Religion in Your Fiction

I’ve been reading some paranormals lately and something’s really suprised me. Almost every author I’ve read who writes paranormals makes reference to God in some form or another in their books. It’s never an in-your-face religious statement, but rather a passing comment. This doesn’t happen in RS’s. Not to say there’s never mention of God or religion in RS books, but generally, if God comes in to play, it’s usually because a character is ticked at God because someone they loved died or something bad happened to them in their past. But this isn’t true in paranormals.

Why? I’m guessing it’s because a paranormal author has to set up an entire world, and the easiest way to explain the push-pull of good and evil in a paranormal universe is to make reference to something everyone understands – the concept of God and the Devil in our world. In all the paranormals I’ve read, there’s always a realm similar to Heaven and Hell, always characters who are creators and enslavers. And through it all, good triumphing over evil.

So how come we don’t see it in RS books? Are people really that sensitive to religion in books? I have a friend who writes for Harlequin and she said she could never use the term “Oh, God” in a sex scene, that the editor of that specific line freaked out and edited such comments right away. She couldn’t mix God into her books like that. In ST that doesn’t seem to be an issue, but I can’t really remember one book where a character’s religion or religious beliefs came into play in the book unless it was directly related to the plot (or was an RS Inpirational).

I’m a spiritual person. I go to church. I believe in Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, demons and angels. I believe in creation and evolution. I believe there are a lot of things in this world that can’t be explained and never will be. And I believe all religions are fundamentally the same at the roots – good versus evil, learning to be the best person you can, a higher power and a purpose to our lives. I don’t want to read about individual religions in my fiction, and I avoid religious debates like the plague, but a mention here or there about a character going to church (any church), or saying a prayer in an RS would never offend me. (After all, it happens all the time in paranormals. In every paranormal I’ve recently read there’s been chanting and prayer saying, calling on the “creator” and discussions about what happens after life.)

How do you feel about religious comments or references to God in fiction?