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Customer Discussions > Religious Fiction forum

what classfies a book as religious ficion

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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 23, 2006 7:32:20 AM PDT
Sally Smith says:
I wonder after i read Hell on Earth by Augustine Constantine. It seems to fit a factual based on a true story but a lot ofpeople might consider it fiction because of all the horrific hings he said he encountered. So i wonder what exactly is religious fiction and if anyone has read the book what classification would they put this book under

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2006 4:24:14 PM PST
an excerpt from a review for The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling the Christian Novel:
>>Christian, or evangelical, fiction isn't just about characters who "pray, preach and sing gospel songs," says Penelope J. Stokes. It's about "living, breathing spiritual beings who grapple with the hard questions of life and find ... hope in the reality of God's presence in the world<<

Personally, i think for something to be religious fiction, it has to make religion the main theme of the book, people struggling to find *god* or mad @ *god*, or finding *god*

Not even really knows what to classify as religious fiction...see:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2006 1:47:15 PM PST
Mrs. Garside says:
Can you give an example of a book where religion is the 'main theme'? (Don't give the 'Left Behind' books) I would certainly call 'The Brothers Karamozov' and 'Kristin Lavransdatter' religious fiction, maybe even Evelyn Waugh's 'Sword of Honor' trilogy, but you probably won't find those novels at your local Chrisitan bookstore.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2006 9:15:18 PM PST
M. Fuller says:
The Bishop of Souls by Mike Fuller
sincerest apologies for self-promotion

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2006 2:14:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2006 2:15:43 PM PST
Another is my recent book, "When The Roses Bloom"
by Alfred James Phillips. And forgive me as well, but it is a prime example of historical fiction written as a Christian novel.
A.J. Phillips

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2007 7:33:11 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 20, 2007 1:30:44 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2007 10:59:47 AM PST
Yes I think I can, Ted Dekkers Circle Trilogy Black, Red en White. You can find these books at your local christian book store.
Best regards Mirjam de Joode-The Netherlands

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2007 12:36:44 PM PST
Carl F. Neal says:
Hmmm, while I think your reply does hit on one aspect of "religious fiction", it basicially misses the boat. The question wasn't about "Christian Fiction" but rather of "religious fiction".

There are many religions beyond Christianity and there is fiction written for most of them as well. I would think that each religion would write a different definition than the one you've presented.

I think defining this genre is very difficult. Argueably, any work of fiction with an important religious aspect to it could fit the category. While the Christian fiction genre has taken off ad nasium, there are many others as well. I would even say that the world's first novel ("The Tale Of Genji") had some significant religious themes and details to it.

But does that make it religious fiction? It's a good question. My personal view is that a book might be considered religious fiction as long as one of the themes of the book is religious awakening or conversion. In one sense, then, "Illusions" would have to be religious fiction. For me, a book has to make an active attempt to bring religion to the forefront of the conversation to qualify. I can see other perspectives as well, but that makes the most sense to me. A book that has a lot of religious activity in it (e.g. "Holy Blood, Holy Grail") isn't by default religious fiction. When religion becomes a primary tool by the author or conversion/enlightenment is a key theme, then it becomes religious fiction.

The Pagan world has a growing list of these types of books. There has certainly been Christian fiction for many years (I still remember reading Christian fiction as a kid in the early 1970's). If you consider the success of the poorly written "Left Behind" series as any indication, many people will read religious fiction (only from their own religion, of course) regardless of how terribly written it is simply to avoid any chance of reading outside of their core constiutents. Guess it keeps them from questioning their beliefs if everything they read simply reinforces what they were taught on Sunday.

My question would have to be, are there any good religious fiction works out there, especially that are not Christian-oriented?

The Christian fiction I've read is quite poor. Poorly written, little in the way of plot, the plot that is there is highly predictable, and it is all such a pale attempt that I haven't found any worth reading. I can't say that the Pagan fiction I've read is any better.

Perhaps when teaching about a religious perspective, thinnly veiled as fiction, authors aren't able to bring good stories to life. Perhaps those who write this style of fiction simply do not have the same skill level as other fiction writers, perhaps the genre itself is a failed proposition, or perhaps I just haven't been exposed to the good religious fiction that's out there. Possibly this genre has been inherited by writers who target readers with low expectations or low reading skills - that might explain the lack of quality as well.

Perhaps I need to try my hand at writing some religious fiction. Not fair to denigrate others when I've never experienced the difficulties of production in this genre myself.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2007 7:57:52 AM PST
Ram Sam says:
Just finished "cage of Stars" by Jacquelyn Mitchard, and it qualifies as religious fiction by the standards- it is an intense read, written from the view of a young Mormon girl , and while she hits the mark a few times on Mormonism, it was still ultimately very thought provoking.

Why is it easier for some to forgive than others? Does forgiveness include knowing justice has been met? Does redemption from a past that haunts you only come after justice has served it's purpose, and can a person take justice into their own hands?

