Is Faith In Fiction Taboo?
" [T]his is biased since I'm a vociferous Atheist...If it had been properly ADVERTISED as a religious book, I would have avoided it at all costs." - 3/5 stars
When I wrote Black Sea Gods, I thought my biggest detractors would be people of faith. I took clear artistic license with elements from the Bible. Though I tried to do so respectfully, it could be argued my novel has heretical elements. I was prepared for the backlash, but it never materialized. I haven't heard a peep out of Christians, Muslims or Jews about my novel’s subject matter.
Most "voracious" critics seem to be young, self-avowed atheists. I just received yet another review where someone comes to the “big reveal" and gets downright angry. One minute their digging the book, they next they recoil like they’ve been shocked by a cattle prod. In several cases, these readers made it known or inferred they were atheist.
I assumed atheists would be the last people in the world upset by the big plot twist in Black Sea Gods. Logic dictates they would view the novel as a unique take on blended mythology and, perhaps history. I mean, if its myth, why get so angry? Why would an atheist view it any differently that an ancient Greek worshipping Zeus?
Some call my novel "religious." It has a well-known religious character, one who holds deep faith. All the other characters, the main characters, are pagan. But that doesn’t make it a religious book in any way. If a reporter interviews a religious leader, does that make the broadcast a sermon? Can faith and religion be an element in fiction without the novel being religious?
I thought it could. A religious book seeks to covert, or evangelize. It may also aim to bring about some moral outcome or spiritual revelation to the reader. My novel doesn't do that. It simple seeks to tell a story in a setting where characters have religious beliefs that are natural and appropriate to their period in history.
If I wanted to write a religious novel, I would have followed the template of Tolkien or Lewis. Both authors openly admitted their novels were thin veneers for their deeply held religious beliefs. As for Narnia, the veneer isn’t just thin, its nonexistent. Even Harry Potter has deep Christian themes running through it.
I think my real sin was that I make these kind of readers uncomfortable. I take them places they aren’t ready to go by invading their intellectual safe space.
Maybe I should just write something safe, non-offensive, and accepted by mainstream society...like hardcore erotica.
Find out what all the controversy is about. Buy your copy of BLACK SEA GODS on Amazon.
I suppose if you've gotten the atheists worked up enough to bitch and moan, you did something right. ;)
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