I'm a guest on a Momlist at Cerridwenchat today and posted two excerpts of my book. Surprise! God got a solid mention in both.
I've come to realize that I mention God at least once in an important way in all my books. In my Three Worlds series, of which TOUCH OF DANGER is the first volume, I have fun in that I only capitalize the "g" when people are actually talking to God and not taking His/Her/Its name in vain. "G--d---" is merely a generic curse and shouldn't have to shoulder a capital "g." God probably wouldn't like the cap in such a position.
But does mentioning God in fantasy/sf bother readers? As a reader, I'm bothered when H/S/I doesn't appear in, say, historicals. I mean, these people lived in times when science did not even BEGIN to claim it had the answers to anything. Death could occur at God's whim at any moment. You could be walking down the street and somebody could drop dead next to you because...why? Maybe God didn't like him. Maybe he'd sinned too much. Maybe a witch had cursed him. Maybe he'd kept cats (spawns of Satan). Maybe God was testing his kin. Maybe he'd sold his soul to the devil and the devil had come for payment. Maybe he was just a bad person. Only the good die young, you know.
People in such circumstances MUST have been exceedingly God-conscious, shouldn't they? Then why don't more historicals utilize this? (My one does, thank you very much.)
As for modern angel-devil tales, of which there are so many, I'm usually confused by the interior continuity of such. I also wonder why, in a universe where such a (usually) Roman Catholic God is in power, why He doesn't have more power than He does. Why is He cautious about confronting evil? God's the Biggest Kahuna. He ranks far, FAR above any Satan/devil. When God rolls the dice, there's no question as to who's going to win.
Sure, there are ways to spin this into a good yarn and there are a lot of good yarns out there. But the vast majority leaves me shrugging my shoulders at the plotholes and world building.
When one invokes God there's a huge chance of insulting a reader's beliefs, I know, but f/sf should stretch comfort boundaries. Imho. Take Londo, one of the heroes in my Three Worlds series. He's got serious God issues that eventually he will resolve. My other heroes, Lina and Jae, have New Age ways of looking at the Big Guy/Gal/Entity that don't jibe with established religion.
Personally, I don't believe in religion; I believe in spirituality. But I ask you: is this a dangerous idea to insert into one's fiction, for fear of turning off readers?