Novels vs. Religion

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Literary critics have long argued that novels are inherently anti-religious. They believe that novels, with their many voices and styles, necessarily challenge the certainty of a worldview with a divinely authored text at its core. In the book The Broken Estate James Wood said, “it was not just science but perhaps the novel itself which helped to kill Jesus’ divinity, when it gave us a new sense of the real.”

This view is overly simplistic (pdf), Justin Neuman writes for Culture magazine. According to Neuman, too many people assume a sharp divide with religion on one side and debate, questioning, and literary freedom on the other. This marginalizes many aspects of religion that encourage the pursuit of knowledge and freedom. It also misses the potential that both novels and religion have to change people’s worldviews for the better.


Image by (michelle), licensed under Creative Commons.

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