Fantasy and a Christian Worldview, Part 21

Ted Dekker, Christian author of supernatural suspense and some fantasy (Black, White, and Red, 2004, W Publishing) is a vocal proponent for showing evil in our novels:

I refuse to become complicit with evil by characterizing that nasty, nasty stuff in a way that softens its destructive bite. Doing so would not only be deceptive but it would undermine the great victory won by our hero in His majestic defeat of this terrible villian called evil.

You can read more at Ted Dekker’s blog.

Whenever I hear Dekker speak or whenever I read his philosophy, I see the wisdom of what he says, and yet I disagree with one particular point. He claims that readers who don’t want stories showing evil are motivated by their “own sentiments.” I’m not sure what he means by that but he goes on to say

They want stories about the light without turning an eye to the darkness it dispells, which ultimately negates the need for such light.

It is that point I disagree with. The Light is God in His glory. I don’t think we need evil—darkness—to show us God, to be drawn to Him, to desire communication with Him.

I know about evil most, not by reading about child molesters or hedonistic druggies or serial killers. I know evil most by seeing how different my own heart is from God’s heart.

I want to be love as He is, but the truth is I give in to selfishness. I want to be generous, kind, patient, self-controled, but when left to myself I am stingy, mean-spirited, impatient, and undisciplined. Even when I do something I think pleases God, pride rears its ugly head almost simultaneously.

Bottom line is, I need to see God more clearly, really know Him, because I am already far too acquainted with evil. So I want stories to dispel the darkness with which I am already familiar.

Is it wrong to show evil “stripped of its wool”? No, I don’t think it is. But the more evil enters into a story, the more we need to apply critical thinking. (Chris basically reminded me of that in her comment yesterday—thank you, ma’am. 😉 )

Otherwise, some can learn about evil (some people get high doing xxxx? Wow, I wonder what that feels like.), while others compare themselves to the evil extremes rather than to God (Maybe I’m not so bad; after all, I’ve never done xxxxx) and feel like they’re doing quite well without any help, thank you very much.

We must be alert. Evil is deceitful above all else.

Published in: on June 12, 2006 at 11:31 am  Comments (8)  
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