Should Christians Write Fantasy?

Aslan of Narnia

Is it wrong for Christians to write about magic, wizards and otherworldly beings?

Surprisingly, some people believe so.

Over a decade ago a fundamentalist church not far from my home made headlines by having a Harry Potter bonfire.  Christians from the surrounding area were invited to bring their Harry Potter books to a public burning.  The fact that this event conjured images of Nazi Germany didn’t deter the organizers, as they were determined to rid the world (or at least the greater Pittsburgh area) of the influence of J.K. Rowling and her supposed promotion of witchcraft.

Recently this question has arisen in our writing forums, and this has led to a thought-provoking discussion.  One of our members eloquently expressed the crux of the issue:

The Bible specifically prohibits magic; no if, and or buts. But because I create a character that uses magic, I am in no way trying to promote my reader to go out and practice sorcery! Look at C.S. Lewis; he was a devout Christian but used magic in his stories. But his stories were also a metaphor for Christ.

I feel somewhat conflicted about writing fantasy. I love mythology and fantasy and in all of my fantasy novels (nearly all of them) they are heavily involved with pantheons that I created and magic systems and lots of war and violence…

I have prayed hard about this for days. It is always on my mind. My stories have angels and demons and gods and divine figures and magic but in no way am I (intentionally) trying to denounce Jesus.

I’m really glad that we’re having this discussion.  You see, in my day job I’m a religious studies and philosophy professor. I’m Christian, and my faith plays an important role in my life.

As someone who has spent his life studying these questions, I can say with certainty that there’s no conflict between writing fantasy and being a Christian. Only an extreme misinterpretation of the scriptures could support such a conclusion. The Bible warns against involvement in the occult, but that is not the same thing as “magic,” let alone writing about magic in a fantasy setting.

I became interested in writing fantasy because of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both of these men were committed Christians whose deep faith inspired their writings. And I owe much of my faith to these two men, as their example and witness has inspired me since childhood.

Here’s the key point that must be remembered: fantasy is not real, nor is it meant to depict reality. Instead, fantasy literature derives it’s power from its ability to tap into the unconscious mind. The realm of fantasy is really the realm of dreams, where magic is symbolic of deeper human longings.

Author D.M. Andrews explains the power of symbols:

Fantasy is replete with symbols. This is perhaps the main reason why fantasy can engage our mind more than any other genre. Symbols are a powerful way of getting something into a reader’s heart, mind and soul. Fantasy uses symbols that have been around for a long, long time. Many of these symbols go back to deep ancestral beliefs; they go back into history, into legend, into mythology and into the very scripture of the Bible itself.

When well written, fantasy literature taps into layers of the human person that other forms of literature cannot reach. Magic, wizards and supernatural beings are all archetypal elements that are deeply rooted in the unconscious mind. We, as fantasy authors, explore these themes in order to craft stories of great resonance and power. And in doing so, we can help the reader to understand greater truths that would otherwise be inaccessible.

There’s nothing unchristian about that. In fact, If you are a skilled fantasy writer, you can actually be a force for good.

How do you feel about Christians writing fantasy?  Have you personally wrestled with this question?

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Diane
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Diane

I’ve never heard of such a thing as Christians not writing fantasy. I’m not a religious person. I put my faith in myself and connect with the spirits of Earth. I believe in natural magic.

It seems the men who wrote the Bible were only interested in denouncing Pegans, Druids and such who can feel the energy of magic. Giving humans such insight to power weakens the church’s hold on them. Yet, Christianity utilized some of their practices. Praying is only another form of wishing, yet it is believed wishing is connected with magic.

It’s appalling in this day and age that anyone would think a book burning was an appropriate response to novels such as Harry Potter. A few years ago, when a local witch was being tormented by her neighbours and had to move to escape it, I thought, we are not as far from the dark ages as we think.

At that time, with emotions running high, I warned my sister, who I had taught to make plantain ointment, to not be seen gathering the herb because some might mistake her for a witch. Isn’t that sad?

