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Thread: Religions in Literature

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranoo's Avatar
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    Question Religions in Literature

    Being a Muslim ,I used to believe that the differences between Christianity and my religion are much more than anybody can imagine .But when I started reading some literary works , which are written by some Christine writers , I can admit that I had noticed some surprising similarities between the two religions .Though I know from my own religion the similarities between it and Christianity ,still what I discovered throughout my reading on literature was interesting and sometimes shocking .

    I don't mean by all of this introduction to talk about any similarities or differences between religions . I just want to draw the attention to the presentations of any religion in literature .

    1- I wish to know if any of you had the same experience and can tell us about it .

    .2-to what degree do you think literature is a successful or helpful way in presenting any religion ?

    3- do you believe that the writer should be careful when writing about his own religion and other religions as well along with religious people in his work? Or (s/he) should just present the truth about the religions without any restrictions

    4- can literature contribute in changing one's religion ?
    5- do you take religion presentation in literature seriously ?or……………


    I hope to hear from you

    Last edited by Ranoo; 06-21-2006 at 03:40 AM.
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  2. #2
    What once was lost... rufioag's Avatar
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    I believe that the message of religion is very applicable to other books. As for myself, I have read A Case for Christ and A Case for Faith. These books look at criticism of Christianity and explain the evidence that overturns these attacks be interviewing experts on the subject. SO yes, I do believe that God uses both the Bible and these other books to bring us closer to understanding Him. I strongly suggest A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel if you are wishing to read a novel that looks at common beliefs about Christianity that you may have but are in reality more of an assumption that truth.
    No one in the world can alter truth. All we can do is seek it and live it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ranoo
    2-to what degree do you think literature is a successful or helpful way in presenting any religion ?
    Well, many people find literature to be a fascinating and communicative medium. That is most likely why we're here on this site . So presenting your message through a medium like that is probably a good idea. Same goes for television and cinema, I suppose.

    If you are an author with strong spiritual convictions, I think that fact will, in all likelihood, resonate in your works. Either you will write explicitly about what is most important to you or you will do it less ostensibly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ranoo
    3- do you believe that the writer should be careful when writing about his own religion and other religions as well along with religious people in his work? Or (s/he) should just present the truth about the religions without any restrictions.
    I think any author, if writing under the simulacrum of factual communication, has a duty and moral responsibility to present the truth. Some things are subjective and some are not. Sometimes readers will not be able to differentiate between opinion and fact, and when reading a non-fictional work, this can be an obstacle.

    I'm sure obviating this problem is a complicated endeavor, and likely a subjective one itself.
    Last edited by ShoutGrace; 06-21-2006 at 03:45 AM.
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    Having read lots of work by Mahatma Mohandes Gandhi, yes, I have seen many, many similarites between Christianity and Islam, but also, additionally, between Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, Taoism, and Confucianism. Of course, Gandhi considered himself of multiple religions, attempting to establish the peace of conflicting religions and politics of his time; to say the least, he has placed a great inspiration upon me that no one else could.
    For anyone interested, I recommend reading any of his books, any biographies, and, if you want to proceed to that 'extra mile,' so to speak, look into some of the letter correspondences between Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy - very philosophical.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    Having read lots of work by Mahatma Mohandes Gandhi, yes, I have seen many, many similarites between Christianity and Islam,
    Mono - I thought Gandhi was Hindu.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil
    Mono - I thought Gandhi was Hindu.
    His family raised him as Hindu, indeed, but his philosophy extended much further into his claiming himself of multiple religions. With this ethic, on a more political side, he attempted convincing others that if so many religions could harmoniously co-exist inside one individual, why cannot even more religions thrive among one splitting country in religious warfare (primarily India in his time).

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    Well, I guess there is no surprise in the discoveries you found. As you mentioned, the holy Quran points that the essence of the two religions is one, despite the changes that took place during the history. I remember I wrote something in one of the threads concerning this issue .Now since the most domineering idea that we find in literature is the idea of God, and addressing His mercy or asking His help or even converting against Him, throughout my reading of the many literary books, I find the differences are more noticeable. The things that Christianity share with Islam, as far as I know, are the stories of the prophets …and many others, but not the concept of who is God, which is the most vital thing .I said that the differences are more to be found in literature than in any other books, since it is God and the issues that go around Him are the things that mostly
    Stressed in Literature.
    Literature is a very effective tool to understand other religions. It unintentionally gives you the core of a religion's teachings, which is interesting .Some critics assume that literary art should not be used for other purposes e.g. preaching, it should only reveal the literary creativity away from any other considering. I think that literature is a wide field and it can encompass many varieties.

