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Author Topic: the religion of it all....
L. Lynn
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i don't usually post to forums, finding that i never have much to say, but after finishing "Sarah" today, i find that i do have something to say. in every book you've written, Mr. Card, you sneak in religion, and with every book i read, i admire your faith more and more. i am an ordinary college grad in the midst of graduate school, and while i consider myself a Christian, i am also the average worldly kid, with a healthy dislike of my mother, a potty mouth, and a bad attendance report at church. but i know the fundamentals of my religion, and they are not to be found under labels such as "Catholic" and "Reformed Episcopal" or whatever little categories we silly people divvy ourselves up with. i find them in my instincts, and the morals my mother gave me, however much we disagree. i find them echoed in your stories, despite the fiction around them. they aren't limited to a specific religion; Ivan in "Enchanted" subtly imparts this as well as Father Estaveo in the Ender's Game sequels. and now Sarai makes the history of this religion just as true as it should be, without the fancy robes and incense and holidays we surround ourselves with. i just wanted to thank you for these small kernels of truth, inserted into such wonderfully human characters.
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Orson Scott Card
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If this means I have to give up Christmas, I'm not going to go along with it <grin>.

Seriously, I don't so much "sneak" religion in as deal honestly with the fact that people have a religious life - beliefs, communities of believers, and moral foundations that come usually from parents, but also from the experiences of life and from innate understandings of what is good and noble and fair and right - and what isn't.

In other words, I'm just showing people as they are, faith and lack of faith and all; what's odd is that so many other writers completely skip over the religious life of their characters as if they didn't exist. As if religion were an oddity, instead of a fundamental part of what makes us human.

Thank you for recognizing this aspect of yourself, and for seeing past temporary differences with your mother to see how she has formed a moral core that stays with you, though you will modify it and already have modified it to better fit your own vision of the world.

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mothertree
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I think OSC sneaks in religion the same way he sneaks in maleness, and Americanness. It's just part of who he is. Maybe he even sneaks in Author-ness. Does anyone else have trouble shaking that 3rd person limited omniscient voice in their head after reading some of his books?

"Fran opened the dryer and the dandruff of a pulverized credit card statement spewed from the lint catcher. The man would pay for this tonight, complete with late and overlimit fees he would pay..."

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L. Lynn
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perhaps other writers avoid religion because they confuse it with spirituality. what you write into characters seems to be more basic, what i would think of as "spirituality"-- a simple belief in a higher order of things. maybe writers think of religion as a potential minefield, guaranteed to generate hate mail from smarting toes and offended sensibilities.

and no, i'm not that much of a nutjob that i'd swear off holidays. i'm just gonna avoid clergy-types in ridiculous hats and robes. if God really speaks to these guys, why doesn't He tell them they look like idiots?

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Sid Meier
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mothertree... stop... posting please, I almost had a heart attack from laughing.
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erosomniac
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quote:
In other words, I'm just showing people as they are, faith and lack of faith and all; what's odd is that so many other writers completely skip over the religious life of their characters as if they didn't exist. As if religion were an oddity, instead of a fundamental part of what makes us human.
When I read this, I realized: not only do so many writers skip over the spiritual aspects of their characters, but we (or I, at least) have come to expect this as the norm. This has the strange effect of making novels saturated with religion (and, to OSC's continual credit, multiple religions) seem bizarre, when in reality they most closely reflect the real world.

It's one thing to completely deny a spiritual presence in your own life, and another thing entirely to deny a perceived presence in everyone else around you.

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macnewbold
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I think a major reason why I personally identify so much with OSC's writing and his characters is that they are so much more complete in this regard, than other characters in work by other authors. There are a lot of people who are very "spiritual" or "religious", and OSC's characters don't eliminate that part of a real person's life like so many other people try to do.
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TMBG
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I love the fact that his characters' religious views embody them and everything they do. But it also ties them to Humankind on a deeper level than going to Church every Sunday.

When I read Sarah (a familiar story) I related with her and cried with her and felt so much more of a cross-the-milennia relationship than when I read about her in the Bible.

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Annie
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I don't know if I can admit this in this crowd and still be taken seriously, but I'm a big fan of Madeleine L'Engle. She wrote a book called Walking on Water about being a Christian artist. Not a maker of Christian art, but an artist who is also a Christian. Pretty insightful stuff.

I think the main point L'Engle makes, one that I heartily agree with, is that the reason we love the way certain authors exude religion without ever having to be didactic is because they actually live the deepest tenets of their faith; they are the "fundamentalists" in the sense of the term that Lynn uses. Even the best author cannot write something that does not live in his paradigm. You start with a good paradigm, a full, healthy, faithful life, and you get full, healthy, faithful literature.

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