Influence of Faith in Novels

I am going to go out on a limb here in the hopes of learning from fellow authors and readers.  If you read that a novel was influenced by Christian, Jewish or Islamic faith, would you immediately discard reading the book?  The reason I ask this is that many stories have elements of faith embedded in the story, whether allegorically or intentional.  Would the writers faith in something greater than himself be a turnoff?  Would a story embedded with familiarity to stories of faith prevent you from reading the story?

In the year 2000 I began a quest to develop my own mythology similar to the one created by J.R.R. Tolkien.  He is the inspiration for creating this entire premise of mine.  Yet, while talking to some friends about movies, one friend made a comment that gave me much thought.  Many stories present evil. They give evil a name or they give it a persona.  Yet, the source of good is usually benign, or comes only within a person’s mind.  What is wrong with a story that actually refers to a creator as the source of life and goodness?

In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, the first nine chapters will bear striking resemblance to the book of Genesis.  Why?  First, the book of Genesis is read by three of the worlds great religions.  It brings familiarity quickly to the story.  Because Genesis is the creation story, it sets the scene for all that follows, the introduction of evil into the world, the telling of history and the line of prophets.

Yet many who have read Genesis rarely ask enough questions.  For example, when Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, why were Cherubims sent to guard the eastern entrance with flaming swords?  Why is the tree of life mentioned in Genesis and then again Revelations?  Who were the watchers that bred with human women? Who and what are the Nephilim?  Per Genesis: “They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Why are the undead brought back to life in the final battle of good versus evil at Armageddon?  Who was Enoch and why did God take him from Earth without experiencing death? Why were certain stories included and excluded from books of faith?  I wanted to embed some of these same elements into the first nine chapters so that they reader will ask “What does this have to do with the story?”  The answer is that you must be patient and finish the trilogy.

These intriguing questions led me to the development of a story that would rival the Lord of the Rings in scale.  I will never be on the same level of Tolkien, but I will give a reader a challenging and entertaining read.  What is our purpose in life and death?  How is evil created?  The interpretations are vast.  In my trilogy and in the subsequent “chronicles” I will attempt to create a mythology that has answers.  My stories have been labeled by some as “Christian Stealth”, yet Christians I know say it so unchristian like.  Go figure, damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

My stories are not meant to convert anyone or change the faith they already have.  They are simply stories of the interaction of mortals and immortals, good versus evil, of love, family, war and dealing with our own weaknesses and immortality.  One of my favorite works of literature is John Milton’s Paradise Lost where the Archangel Michael gives Adam a vision of the future. Or, Dante’s Inferno which gives us an idea of what hell would be like.  As influential as these stories are to my mythology, so are Pagan stories such as Greek and Roman mythologies.

So if the title of the book scares you off and you are unwilling to invest time in the first nine chapters, then you should not give my books any consideration.  If you love a series of stories, one more exciting than the previous, that requires thought and contemplation of questions no one can truly answer, then you will find the story well worth your effort.

So what story have you read or movie have you watched lately that incorporates faith in an entertaining fashion, without being preachy?

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