Ethics: Publishing Religious Material while making $$


#1

Hello,

I have recently considered publishing (PDF form, let's say) some theological thoughts/theories. If these thoughts or theories have any value whatsoever, that would indicate that the thoughts/theories were gifts to me from God. If they are worthless, that would indicate that they are from my own designs and are thus worthless for consumption by others.

If these thoughts/theories were from God, would it not be wrong to write a book that could generate profit? The gift was from God - and it does not seem right to turn something like that into cash. Somehow, I distinguish these particular gifts from the other gifts that I have that allow me to labor for a living. When I labor, I do feel as though I've "earned" my paycheck while these other thoughts just come to me and seem to lift others up when I share them. So, there does not seem to be any "labor" involved.

If these thoughts are worthless, then they would just be leading other people astray, in which case profiting from them would make matters worse.

Is there a simple way to view the ethics of publishing religious material? I ask this because it messes with my mind when I think about taking the next step. It is a circle: this may help people - maybe many will like it - would I get money from this? - I could benefit from this - that is wrong to do - I will not pursue this - people may miss out, but if I did pursue this, it may help people..


#2

Run it by your priest.


#3

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:324726"]
Hello,

I have recently considered publishing (PDF form, let's say) some theological thoughts/theories. If these thoughts or theories have any value whatsoever, that would indicate that the thoughts/theories were gifts to me from God. If they are worthless, that would indicate that they are from my own designs and are thus worthless for consumption by others.

[/quote]

I agree with Juliane; run this by your priest. However, I want to send one note of caution.

If your thoughts and theories have value, that DOES NOT MEAN that they were from God. Many heresies are accepted by men, but have no truth in them whatsoever. If you decide to publish ideas for new doctrine and such, by no means assume it is from God unless you are given an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat from a bishop.


#4

I certainly do not know, and you are asking multiple, though related, questions with multiple variables. I would encourage you discuss the theological with a theologian. Your priest has already been suggested. Don't worry about the profit you might receive, most publications make very little even if done solely through pdf distribution. One solution, to simplify your questioning, would be to charge nothing for the gifted insight, give it away free..... charging only for the printing, the paper, the computer use, the website, the internet connection, the electricity, the trash disposal, and your time (or not ). This may help lead to the resolution of your question |

"Is there a simple way to view the ethics of publishing religious material?"

As I said I do not know, but surely some consider me simple, and this could be my way of viewing some of the ethical challenges you report.:shrug: Also you might consider only reimbursing yourself for the time you give to this project and putting the excess into the coffers of Charity.

Beware of Evil disguised as good. Seek the truth. Don't lead even the least astray.:gopray:


#5

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:324726"]
Hello,

I have recently considered publishing (PDF form, let's say) some theological thoughts/theories. If these thoughts or theories have any value whatsoever, that would indicate that the thoughts/theories were gifts to me from God. If they are worthless, that would indicate that they are from my own designs and are thus worthless for consumption by others.

If these thoughts/theories were from God, would it not be wrong to write a book that could generate profit? The gift was from God - and it does not seem right to turn something like that into cash. Somehow, I distinguish these particular gifts from the other gifts that I have that allow me to labor for a living. When I labor, I do feel as though I've "earned" my paycheck while these other thoughts just come to me and seem to lift others up when I share them. So, there does not seem to be any "labor" involved.

If these thoughts are worthless, then they would just be leading other people astray, in which case profiting from them would make matters worse.

Is there a simple way to view the ethics of publishing religious material? I ask this because it messes with my mind when I think about taking the next step. It is a circle: this may help people - maybe many will like it - would I get money from this? - I could benefit from this - that is wrong to do - I will not pursue this - people may miss out, but if I did pursue this, it may help people..

[/quote]

Putting the profit aspect aside, take your writing to a priest for review. There are Catholics who have written books designed to help other Catholics. You might want to request two priests have a look at it prior to publication.

Leading others astray or helping are both of primary concern. Making money is entirely secondary. If your work is approved as suitable for publication is step one. If you make any money and what you do with it is up to you. And you could bring that up as a question for a priest as well.

Peace,
Ed


#6

Thanks for the advice!

I'll seek the council of a priest and see where it goes from there. If I were to publish anything intended for serious consideration, I would want a Nihil Obstat - I'm not sure how hard that is to get, or how costly, but I'll learn about that soon enough.


#7

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