More Thoughts about Worldview

Frankly, my thinking on the subject of worldview, specifically a Christian worldview, in fiction vacillates. When I wrote Friday’s post, Revisiting Worldview, I had in mind the kinds of books that didn’t need to explain right and wrong, the kind in which the protagonist makes choices the reader can cheer.

But as society slips further from a Christian worldview, it seems a unified understanding of what should and shouldn’t be cheered is now in question.

Stealing is wrong, most would agree … unless you steal from really bad people, or from the government, or in the name of justice. Certainly murder is wrong, isn’t it? And killing the whales is murder, but terminating the life of an unborn infant isn’t.

Apparently, even in areas that once seemed starkly black and white, society now struggles to find agreement.

So I wonder, maybe Christians need to write stories for society that hold to a Biblical way of looking at life, without connecting the dots. Maybe showing through fiction that sex outside of marriage has devastating consequences, or that greed is a poison, or ignoring the wisdom of our parents condemns us to learning the hard way, or any number of other Scripturally-consistent themes—maybe such stories can give a picture of what life can be or should be or what it is headed to become if something doesn’t change, and thus prime the pump for someone else to speak the gospel truth.

In other words, maybe such stories can entice or exhort, attract or forewarn.

Maybe they can even create the new norm. Many people look at stories and see, whether accurately so or not, that THIS is what most of the others are doing, saying, buying, believing, hoping, trying. Why, then, shouldn’t stories with people living consistently or suffering for not living consistently with Biblical standards be appropriate stories for Christians to write?

I did say at the beginning, my thinking on this subjects vacillates. Today on the radio, I heard a sermon that included an illustration about fishermen, when asked if they caught anything, never answer by saying, No, but I influenced a good number.

So I immediately apply that to writing and wonder if we Christians don’t aim too low. Should our stories reinforce God’s Law? Or point to Him? Or to His grace? Or do we need a healthy mix of them all?

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Published in: on July 6, 2009 at 10:56 am  Comments (4)  

4 Comments

  1. My mind swirls around writer concepts. It seems some of us think we need to include the gospel via a conversion scene to make a godly story to reach the lost while others of us insist to be effective in reaching the lost we must portray the reality of the world in graphic displays of various language and conduct. Others still maintain that reaching the lost is not a priority and seek to write “art” with the God-given talent we claim to possess. Others desire simply to entertain with story without ugly language and graphic sex.

    For me, it’s impossible to present a “Christian worldview” without Christ. I maintain that stories can exhibit godly principles without having a Christian worldview–and should be defined accordingly if definition is required. Good vs. evil is apparent in all kinds of secular stories in all media forms. Many of those determine that good should prevail but certainly not all of them present that “good” as being in any way a Christian worldview or ideal.

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  2. The book I just finished reading did a great job of displaying the effect of forgiveness. In Fatal Illusion, the author has Christian and non-Christian characters struggling with forgiveness. I think it is better when the author shows the impact of not following God’s word. Sometimes this reaches a non-believer quicker than a sermon.

    To be a good Christian book, I believe Christ has to appear in some form. For example, various episodes of Dr. Who contain Christian themes but the show is not a Christian show. The Adventures in Odyssey radio program does a great job of displaying Christian themes. All of the episodes I can remember have an interesting story but also explain how it ties into the Bible. My sons (who are now 16 and 18) still enjoy listening to the stories when we go on a trip. Why? Because they are well written, entertaining, and present the word of God. We need more stories like these.

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  3. I think there’s room in Christian writing for all the approaches Nicole mentioned. Going back to the sermon illustration, many fishermen don’t think much about what’s happening below the surface–they just compare stringers at the end of the day, which is one way to measure success, but it’s short-sighted.

    The champion fisherman understands that different fish respond to different lures, and the challenge is to present the lure in a manner that induces the fish to latch onto it. You may go with something dynamic and shiny that catches the fish’s attention, or you might choose a very realistic lure that looks, sounds, smells and tastes lifelike. Depending on the fish, you might be better off presenting the lure directly over the fish, off to one side, with or against the prevailing current.

    The analogy isn’t completely consistent because we’re striving to present truth, not a deception, and the final goal is the betterment of our audience, not its destruction.

    The Biblical link here, using a different metaphor, is in I Corinthians, chapter 3:

    …So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

    I struggle with this a lot in my own writing. I didn’t start writing because I wanted to save the world, I wrote because it was fun, and I enjoyed it. It was a way I could be creative, which, by the way, I think is something that God has planted within all of us, being made in the image of the Creator. As I’ve developed and continue to grow as a writer, I’ve become increasingly aware of my responsibility to write in a way that’s consistent with my faith, and I want to say something that’s important, something that leaves my reader a little better off than he was before he encountered one of my stories, and I pray for God’s guidance in that effort.

    Do I sometimes write pure entertainment? Sure. I also write stories that have a more explicit Christian message. I have non-Christian friends in one of my writing forums that have enjoyed the entertaining stuff, and when they’ve encountered some of my more obviously Christian pieces, they’ve been receptive because those themes are a consistent part of my writing.

    Frankly, it would be hard to keep them out. I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis said about writing the Narnia stories–he started out writing about a picture in his mind of a faun with an umbrella carrying parcels, and then Aslan bounded in and took over. That happens to me sometimes. I get some wacky story idea and start writing about it, then find by the end that something more meaningful than I ever intended has emerged along the way.

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  4. […] SilentFred (also known as Fred Warren, one of the June CSFF Top Blogger Award finalists) left to “More Thoughts about Worldview.” His views are right on and beautifully expressed—from the extended fishing metaphor to […]

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