How Agnosticism Informs My Writing

Agnosticism, critical thinking, creative writing and how it goes together.


People often say that what you are informs your writing. I would agree, it informs your themes, your characters, how you write, whom you write. One of the things that, as I have contemplated over the last little bit, was also influenced by it was the way I treat religion in my stories, both the published and yet unpublished.

For me it is usually not a big thing in writing. Characters are rarely if ever informed by what they do, even in backstory you might not read about. And while religion plays a big part in the way many experience life, it never really was for me. My favorite quote on the subject was actually by Roman Emperor, philosopher, and Joaquin Phoenix screen victim Marcus Aurelius:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

And so while it doesn’t have an impact on my personal life, it did help me realize the importance for other people. I suppose it could also be part of empathy, especially because I do not want to perpetuate the myth that atheists are heartless, soulless bastards who cheat at Smash Brothers. Yet it certainly helped me to keep an open mind, study the religions I could, both in school and later take some classes in college, which in turn might have informed my thoughts on some characters, though I doubt I ever did it consciously.

More importantly though, it gave me a view on both sides of the debate. It’s not something you can prove or disproof, it’s something you will have to deal with yourself whenever you think of your legacy, the life you have lived, what you are still striving for, which are all elements that drive so many characters we create and root for. Tolerating ambiguity is the element of any good mystery and writing about a fictional or real ideology, be it in faith, politics, an economic system. Critical thinking is what we are talking about here, be it in academics or creative writing, it’s always a must. A lot in life is made up of uncertainty. Embracing that uncertainty helps me be more creative as it leaves some room for adventure.

Overall? I don’t think there is an overall. Everyone has their own way of getting inspired by something, everyone brings in their own opinions, but I certainly hope that what I have completed and still have to will eventually reflect on what I wrote today. If it was a load of nonsense, well, it’s called “Alex’s Writing Diatribe” for a reason.

Author: Alex

Full time student, part time "writer" of things.

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