Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sunday Muse-ings. Religion.
(Spiffy graphic, huh? I found this on another author's blog, can't remember which now.)
Since it's Easter Sunday, and I have the place to myself for a few hours, I thought I'd put up today's blog before I got some work done. I am an ace procrastinator. Truly, my discipline is crap, lately. That's the other reason for tracking progress; if you see how little I am doing, it will motivate me to do more.
Plenty of fantasy fiction does fine without delving too much into religion. Others make religion an integral part of the story, and a few make religion the entire subtext of the novel.
I am a big fan of religion, although I'm not particularly religious. I believe that it creates fantastic situations for conflicting ideologies, it offers entertaining explanations for life and death, and rituals are always fun to read about.
Image of attended ritual held at Stonehenge. Found on pollsb.com, unattributed.
It's something that I want to delve into, moreso in future stories with more advanced cultures, for those reasons. But, it's also something that I have to be careful with. I have a good understanding of theology under my belt, from my childhood interest. I walk away from organized religion with a belief in humanity, in accepting consequences for our actions, and making decisions based on intelligence, not faith.
It's a topic that I can, and have, go on about for some length. But, I don't find that particularly interesting in a novel, so I have to keep religion very basic, at arm's length, les my own beliefs creep into the POV's.
In epic fiction, I believe that religion is an inherent aspect of the worldbuilding, and that - just like Humans - no being of an intelligent race is NOT going to have an answer in regards to birth, death, creation, balance of the universe, etc.
Historically, religious organizations have always influenced cultures, one way or the other. Most of the striking events from Europe to the Middle East were originally based upon spiritual motivations (and not-so-ironically, to this day, the headlines regarding change and conflict are heavily based upon the same).
I think it's necessary. Perhaps it's something that should be given as much 'air time' as land and building descriptions. Perhaps religion should be at the core of at least one conflict in every story, in order to reflect current sociology.
Fantasy fiction and cultural religions: Does this stuff interest you, does it make the world more real, or does that make it TOO real, and you'd rather do without?