholics, although the latter is a bit jaded. There's also fictional religion, "Creed of the Guards of the Library", a codes of conduct followed by Bibiliotheca Vigilis, the Guards of the Library, that mostly empathizes on the value of knowledge, books, and teachings. It is mostly compatible with real major religions though, as in it empathizes not being a dick to other people (yes, I just flanderized all the major religions in the world, you're welcome).

part of the societies or just the character's convictions. Well, my story's setting in 2020s South Korea and Christianity (apparently what we call Catholics is actually Catholic Christianity) is THE most common religion here so why not. Besides, I like the Catholic aesthetic.

Whether or not it has plot significance or a side note. Well, the MC unwittingly have a serious talk with the Big Bad of the first arc, who is an acquintances with him and was just walking out from the confessionals. They mostly discuss about the atonement and the discussion actually dissuades him from doing much worse things by amplifying already present guilt within him.

Whether or not it effects the characters' interactions. Never the religion itself, but some of the virtues Catholicism advocates is occasionally brought up as character themes.

Lastly, this is not a debate topic [for any religion being right/wrong]. Play nice.
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
I'm an atheist, and my characters tend to be too. Frankly I'm a bit worried about writing religious viewpoint characters, as I don't want to misrepresent them and don't have any personal experience of religious belief. I do have at least one potential story that would work best with a Christian protagonist, though. (It involves different angels and Arthurian myth.)

My latest novel actually did deal quite extensively with a religion of sorts growing up around a Hive Mind and how the human characters dealt with it. It wasn't really an analogue to Real Life religions, though, since the mind-being could be objectively proven to exist.

edited 27th Sep '11 1:45:23 AM by DoktorvonEurotrash

It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
13 Wolf106627th Sep 2011 02:53:43 AM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Strange Kiwi fella
[up][up]It's precisely because the tenets and morals of a person's beliefs can affect how they act (or at least determine what they dislike and possibly how guilty they feel if they act in a way they deem to be inappropriate) that I tend to include the characters' beliefs. I don't paint anyone as "right" or "wrong" - but characters may be at odds over differences in beliefs.

[up]I can well understand that, I tend to do a lot of research and also call on my friends of various different beliefs to check and see if I'm portraying the characters realistically and respectfully. I also tend to steer clear of any religions that I've not had very intensive experience of - so I don't tend to write Muslims, Shinto, Buddhists, Sikhs (even though I have friends who have these beliefs) because I don't know the core tenets of their beliefs (and how those affect their daily lives) well enough.

Pagans of various stripes, Christians, New Agers and Atheists, however, are fair game...
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Author in waiting
It kind of depends on the work. Sword and Shield has religions in it, but it is more of in the background.
I am a nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I am perfect.
15 KillerClowns27th Sep 2011 04:25:52 AM from the Midwest , Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Try Indivisible! It's awesome.
Writing religions in the universe where Evil beyond measure can be proven explicitly to exist, but Good is shown as only a human force has been interesting. The existence of a hateful, insane, and potentially omnipotent Eldritch Abomination is explicitly referenced by both religious and atheistic characters as support for their view. The former to prove that the existence of a higher power is not so absurd, and proposing that something must be holding the abomination back or it would have already won, the latter questioning how any kind and loving god could allow the existence of such a being and suggesting its only chains are its own madness.

It's worth noting that nobody really worships said abomination: there's the Temple of the Stars, its official cult, but the mages serving the abomination regard it as a being to be negotiated and bargained with, not worshiped. The common people under them pay it only lip service to avoid being chosen as sacrifices, while maintaining their traditional animistic religions. The abomination itself makes no effort to change this because it doesn't care about worship.

edited 27th Sep '11 4:29:35 AM by KillerClowns

Gods in my medieval-Asia fantasy novel are explicitly real, so much so that the main characters quite often meet them. My science fiction novel has gods (with attributes based loosely on the Four Fundamental Forces of Physics) but it's not made clear in-story whether they're real or not. (Real in-story; obviously they aren't real in a physical sense in our universe, but none of it is, obviously.)
17 annebeeche27th Sep 2011 05:14:00 AM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
The only works I can think of that involve religion both happen to be pagan Germanic, that is, AB!Beowulf and Exile. In the latter, religion is actually a plot device * , and in the former, religion is part of the main character's character development, and part of how he got into practicing witchcraft (he believed he was studying under Freyja). Whether or not the religion in AB!Beowulf is "true" is ambiguous, but the witchcraft is apparently real.

Project 154 happens to have a practicing Muslim and Shintoist.

edited 27th Sep '11 5:15:42 AM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
18 MrAHR27th Sep 2011 05:32:49 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I don't have religion much. The one time I do, it's just a one off joke, in order to establish atmosphere.

Apparently, it's the reason my story sucks so badly, so make of that what you will.
wait what
I'm a deist myself, but I usually do not superimpose this viewpoint upon my characters.

When it comes to religion, the decision on whether or not to include it into a character's backstory is akin to whether or not to give a character siblings- if I think it would logically be involved, it goes in.

Anyways, my main plot focuses on a race of magic-users who are heavily focused on religion- the stronger their beliefs in deities- any deity -the more access to magic they will have. So I kind of can't avoid creating religious affiliations for those characters.
if a node is red, its children will be black
20 OhSoIntoCats27th Sep 2011 06:35:42 AM from The Sand Wastes , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Do Pastafarians, Nyarlathotep Cultists, and the WBC count?
wait what
My rule for deities in my 'verse is that if it has enough truly serious followers, The Followers' Minds Will Make It Real.
if a node is red, its children will be black
22 USAF71327th Sep 2011 09:22:52 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I like to use real life religious mythology, but I don't often create detailed religions of my own for races. Typically, they're based on real-life religions, or I just leave it vague.
I am now known as Flyboy.
My religions are based on Real Life ones. Sort of.

The northern human religion is Wiccan Catholicism: the Sky Father, the Earth Mother, and the Most Holy are the primary deities; there are also numerous saints, holy men and women who follow the precepts of the Most Holy.

The western human religion is Greek Orthodox Christianity: they worship the Most Holy as the incarnation of the Sky Father, and the Earth Mother is less important, a subservient virgin.

The southern human religion is Shinto Voodoo: they revere ghosts and faeries and practice sorcery.

The alien (angel/demon) religion is Buddhist Islam: "There is no God but Aran, and Duma is his Prophet" - Duma is something like a combination of Muhammad and Gautama Buddha. The demon horde practices a perverse inversion of this religion, worshiping the fallen angel Jaidan.

My Tales are deeply rooted in truth. Religion is about survival, first and foremost - it's about interacting with the Divine and with other mortals in the most positive way. The various deities are real and they prove themselves - at least in the minds of their worshipers. Religion Is Magic.

Who is this prince of darkness you speak of? I'm a king
One of my early stories has Christianity so entwined in it that since I became an atheist, I'm not sure if I'm ever going to go back to it. Which may be just as well.

Current project, I'm making up religions that are more or less based on real-life ones. I know some of them are true, at least in the sense that the deities mentioned exist, and some aren't. I don't think it'll come up much. Well, except one villain follows a Religionof Evil. - comics, writing, and other geeky things
25 nrjxll27th Sep 2011 02:22:53 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up][up]I don't mean this in a bad way, but why did you think this was a good idea? It would seem pretty strange and jarring to me as a reader, at least.

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