Witches are not bad people in spite of what movies will have you think. They are natural healers and work one with nature. When I see a movie such as “The Last Witch Hunter”, I roll my eyes as the myth continues. I refuse to watch such movies because they are based on lies and hatred.

This whole belief of Christians not writing fantasy only confirms my thoughts of some individuals still living with ideas from 500 years ago.

The idea that there is no magic is horrid. We are surrounded by it. You need only to open your eyes and see it, but many choose to live blindly.

Genesis
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Genesis

Actually praticing these magical things are sins, though.

Christine Kerrick
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Christine Kerrick

Actually, witchcraft and placing other gods before the God of the universe is sin, and is denounces in the Bible. Due to the law of non-contraduction, the Bible is the only true source of righteousness and morality. Christ is the living word, which is why He could die for us.a perfect sacrifice.
As for writing fantasy, as long as it isn’t venerating evil (demonology, witchcraft, etc), and leads people to the Lord somehow, or leads them to open up dialogue about Him, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Anthony Debono
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Anthony Debono

If I may say.
In my stories I write about monsters (werewolves, vampires, ect) but the theme of the story is forgiveness mercy and compassion. (The monsters are the good guys)
Most of the ‘magic’ is basic science (the mechanics of how a werewolf transforms) but the only people who have actual powers had those powers granted by God.
Weresheep can heal for example.
Two characters two even granted the wish to become an archangles because they wants to stop evil.
I use lots of Christian references throughout the story.
I never mean to offend but I like using my stories to show these aspects.

Nichole Galica
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Nichole Galica

Recent comments brought me here, and since people are still reading I’ll throw my two cents in.

Lewis and Tolkien are so well known, other Christian authors are almost never mentioned or remembered. Madeleine L’Engel wrote a wonderful book titled Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. She also wrote The Rock that is Higher: Stories as Truth. I have read and recommend the first book to any artist of any type who may have questions or doubts, or are maybe just curious. It’s a book based on an address she gave about Christian art and Christians as artists. I have not read the second book at all, but if it’s even half as good as the first…you should read it.

M. L’Engel said something beautiful: “Jesus is God who told stories.” She also talks about fantasy as wonder more than as tied to magic. (At one point fantasy meant what we use Speculative Fiction to mean now.) Maybe thinking of it in those term, wonder vs. specifically involving magic, would be enough to settle the question for some people.

For others, reading the nonfiction works of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engel, and G.K. Chesterton may help them decide the course for them. (Chesterton was a pastor who wrote fiction; the one story I’ve read so far I’d label as surrealist.) There is a HUGE amount of Christian fantasy/spec fiction if you know where to look. See if any of those authors wrote about their choice of genre and gives their thoughts on it. Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Bill Meyer, the author of the Seven Sleepers series, the author of the series where two children used a red stone to travel to another world, and when they traveled they saw each other as God saw them? He as a heroic knight, and she was a beautiful bride? (If you know this series, please please let me know the name! I want to say the red keystone series, but google says that’s not it). Etc. You may be surprised what you find.

Personally I think this is completely a 1 Corinthians 10:23 thing and a food to idols case, right? Yes, Christians can write fantasy. But are YOU called to write fantasy? So always prayer first and seeking if you feel conflicted about it. 🙂

James SInclair
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James SInclair

I know this is an old post now, but this question was coming up regularly with some of my friends. I found this post helpful and it got me thinking about what makes a good Christian fantasy story? I think this question is important because stories are important.

My thoughts took more space than would fit here, so I’ve posted them to my blog. You can find it at:
http://jrsinclair.com/articles/2016/why-christians-should-write-fantasy/

Nichole Galica
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Nichole Galica

Checked out your post; really liked the way you laid it out. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Autumn R Alexander
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Autumn R Alexander

I am a Christian fantasy writer and since I’ve gotten some flack about using magic in my story, I’ve been researching different views about it.

