Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)
TITLE: The Open-Minded Letter
By Amanda Brogan
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I am writing this letter in regard to your recently published book. I must say that everything about your novel gripped me from the moment I set eyes on the cover. The cover art captivated me and the teaser on the back left me helpless to do anything but buy the book.
However, once I began reading, I was sorely disappointed in the amount of religious content it contained. Though I am generally not very picky about what I read – considering myself an extremely open-minded person – I found myself repelled by your narrow references to there being only one way to heaven. This will no doubt alienate you from many potential readers and fans that you might have obtained from this otherwise intriguing novel.
I would suggest that if you wish to maintain an appeal for all readers and really make a name for yourself as an author, it would be wise to embrace all forms of religion if you must make reference to any at all. After all, Buddhists and Muslims have as much a claim to heaven through their religious practices as do Christians. Narrowing the views of your characters and promoting those views to your readers will only narrow your success as well.
Please accept this advice from a well-meaning reader.
Dear Miss “Open-Minded”,
First of all, I want to thank you for your critique of my novel. I truly enjoy all input that I receive and love to hear the different ways my writing affects the audience.
I confess that you are right. My views are narrow-minded. So narrow that of the entire population of the planet, there are few who choose to embrace these views to their full extent. Many people, such as the Buddhists and Muslims that you mention, would choose instead to follow their respective leaders of the past. And it is entirely within every individual’s free will that they choose for themselves what religious path, if any, to follow. It is even their right to believe that their path is the primary route to their eternal destination.
But if it is open-minded to respect all forms of religion, then why do so many people reject the religion of Christianity? Why is it looked down upon and shunned when all the others are given their peace?
I suppose it’s because it is narrow-minded.
If Christianity is true, then all other religions are nullified. It cancels out the possibility for there to be many ways to Heaven, and therefore is offensive to many people.
So then, in order to be truly open-minded, why not practice all religions at once? Be a Buddhist one day and seek the path of Enlightenment. Be a Muslim the next and adhere to the Qur’an. Be a Hindu and believe that your soul will be transformed into a bug or a cow when you die.
The fact is, most religions believe that their way is the only way to get to Heaven. Otherwise they wouldn’t be following it. If all of them make that claim, then which one is right?
I am not a Christian because I believe my way is the best way to Heaven – I am a Christian because I believe God’s Way is the only way to Heaven. Yes, that may be narrow-minded, but I would rather narrow-mindedly accept that Jesus Christ paid the price for all men to live with Him in Heaven, than to try many different ways based on my own goodness. I do not believe that I could ever achieve ultimate Enlightenment or follow everything recorded in the Qur’an. I could never be good enough to make it to Heaven on my own. So I choose to believe that Jesus will get me there.
And if you open your heart and mind to accept Him, He can get you there too.
Following the narrow way,
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