…lack of books where characters consider faith or religion but decide against it for one reason or another.
Rejecting faith is a part of the faith experience like embracing it so do you know of any books where the characters have considered faith and rejected it?
That question probably divides differently along religious and traditional market lines. Portrayal of “faith experience” in the general market can be as stereotypical as that of the Christian market. The conversion-to-rejection rate of the characters no doubt bears that out. Nevertheless, in the Christian market, I think it’s safe to say, “there’s a lack of books where characters consider faith or religion but decide against it for one reason or another.” In other words, most main characters in Christian fiction who are confronted with faith, inevitably “accept” it.
Admittedly, I don’t read enough Christian fiction to comment authoritatively on the actual percentage of conversion-to-rejection ratio of characters. However, the majority of Christian fiction I have read does include — in fact, center around — some form of “conversion,” whether it be a backslider returning to the faith or a seeker discovering it. So I think it’s safe to say that conversion scenes and/or conversion processes are one of the earmarks of Christian fiction.
This conversation fascinates me for several reasons. For one, as Amy mentions, “Rejecting faith is a part of the faith experience.” So why don’t we see more “faith rejection” in Christian fiction?Are we afraid to show someone (albeit fictionally) deciding against the religion we defend?
The second has to do with my debut novel. What I’m about to say may require a minor spoiler alert. So be forewarned. But a central character in The Resurrection, after rigorous “Christian evidence,” remains largely agnostic. While conversion is an issue throughout the story, it is unresolved in this character’s case. After much thought, I believed that ambiguity was so true to the character and so integral to the story, that I could not remove it. When my publisher approached me about edits, I was prepared to concede a lot… but not that. If my editor asked me to convert this character, I would have refused. Which is one of the reasons I am so thankful that Strang let me tell that story.
Anyway, I’m interested in your take in that conversation. Do you agree that most characters in Christian fiction who are confronted with faith, inevitably “accept” it? And if not, can you name some Christian fiction books that don’t?