In my novel, magic is an ability like any other–a gift given by God that can be used for good or evil. Likewise, God can enhance or remove that gift if He chooses. Also, Satan has the ability to enhance a person’s magical gift for evil purposes. However, if a person surrenders their life to God, God can work through them to overpower those who’ve given their lives over to Satan.

My novel is a story of forgiveness, mercy, and justice, and includes many situations and relationships that people can identify with and learn from, but it does so in a way that non-Christians will not balk at. God is there, and truth is there, but according to one non-christian reader, religion in the story is 100% beleivable in the world I have created and she was satisfied with the One True God showing His power to conquer the enemy. In fact, she liked it so much, she wanted to read it again immediately after finishing it.

I had another reader, a christian, point out several places where the novel impacted her heart for the better, especially the lessons about forgiveness.

I agree that Christians should be writing fantasy novels. The world is not going to pick up a “religious” book and read it unless they are already purposely seeking God, but writing a novel that shows truth about God in a fantasy setting is non-threatening and inviting even.

TO answer the question, what makes a good Christian fantasy story, I’d say, one that presents truth about God in a way that causes non-believers’ hearts to hunger for more truth. I am already being encouraged by both Christians and non to write a sequel (which I am in the process of doing).

Orlando
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Orlando

This article was very comforting to me and it gave me a different point of view to look at the fantasy genre. I have been battling with myself about pursuing the genre but you gave me confirmation that I can use the genre to promote faith.

Marinus
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Marinus

I have really been struggling with this question. I am a pastor and my wife and I recently married. The struggle we have been having is that our lives are totally wrapped up in Jesus, He truly is in every thought of ours.

My wife has it on her heart to write high fantasy and cannot seem to reconcile the fact that if there are people or humanoids (pixies, elves, dwarves, etc.) who all have different lifespans, they would need to be able to have personalities, if they have personalities, they would need to have a conscience, and also have been created. The one who created them needs to be good and one cannot write of another God who is good, it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is good. If the world is not our world, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wouldn’t have existed and there would need to be another history, but Jesus would still have to redeem the world because sin is in the humanoids otherwise there would not be any bad in the world that is not overtly demon. I could go on and describe every implication but these are obvious.

What are the implications of writing a different gospel if God made the humanoids in his image? What would Jesus be born as? We thought about making everyone different races but this would mean that lifespans cannot vary, please help!

Christine Kerrick
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Christine Kerrick

I think, at that point, you would be talking about allegory, which is fine. Look at Max Lucado’s children’s book, ‘You Are Loved’, where the townspeople are toys and God is a woodsman/toy maker. Totally works, and it ministered to me! If you align things with His word, but use fantasy actors to act out its themes, it is not ‘another gospel’, it is just allegory. Hope this helps!

Justin
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Justin

Great read! I am a Pentecostal pastor who also was inspired by the works of Tolkien and Lewis. The Lord laid a five book series upon my heart years ago set in a fantasy setting. This article is greatly appreciated as I myself had to come to these conclusions. I see fantasy as a way to reach another audience of people. We should use the gifts God has given us for the sake of the Kingdom.

Charles Gambus
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Charles Gambus

Christians definitely should write fantasy and create arts that reflect the principles of the faith

Charles Gambus
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Charles Gambus

I am a Christian, and I like the genre insofar as it sticks to Biblical principles and doesn’t dishonor God.

Personally speaking, this is the one Christian fantasy book that is very biblical and also an excellent fantasy book:

http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Heir-Chronicles-Time-1/dp/0692264752/ref=la_B008D33WWE_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423570270&sr=1-1

danielle
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danielle

i see..im a christian and ive wanted to write fantasy fanfic where some people have dragon wings and tails and use magic but im in no way denouncing God Jesus or Christianity. so that whole magic thing was a misunderstanding and it was really talking about occults?

Heather
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Heather

As a Christian, I have no issue writing for the fantasy genre. However, I do question how dark (violence, amount of demonic influence, if any) I should make my story, since it will be for young adults, both Christians and non. I have characters who are not religious in any sense. I want to make them realistic and flawed. Thoughts?

