Updated: How to put religious themes in a fantasy novel?
I'm posting this question again updated because I got the stereo typical answer of Read Narnia. And I did consider mentioning that I don't want to what C S Lewis did which is make other characters that act out a "religious" story. The faerie queen by spenser I believe is also a religious allegory and as great as those novels are I don't want to make characters that will stand in as God in the story. Which I actually mentioned in my original question:
Since I'm religious I don't like the idea of mixing what is fiction with what is fact.
However I do love writing fantasy stories and would like my novels to have a meaningful life lesson in it. This is easy when it comes to other genres because it's based in the real world so you can always imbue your character learning about the light at the end of the tunnel.
But in a fantasy story you can't just make up a god and put the same teachings in bc it's not The God.
- 11 months agoFavourite answer
Any way you like.
You mention C S Lewis, who laid on allegory with a trowel. An other you might consider is J R R Tolkien. His religious symbolism is more subtle, but he's on record as saying (in one of his letters - I forget to whom) that he regarded The Lord of the Rings not only as a Christian book, but a Catholic one, and that without his faith he couldn't have written the book in the same way.
- VerityLv 711 months ago
Have you ever read Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle?" It's about a completely fictional religion.
Still, a great work of science fiction.
- MarliLv 711 months ago
I admit you have me stymied. How does one put "The God" into a fantasy novel whose world He did not create - or whose world does not acknowledge Him as its creator? Some people here might disagree or scoff when I say that "The God" deals with worlds that exist, not fictional ones that do not.
I would say with the others that moral themes common to most if not all religions are the themes you can use. "Love one another as God loves you." "Revere your Creator by following His [or Her or Their] commandments". "Thou shalt not steal" "Thou shalt not covet." "To unto others as you would have them do unto you." or at least "Do no one harm." You can have your believer interacting [evangelizing? proselytizing?] with the non-believer characters.
A few Christian saints of the early Middle Ages seem to have escaped from the bellies of dragons, a la Jonah from the Great Fish.
I searched my library's catalogue using "Christian fantasy" and it gave me a few books about understanding Narnia and redemptive themes to be found in Tolkein's books and the Harry Potter series. I note almost all are "reference only", which means that they are in our two research libraries and thus not considered of interest to the general library user. Still, your own library system may be able to get you copies if you think it worthwhile to see what they have to say about interpreting the Christian message through fantasy and allegory.
- AndrewLv 711 months ago
Judging by this question and the accompanying information you've included, it's plain to see that there is no simple answer and no one specific direction for you to take with your story. You see, you're creating problems for yourself that don't exist. Novels are works of fiction. Writing fantasy means that you can incorporate anything you're capable of imagining. You claim that your dilemma is that you can't figure out how to blend the tenets of your faith with the fantastical. Well, then don't. It's that simple. There are heaps of books out there that are chock full of moral lessons that don't focus on Christianity. If you want to incorporate religion into your story but you don't want to write about Christianity and you don't want to devise your own fictitious set of beliefs, what answer do you want? You want to swim across a lake but you don't want to get wet. Impossible. Here's what you do: save the moral lessons for authors who demonstrate greater flexibility and write something else.
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- VoelvenLv 711 months ago
The way I see it you can either keep your God as you believe in him in your story without making any religious allegories, or remove the religious aspect completely and just focus on life lessons and your characters' moral values.
- bluebellbkkLv 711 months ago
As you don't want to do it the way other successful religious writers have done, obviously it's up to you to find your own way.
Surely you must have noticed that all the great world religions share some core beliefs, namely that it's wrong (or displeases your god: whatever you prefer) to murder, steal and lie. I don't see why your fictional god figure shouldn't stick to those very basic commands.
- Anonymous11 months ago
As it is all fiction and no facts it won't make any difference.