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    Registered User Shield&Sword's Avatar
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    When i want to know others religioun i prefer not to go to Literature books written by people who follow the religioun that i want to know. for me its like drinking from the end of the river or the source of the river, the source of the river are the main religious books (like bible and it's explinations by scholars, and Holy Quran and hadeeths books and writings of scholar) because it will be like intering from the main door not from back doors. Literature can be usefull when someone already know the religioun and know if the writings of the writer are true or lies or he even will overinflate or he is criticizing or trying to plant his thuoghts in a sly way, all these i cant know them if i dont know already the religioun or if i dont the style and mentality of the writer and the ambience he lived. Writers often write thier personal thoughts influenced by ambience and life experiences and they look at every thing from this window ( if the writer write without putting his personal experience and write facts without mixing his style then he will be religious scholar), even the writer can change a teaching of his religioun because he doesnt like it and consider it not good and then write a teaching created by his own thoughts and then he write his thought in the book and mae it seem like an original thought of the religioun. For example Ghandi i cant consider him Muslim and Christians and Hindu and Buddhist only because he said i read all religiouns and then wrote tow good words about these religiouns, i must know his conditions, his life, why he seemed peacefull and why he was honered by his enemys while his enemys didnt honered any one else, what was he trying to do with his writes, are his writes about religioun are good to know religioun i want to know or they were only his own experience with followers of religioun he wrote about and are not baced on true thoughts of that religioun. My point is if any one want to know religioun he must go back to books of that religioun, Literature are mixed and not pure thoughts of that religioun and the one who read them must consider alot of things, and must be ready to change any thought or opinion that he got based on something he thought its fact in a relgioun while its not a fact. So it could be fun for people who study literature to explore writers, but if they want to explore religioun then its wrong adress.

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    I thought Allah and God are the same thing? Just diffirent names. Am I mistaken?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Jordan View Post
    I thought Allah and God are the same thing? Just diffirent names. Am I mistaken?
    You are not mistaken.

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    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    Back to the original point if we are talking about the represntation of religion in literture sure Ive been shocked absaloutly horrieifed in fact *cough*wormwood*cough* but it was more a shock at the horrible slamming of religion , that I sort of found personally distasteful.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Some stories are just too religious, for example the Tragedy of Faust. The stories themselves are sometimes ruined by the religion (though that is unfair to say since the play was originally written for a very religious audience).

    I personally, being an atheist, don't like when religion is too thick in literature. When you see actual divine intervention, like in some works, the story itself is completely thrown off. That being said, I don't mind a religious character, for example Aramis in Dumas' the Three Musketeers. But when the actual god/gods themselves act (in modern literature at least) the story is really thrown off.

    Personally, I accept that people believe in things, but I really can't understand what the big deal is about some of the things. Literature usually presents religion in an inaccurate way (assuming the writer is in favor of religion) and really makes it look much better than it is. I feel as if it is biased in the sense that it only concentrates on the good things about religion, and doesn't focus on the terrible things (I.E. you have lots of "Jesus helped me get through this," or "I was suffering until Jesus came back into my life") but you don't have much "I am a homosexual raised in a very religious Christian society, therefore I hate myself because I see myself as impure, and a sinner, therefore I feel myself damned to hell by my own thoughts."

    I personally don't think many people's religion's can or should be changed based on a book. For me, literature is all about expressing oneself out of the confines of regular life. For one to conform to lets say, what their favorite author believes, then they are going against the very idea which the writer is trying to express.

    And no, other than in Ancient Greek literature, I don't really take religion seriously. If the author uses too much god, I usually just laugh and put the book down. In Greek lit however, I expect a lot of Gods and such, and am very excited by them (especially Poseidon), but I accept that the nature of the gods in the literature is very different than in modern lit. There the existence of the Gods really wasn't questioned, and therefore everyone accepted these stories as being somewhat true. Whereas in modern literature, the existence of god can almost be preachy, and therefore boring and ineffective.

  13. #13
    malkavian manolia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    And no, other than in Ancient Greek literature, I don't really take religion seriously. If the author uses too much god, I usually just laugh and put the book down. In Greek lit however, I expect a lot of Gods and such, and am very excited by them (especially Poseidon), but I accept that the nature of the gods in the literature is very different than in modern lit. There the existence of the Gods really wasn't questioned, and therefore everyone accepted these stories as being somewhat true. Whereas in modern literature, the existence of god can almost be preachy, and therefore boring and ineffective.
    The nice part is that the 12 gods of mount Olympos were very humanlike. They had flaws and sometimes they behaved really pettishly. They were jealous, revengefull, cunning, lusty etc. They were quite different from the God of christianity who is divine, supreme, benevolent, infinite etc.
    I like them too. You know there are still people who believe in them here in Greece. And not only do they believe in the 12 gods but they are performing ancient rituals.

  14. #14
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    Religion and literature don't bode well with me together. Unless we are speaking of Pan or Cthulhu!

    Because religion is a personal experience thus I do not desire preachiness or "spiritual inspirationals".

    Yet literature is perfectly fine with religion or devout personalities in the content.

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    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    I certainly do not have anything against religion, but I wanted to add a point that may or may not be in the theme presented in this thread.

    My pet peeve with regard to religion and literature is that over the years, I cannot even fathom just how much of true genius was lost due to the censorship that the church liberally controlled. I am speaking here of such Greats (once again the Russian Greats, lol) as Dostoyevsky, Gogol, ok, you know the rest. But even Oscar Wilde -- his work was suppressed too, no? And there are so many others.

    But on topic, if I am reading a book, I am not bothered by religion therein, and this could be any religion, which could also include occult. It just adds to the diversity of books. If anything offends someone, well, just put it down and move on, you know?
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