Christianity and Fiction


Yesterday a visitor left a succinct comment to one of my Andrew Peterson posts: “christianity is pure fiction thanks.” Tangentially, I reread an article yesterday entitled “A Lost Art: What happened to Christian literature?”

In relating the rich tradition of Christian literature, the article made me realize that for centuries Christianity was accepted as true by a good many (most?) of those writing in the western world. Consequently, the authors were not writing stories, poems, or plays as a type of apologetic or even as an evangelistic endeavor.

Their books and poems provided eternal significance to the mundane; they held out hope while never flinching from the cold, hard truth of life in a sin-afflicted world. As a result, their works are appreciated today across the entire breadth of our literary culture.

The world has changed. Western culture is in the process of rejecting Christianity, as the visitor’s comment demonstrates. So what effect should that have on the stories we tell? Should it have any effect?

Richard Doster, author of “A Lost Art,” continued:

Perhaps its time—at this moment of social change and cultural renewal—to encourage a new generation of Tolkiens and O’Connors, to inspire Christian writers to build on their legacy, to look back and rediscover that a Christian worldview is the best grist for great and lasting literature.

Bravo!

The “best grist.” Not something to add on or to skirt around or to disguise.

As well as our conflicts and doubts and fears, we writers should tap into our beliefs. Our characters should test them, struggle to resolve them with the world in which they live, and be changed inside even if their external circumstances remain the same.

I do see stories that mine the belief about salvation, and that certainly is “the biggy.” But I wonder if stories don’t move to the level of universal and timeless when they go deeper, exploring what’s behind a person accepting or rejecting God.

Why, for example, would someone espousing that “christianity is pure fiction thanks” drop by a site called A Christian Worldview of Fiction?

There’s a lot to explore in the world, in the human psyche, in interpersonal relationships, and ultimately in our striving against or to God. Would that we Christian authors will be brave enough to make our beliefs the grist of our stories.

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (10)  
%d bloggers like this: