The Question of God in Young Adult Fiction

by First Mate Keira

One of the saddest things for me in fiction today is how God is treated. If you’re not a Christian fiction novel you’re an atheist. It comes up unexpectedly in text and it really bugs me because it always seems to me like evangelizing others to not believe in God too. It’s in more books than I care for and it really irks me.

Why is being an atheist cool but believing in God is not cool?

Why is it okay to preach God doesn’t exist, and not that He does exist?

Why is this anti-religion movement so prevalent? Why cater to a small minority of readers? Is it because authors/publishers think being an atheist isn’t offensive? Is it because they are atheists themselves?

Do authors/publishers think kids don’t believe in God? How is this possible? Or that the ones who do, shouldn’t?

Can’t authors at least have the characters agnostic? That way they avoid the denomination conundrum. Believing in God doesn’t automatically make you a religious nutcase or an evangelical psycho.

Why does Christian fiction have the connotation of being preachy when the plethora of anti-religious viewpoints gets away without comment?

I think the constant bombardment of this anti-God mentality needs to stop. If you can’t bring God up in the novel without:

a) having a character scoff at His existence

b) having a faux logical conversation between characters as proof He doesn’t exist

OR

c) having a character say they used to until X happened to them

Please don’t bring up God at all.

Over half of the time it’s a pointless bit of dialogue or mental narration. It adds nothing to the story, and doesn’t do anything but make the character more inaccessible.

Even atheists shout curses and sing praises. They might not know it, but they do. It’s part of English vernacular and culture. It’s too engrained to give up cursing a stubbed toe or saying hallelujah the light at the intersection finally turned green. Who are they talking to if not to God?

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3 Comments

  1. I so agree! I and many of my fellow writers on Authonomy have written books that feature our faith. We believe there’s a market for books that show Christians behaving like Christians. Luckily, if we can’t find a publisher that understands this, we all know we can self-publish.

  2. Oh for goodness sake, there are 10 times the number of books that talk about God all the time, whether in passing comment or wholehearted conversations no matter what fiction i read. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, whether as an atheist I’M offended at the mention of God all the time, is beside the point. I don’t complain or preach about how ‘unfair’ it all is other people think differently. I suggest you deal with it like everyone else.

  3. Robert M. Starr

    I found Audrey’s link to your blog on Authonomy’s site. I am self-published for many of the reasons you and Audrey mention. The following is something I wrote in answer to similar questions on Authonomy:

    I write Christian fiction intentionally aimed at Christian readers who want to be entertained by stories of characters they can identify with. Many, perhaps most, of my characters are unashamedly and intentionally Christian; none are perfect, but they are striving to grow. I’m not trying to write The Great American Novel. I’m simply trying to entertain people who have strong beliefs and have grown tired of public media growing more profane with the passing of time.

    When I was a child, there might not have been much of a market for ‘Christian’ entertainment, because most everything was ‘family-oriented’ and ‘wholesome.’ Movies were actually censored; television had ‘roll model’ parents and well-behaved children, and the library was full of clean, wholesome books suitable for children. Sports stories were about ‘heroes’ who played by the rules.

    Now we have coaches teaching players how to get away with cheating. We have parents screaming at their children from the stands, cursing the officials and the kids, as if a dropped ball was going to cost a world championship. Yet we can’t have winners and losers; everyone gets a trophy lest someone’s self-esteem be damaged. Writers I loved as a young man are now writing stories I don’t care to read. In the new breed of ‘family’ television, Dad always seems to be an idiot; Mom mostly runs things, but she isn’t smart enough to outwit the kids, who seem to be the only ones who ‘really’ know anything. Movies have become so profane, that it has become difficult for me to find anything I care to see (Sony has actually begun making Christian-themed films and is profiting from it, and I’m working on converting one of my novels into a screenplay to submit to them).

    My point is simply that the world has changed in my lifetime; I view some of the changes as bad. I’m not trying to be a missionary through writing (maybe, I should). I’m not trying to be offensive (my books are clearly labeled ‘Christian,’ so there is no attempt at deceit). I don’t read books I find offensive; I’m not asking anyone who finds my beliefs offensive to read my books. I’m simply trying to entertain people who like to read the kind of stories I like to read. Sports writers write about sports; Christian writers write about Christ.

    I’m a Christian writer,

    Robert

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