Characters sinning in fiction

Quick question. If you’re writing a short story and it fits a character to have him use use Lord’s name in vain or the ‘g. d’ curse, are you committing a sin?

Or what about having characters commit other sins like theft, murder, adultry, etc?

It’s all about the message the work is trying to convey.

Cursing for the sake of cursing is entirely different from fittingly ascribing a less-than-kosher remark to a character where appropriate in a work that ultimately conveys a good message.

I would say it’s fine, then. In fact, there is cursing in the Scriptures, interestingly enough. King Saul in a fit of rage calls Jonathan the “son of a vile and rebellious woman,” an ancient Hebrew slur equivalent the modern-day habit of calling someone an SOB. In fact, one paraphrased bible bluntly translated it as such, for fear that the meaning would otherwise be lost.

Like I said: It’s all about the final message.

I think it depends on whether you are glorifying taking the lord’s name in vain or not.

As long as the sinful speech and actions are the part of a “bad-guy” character and you are not trying to glamorize or glorify this person’s actions, I don’t see a problem with it. It wouldn’t be very realistic to have a villian saying “Golly gee whiz,” but that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard the other way, either. Use discretion where possible. :thumbsup:

I’m a writer and I think the answer depends on the character you’ve created. If it’s character for your character to curse or do those things, then that’s OK, b/c it’s part of your character. Humans aren’t perfect, we curse and we sin. There is also a point where it becomes gratuitous and unnecessary. You don’t have to write all those details-- sex, violence and language. Instead of writing the actual curse word or blasphemy, you can say that your character did it in narrative sometimes, it’s better to say the actual words or see the action than have it described but if that makes you more comfortable as a writer.

I’ve been dealing with some of these sorts of things in one of my stories. My story has an underlying Catholic theme in it, which was unexpected and has driven me a bit nuts as a writer. There are times, when things are said in front of one of my characters, who is a priest, and there is a lot of apologizing afterward. :wink:

I don’t think any of this has changed my story, it’s just made it more real and human than anything.

My two cents.

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