Think about it. All the best lines from all the best literary works ever written mention the Big Guy at least subtlely. Without him, life's just not worth writing about. Killing Him takes the magic out of the world, which makes me scratch my head at how anxious so many people are to kill Him off. Don't we realize it'd be the death of the imagination? Not because it takes imagination to believe in God, but because it takes God's help to have a healthy imagination. And a healthy imagination is the only way we'll see reality for the beautiful drama that it is.
Even grumpy old Christopher Hitchens (R.I.P.) admitted that the thought that Milton's writings would not have been possible without the Christian religion deeply saddened him.
The death of beauty, sorrow, etc is the death of literature, not God. Non-Abrahamic cultures have literature.
Oh, you just used an absolute statement. Now to go quote hunting!
I think this statement is plainly wrong. I mean, if no one believed in a God, there may be less people inspired to write, or there might be different themes in some novels, but I doubt it would crush fiction.
The quote hunting will have to wait, but if this discussion continues I will do it.
Yes, and they also have religions. Without the hope which deity injects into life, we're not left with the sentiment that these things should make us react in a certain way. It creates a Neitzchean (sp?) void that doesn't do much to light (at least my) passion which fuels literature.
Hahahaha. Maybe not all. :) But I'd say definitely most. Especially within Western literature, which is, after all, the best. :p
Not to mention mythology, which is definitely one of the most awesome forms of literature ever.
Ah you didn't say "religions". I doubt the death of organized religion would mean the death of literature...
Hmm. Maybe "Supernaturalism" would be a better term. My point is that literature looks at things and sees more than can be seen through the eye of naturalism. Well, good literature at least. We'd still get non-fiction. :(
I'm not just talking about Christian literature. Many men who don't even believe in God invoke him/her/it in poetry and the like to make it beautiful.
Kay I agree with that. We need emotions, faith, stuff like that for good literature, because good literature handles that side of life.
Hahaha. Good. I like it when we agree. Makes my brain hurt a lot less. :)
And that side of life can't really be something unless the "more" is out there. I can't help but feel less and less inclined to strict naturalism/empiricism with every poem or meaningful novel I read, if only to protect their beauty from nature's cold, ugly touch.
Every line of literature that brings us to the brink of tears pulls us to a realm of reality which we can't experience if we don't look beyond what science and logic in and of themselves tell us.
It may be that I'm just projecting my own ideas into what I read here, but I'm not so sure that's the case. Wanted to bounce the idea off a few other heads.
I recommend you read "The First Snowfall" by James Russell Lowell. It's kinda what hit me with this idea, though after that I looked back over a lot of the fiction I've read, and saw the same kind of themes in most all of it. Without the "All-Father" Lowell refers to, the poem loses its beauty, not just because it has a tragic ending, but because with mere logic we lose sight of why we think the ending is tragic in the first place. It's instinct that tears us up.
But yeah, I can kinda see that. I agree with Destinee though, "supernaturalism" would be a far better term.
I think literature could be possible without God, but not nearly as good. God (or the idea of God) stimulates the imagination, and imagination is crucial.
God. Jesus. Allah. Yahweh. Brahman. Odin. Zeus. Supernaturalism. Morgan Freeman.
It doesn't matter what you call it, really. The argument remains the same. The argument can be made that without the Christian God, Western literature would be vastly different (more pagan stuff, which is cool, but, let's face it, ain't no Passion of the Christ), possibly even not as good, but as a general wolrdwide argument that would make me look like an ignorant redneck. *Looks out window at above-ground pool*
Without an idea of deity, we'd still have the emotions natural processes gave us, but I don't see how we'd have a reason to write about them.
There's a difference between saying I want to be with Sarah for the rest of my life and have her babies, and saying that this (both my love for Sarah and Sarah herself) is somehow a good thing which I ought to be happy about, and that it has significance beyond what it technically is (hormone rushes and propogation). Isn't that concept the essence of literature?
Or am I blowin' hot air? *Shrugs* Could be. :)
Okay, I get a little more of what you're saying now, and it doesn't sound as ridiculous as before. If the whole idea of any God was non-existent, then literature would not be like it is today. I don't think it would crush it (as I said earlier), but it would be vastly different.
Thats c.rap, lots of fiction was written by atheists
Ayn Rand: I really don't like her, but she wrote novels, and was an atheist
Upton Sinclair: athiest, novelist
Jack London: atheist (also socialist)
Mark Twain: atheist
Oscar Wild: atheist
One could argue that without G-d, the intelligent human race wouldn't even exist, and there would be no literature to even discuss. Hypothetically, though, I'm pretty sure the beauty of the world and the human imagination would supply enough inspiration to fuel the literary world for awhile, even without the concept of G-d.
Additionally, as long as I'm thinking (which is a rare occasion - break out the confetti!), one's opinion of what's bad, good and great in literature can definitely differ from someone else's.
While Mark Twain was an atheist, he did write a couple of pretty nifty essays where he recognizes G-d's hand in the world, or at least the fact that religious people are definitely on to something. Unfortunately, I'm not super familiar with the work of the other authors you mentioned.
My brain is such an argumentative place. No wonder I never think. :)
Alright, so, no G-d or concept of G-d, and then the entire construct of society changes. Would literature be different? Yes. Would this impact the quality of literature? I'm pretty sure that would be a matter of opinion.