Halcyon15
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Halcyon15

This is one of the things I do with my stories. The magic and occult in the Bible is basically rejecting the sovereignty of God, choosing instead to trust in the Enemy. Satan. In essence, witchcraft is using power not from God for God’s will, but from the enemy of God and going against God’s will. In my stories, I tend to go two routes. For some magic, like alchemy and such, it is presented as closer to a science (and for once those Chemistry classes in school have use), while others are seen as gifts of God. In my stories, magicians aren’t people who brokered power with a dark force. They’re “talented” akin to someone with freakish drawing abilities.

And as for dark themes, it depends on how they are used. Characters NEED to have flaws to make them realistic. They don’t have to be “bad,” but they have to impede the character’s path. Struggling with indecision is innocuous enough, but can provide plenty of conflicts with. And usually, when I use violence in writing, it is to either a) showcase the fallen world, or b) give contrast between good and evil.

April
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April

Well… I’m probably not who you should be listening to (even though I am Christian;) but, as far as I would think, by all means make your baddies real, flawed individuals – it makes your good guys look better by comparison. And go ahead and give your good guys some flaws, too; that’s just good character development. Powers don’t have to be ‘realistic’ (if you’re really worried about how to portray dark stuff, give yourself a skim crash course reading up on the ‘real’ analog of what you were thinking of using and change/edit your own away from it accordingly to a degree. I’ve done this.) Rating considerations, intended audience and personal levels of discomfort will definitely help. It _does_ have to make you a little uncomfortable, though; these are the bad guys…

Cas Blomberg
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Cas Blomberg

I’m so happy I ran across this website. I’m also a christian and love the entire speculative fiction genre. Like you, Lewis and Tolkien inspired me. Yet, I carry such a mantle of guilt when I run across sites that tell how fantasy is frivolous, pointless and bordering on the occult. This post has alleviated some of that guilt and I feel like a great weight has been lifted. Thanks so much.

Lela Markham
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Lela Markham

Stephen Lawhead writes a type of historical fantasy. And there are all sorts of writers of Christian fantasy out there who are trying to get an audience, but can’t go through the traditional Christian bookstore because of the misconceptions of fantasy.

Here’s just one outlet.

http://www.breakwaterharborbooks.com/

Saph
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Saph

So I’m aware that this article is old, but I wanted to point out that the only Christian fantasy writers people keep mentioning are J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. Hasn’t anybody been inspired by more recent Christian fantasy? I know most aren’t as good as the “Masters,” but other CF and CSci-fi writers do exist.

Frank Peretti wrote a shiver-worthy book called “Oath” about sin personified. He’s also written about angels and demons in books such as “This Present Darkness.” And there’s a Paladin series with dragons and other races, as well as the Guardian-King series where believers gain the Creator’s light and some magic when they “take the shield.” Though I’m not a fan of either, both are allegorical, like Narnia, and both deal with either magic or magical items.

Madeleine L’Engle, most famous for “A Wrinkle in Time,” is my favorite Christian fantasy/sci-fi author. She wrote a wonderful book called “Walking on Water” that discusses art and Christianity. For any struggling Christian, prayer, “Walking on Water,” and Romans chapter 14 are good places to go and examine whether God is convicting you or inspiring you.

I’m sure prayer and “Walking on Water” would help struggling authors of other religions as well. I understand that as a Christian I may be biased, but Mrs. L’Engle is not preachy so I believe many fantasy writers could gain some insight from her without being offended by her faith.

Danielle
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Danielle

Thank you soo much I’ve been wanting to write a fantasy story for a while now and this really helps me

Lillian Csernica
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Lillian Csernica

I’m an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I write fantasy and horror. Yes, I’ve struggled with the questions surrounding exactly what I write about and where the boundaries should lie. I tell stories about the triumph of good over evil. To do so, I have to show evil putting up a strong, believable fight. That doesn’t mean I’m endorsing evil or its methods.

