I’m going to start the post by stating that I am an open-minded person, and I personally don’t mind what religious beliefs a person has. I respect that not everybody thinks the same as I do. The reason why I’m discussing opinions on religious characters in literature, is because I’ve recently read a book where religion really affected my opinion of the book. I want to know if you feel the same way, or how religion affects you in literature. I don’t mind religious characters, but in the particular book, I felt like the religion was constantly forced upon the reader. Most of the time, I don’t mind if a book has religious characters. It is when it is written in a way in which the given religion is presented as fact or appears to have an agenda that I have an issue with it.
It got me thinking about different ways religion is used in books, and how sometimes it’s not always effective. I think a big bug bear for many readers is hypocritical religious characters. You know the sort, those that are highly religious, but do something completely against their morals and values (by the way, hypocritical characters as a whole really annoy me, not just those that are religious). Take the famous The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The townspeople force Hester to wear an “A” for adultery, forgetting that forgiveness is part of their Christian beliefs. Something like this grates on me, but then I think on the other hand, not every Christian practices every value identically.
Some might say, that there is a lack of religion in Young Adult literature. Is this because it turns people off? Is it not marketable? Is it because I don’t read a lot of religious based books that I find it hard to connect with?
Books written before the 20th Century seem to be much more religious. They’re a stereotypical ‘good’ family who attend church regularly. The children in the stories look to their parents for guidance. It seems to be completely different now. Religion doesn’t seem to have a place as much in YA literature. I think those looking for religion in literature have to look to specific religious publishing companies. I wonder if this affects those looking for some guidance. Does religion seem undervalued in popular YA reads? Replacing God seems to be more fantastical characters like vampires/werewolves. I guess some might say that God is fantastical?