What we believe

January 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Does what you believe influence what you read? To what extent?

This question has been prompted by the controversy surrounding the release of the movie version of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game as a result of Mr Card’s outspoken opposition to homosexuality. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but as far as I’m aware there is no opposition to homosexuality in the pages of the story itself, but the controversy has arisen because of the views he has aired publicly through other media.

I don’t want this blog to become yet another forum for debating homosexuality, so if you are commenting here, please do NOT comment on that subject. What I am asking is this: how far does what an author believes in their private lives influence your decision on whether or not to read their book, especially if it’s clear that their personal beliefs do not appear on the pages of what they have written?

I think what an author believes will always influence his/her writing to a certain extent. After all, we are a product of our beliefs. They affect our lives. That’s why we have them. However, I wouldn’t necessarily refuse to read a book written by someone who is an atheist, for example (and I have probably read many of them!) just because my views on the existence of God differs from theirs. Of course, if the book has blatant themes that I disagree with, I will probably avoid it, as it is likely to make me angry, but sometimes reading someone else’s opinion on something, even if it’s only through the pages of their novel, can create greater understanding of differing points of view. After all, we are all people, even though we hold different points of view on sensitive subjects. I think this fact often gets lost in the passion for our causes, but I think trying to see others’ points of view can be helpful in creating a better understanding of each other.

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