Lilian Oake
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Lilian Oake

In my *personal* opinion, I think it comes down to the foundation and purpose of the writing. When creating my world(s), I often keep the rules of a higher power the same as that of God Almighty. It helps me keep my head as I get very drawn into my world(s) when writing and can actually become emotionally affected. But that’s just me.
Everything I’ve ever written has depicted – at some point or throughout – a battle of good and evil, whether through actual war with weapons and violence, or the battles within the mind/emotions in life.
I think if your story has a good moral/point to it, then it’s fine to have fantasy in it…or be all fantasy but there’s so much more to say there than I think I can manage to explain this late at night and with such little mental strength lol

Halcyon15
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Halcyon15

Moral points…yes. I definitely agree!

AndreCruzWrites
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AndreCruzWrites

If magic were real then I could see how writing about the dark arts would be a sin.

Although after reading Harry Potter, I said a couple of Hail Marys.

http://www.andrecruz.net

pmartin
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pmartin

Im a Christian that enjoys fantasy but I dont try to justify it. One can not say “its ok as long as it doesnt cause anyone to go  astray”. There is no way you can tell what effects your action has in another part of the nation or world. I do say this however, can a Chritian write a sex novel? Sex is real, the couples can even be married! Why should his artistic talents be blocked by an “irrational fear”?

MG_Silverstein
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MG_Silverstein

I’m not a Christian, but I was raised by extremely religious parents. (I’ve read the bible a few times too.) If you are a Christian writing fantasy and telling people that magic is real and they should practice witchcraft/wizardry…obviously that conflicts with Christian belief. On the other hand, writing about witches in a fantasy book actually promotes the belief that witches/magic is not real.

Michael53
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Michael53

I’m a christian and believe wholeheartedly in Christ Jesus and what he did and does for mankind. I feel as long as my writings don’t persuade others to believe any differently, and the word of God is not degraded or changed, then its alright. My novels (Sci/fi/Fantasy Action Adventure)are imaginative and inspired by an imagination that was given to me by God and can be used for His purposes, which are to bring all who will, to the wonders found while seeking his truths in the Bible.

AdamKalontas
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AdamKalontas

It’s not that Christian shouldn’t write fantasy. It’s that most of them should put their faith past them. From my experience, there’s nothing blocking creativity more than an irrational fear of a certain topic caused by your religion or otherwise an ideology. If you can’t look past the prohibition of imaginary practice (I think we can all agree, magic is not real) because of a rule written over 2,000 years ago, then I’m sorry, but you probably shouldn’t be a speculative fiction writer.

TomAustin
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TomAustin

I am a Christian, and this has been a serious problem for me. I’ve always loved fantasy and wanted to write fantasy, but my family was very conservative and always tried to get me to write something different. When I tried saying I would write “Christian fantasy” like C.S. Lewis, my grandmother looked at me like I had just cussed at her.Now, my stories have developed to where many Christian publishing houses wouldn’t touch it, but it still includes major themes from my faith. It’s violent, full of sorcerous cannibals, and replete with demons who claim to be gods. These are things that many Christians would absolutely hate in a story, but I feel do not compromise the greater themes of redemption and divine intention for life.Essentially, the question Christians need to ask is “Why am I writing fantasy, and what kind of magic needs is included?” I am personally opposed to necromancy as used by protagonists, but I understand that some may disagree. The kind of magic that is condemned in the Bible is divination and necromancy. Divination, seeking to contravene the power of God by  seeking out mystical truths, open us to demonic forces, and necromancy, speaking to the dead, does the same. It all depends on how the fantasy world is set up, and that’s the wonderful part of writing fantasy. If we’re writing about a world with a pantheon of gods, well, some may be able to do that. It all depends on how it is done and what is the point of the story.

Shasjas
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Shasjas

As an atheist thinking hypothetically, i simply cannot understand why a decent loving god would have a problem with this, especially as (if he did create the universe) he seems to have created the universe without any real magic in it. so any mention of such things in the bible is just due to the superstitions of the time, and any magic in books cannot be compared to anything in real life, other than metaphorically.

