Contemporary American Authors' Questioning of Religion
SubjectAuthors, American--20th century--Religious aspects; American literature--20th century--Religious aspects
The problem. In contemporary American fiction it was noted that religion frequently appeared as a topic of debate. In some novels a major theme was a debate over whether to accept, change, or reject organized religion. Procedure. Several contemporary novels relating to this theme were read. Then novels of the past, more accepting era of religion, were studied. In contrasting these positions a study was made of literature written on this subject. Various reasons for the change in treatment of religion were investigated. Findings. It was found that an increase in technical and philisophical knowledge made unquestioning acceptance of religion difficult. Three major positions were found in the novels discussed in this paper. Some authors could come to no conclusion but did see difficulties in accepting religion the way it is. Others felt that inconsistencies should be ignored. Humanism was proposed as a more relevant substitution for religion in today's world. Conclusions. No one answer was found to this dilemma. But all authors seemed to agree that established religion as it has been known was difficult to accept in an uncritical manner. They did agree that man does need some form of inspiration for his life, whether it be established religion or humanism.
69 leaves. Advisor: Dr. Stuart Burns
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