A Christian's Fiction

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I've heard it said that you can tell what's important to a person by what they fight for and defend. If two things are in conflict and one of them has to go, which one do you toss out? And, while this can sometimes this apply to physical possessions, the most important things aren't the things that we can see with our eyes. (I could write a whole post about that by itself, but I don't think that very many people, if any, would disagree.) Recently, I've seen this coming into play in my life in a very specific way- that is, when encouraged to read, watch, or otherwise engage in fiction that opposes what I believe as a Christian.

The argument that I commonly hear regarding this topic is, "it's fiction, so it doesn't matter." This can be worded in any number of ways. For example, "yes, this story assumes that evolution is true, but just imagine that God doesn't exist for the sake of the story." Or, coming from another Christian, it might sound more like, "yes, God is real, but this story doesn't take place in our world, it takes place in a world where God doesn't exist." But this doesn't work; as a Christian, I believe that not only life, but the entire universe is impossible without God having created it. The common argument that I hear in response is, "but you accept all sorts of impossible things for the sake of fiction." True, but these are impossible in a different way.

I sometimes read stories that have talking dragons in them. Talking dragons do not exist in our world. In fact, no talking animals exist in our world. However, this is a law of reality, not a law of logic. There is no logical rule that says, "you have a planet, therefore it does not contain dragons," or even, "you have an animal, therefore this animal cannot talk." Of course, if you see a dog, you can deduce, quite logically, that it cannot talk. But not because of a rule of logic. When something is logically impossible, you will be able to show that logical impossibility even within the laws of a different universe, because logic must be true by definition. (This goes back to my post on the different levels of knowing, if you haven't seen it.)

Logic consists of such rules as, if A is equal to B and B is equal to C, then A is equal to C. Believe it or not, I have heard it claimed that this needn't be true in fiction! (And, to be honest, that was the point where I realized that the discussion as a whole may have been pointless.) If you write a story where A and C are both equal to B and yet are not equal to eachother, all you're doing is writing nonsense. The word "equal" has a specific definition. A simpler way of explaining this might be to have a story with a square circle. In such a case, I can draw a picture of a circle and ask, "is this the shape that you described in your story?" If they say yes, then it is not a square. If they say no, then it is not a circle. "But that's not true in my story!" Yes it is, you're just a bad writer. You are using real words with real definitions to describe your story, and therefore, must describe real concepts. You can combine previously existing concepts and rules, or you can tweak the way things work, but you must still be using basic logic for your story.

I believe that it is logical to believe in God. That is to say, if somebody says to me, "I don't believe in God," to me this is as silly as saying, "I believe that square circles can exist." After all, something cannot come from nothing- this is a rule of logic. (Atheists are sometimes quick to point out that something actually can come from nothing, but this is a distortion of the words and is not actually true according to the proper definition of nothing. Dr. William Craig gives a basic rebuttal to this claim in the link provided.) The universe has come into existence, and must have come from something. Therefore, God must exist. Because of this, any story which makes the assumption that God does not exist is, in my eyes, illogical. And, as with any other plot hole or illogical situation in a story that I otherwise enjoy, I must patch up that hole with headcanon.

However, what if a story is so opposed to the Bible that it can't be reconciled? For example, I've heard of a TV show called Lucifer, and from what I know of it, it is directly opposed to the Bible. In this case, we go back to what's important. Which is more important to me: God, or personal entertainment? This is where all those arguments from before go astray- they assume that I see God as simply an aspect of reality, no more, no less. That I have an impersonal relationship with Him similar to one that I might have with a tree. I believe that the tree exists, but it has no special meaning to me. But as a Christian, I don't believe that God is simply an aspect of logic to use at my whim. Logic fits with Him, but that's not all He is. I believe that He is my Creator and Savior. And if I have to choose, I pick Him. Some would say that because it's just fiction, I don't have to throw away my faith- just put it aside. But do you put aside your love for someone when it's convenient? If someone wrote a story that was entertaining and funny and dramatic, but they kept talking in the story about how much they hate your best friend, what would you do? Would you make the same argument? "I don't actually hate my friend, I'm just putting aside my love for them while I read this story." That's not something that I can do.

Stories are just that- stories. Fiction. They're not true, and don't have to fit with the laws of reality. But at the same time, we are in the real world, and stories therefore are required to interact with our world- through real words, through real definitions, through real storytellers, through real readers, through real time, and through real devotion. It makes me uncomfortable when I have to reconcile a story- when I have to imagine that such-and-such happened instead. When it gets to the point where that's impossible, I've already made my choice. Because even if it could be shown that a fictional world can function logically without God, it wouldn't make a difference. The entertainment isn't worth setting aside my Lord.
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
-A.W. Tozer

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