Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yes, I AM Trying to Convert You

But not in the way you think.

A recent book review and an email conversation I had with a potential reviewer gave me some food for thought regarding the religious themes in The Blessed Man and the Witch.  Obviously, a book about Armageddon with Heaven and Hell battling it out through proxies on Earth is going to touch on religion, and it's entirely natural to consider my intent as an author.  I even go so far as to mention Jesus Christ as the Savior, which can be considered a questionable, even dangerous path to go on: many readers are entirely turned off by even the smallest hint of proselytizing in their fiction.  If it's easy to slam the door on Jehovah's Witnesses, it's even easier to close a book.  So am I trying to push religion on you?

Of course not.  Not even a little bit.

But any portrayal of religious faith needs to get in there, if it wants to have any teeth.  It has to go where you might be a little uncomfortable.  It has to raise some questions, even if it doesn't try to answer them (or doesn't answer them to your individual satisfaction).  I know that nice people don't talk politics or religion at the dinner table, but we're not at the dinner table.  The Blessed Man and the Witch is about a Biblical apocalypse, and for it to be relevant and credible, it had to go to those uncomfortable places.  And its sequel will, also.

Your religion, faith, or personal belief system is yours alone, and I respect it.  I hope, however, that my going to places where we have to ask what Jesus might mean to the antediluvian Grigori doesn't turn you off.  We can talk about these things, you know.  It's okay.  And just because Jesus is the Son of God in a novel, it doesn't mean I think He is, or that I want you to think He is outside of the novel.

So if I'm trying to convert you, let's just say I'm trying to get you to see that my intent with the series is to show Western religious traditions respectfully, realistically, and without personal bias.

TL;DR: I'm not trying to get you to read the Bible.

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