While this is more of a coming of age book that still fits in the bounds of Womens Lit I can say it has a lot of religion to pull it along- for it is the very core of the heroine.

An interesting read, no less.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2007 4:11:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2007 4:13:09 PM PDT
Maggie Anton says:
Thanks for mentioning non-Christian religious fiction. Frankly, my "Rashi's Daughters" trilogy, which takes place in the household of the great medieval Jewish scholar, is full of religion - from medieval Jewish rituals, some of which we still practice today, to how to study Talmud.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2007 3:18:22 PM PDT
Susan says:
Hi Margaret. The Encounter by Susan Grogan available on Amazon

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2007 5:02:24 AM PDT
Nicole Hand says:
Try "Ivy's Dilemma"... Good Christian Fiction read.

Posted on Feb 26, 2010 11:39:53 PM PST
L.A.Books says:
While agreeing (for the most part) with Carl F. Neal's comments, I would like to add that anything - any part - of the novel or story that uses religion as the main plot or one of the stronger sub-plots, could be considered religious fiction. I especially agree that there seems to be confusion between 'religious fiction' and 'christian fiction'. For me, the former need not be pro religion or espouse a particular religion's norms/beliefs. How about a thriller that uses historical characters with strong religious influences or confluences? Something like, "The Wages of Sin", a story about John the Baptist hiding his homosexuality? Maybe Mohammad, as the commanding general of a huge army devising a religion in order to subjugate his conquered peoples? Religious Thriller? Dan Brown - Religious fiction, thriller - what?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 12:15:49 AM PST
L.A.Books says:
Mike - Why apologize for promoting your own work? I'm glad you did because now I know to go look for it...;o).

I guarantee that when mine comes out next year, I'll be promoting the hell out of fact, I'm gonna start doing that in about six months! Lex

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 4:30:10 PM PST
Cornboy says:
I think religion, or more precisely "faith," is the overriding theme of all my work--I don't see how any novel can not have some sort of spiritual content or purpose, because humans don't operate in a vacuum. Even atheists are probably likely to make some reference to a higher being, even if it's to ridicule a person of faith. In my Kindle novels The Skull Ring and The Red Church, the characters' journeys of faith in extraordinary or supernatural occurrences are one of the more interesting parts of the story to me. You can find religious or spiritual elements in a vast array of fiction, from King and Koontz to "The Lovely Bones."

Scott Nicholson
Burial To Follow

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 1:13:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2010 1:15:43 AM PDT
bandcandy says:
I found this discussion very interesting as I've been looking for a thread which encourages the discussion of books in which religion is an important element without being didactic in nature or falling specifically within the category of Christian fiction. For example; Philip Pullman's books undoubtedly have religion as their central theme, but might sit uncomfortably in a Christian category - but they certainly act as a stimulus for religious discussion. My book, A Great Forsaking follows the fortunes of the two charismatic leaders of The Christian Socialist Party - Alan Shaw and Thomas Starkey - who are forced to reassess their beliefs when a catastrophe more than decimates the population of England. Both men interpret events very differently and this leads to a showdown more medieval than modern in nature. The book is intended to be thought provoking and to raise questions rather than offer any answers.
Also nice to see members here encouraging authors to introduce their own work. Thankyou.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2010 12:20:02 PM PDT
The Day Time was HackedThe Day Time was Hacked By James L. Woolridge:
This review is from: The Day Time was Hacked (Kindle Edition)
Well,it is! It is sci-fi time travel but done soo much better than most you will read. Carel Mackenbach from the Netherlands weaves a great story that ranges from religion. sci-fi, intrigue and adventure running to a great conclusion. I recommend this book to none sci-fi people, you will enjoy it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2011 5:41:31 AM PST
I don't think religion has to be the main theme of a religious or Christian book. That is very limiting for authors and readers.

To my mind, novel with a Christian worldview has to be just that, one that deals in concepts of God's love, grace, mercy and His way of giving second chances...redemption.

I don't thinkt he novel has to have a Christian hero or heroine although it should have some positive Christian characters. It can also have some very negative and unlikable Christian characters. We have those in every church, why not in Christian novels.

I was very taken with J. Mark Bertrand's Back on Murder. It's hero, Detective Roland March, isn't a Christian, he doesn't become a Christian by the end of the book. He's had a tragedy that has almost completely derailed his life, the death of his son due to a drunk driver. He became apathetic in his job as a homicide detective and was demoted. Now he's given a chance to get back on murder and he's got a new partner, a Christian detective. He notices her figure a lot. She's attractive. He doesn't oogle, but he looks. He loves his wife, but the sex has gotten routine. He does ask some very early questions of his Christian partner...the ones a person asks when they are just starting to think this God thing might be deeper than originally thought. He's far, far from giving himself to God by the end of the book, but he's got a small chink in his hard shell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2011 5:46:17 AM PST
I'm not familiar with The Wages of Sin, and we can say that anyone was homosexual, but I don't think there's any historical proof or even a suggestion that John the Baptist was homosexual. He didn't succum to the sexual advances of the Queen's daughter. That doesn't make him a homosexual.

Posted on Jan 7, 2012 1:26:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2012 1:37:50 PM PST
Linda says:
My husband published his first novel "Woman of Courage" by David Tadlock. This book deals with events and actions that we face in life .The most important thing is that half the profits go to fight against cancer. To see more of his writings go to his web page This book is a great read. God Bless!

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 7:16:24 AM PDT
Bryn Jones says:
Interesting discussion. I agree that "religious" fiction should be inclusive of all religions, including paganism, humanism, wicka...

As a Christian, I recognize that my writing will be inherently imbued with a Christian world-view. I think Dekker tends to go the "theme" route without being specific with Bible verses. Others in the Christian market, like Steven James don't make any reference to God or Christianity. So, I'm not sure why he's categorized as such. I'm not even sure if he writes with an inherently Christian world view.

Dean Koontz, however, though he's general market, tends to have a lot of Christian world-view in his books.

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 9:31:51 AM PDT
colossal says:
I host book discussions at our church and do book reviews for church librarians newsletter, so I read a lot of secular and Christian books. I also have read Dekker and think he is out for the shock value to win us to Christ. I have done book reviews on Steven James and can not see anything Christian about his books, yes I know he writes non-fiction Christian books for the market. He is no different than Patricia Cornwell as far as I can see. My favorite Christian authors are Robert Whitlow, Francine Rivers and Jane Kirkpatrick, although some times I think they could leave out a few of their religious references. Dean Koontz is often violent, and that old good versus evil argument for such violence doesn't wash with me. I am trying to get my readers to choose books where we can learn some values of living and apply them in our Christian walk.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2012 8:44:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2012 8:52:28 AM PDT
Craig says:
wow mom
One Nation Under?: Das unheimliche

I would consider the following Christian Fiction and like the books that all of you have already mentioned,the main theme of these books is based upon religious principles and actions. The main characters come into contact with beings of both Heavenly and Demonic realms to pursue their life's mission which is to bring the world back from the brink of spiritual extinction. I believe that he has a grasp of the tried and true and also dabbles in unrelated concepts such as race, national pride, secret agendas, and so on and so forth. He is a new author, but I think once more people read his books he will be regarded as one of the most beneficial writers to come out of Michigan in a longtime. I just found out about this series from a co-worker and I cannot wait to see where he goes next with his next book.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 6:37:22 AM PDT
The Mosaic: A Novel of Revolt Against the Righteous

Here's one you will probably never find in a Christian bookstore, but should. It portrays a group of people living in a futuristic theocratic America, and contains all sorts of dilemmas, heroic characters and suspense. Just came out, and 5.99 on Kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 10:45:18 PM PDT
For me personally, I think that the distinction has more to do with the author's intent and the underlying themes than anything. My Dad reads a lot of "Christian fiction" and complains about books where the only Christian thing about them seems to be the fact that there's no swearing and maybe some reference about the protagonist going to church or something. There's a threat running through any sort of creative form - music, fiction, painting, whatever - where certain people with a religious upbringing probably don't have the talent to compete against the scarier world of mainstream, "secular" artists and so try making a buck or two off the smaller (and less discerning - as a stereotype?) audience looking for religious titles. Like Katy Perry, who originally released a Christian album under her birth name of Katy Hudson, the moment that any sort of success sniffs around, the original religious focus goes out the window. It was just a means to an end.

So, back to motive. As a Christian, when I write, I use it as a creative outlet but also at the back (or front of my mind) is my desire to glorify God and to point people toward Christ, or to inspire Christians to action or something of the sort. If He is the biggest thing in my life, then it makes sense that most of what I have to say has something to do with Him. It doesn't matter to me what I'm doing: writing for the stage, messing around with silly poetry or working on a short story or novel. Because God is the focus of my life, it comes out in a big way. My mind didn't use to work like this, but now it does. It's not that I don't believe in art for art's sake - I do, and I think that God is creative and is the Creator of art and the artistry in us - but if what I read in the Bible is true, and I mean heaven and hell and all of it, if I believe that, then I feel like I have a higher purpose than just spinning a good yarn. Don't get me wrong: I try very hard to tell good stories. . .I'm trying to glorify Him with my gifts and talents and that means telling the best story I can. If I don't write well then I should just screw around on the word processor from time to time as a hobby but it can't be a ministry for me.

I know the question was about any religion and not just Christianity, but I've just written about what I know. I think it applies. I also apologize for the whole "I'm an author blah blah blah" thing. It just seemed like the best way to put in my two cents. And I just realized that this is a six year old post so I don't even know how I stumbled into this or why I'm responding. I think that if the author is using this fiction as a means to proselytize or glorify whatever god or belief structure they believe in, then it's religious fiction. Beyond that, obviously, if there are strong religious themes, even if written by an atheist or agnostic, then I'd consider that religious fiction as well. That's what I think.
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Discussion in:  Religious Fiction forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  27
Initial post:  Aug 23, 2006
Latest post:  Jul 17, 2012

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