Would it be cultural appropriation to create a world heavily based on Abrahamic religions’ mythology and history, going deep into worldbuilding templars, churches, monasteries, biblically accurate angels, heaven and hell, and even using the term “golems” for constructs (since golems are creatures from Jewish culture), “Deus” for the monotheistic god, and Latin and Greek as the main languages of the world and Old Hebrew as a holy language?

Since Abrahamic religions – especially Christianity – are mainstream, I suppose it wouldn’t be a problem (it’s like using standard Medieval Europe to base off your world), but I’m not sure about that…

What do you think?


Hey Dryad, great to hear from you again! 

There are a few factors at play when answering your question, even though it might seem simple on the surface. First, Christianity as a whole is not at risk for cultural appropriation. Globally, Christianity is by far the world’s most powerful and privileged religion; plus, it has a long history of spreading itself into new areas regardless of what the people living there wanted. In a lot of places, Christianity is your cultural heritage whether you like it or not. 

Of course, it’s still possible to write a story that’s disrespectful of Christianity, or just makes certain Christians mad, but cultural appropriation isn’t on the table. That said, there are certain specific elements of Christianity which are not so open, as they are specifically associated with more marginalized groups. Latin American Christianity, for example, has a number of unique practices which are often exotified and misrepresented by white writers, so that requires a lot more care. 

Next, it’s really important to remember that while Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths, they are not the same. Islam is absolutely a marginalized faith in Western countries, and while it has nearly as many adherents globally as Christianity, it’s not nearly as powerful. Meanwhile, Jews face constant pressure to assimilate into Christian beliefs and culture, so seeing our spirituality treated like a Christian subgroup is a big no no. Basically, I’d avoid creating a fantasy setting where the three faiths are mixed and matched like they’re interchangeable. 

Finally, while it’s certainly possible to base a fantasy world on Christian mythology, I’d take a moment to think about how literal you want to be. This isn’t an issue of appropriation, but rather of immersion. An exact copy of Christianity may not fit in second-world fantasy settings, especially specific practices like having characters speak Latin and Greek. I don’t know what kind of story you’re writing, so this might be less of an issue for you, but it’s worth thinking about. 

Hope that answers your question, and good luck with your story!

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