Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Religion in Fiction
Ozoneocean at 4:52AM, Dec. 8, 2019
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The other day I was watching the SciFi series Andromeda and I noticed the weird space-Buddhist religion they'd set up for the show (called “the way”) and it got me thinking about all the other made up religions in fiction or how real religions are represented (in fantasy, Scifi, Contemporary settings etc).
So we did a Quackcast about it.

It was REALLY interesting it turns out.
And a lot of people left some really interesting comments about how they use religion in their comics:
https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/nov/30/quackcast-455-religion-in-fiction/



We thought it would be interesting to open this topic up and see if anyone else has stuff to say about it- ie. how you use religion in your work or if you've seen any noteworthy deceptions of religion in comics, TV, movies, games, etc?
 
Genejoke at 5:26AM, Dec. 8, 2019
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It's a funny one really, a lot of fiction makes their religion real and fantastic. Sort of like the stories of Moses and the like from the Bible. I touched on it in Lore and began to get into how people can corrupt it for their own devices.
With BASO I had a lot of ideas for handling religion in a future setting but never really used them. There would be whole star systems and civilizations ruled by the various religions. The problem would then be how would I depict the religions? Would the Catholics be full of paedophiles and the Islamics all be terrorists? It would be very easy to use bad stereo types and heavy handed real world analogues. If I ever for round to a story using that the aim would be to deal with the perceptions of the religions but bit only would it be tricky to get right I don't think it would have been a story I would want to tell.
Ozoneocean at 8:26AM, Dec. 8, 2019
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Interesting… Undermining preconceptions and stereotypes could be a good way to go.
 
BearinOz at 6:11AM, Dec. 9, 2019
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Apart from “Dune” , which used the Bene Gesserit, Orange Catholics,etc., very effectively….and given they'd overthrown computers and ‘spice’ and other substance abuse was fuelling their human ‘tech’ (for want of a better word)…. as an atheist, I find the existence of religion in futuristic - presumably scientifically advanced - civilisations rather annoying ! B-)

The fact that SO many people still believe all this superstition, just in OUR world, is annoying enough ! The fact that the most powerful nation on Earth can gleefully elect a Pence or pay their hard-earned cash to charlatan televengelists drives me bonkers with frustration !

The fact that we have a space program, quantum mechanics, advanced medical techniques…..and STILL have Flat-Earthers, Anti-Vaxxers and Creationists and other assorted brain-challenged reproducing their brainwashed genes makes me want to scream !

Haha ! - poor me B-) ….but p.s., I have NO trouble using it in pseudo-mediaeval fantasy, where playing a pain-in-the-arse paladin can be a special joy ! B-)
 
bravo1102 at 6:42AM, Dec. 9, 2019
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Heinlein was good throughout his stories with religion. He also tackled fundamentalism and how it could go to the stars instead of the Stranger in a Strange land.

I really haven't featured it in my science fiction but it is there. I've read Michael Shermer Why People Believe Weird Things and understand how people compartmentalize their beliefs and practice cognitive dissonance.

One can have great faith and still strongly practice science. Look at the staff of Vatican observatory. They're very good astronomers who balance their Catholicism and modern physics.

So the sorceresses of the Sisterhood of the Golden Goddess are also scientists conducting research and experiments.
last edited on Dec. 9, 2019 6:43AM
El Cid at 11:40AM, Dec. 9, 2019
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The character Judge Holden in Cormac McCarthy's ‘Blood Meridian’ is a brilliant scientist, fighter, dancer, an eloquent and persuasive speaker of many languages… and also a cold blooded sociopath who murders children for fun. Everyone seems to have a different interpretation of what the character represents, but to me he's a depiction of apex man without a guiding philosophy. You can have all the knowledge and education in the world and, without some internal compass to guide you, you're still just an intelligent beast.

The place of religion is something I struggled with when creating a believable universe for my space opera comic, and in the end I found it unlikely that religion would die off just because we've reached some advanced level of technological development. Religion (and philosophy) seems to serve an important role in society, even if I'm not quite smart enough to know entirely what that role is. It certainly seems the case to me that the more secular segments of society have filled that gap with any of a number of pseudo-religious belief systems, and I doubt that will ever change. People need something to believe in.

Sadly, I don't get many opportunities to focus on this in the narrative of my work itself, so it's just background flavoring. There's a religion that believes life is a simulation and they have to repeat their life over and over again until they get it right. There's a religion that takes iconography from the Cthulhu mythos to represent vast ancient cosmic forces which we have no control over, similar to how LaVeyan Satanism co-opted Christian concepts for what is essentially an atheistic neo-epicurean philosophy. It's fun to play with these ideas, but I haven't found a way to get much mileage out of them yet!
rickrudge at 10:10AM, Dec. 10, 2019
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Actually, I’m really surprised that I’ve mentioned or dealt with religion so much in my comix. In my first Tag Forester (Tag Forester, Sleazy Dick) comix the detective was working for a televangelist. In a lot of my Drako the Barbarian (especially, the No Design, No Conception) comix it’s dealing with various religions that are located around the Silk Route.

— Rick Rudge
Genejoke at 2:05AM, Dec. 11, 2019
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I agree with El Cid that religion wouldn't likely die off in the future, spirituality is a key part of humanity after all. People seem to need to have something bigger than themselves. That in itself can be a useful tool for creating fictional settings. Be it a religion based on simulation, an ancient and powerful race or even the bleak knowledge that we aren't even amoebas compared to the universe.
BearinOz at 5:57AM, Dec. 11, 2019
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Michael Shermer Why People Believe Weird Things and understand how people compartmentalize their beliefs and practice cognitive dissonance.