Sam__Medina
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Sam__Medina

There’s a big difference between magic and promoting of witchcraft; the Bible never condemns magic per se. The Prophet Daniel was referred to as the Master of the Magicians in Babylon, for example. Indeed, the very definition of magic is the attempt to influence events by mysterious or supernatural means. By this definition, magic includes technology that isn’t understood by those who witness it, or prayer. I suspect some of the Christians who has a problem with HP were more bothered by its presentation of witchcraft and sorcery as being good things, whereas the Bible expressly describes them as abomination… So I get where they’re coming from. I wouldn’t write them off as idiots or crazy, though they’d probably denounce my fantasy writing, too 😉

Jose Casillas
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Jose Casillas

‘the Bible never condemns magic’ — This is not true.
Galations 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Isaiah 19:3
And the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers;

WillEnglish
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WillEnglish

People who say that Christians shouldn’t write fantasy are raving idiots IMO. 

thetruereaver
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thetruereaver

Outstanding article Tony! 

Chisza
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Chisza

Why shouldn’t we be able to? And who’s really going to stop us. If someone doesn’t think a Christian shouldn’t write/read fantasy, then they won’t buy our books. But yet they still sell. I consider myself very solid in my belief in God. I’ve loved C.S. Lewis since I was a kid and have torn through so many fantasy (and sci-fi books, the social engineering and indoctrination in some of those could almost be viewed as more threatening than magic and dragons) books since then I stopped buying hard copies cause I’d need a room just for a library. No kidding. we’re talking walls of books here. My pastor asked me once when I was a teenage why I read what I did (I think I was in a Harry Potter phase at the time and the whole church had it out for me). I told him it wasn’t real and as long as I remembered that, I was good. He didn’t know what to make of that…Anyways, God gave us imaginations and individual gifts. If that means I want to turn the dream of an elephant that fell a apart like a sponge into a story, so be it. If I want to work a Christian message in there and Christians want to ban it, it’s their loss. I’m more interested in reaching out to the unsaved anyways.

Barbara Vice-bentley
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Barbara Vice-bentley

I believe this…since it is not for us to judge others…then why not? Nothing is impossible with God and we are all here to experience, to help other souls learn. So why can’t Christians write fantasy?

Christyn Yeaman
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Christyn Yeaman

1. Are they a legit Christian? 2. Can they write? 3. If God told them to do it, take it up with Him.

keikomushi
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keikomushi

I believe that most literature is tinged with some amount of bias, whether religious or otherwise. As human beings, we can’t help but add in these inclinations to our writing because they mean something. It is not wrong for Christians to write fantasy so long as it is categorized and marketed based on the content. 

EliseShedd
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EliseShedd

For  more answers  about magic and miracles and the difference between the two, check out my blog on http://ezrascrollofscribes.wordpress.com. I tried commenting it here but it want post.

Tim
Guest
Tim

At the risk of offending, I think the very definition of ‘magic’ is open to question. What about Jesus’ miracles? What about the miracles that are attributed to some of the disciples? What about the contest between Moses and the Egyptian magicians? Who is to say which ‘magic’ comes from God and which from an evil source? (If, in fact, anything in creation can exist without the the agency of God) Surely it is simply down to how the ability is used – as ever, God allows us free will in the exercise of whatever talents we have or in the use of the resources we have to hand.And however divinely inspired the Bible may be, it bears the stamp of its times. I was shocked to realise that the 5,000 who were fed were all men (‘they were five thousand, and women and children’ it says). So, in such a patriarchally-inclined society, who is to say that if the ‘Son’ of God had been a woman and performed the miracles that Jesus did, that she might not have been burned as a witch…? So, similarly, perhaps the perception of what power comes from God and what is ‘sorcery’ may be culturally biased, and little to do with the truth. With ‘magic’ and with writing, God gives the gift, and it’s good – the rest depends on the user.Thomas More said that God created man (apologies to the ladies) to ‘serve him wittily, in the tangle of his mind’ – I’m quite sure that includes a few dragons and unicorns.(I am not a Christian, by the way, and use the term ‘God’ for convenience.)

