Religion In Romance Novels

This is a topic I´m not all too happy to write about because… Well, there are topics you just don´t discuss. Sadly though, I feel the need to get this off my chest.

Back in the day my first boss gave me some valuable piece of advice:

Never talk about religion, politics or money with a customer. Later in life I added the “raising kids” topic to that list because that´s also something people can easily argue over. A simple fact. I´ve lived by the “Never Discuss….” rule ever since.

 

After a happy shopping spree on Amazon I spotted a beautiful book cover with a great book title. When I saw the author´s name my excitement grew. Mia Sheridan.

more than words

One of my favorite romance authors published a new book! `More Than Words` was published June 12th! WOOP!

I didn´t hesitate with reading a few Amazon reviews. This one was what sealed the deal for me.

 

Wow. First off, I think the review was well constructed and perfectly written. The reviewer, despite her non religious beliefs, rated the book with  4.5 stars, whereas I….

… I wouldn´t have been so generous.

Some may see the review as a spoiler. I see the review as helpful.

I´m an atheist. A happy one, at that. I, too, respect and accept other people´s beliefs and would never judge them publicly for what they think exists or not just as I would never want people to judge me openly for not believing in God.

The reviewer is right: Some people think love and religion go hand in hand. I believe religion should stay far away from love and from romance novels. Unless you´re an author writing epic stories about badass vampires and demons who reveal just how twisted and corrupted the religious world is  (  Read Hedoschism by Lindsey Clarke on Wattpad  )… you shouldn´t really include religion in a romantic story.

Of course, there are many  subjects readers avoid, such as: adultery, erotica in general, rape, M/M, F/F, M/M/F, fetish, etc. But none are as controversial as religion.

I´m fully aware that authors will never reach everyone´s hearts with their writing, no matter what they write about or what topic they include. Opinions vary. Why shouldn´t authors be allowed to include religion in their romance novels, right?

Exactly.

But for me, the happy atheist who wants to read a new Mia Sheridan romance novel, it´s disappointing to find out there´s religion included. I won´t buy the book.

Yes. One single review had the ability to influence my book purchase. GOOD! That´s what reviews are for.

I´m actually grateful for the reviewer´s insight because if I had bought the book without knowing about the “issue” that bothered the reviewer I would have been a very unhappy book blogger.

Because I don´t believe in God. Because religion doesn´t make sense to me. Never has and never will.

Now, you´re probably asking what happens when I accidentally stumble upon a romance novel that has religion included.

Due to my lack of interest on the subject I immediately DNF a romance novel that has religious characters in it.

And I also bet you´re asking why I accept religion in paranormal / fantasy novels and not with romance novels?

The answer is simple: Fantasy or paranormal stories are basically modern-day fairy tales drawn out to extreme levels. There´s creativity in world building, character forming and storytelling. For me, God and the Bible fit perfectly in that niche.  It´s make – believe. It´s not real.

Whereas romance novels are set in realistic worlds and characters deal with realistic issues. God and the Bible do not fit in a world I can relate with.

I struggle to believe God and contemporary romance novels could ever go hand in hand.

I´ve probably offended many people with my opinion on the subject, even though I´ve tried my best not to discriminate religion or people who believe in God.

But just as religious people have the right to openly love and praise their God ( and those who do praise God do it rather loudly ), I am also allowed to do the unthinkable and state my opinion on how I think religion is nothing more than a waste of time. Seeing religion in romance novels does not sit well with me.

 

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you bothered by religion in romance novels? Do you even care if religion is included in any story? Are you delighted to see authors including religion in romance novels?

Do not hesitate to leave a comment. I´m ( thankfully ) one of those people who agree to disagree.

NOTE FOR OVERLY RELIGIOUS MEMBERS OF SOCIETY: I´m happy. Please do not tag me in any religious posts on social media and do not pray for me. If you feel the need to block / unfollow / unfriend me due to our religious differences then I will not stop you.

