• The Fear of Fiction

    There was a recent article on Huffington Post about whether Christians should be watching Game of Thrones. This to me is just another example of Christians being afraid of fiction.

    I want to be clear here and state for the record that I don’t think all Christians are afraid of all fiction. That would be ridiculous. There are obviously many Christians who love Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and many other fictional works that feature the supernatural. Plus, Christians love the Bible and that is a work of fiction featuring the supernatural.

    Which brings me to my point — fictional stories deal with magic and the supernatural remind people just how fictional magic and the supernatural are. In so doing, it reminds people just how fictional the Bible is too because at the end of the day there is no difference between the supernatural events of Game of Thrones and the supernatural events of Christian mythology.

    When I watch Game of Thrones, I can suspend my disbelief because I know I am watching fiction. I know there aren’t really dragons and magic. I realize however that I am watching a fictional world in which these things are a reality. If I were living in that world I might still be skeptical to a point, but upon seeing evidence I would have to adjust my beliefs accordingly. But for a religious believer, Jesus rising from the dead is no different than Beric Dondarrion being resurrected from the dead six times. It’s all fiction to me, but for religious believers, this fiction hits too close to their faith-based view of reality.

    Harry Potter has often been a target of religious fundamentalists for this very reason. In that world magic is real. The thing is that while I know that world is fictional, fundamentalists believe magic is real too. Aside from its characters, it is the magic which makes that world fictional.

    “Yeah, ‘that’ magic is make-believe, but Jesus’s magic was real.” It is just easier for them to wash their hands of the whole thing and say that magic is real, but that Harry Potter is the Devil’s magic. We see the same thing with Game of Thrones and most other fictional stories that feature the supernatural outside the Christian context.

    That last part is important. The Catholic Church loved the film “The Exorcist” because it was within the Christian context. “See magic is real and so is the Devil… repent!” Any movie that featured magic within the Christian context (even if it features Satan) is okay with them because it reinforces their fictional world.

    It’s all fiction to me and I can put myself in any fictional world and enjoy it for what it is — fiction!

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    Category: ChristianityGeek Stuff


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.