This post was supposed to be a rant.
It was going to be a rant about how people are so easily affected or irritated or quick to criticize the presence of religious allusion in books and movies and comics.
I was going to rant about how censorship like this panel in Fullmetal Alchemist:
I was complaining about how often people complain about being “beaten over the head with the Bible”.
I got a good 500 words into the post when I realized that I was trying to force my opinion, and not in the good way.
One of the main points I was making in my rant was that complaining about an author writes to force their opinions and beliefs on the reader, religious or otherwise. The thing is, a writer chooses a theme to explore when they write a story, and that the theme is essentially the idea that they are imposing on the reader. You can’t avoid it in writing–it is a form of communication after all.
The problem with that is the message that is communicated, and I see how people would have issues with that.
And the message I was trying to communicate wasn’t the best. I was trying to prove that the glass was either half full or half empty.
But the real argument should be that the glass is two sizes too big. In other words, the big picture, the real problem.
And I was going to get there, I had planned to. But I was so focused on getting angry about the “religious banter” I didn’t want to get there as fast as I should have.
Because seeing the glass as two sizes too big is realizing that complaining about religious undertones in books like the Ender series and Harry Potter is only a small slice of the bigger problem.
The bigger problem is that people continue to focus on the the most negative points in a religion. Any religion.
The bigger problem is that people tend to point out all the flaws in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism—whatever religion you choose to believe in.
The bigger problem is that no one wants to recognize everything good that a religion advocates for.
People get mad about the “overbearing” Catholic presence in the Ender series. People complain about the Christian imagery in Harry Potter.
People never talk about how religion advocates for an all-loving god who promotes an all-loving community. They never talk about the promotion of stewardship and fidelity. They never mention how they enforce respect and the sanctity of life.
Note that none of these values are tagged to one religion.
Because a good majority of religions promote these values. Because they are good values.
And it’s these good values that beloved protagonists follow. Ender and Harry are both trying to protect the lives of innocents. Both stories deal with the importance of love.
And if that’s what religion is about—the values that make us individually as people and together as a society, good—if that is what we choose to believe, it deserves more credit.
Because that’s seeing the glass as two times too big.