 

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Religion In Romance Novels

  1. I have a similar opinion on religion as you do. In terms of religion being included as a large part of a romance novel, I think the marketing should be a bigger factor. It should be marketed as A Christian romance novel- that way people know what to expect going in to it and it helps people decide if it would be something they are interested in reading about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You´re absolutely right. I don´t necessarily think this book needs a specific warning label for the theme but it would have been nice if the author/publisher had included a little line that targets a certain audience ( along with non religious people who might be interested). Thanks for the comment. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also enjoy the religion aspect in paranormal books. I’m 95% sure that’s why I’ve stuck with the Shadowhunter Chronicles for so long lol. It’s fascinating. Now, am I religious? God no. I wouldn’t call myself an atheist though. Honestly, I don’t call myself anything. But I don’t really mind religion in my novels. I read The Names They Gave Us and the MC is Christian. Didn’t bother me. If I felt that the author was preaching at me, well… then I would have a problem. It bothers me when people try to force their belief system on me. And *some* people can be quite forceful. Which just puts me off even more lol. I guess what I’m trying to say is that as long the author isn’t trying to convert me, then I’m okay with religion in any genre, including romance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is the Shadowhunter Chronicles still at it?!
      You have a point there. I think my main problem is that I don´t understand religious people ( including religious fictional characters ). Or maybe it´s because I´ve had to listen to so many `believers` years ago. You´re right. Many religious people `can` be pushy. And that rubs me the wrong way and it leaves a bad aftertaste. I don´t have anything against Jesus, per se. He might or might not be worth worshipping. But then again, the pain in my left ankle might or might not be reason enough to go and see a doc. I guess if a religious character is not a dedicated fanatic then I could ignore the religious aspect. E.g. When it´s mentioned in a novel that a couple goes to church- fine. I can live with that. But full on discussions? That´s when I´m out. lol.

      Thank you for commenting. I wasn´t sure how this post would be accepted but I´m glad you´ve been pleasant to talk to about it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my God yes!! The new book is being published in December. After that one I’m quitting lol. I’m going to be 1000 years old still waiting for her to wind up all these stories lmao.

        Funny thing, religious people turned me off religion. I’ve known too many people that are dedicated to their beliefs yet act like complete assholes. I can’t deal with all that hypocrisy lol. I know there are lovely religious people but no, I just can’t. So when book characters get preachy, I zone out lol. I haven’t really encountered that many religious characters though…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I´m dying! HAHAHA. A new book in Dec. I can´t get over that. LOL. I was just talking to a blogger friend the other day about how JR Ward needs to call it a day with her BDB series. I guess CC should slowly consider moving on too? LMAO.

          You know, I haven´t seen many books with religious characters, either. I´m now truly afraid it´ll become popular and a long lasting phase. Should that happen then I´ll be forced to go on a creative break or change the genre. LMAO.

          Oh, I know exactly what you´re saying and I agree. I have a few friends who are decent, non pushy Christians. Fab! Some know how I feel and others don`t. And then I know people who´ll include Jesus in almost E.V.E.R.Y conversation. Which is annoying. I already hold my breath when someone starts preaching then leave without a word because I know whatever I say will just be an invitation for them to want to shove their beliefs down my throat.

          I´m with you. I just can´t.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I doubt they’re quitting anytime soon. The money is probably too good to pass up. CC has a series of short stories coming out every month so far. And a whole other series she has planned. Ugh.

            You can always go back and reread some favorites lol. Although I doubt it will become a trend… might put off too many readers

            Like

  3. To me both romance and religion are topics i avoid like plague. I’m an atheist and can’t relate to any of the stuff.

    That said, one of my all time fave books is Quo Vadis, which is about early christians and some characters kinda fall in love… but that was not written to be a romance book, and i loved the historical aspects.

    I’m quite fascinated by history of religion, but not religion in fiction.

