Implicitly religious aspects of children's literature by Jaroslav Foglar
Source document: Religio. 2021, vol. 29, iss. 1, pp. -55
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
The hugely popular author of children's literature Jaroslav Foglar wrote stories about boys on the threshold of adolescence undergoing a personality transformation under the influence of a positive example of friendship and an active lifestyle. However, the themes of honesty, of health and physical activity, and of living in natural surroundings cannot alone justify why this fiction is also viewed from the perspective of the science of religion using terms such as "cult", "mystery", "evangelistic text", "initiation", "functional equivalent of religion", or "implicit religion". Empirical research within the framework of a larger questionnaire survey therefore addresses the question of whether the readers of these books are recruited from backgrounds that are religious, spiritual, or indifferent, whether they are aware of this literature for children having a certain spiritual component, and whether they perceive it as a way of realizing spiritual experience. The group of respondents in the research (n = 1135, of whom 666 were men and 464 women) were most often in the 30-55-year-old age group, with a university degree, living in a larger city with more than 100,000 inhabitants, and with diverse relationships to religious faith and spirituality. According to the results, we found that this literature offered some form of spiritual inspiration to 48% of the respondents, that 30% of the respondents perceived this spiritual component intensely, and that 29% believed that they had applied some of the spiritual values associated with the books in their daily lives. The theoretical interest of religious studies in this literature for boys is thus empirically justified.