A Few More Thoughts on Darkness


We had such a great discussion during the blog tour about what constitutes “too dark” when it comes to fiction. A few comments used Scripture to buoy an argument, though one person mentioned that the Bible is not fiction and therefore operates with a different set of rules.

In other words, we can’t use the idea that the Bible didn’t graphically show evil as an indicator that our fiction shouldn’t graphically show evil. The Bible wasn’t written using “fiction techniques.” It doesn’t follow fictional rules of dialogue, for example, so fiction writers shouldn’t use the Bible and its treatment of evil as a model. I hope I have expressed those views accurately.

The point was a good one I thought. Anyway, the comment got me to thinking about evil in the Bible. The Psalms are full of reflection on evildoers and the wicked. In some, the Psalmist asks God why the wicked prosper. In others the godly are admonished to stay clear of the wicked. David wrote a good deal about the wicked, often pleading with God to to save him from the wicked. But are these Psalms dark?

I don’t think so. As a general rule, even Psalms that start out bemoaning difficult circumstances end up praising God. Sure, the writers question and confess and call for God’s judgment, but that’s the thing. God is present in these Psalms. He is the one the writer is addressing or He is the Saving Hand who receives praise in the end.

So the question. Are any books of the Bible really dark?

I can think of one. It’s the book whose theme is, Everyone did what was right in his own eyes, with They did evil in the sight of the Lord as the counter melody. This is a dark, dark message. And the book illustrates it with stories about betrayal and murder, gang rape, civil war, idolatry, broken vows, kidnapping, prostitution, vandalism, torture.

Yes, all in one book of the Bible—Judges. It’s the darkest one, as far as I’m concerned. God does show up, time and time again, to provide a judge who will rescue His people, but just as often His people revert to their wicked ways.

And that is the human condition. Seems to me we must acknowledge that before we can grasp our need for our Redeemer-King.

That’s not to say every work of fiction needs to include betrayal and murder, gang rape, civil war, idolatry, broken vows, kidnapping, prostitution, vandalism, and torture. 😉

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm  Comments (3)  
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