One can have great faith and still strongly practice science. Look at the staff of Vatican observatory. They're very good astronomers who balance their Catholicism and modern physics.

Hmmm…. I must remember this, when Australia's Pentecostal P.M. Scott Morrison (ScoMo…ScoMoses…ScoMoron…SmoKo(since recent bushfire emergency)…ScumBag - depending on facebook post) puts his “religious freedom” bill (read bigotry bill) through parliament….I HAD thought of claiming Sphagetti Monster belief, if atheism isn't allowed under it, but now I think Accolite of the Temple Of The Cognitive Dissonant has a much better ring to it ! B-)

I forget his name, but a decade or two back, one of the Vatican astronomers featured quite regularly on a science show I used to watch .

 
bravo1102 at 6:26AM, Dec. 11, 2019
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BearinOz wrote:
Michael Shermer Why People Believe Weird Things and understand how people compartmentalize their beliefs and practice cognitive dissonance.

One can have great faith and still strongly practice science. Look at the staff of Vatican observatory. They're very good astronomers who balance their Catholicism and modern physics.

Hmmm…. I must remember this, when Australia's Pentecostal P.M. Scott Morrison (ScoMo…ScoMoses…ScoMoron…SmoKo(since recent bushfire emergency)…ScumBag - depending on facebook post) puts his “religious freedom” bill (read bigotry bill) through parliament….I HAD thought of claiming Sphagetti Monster belief, if atheism isn't allowed under it, but now I think Accolite of the Temple Of The Cognitive Dissonant has a much better ring to it ! B-)

I forget his name, but a decade or two back, one of the Vatican astronomers featured quite regularly on a science show I used to watch .



In Australia it's legally acceptable to declare you religion jedi-ism.
Ozoneocean at 10:43AM, Dec. 14, 2019
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Sort off…it was a part of our census I think.
 
Socratatus at 10:08AM, July 23, 2021
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We thought it would be interesting to open this topic up and see if anyone else has stuff to say about it- ie. how you use religion in your work or if you've seen any noteworthy deceptions of religion in comics, TV, movies, games, etc?

Very interetsing topic and one I've been wrestling a fair bit with for various reasons.

Putting a real religion into an adult fantasy story is a very difficult one. It's fraught with possible problems, mostly being people getting offended…. and I'm not just talking about religious people, but non religious as well. You'd be surprised how switched off some get if you, say, put in Christianity…

My story has violence, full on nudity, even sex at some point to come. However, the way I look at it, the Bible has plenty of violence, nudity and even sex in it. It's not a timid or naive book.

I have chosen an interesting way to include real world religion as well as fantasy gods.

I'm not going to say how, however…

I know that no matter how I implement it, some are bound to be offended. But then again if I worried about offending people all the time I'd never write or draw ever.
last edited on July 23, 2021 10:13AM
bravo1102 at 2:26PM, July 23, 2021
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Why not just feature religion as experience through the characters? Their faith or lack thereof and how they see religion in their life as opposed to presenting dogma. Religion is such a varied presence in people's lives from the fundamentalists to the agnostic to the atheists.

It should be pointed out that most views of pre-modern religion is strongly colored by the Reformation and Counter Reformation and the romanticized images of the 19th century as opposed to the actual belief system of premodern peoples. What you think you know about Medieval faith is as close to what really was as Mel Brooks “The Inquisition” musical number in History of the World part One
Socratatus at 3:34AM, July 24, 2021
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bravo1102 wrote:
Why not just feature religion as experience through the characters? Their faith or lack thereof and how they see religion in their life as opposed to presenting dogma. Religion is such a varied presence in people's lives from the fundamentalists to the agnostic to the atheists.



Well yea, but some people will still act as if it's YOUR views, rather than the character's.
bravo1102 at 2:34PM, July 24, 2021
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Socratatus wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
Why not just feature religion as experience through the characters? Their faith or lack thereof and how they see religion in their life as opposed to presenting dogma. Religion is such a varied presence in people's lives from the fundamentalists to the agnostic to the atheists.



Well yea, but some people will still act as if it's YOUR views, rather than the character's.

One reason why I never put a character with my views of religion in any of my stories. ;)

That way I always have plausible deniability.
Socratatus at 5:38PM, July 24, 2021
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Socratatus wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
Why not just feature religion as experience through the characters? Their faith or lack thereof and how they see religion in their life as opposed to presenting dogma. Religion is such a varied presence in people's lives from the fundamentalists to the agnostic to the atheists.



Well yea, but some people will still act as if it's YOUR views, rather than the character's.

What I'm saying is that some people can't see that what you have put to a fictional character isn't what you personally believe.

It don't matter, I'll do it anyway.
bravo1102 at 2:21AM, July 25, 2021
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One of my favorite reading topics is the history of religion. So I've developed a cosmology to use in my stories based on that reading. It's incredibly sacrilegious and twisted, but it doesn't reflect my own personal beliefs.

Plausible deniabilty. One of my favorite depictions of religion was Erik the Viking co written by Terry Jones. He knew literature, mythology and the Medieval period. So whereas the Vikings see Valhalla and the Norse gods and interact with them, the Christian sees nothing because that's how belief systems work. There's also the sequence with Hy-Brasil. It's great satire. And that's how I approach it. Satire but if you have faith it can and will get you through the worst of everything. What that faith is in is up to you.

In a poll asking “what do you believe in?” Americans said “God”. Scandinavian people especially those in Iceland said “Myself”

Socratatus at 8:09AM, July 25, 2021
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Haha! I do have a Book of Mythology that helps me mix and match a few things.

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