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pcarney
June 2nd, 2003, 10:53 PM
Have you ever dealt with issues of faith and religion in your stories? Currently, I'm working on a character who is a Protestant minister whose lost their faith. But the more I work on this, the more out of depth I feel. I'm afraid the loss/recovery of faith, which I think is a powerful theme (even though I'm not religious myself), will be lost among the other parts of the story. And I have no idea what its like to loose faith, let alone regain it..well, at least not religious faith. A lot of other elements in the story are supernatural, so it would only make sense that this man would try and relate what's happening around him to God..

On the other hand, I really like the character I've come up with. He's charismatic, and I have a good feel for how he would talk and think. I guess I could just scrap the minister bit, but I want to explain his charisma and natural leadership abilities somehow...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

juzzza
June 3rd, 2003, 04:12 AM
My only suggestion is to watch 'Signs' or 'From Dusk till Dawn' both movies deal with ministers or priests losing their faith only to regain it during supernatural or other worldly phenomenon.

Holbrook
June 3rd, 2003, 04:55 AM
Loss of faith is a kin to any emotional loss. The empty feeling, being unsure of what you used to be so sure of. The inability to actually say or think, why? why was I like that, why did I lose what was so important. Why if their is a god did they allow that to happen to me. Other yes, I can reason that, but Me? The ones I care out?

Morgan
June 3rd, 2003, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by juzzza
My only suggestion is to watch 'Signs' or 'From Dusk till Dawn' both movies deal with ministers or priests losing their faith only to regain it during supernatural or other worldly phenomenon.

can I add 'The Exorcist' to that list - even though it's a catholic priest that's having the crisis...

pcarney
June 3rd, 2003, 08:00 AM
Well, its not that I can't figure how how the character will loose and regain his faith..its more that I don't know what thats like. For example, I feel much more sure when writing about gaining and losing love, now that I've done it a few times.

On the other hand, I doubt I ever will kill someone, but I feel I can write about it.

I dunno, maybe I'm just squirming because its a tough thing to write about..

Morgan
June 3rd, 2003, 08:10 AM
Originally posted by pcarney
Well, its not that I can't figure how how the character will loose and regain his faith..its more that I don't know what thats like. For example, I feel much more sure when writing about gaining and losing love, now that I've done it a few times.

On the other hand, I doubt I ever will kill someone, but I feel I can write about it.

I dunno, maybe I'm just squirming because its a tough thing to write about..

Well as far as I can remember in 'the exorcist' there's a pretty detailed scene covering that aspect of the story... if you can grab yourself a copy of it and forward to the bit where 2 priests are chatting to one another...

kgg
June 3rd, 2003, 12:04 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by pcarney
[B]Have you ever dealt with issues of faith and religion in your stories?

***I added a religious element to an Arabian Nights novel I did. There was a discussion of the problem of evil( the "if god is good and all powerful and all knowing how can evil exist?" problem).

Currently, I'm working on a character who is a Protestant minister whose lost their faith.


**to lose one's faith would be a shattering experience, leading to severe depression, anger, sadness. It would be something that would probably haunt the character at his quietest moments. It could lead him to channel his former zeal towards other areas--as you seem to be planning. I would recommend finding some essays on the subject---just to pick up some thoughts from those who actually experience it.

Just to pick up some ideas on what sorts of thoughts run through people's minds.
Check around online, I am sure you will find something.:D

KatG
June 3rd, 2003, 01:03 PM
Most fantasy stories, and a good sample of sf stories, deal with issues of faith. But I think kgg is right -- you might want to look for some essays specificially dealing with this issue. And a character who lost his faith would probably be dealing with a certain amount of depression, especially if you are going to have him find his faith again later. Most people do lose their faith after a specific tragic incident, like the loss of a loved one.

You could also try to imagine how you would feel if one of the principles you hold most dear turned out not to be true. We all have a moral compass, with or without religious faith, and that compass can be shaken by what we encounter. Some people hold on even when they are shaken, but others are beset by doubt and do not stay true to the beliefs they once held about the world and about how they should behave in it.

You may just want to let it sit for awhile and work on other parts of the story and see if your brain comes up with what you need.

choppy
June 3rd, 2003, 01:07 PM
"It's not not what happens to our characters, but how they react to their circumstances that defines them." - probably not me

What losing faith feels like to your character will depend on how he is defined. What drew him into the faith in the first place? Many relgious people grow up in a strong religious environment, but usually they reach a point in their lives where they choose whether to continue in the traditions through which they have been raised, or seek another path. (This isn't always a point either - often its a process.) Others simply feel empty without some sort of devine entity in their lives.

Those people I know with strong religious devotions are quite often strong thinkers. They have faith because they've challenged their faith both intellectually and emotionally and have concluded that it is best to incorporate faith into their lives.

Losing faith then, means losing a pillar of "truth" in one's life. For me, that would be like suddenly finding out that force does not equal mass times acceleration - a fundamental building block on which a lot of the work in my life lies.

As a minister, this character has not only chosen to incorporate faith into his (or her? - you used "their" but referred to a singular character) life, but has also chosen to be a leader. Losing faith, means he has also lost his ability to lead and to help other people.

Some people could interpret this as a "positive" experience too. Perhaps the character has always harboured a little disbelief and suddenly feels a sense of freedom because he is now unrestricted in how he can think.

Hope this helps!

pcarney
June 3rd, 2003, 01:30 PM
The way I've worked it out so far 'he' (I was a bit vague before), was a small time crook who found religion in jail, and ended up joining the ministry.

On the straight in narrow, he gets married, has a kid, but his family is killed in a car accident. He can't understand how God could do this to him, after he's come so far. I'm sure its painfully obvious that I'm drawing inspiration from Mel Gibson's character in Signs.


I've been browsing for articles on faith - all hail Google.com!

Speaking to KatG's post- the supernatural events of the story do fly in the face of what most people hold true, as at the center of it all is a god-like entity (evil, of course). I'm just wondering if throwing this guy into it will simply confirm to him that there is no God..so how does he find the faith? Although I'm not religious, I like the idea of losing and regaining faith in something, and I don't want the point of the story to be 'There is no God'.