    One of the best relationship books i found is the five love languages. Even my therapist who is also atheist, recommended. Very helpful book and great tips. But even that author managed to sneak in some Jesus, which i promptly ignored. So yea, for me religion is not necessary for any part of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaha. Oh dear. I had to laugh so hard after reading that you avoid romance like the plague. That genre is truly not for everyone. As of now, I´m surprised I´m still sticking with it ( 2018 is not a romance year for authors )

      Aaah, books on the history of religion is something I love reading, too. Well, history books, in general, are what have always interested me. Because it´s giving you insights on what has been. Which is fascinating because religion has played a different role and has been treated ( to some level ) differently in history. Religion in fiction? I´ll pass. Because religion these days is often just about being apart of a club. If a modern day fictional character is a member of a certain “club” and that theme covers more than half the book then I can´t relate and refuse to be open minded.

      I haven´t read Quo Vadis but I did check it out on GR ( I hope it was the right one ) and I´m on my way to check out The Five Love Languages. ❤ If a therapist recommends it then it´s bound to be not bad ( or, so I´d think..Lol)

      Religion is just a big fat neon sign that says RUN.

      Thanks for commenting ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do really read any romance and while I am spiritual, I do not “believe” in organized religion. However, I do believe it has a place in every genre because I am aware that there are readers of every genre who believe in these practices and benefit from having it incorporated in the books they leave. The majority of my family (having grown up in the Bible Belt) is religious. And while I do not live their life, I do know, respect and learn enough about them to understand it is actually part of romance and relationships for them, a very big part of intimacy. So they need it in those titles. So thank goodness their are authors out their supplying something for all of us 😉

    With that said, I choose to read about customs and beliefs that are not my own often. Even if I do not agree with or follow them, I tend feel like I take a lot away from the small experiences books hand me. After all, I did blindly get to where I am. I made an educated decision against the life I was raised in 🤨 so I will not seek out religious titles but will never shun a book if I encounter it. If it feels to over the top, I will just move on to the next 💖

    Interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well put, my dear. 💜 I’m with you on being interested in reading about different customs and beliefs ( Hellenism, Heathenism, and early christianity, although that doesn’t differ much from present christianity. I only enjoy learning about the historical aspects of it).

      You’re right about romance and religion being an important part of people’s lives. I can see why. Do I understand it? Not really. (If that makes any sense?) I can see why people find comfort and happiness with the two. It’s not just a black and white issue- it’s a lifestyle many live by and that’s fine.

      I think now, after reading the comments and having talked with a few people earlier, that my major problem is not with religion.. It’s with fanatics. People who cross lines and become mentally harmful.
      I’m open-minded and accepting about religion if it’s handled respectfully. Husbutt is a Christian. Our kids have been baptized. And all 3 are still allowed to live in the house😂😂. It doesn’t change a thing because religion holds no worth for me, personally.

      I also think that if religion wouldn’t play such an extremely dramatic, drastic, radical and forceful role in today’s society then I would probably think differently, because when religion is dealt with respect it gives room for acceptance. More acceptance, on my part.

      Religion already plays a huge role in reality. For me, as an ( how did you put it? Escapism?) Escapism reader, I’d like to escape from religion.
      I don’t know… does any of this make any sense?
      Your response made a whole lot of sense and now I feel like I screwed this one up ( and I can’t even blame it on autocorrect 🙈) 💗💗

      Like

      1. Haha at least you were able to read what my shaky hands were typing. I rely on autocorrect to help me and it always chooses the wrong “there” and words. Driving me crazy!

        You are totally making sense. I feel you. Especially on the escapism bit. I think it is why I tend to avoid a lot of titles with traditional religion as well 😉

        This really is such a fantastic discussion! I wish we could do these posts in person over drinks haha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Naaw. ❤ I wouldn´t worry about typos or even autocorrect. LMAO. I´m convinced anything that runs on batteries or needs to be plugged in tries to have a life of it´s own. HAHAHAHA. Autocorrect has called my friends husband Wiener once. It´s evil.

          You know, I´d really like that. 🙂 Would be so much fun 🙂 ❤ It´s difficult to open these discussions without sounding hurtful or negative. Which I never am. Facial expressions, body language and even the tone of someone´s voice can make or break a delicate convo. Since we all don´t have that it´s a guessing game or a nice evening thinking about the right words. HAHA.

          Drinks? I´m up for drinks. Drinks and book convo…. Sounds like a dream 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

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