Monday, November 14, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 201 - Is It Blasphemous?

Something's been weighing on my mind this past week. Call it a concern. Call it a question. Call it... guilt? either way, the newest idea I've come up with, one that I am actually very excited about and that my manager has responded quite positively toward, is causing me a bit of angst. The idea has to do with religion. My concern, is whether my treatment of it is sacrilegious. 

Now, to preface, a bit of background on me. I'm not what you'd call the most religious person. By that, I mean that I didn't growing up going to church on a regular basis. (If the grandparents were in town, particularly for Christmas or Easter, then you better believe we were there looking our best, not to mention confused and bored.) Religion wasn't really discussed in my house; I can't quote any scripture, nor can I really paint a very vivid picture of the seminal Biblical events. That said, I also consider myself a believer. (Many of the Leaguers reading this are probably rereading that last sentence at this very moment - the image I bet they have of me is more likely that of an Agnostic, to be honest, if not Atheistic.) I do believe in a higher power, with reciprocal afterlife situations depending on one's behavior and actions. I don't want to get into the meat of what I believe and don't believe here, who I think gets "damned" and who doesn't. Suffice it to say, I am respectful and aware of the basic tenets of Christian theology and associate myself with at least some of them.

The new idea in question, then, invokes certain Biblical ideas. There's no direct naming of important figures; Jesus and God and the Devil will not appear on screen. We don't see angels. There's no talk of miracles or outward attempt to prove or comment on religion, Heaven, or any doctrinal debates. Rather, conceive of the idea more along the lines of Legion or Priest (admittedly, I have seen neither, nor do I envision Paul Bettany in my project, but hopefully that sheds some light on the overall integration of religion into the idea). Demons factor in, but not in the winged, pitchfork-wielding sense. Hell and souls are real in the world of the script, but dealt with in a more action, almost comic-book way. In short, I am invoking religion to create an action piece, and my concern - warranted or not - is whether that is a blasphemous act.

I could go further into depth about why I'm thinking about the nature of the script itself, but I won't. Whether that concern is inward (i.e., mine, regarding me) or not (i.e., dealing with the wider audience's reception to religious elements being treated in this manner) also seems a moot point now. Am I asking for an answer? I don't even know. I suppose the ultimate answer is that, if I am comfortable writing it, I should go forward with this idea. If not, then no. Yet I am excited by the concept. I feel it will offer me the opportunity to write some very interesting characters and quick, stimulating dialogue. I would be lying if I said I was not looking forward to working on this script.

So what is my take away? (What is yours?) Do I go ahead with this idea? Is it, in some way, blasphemous? The Bible has been a source of inspiration for a lot of pieces of art over the years - from paintings to prose to film to plays to sculptures and everything else imaginable. Should I be concerned that my usage of it is any different?