Fantasy and Emergent Thought

For those of you looking for a CSFF Blog Tour post about Andrew Peterson‘s book North! Or Be Eaten, second in the Wingfeather Saga, you are actually in the right place. However, you’ll find much more information about the book from my fellow participants listed below or from my earlier review and thoughts about the book posted in conjunction with the Children’s Book Blog Tour.

What I want to do today (and the rest of this week) is to tie in the current discussion here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction about emergent thought with our CSFF selection.

You might be wondering what one has to do with the other. Quite a bit, actually—an entire worldview.

This series of posts began last Friday with an article discussing a provocative piece entitled “Is God ‘A Recovering Practitioner of Violence’?” In the ensuing discussion there and spilling over to Monday, some of those associated with emerging thought made it clear that they do not believe in one or more of the following: original sin, Satan as an actual enemy, hell, God as a righteous judge meting out deserved punishment.

In fact, a number of these visitors ascribe to a panentheistic worldview, or non-duality. In other words, they don’t believe in the basic fantasy motif: good versus evil.

It’s a little hard to imagine speculative fiction without duality. Avatar tried to pull it off, but good fiction is built upon conflict, so evil capitalists and military-ists were cast in the role of antagonist. As author and blogger Mike Duran has pointed out, the panentheistic people in the movie were at one with nature, even revering the animals they had to kill by way of preserving human life, yet they were not at one with the evil humans. No thanking them for giving up their lives. No reverential ceremony acknowledging their contribution to the cycle of life.

North! Or Be Eaten gives an entirely other point of view. There is an enemy bent on destruction—not of the body alone but of the soul. The threat is real, imminent, far-reaching, deadly.

My first question is, which of these two views most accurately squares with Scripture?

From first to last, the Bible is about conflict. Jesus’s parable in Matthew about the landowner who went on a journey gives a thumbnail sketch of the entire Bible.

After a time, the landowner sent reps to collect the proceeds from those he left to work the land. Instead of paying up, they beat and killed these reps. At last the landowner sent his son, but he too was killed and thrown out of the vineyard.

The parable ends with the landowner coming back. Jesus asked this question: “What will he do with those vine-growers?” Jesus didn’t toss out that question for thought. He spelled out the answer: “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper season.”

So does North! Or Be Eaten present the same struggle, good against evil? Let me answer that by quoting these lines of poetry Oskar recites about the protagonists father:

    All children of the Shining Isle, rejoice!
    A hero strides the field, the hill, the sand
    With raven hair and shining blade in hand.
    The wicked quake when lifts the Warden’s voice

    So fleet his mount and fierce his mighty band!
    So fair his word and fine his happy roar
    That breezes o’er the Isle from peak to shore!
    So tender burns his love for king and land!

Good fantasy like North! Or Be Eaten is full of conflict, mirroring the good/evil struggle in the world—the very struggle the Bible addresses, ending in Revelation with a picture of the answer to Jesus’s question: what will He do when He comes back?

– – –

I promised you links to the other participants. Hope you take some time to peruse their reviews and other thoughts about North! Or Be Eaten.

A check mark provides a link to a specific post.

9 Comments

  1. So now I know why leftist/progressive movies and books are so crappy— they don’t have any enemies except for ME (and other Christians…)

    That’s why Darth Vader was never a big fan of the Star Wars series.

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  2. Good points, Becky. North or Be Eaten also raised the point that when left to its own devices, evil – the Fangs, trolls, and toothy cows in the book – will expand and corrupt or remove all around. If good and evil don’t exist why are certain factions so diametrically opposed to one another? If neither good or evil exist, then two groups opposing each other are in effect opposing themselves. The Fangs must remove the Igiby children, or face oppostion in the future. Like the series, Highlander, “there can be only one.”

    Tim

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  3. LOL @ Nissa

    Great post, Becky.

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  4. This is a great application of the book, Becky, and a great contrast with the ideas of the world.

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  5. […] Don’t forget to check out the blog posts by the other CSFF participants. You’ll find the list, with links to the posts I know are already up, at the end of yesterday’s article. […]

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  6. […] we have been blogging about Andrew Peterson, Andrew Peterson has been blogging about […]

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  7. […] More. Read an excerpt Read CSFF Blog Tour articles – see complete list of links Read reviews at Thegrouchyladybug’s Weblog and at Suite […]

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  8. […] More. Read an excerpt Read CSFF Blog Tour articles – see complete list of links Read reviews at Thegrouchyladybug’s Weblog and at Suite […]

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  9. I always spent my half an hour to read this web site’s articles or reviews everyday along with a cup of coffee.

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