it wasn’t sci-fi. The novel was about a man who was addicted to a substance and divorced (his addiction was what had caused the divorce). In many ways it was a romance. I shopped it around to many of the Christian publishers and got some positive feedback except that they wouldn’t publish anything where the character was divorced. I tried to tell them I wasn’t promoting divorce but trying to show the consequences of the addiction and God’s forgiveness, but no go.
Which also brings up the question of who we’re writing for. If we’re writing for Christians who will only be reading Christian-Publisher-Books, then we better keep to the Publisher guide lines. If, however, we’re trying to spark some discussion among a broader base—or just telling a good ol’ yarn that happens to consist of characters who are Christians—I think we tell the story the best way we can, even if that means including some stuff Thomas Nelson’s not going to allow.
Another of my novels—the only one (so far!) to have met with anything like success (having sold a few hundred copies and not gotten me in the red)—was turned down by some Christian publishers because no one in it became a Christian. Everyone in it either started as a Christian and stayed one or started as a non-believer and stayed that way. I argued that that was because the story wasn’t about conversion it was about time travel (which happened to involve some Christians) but they wanted the story to cause some sort of spiritual epiphany for the principles.
On final note (from me): Publishers are certainly free to print what they want. I think some of their rules (in both secular and Christian publishing) are stifling, but that’s what they way. On the other hand, I’m also of the believe that a good enough artist can create a masterpiece with nothing but a piece of charcoal on a rock; so a good enough artist (which I probably am not) could create a masterpiece—or at least a work of art that meets the artist’s approval—even with the constrictions of these picky publishers. As with my comic strip, I have told people before that I’m not trying to push envelopes; I’m trying to see just how far I can withdraw into the envelope and still be funny.
Thanks for including me!
Happy to do it. Anyone else got any insights?
One can get around those limitations by writing the best story he can with the talent God has given him. "All books are lawful, but not all books are profitable"... or something like that....
I'm baffled by the conflicts between science and religion, and for me, as a religious Jew and a serious student of the Hebrew Bible as well as a lover of science, I honestly cannot see a conflict. First of all, science is a process, not a dogma. I think that science is a way of examining the language of God, and that with every discovery of the miracles of creation, the arguments for faith are strengthened. When I study Torah or when I examine nature, I am humbled and awed; this world view in which you think you know exactly how God did it, case closed, makes for a very small and unimpressive God. What I see in DNA and black holes is Ha Gadol, Ha Gibor, v Ha Norah--the Great, the Mighty, the Awesome God! Incomprehensible but intensely personal! I simple do not understand the Greek model of God as an impulsive, predictable limited Titan.
So, I think, since all things are possible to the God of the Hebrew scriptures, no speculation can be outside the realm of possibility and no thought can threaten God's sovereignty.
The sin lies in the commandment against taking God's name in vain, which does not mean just colorful language, but is a prohibition against speaking FOR God. "God says you are damned!" That's a no-no.
But as long as the work is consistent with the values at the heart of Christianity or any other faith for that matter, the life affirming values that God has given as a gift to the world--justice, compassion, humility---then there is nothing objectionable about it, no more than there is in a Renaissance painting on an imagined Biblical scene.
No bad piece of fiction will shake my faith and I'm concerned for those for whom it would.
Science creates change, change changes things, like cherished traditions, that people don't to have changed. All forms of fiction could