Fantasy and a Christian Worldview Part 14

I should have given you the schedule for the rest of Sharon Hinck’s blog tour yesterday. Better late than never still works, right? Below are the dates and bloggers she will be visiting.

  • June 2 (Tiff) Amber Miller
  • June 3 Valery Sykes
  • June 4 Janet W. Butler
  • June 5 Camy Tang
  • June 6 Mary Griffith
  • June 7 Sharon Hinck’s Home Blog
  • June 8 Lisa Harris
  • June 9 Julie Cariboni
  • June 10 Tricia Goyer
  • June 12 Violet Nesdoly
  • June 16 Melanie Dobson
  • June 17 Donna Fleisher
  • June 20 Mary DeMuth
  • June 25 Lena Nelson Dooley
  • Also, as part of the promotion for his latest release, Deliver Us from Evelyn, Chris Well has rounded up a number of bloggers to post the first chapter of that book today. You’ll note, here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, the novel excerpt is posted as a separate page. Click here or on the link in the sidebar and you can read, for free, the exciting beginning of this crime novel.

    And now, back to the show. Er, the discussion. Or random thoughts. Or whatever this blog is. 😉

    Fantasy. I think we’ve established that some Christians stumble over “magic,” what looks to them like material glorifying forces opposed to God.

    I’ve set down the argument that in fantasy a reader suspends a degree of realism, accepting instead a new set of story world rules. For example, C. S. Lewis brings his protagonists into the world of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe. That requires the suspension of belief in what we know to be real, what we know is possible.

    So, from Biblical examples and teaching, a Christian can conclude that we are not to seek supernatural power. But does that mean we should not read about the same? My claim is, no, a Christian should not make such a categorical decision.

    When a reader suspends realism, that can include the suspension of belief in things like magic is power from Satan, sorcerers are evil, dragons represent the devil. In the pretend world of fantasy, a writer can create a good witch and a bad one, or boys that can turn into dragons, or pigs that can prophesy.

    Some people have a hard time with this. The ironic thing is, many of those same people have no trouble with TV programs that show adultery, or stories with children lying to their parents or backtalking or being selfish, prideful, mean-spirited, bullying, gossiping. OK, I’ll stop. You know what I’m saying.

    The point is, those behaviors are not questionable. The Bible condemns them over and over, yet there is no thought to try to shield our children or ourselves from such stories that contain such behaviors, or even condone them. When was the last time you heard someone object to a Harry Potter book because he and his friends disobeyed their teachers or the school rules? Or lied about where they’d been?

    Let me ask another question. Which are Christians most likely to be tempted to involve ourselves in, witchcraft or lying? So which story is actually the one that has the most potential to be damaging, the one that creates a fantasy world in which a witch can be good, or a story that ignores lying or even rewards it?

    I’ve mentioned children in this post, and I’m aware that there is actually a different set of rules for adults and children, largely because of children’s reasoning capacity.

    However, I think the best thing parents can do is to teach kids to think critically, not give blanket, categorical judgments. Of course, that requires the parents to think that way first.

    What all goes into critical thinking? That seems to be coming up a lot lately.

    Published in: on June 2, 2006 at 5:00 am  Comments (14)  
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