PDA

View Full Version : Understanding & Writing From Other Religious Perspectives.



RichardGarfinkle
07-08-2012, 06:17 PM
Many writers find it hard to get into the minds of characters whose religions (or lack thereof) are different from theirs.

It struck me that we might get some use out of a thread designed for members to ask questions of others with different religions in order to get that necessary understanding.

Obviously, this kind of thread can be risky because the questions need to be respectfully formulated and the answers seriously given.

So a good question would be, "What do (members of religion x) think about y?"

A bad one would be, "How can you (meaning members of religion x) think z about y?"

A really bad one would be, "How can members of religion x be so stupid as to not understand y?"

A real non-question would be, "If only members of religion x would understand y they would join religion z (or abandon religion x)."

This is not a thread for evangelizing or tearing into religions (indeed, this isn't a board for that). It's a thread for expanding the ranges of characters we as writers can create by adding enough understanding of various religions to our repertoires of character mind-sets.

ColoradoGuy
07-08-2012, 09:55 PM
Good question. Empathy for one's characters is a good quality for any author. Understanding is an important part of that.

Teinz
07-15-2012, 04:21 PM
I agree with you on questions 3 and 4. I've seen and heard my fair share of them. I'm probably guilty myself aswell.

But question number 2 can be very relevant, right? Especially in the light of the ending of your post.



A bad one would be, "How can you (meaning members of religion x) think z about y?"

This is not a thread for evangelizing or tearing into religions (indeed, this isn't a board for that). It's a thread for expanding the ranges of characters we as writers can create by adding enough understanding of various religions to our repertoires of character mind-sets.

For instance, let's take religious violence as an example. The question would then be: "How can followers of a certain religion think it's okay to use violence against the followers of another?"

I think this type of question can delve into the mechanics behind the violence. What is it that makes "the other" fair game, while violence within the own group is mostly frowned upon? Wat does scripture or the clergy say about it? What in people's upbringing, worldview or psychology enables them to do something horrific but at the same time see it as benificial or even morally good?

So, I guess in this case the question is not meant to judge, it's meant as a learning tool. Sometimes these type of questions do tear into religion and not exactly in a kind way. But what we learn can be very useful when it comes to understanding.

What do you think?