A new poll by Parade magazine sheds light on how Americans think about religion. I’ve always had an interest in spirituality. It’s part of the reason I prefer to write about supernatural characters. But, beyond simple curiosity, I think there is value in these results because they necessarily change the way we assume readers perceive religious themes in literature.
In 1970, a book was published by Judy Blume called Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? The book is one of the top 100 requested to be banned from libraries because of its open discussion of interfaith marriage, religion, and choosing ones belief system. The results of this poll, however, seem to indicate that Blume’s themes were simply ahead of her time.
What do these results mean for the psyche of the mass market? I tend to think it means that people, especially young people, will be less familiar with traditional religious symbolism and ceremony and more familiar with the specifics of individual spiritual practices such as meditation. I also think that spiritual “seeking” will continue to be a popular theme. The flip side is that traditional themes may become more edgy.