The Bible vs. Rock Music, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Roleplaying Games
edited: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
By Frank Creed
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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Is Biblical speculative fiction compatible with Christianity?
In my youth there existed a large demographic of Bible-believers who referred to Christian Rock & Roll as demonic. Their argument ran something like this: If you’d lived in the puritanical Fifties like we had, and you saw Elvis-the-Pelvis move like that, you’d have crossed yourself with holy water.
Given the times, I probably would have.
But this is a different millenium. Every television two-minute-commercial-break, North America is spammed with sexually-explicit-cubed. Our animated-G-rated “children’s” movies are seeded with adult comments once-per-minute, yet we’re trying to raise a new generation of ambassadors from Heaven in this place? We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2nd Corinthians five, verse twenty, (NIV)). Me-thinks that if there were a New-World to which we could all sail and start anew, most would be packin’ even as I type. But we’re fresh outta’ new worlds. We can no longer flee the Biblical command to be in the world but not of it. Since we’re stuck here, what do Christian children think when we allow them to watch Cinderella, Snow White, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, then curse Harry Potter? Why is Star Wars okay, but Isaac Asimov bad, and why on Earth do Christians file Role-Playing-Games in the same mental box as Ouija boards? With this kind of confusion, how will they be equipped to make proper distinctions when encountering the mysterious?
Now back to Elvis. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, when it finally occurred to Christian record-producers that they could imitate pop-music and reap healthy profits (yes, it took some twenty-five years—we are a slow bunch) they met with outcry from old-school Bible-believers. Rightly outraged grandparents argued that rock-music was of Satan, and could not glorify God.
I submit that this was impotent hand-wringing.
Inanimate objects are neither morally Satanic nor Theistic. Art forms may be employed to either worship or blaspheme. The old-school was wrong.
Yet in our new millenium, the people who haven’t figured out how to diagnose sin, still bemoan that which threatens them, that which they don’t understand. Is rock-music inherently evil? What if it’s Christian rock? Have you ever read any Creed lyrics (my personal favorite)?
Are ideas of intelligent alien life-forms blasphemous? Do you believe in angels?
Is magic the equivelant of Satanism? What about Fairy Godmothers and the Good Witch of the North?
I am not saying that morality is shades of grey, it is indeed very black and white. I am saying that we who are quick to judge must not do so from some instinctive and ignorant fear. Our sub-culture is in full retreat from popular culture. Because of this we fall into the Islamic mindset of idealizing an earlier golden-age that never existed: an age when Fantasy (Snow White), was not yet a taboo genre. We protectively cocoon our children, and purchase firearms (I personally have and use an Indiana hand-gun license-to-carry).
With her children’s best interests enshrined, our mother secluded my sisters and I behind a trusty societial curtain. She ignored Second Corinthians: three through six: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weaopns we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we will take captive every thought to make it obiedient to Christ (NIV). Rather, Mom tucked us safely away within the folds of her Christian subculture.
Her problem was, we grew up, moved out, and faced the world, with wide eyes. She’d not thought that far ahead. Rather than exposing us to limited doses of ‘secular’ and using given opporutunities to discuss current events, Mom forceably stuck our heads in the sand. Without revealing personal demons, suffice-it to say that my siblings and I met the real world naked as a monk on brown-robe-laundry-day.
But Mom got one thing right—the exception to our cultural isolationism. She allowed us to play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
I know, the unforgivable sin; take a deep breath and read-on.
She had faith in her ability to teach us the difference between Biblical reality and magical fantasy. She allowed us to fantasize, and therefore encouraged our imagination (the result is that I’m a novelist and my sister, Lydia, is a Blogging poet). But once Mom had heard the media’s controversial reports on gaming, she became attentive to our past-time, feigning interest, asking confusing questions that had nothing to do with AD&D but everything to do with weirdness. Our being baffled at weirdness convinced Mom that we were just having fun, and in the end she came away convinced that we were safe.
My point is that Harry Potter and The Matrix are discussion-points for Christian families, not taboo materials. Fantasy and Sci-Fi explore human ideas, as will our children. These genres seek answers to important questions, questions to which the Bible contains thunderous answers.
Someone once said that Fantasy and Sci-Fi are the handmaidens of philosophy, because they explore the possibilities behind reality. Sooner or later, our children will face these boundaries. They’ll face them either with, or without us. Parents too busy to provide real guidance will be ignored.
Since we have the wisdom of experience, the logical arguments of theologians, and the loving trust of our children, let’s not cement those ill-mannered rascals behind brick-walls. Rather, communicate His answers to their curiosities. For centuries, both believers and unbelievers have tried our own solutions in place of His, and for centuries we’ve failed . . .
When will we learn to trust Him?