Some say religion, as a spiritual matter which does not interfere with most other aspects of a person’s life, is relatively harmless if one does not engage in proselytism and bigotry. There is at least one instance, to my knowledge, of it interfering with someone’s vocation, when said vocation is artistic and involves creativity, which is based on free thought.
Below I will detail a few qualms I personally dealt with as a writer, for years on end, back when I considered myself a Christian (though never a practicing one).
Unless it glorifies God, all art is supposed to be pointless
Writing for the love of it is therefore a fruitless endeavour one only wastes time on, unless their purpose is to convey a message which is in accordance with religious teachings. Which basically invalidates everything related to purely human experience, including the dubious and sinful, from religion’s point of view. Logically, it would put writings which are intended as morally neutral in the same category. Investing one’s limited days on Earth, energy and emotion into something vacuous would therefore be a waste of time.
One is told they are either “of God” or “of the world” and should not become attached to anything the world offers, as it is a distraction from salvation. In this context you can end up asking yourself if writing is really worth it, if it may well be in vain.
The energy flow and writer’s block
Being stuck in a restrictive paradigm means filtering every thought through your value system, automatically, without even being conscious of it. This leads to strong internal conflict as you’re actually repressing and censoring yourself. For a person who naturally thrives on the creative act, that can be soul-destroying.
Writer’s block, I suspect, might be directly related to this process of limiting or stopping the transcendental flow of energy and the connection to the collective subconscious, which allows access to ancestral wisdom. Dismissing intuition; stopping budding thoughts and hypotheses about the world can only lead to stagnation, which is an unnatural state for the creative mind.
We often hear of artistically prolific people using substances which stimulate the mind, making it race, to the point of achieving revelations (non-religious ones) about this confusing human experience. More often than not, when expressed, their findings ring true to many others; they are relatable as they strike a chord inside their very core. They gain access to timelessness, to values and ideas far beyond the preconceptions every human being is brought up with.
Filtering thoughts through the tight net of religious permissions means slowing the mind, missing the mark, being constantly thrown off course and never reaching those higher states, unless they can be associated with religious origins. The mind wastes away trying to reconcile the natural and the artificial in order to excel; it’s basically like living with a disease which halts development. One’s path is littered with minutiae, with the imaginary guilt of having violated the ultimate law.
We can plainly see that in the SJW generation as well, as it treats ideologies much like religious dogmas. Every minutia becomes an issue and reality itself is reduced to a source of constant discontent.
Adult humour and adult themes in general
Though the whole message of a book might not be to actually promote principles contrary to religious teachings, even the inclusion of down-to-earth situations with a neutral attitude can seem “problematic” (I have developed an allergy to that word since SJWs have started using it so frequently, but it is appropriate here).
As someone who employs humour and humorous contexts as often as possible, I’ve found myself coming up with some which were hilarious yet involved sex outside of marriage, adultery, prostitution etc, with no condemnation whatsoever or negative consequences arising from those situations. Which is when I started asking myself – am I promoting this? Am I contributing to the minimisation of the negative effects these aspects have? If I published this, would it be able to impact someone negatively, even in the slightest?
This is the level of needless guilt someone can experience because of indoctrination, instead of reveling in the fact that they have an open mind (and heart) and refuse to condemn others for behaviours society regards as transgressions. It’s not promotion of said lifestyle choices but merely describing facts of life. Whitewashing life is not possible. We are all prone to error; I know from experience that the little wisdom I have acquired is a result of making mistakes and analysing them in hindsight.
As are risks and mistakes, profanity is also part of life; obstinately choosing a “clean” vocabulary deprives characters of their individuality, of their spontaneity. Letting the energy flow, engaging with the situations they are facing, makes language flow as well, in a multitude of directions.
When you allow that, they take on a life of their own, so to speak, independently of your views and standards of optimal behaviour. Or language.
Proselytism and propaganda
It’s only natural for writers to approach narratives which are close to their hearts and values. And it can be amazing as long as characters are allowed to be individuals with fully developed personalities and not just automatons or loudspeakers for a certain point of view – which religion can certainly cause.
The risk of pedantic, preachy dialogues, I fear, is directly proportional to the level of indoctrination in a certain direction (not necessarily religious, of course). And it’s then that it becomes transparent and feels artificial, and obviously appeals less to others.
There is definitely more to say on this subject, yet these are some important points, hopefully useful as well.