Sam__Medina
Guest
Sam__Medina

@Tim Well, most dictionaries define it as the attempt to influence events by mysterious or supernatural means, so technically, technology not understood by those who witness it, or even prayer would fit that definition… I’m a Christian, and I write fantasy, though I won’t present witchcraft, sorcery, etc as good things…

StorytellerGRL
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StorytellerGRL

The way I see it, if you build a shrine to Voldemort or Dumbledore and start genuinely worshiping their deceased spirit, then maybe you’ve gone a bit too far. If you enjoy the books and the movies and you got a t-shirt at the theme park, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m a Christian and I love to read and to write fantasy. It’s called fantasy for a reason–i.e. it’s fantastical, not real. God gave us imaginations–I think He’s pleased when we use our imaginations for something that brings delight to others.

Clay Gilbert
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Clay Gilbert

Utterly ridiculous. Although I’m not a Christian myself, and perhaps that’s why I don’t see it as a problem, if Christians couldn’t write fantasy, we’d be bereft of the visions of two of literature’s great fantasists—J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

BarbaraPhinney
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BarbaraPhinney

I think that it’s a personal decision, not a hard and fast rule. Christians should allow the Spirit to guide them. If you idolize fantasy, the occult and other practices that may glorify evil, perhaps you should reconsider writing about them. This is the same as drinking alcohol, smoking or gambling. The reason they are frowned upon in the Bible is because they can lure the faithful away from God, who cares for people’s souls. Apart from Christian fiction, I write paranormal, that is, Time Travel, and sci-fi. It’s the message behind the story that’s important to me and I feel comfortable doing  it.

Brian DeLeonard
Member
Brian DeLeonard

As a Christian, I’ve never struggled with the magical aspects of my fantasy, or even with the fantasy gods I’ve used.  But I’ve struggled with the moral implications of the violence in some of my writing.  I do my best, however, to portray that violence with the emotional overtones that are right for the moment, the emotions that most readers would normally want to feel about the events being portrayed, and not to bring my readers to glorify a character’s horrible actions.

Martha Leatherman
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Martha Leatherman

Good comment, Jeff Ogden.

Kevin Spencer
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Kevin Spencer

Depends on the particular interpretation of “Christian” and “Fantasy.” both of these terms are fairly widely and variously interpreted.

Brenna Lee Dougherty
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Brenna Lee Dougherty

Well, why shouldn’t they?

Lauren Usher
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Lauren Usher

Why does it matter? Just leave em be and they’ll let us

Jeff Ogden
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Jeff Ogden

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were two of the major influences that prepared me to be a Christian. Tolkien believed we are little makers made in the image of The Maker. He called fantasy writing “Sub-creation”. Both he and Lewis felt fantasy was a means of helping people gain a truer vision of what “reality” is actually about. The magic warned about in the Bible is nothing like the magic in most fantasy stories. The Bible forbids consorting with demons, calling on familiar spirits, speaking with the dead, and trying to divine the future. There’s a reason Tolkien chose “The Necromancer” as a nickname for Sauron.

aimeelaine
Guest
aimeelaine

@TerriRochenski 2/2 so maybe someday I’ll write it. 😉

TerriRochenski
Guest
TerriRochenski

@aimeelaine I found it interesting as well. I grew up on Tolkien & Lewis, so I’m a firm YES believer. Post that blog. I wanna read it!

aimeelaine
Guest
aimeelaine

@TerriRochenski That’s a really great post. I’ve actually had a draft of ‘Should Christians write romance with all the spicy stuff….’ 1/2

jkellerford
Guest
jkellerford

@aimeelaine That would be a hot topic, especially if you are talking about novels filled with gratuitous sex or S & M or bondage…none of which are promoted in a Christian setting.  Sex is between married couples and should never involve ‘harm’ to the other partner.  I’d like to see your post on this.

keikomushi
Guest
keikomushi

@jkellerford Erotica and Erotic Romance are separate genres in of themselves, hence they should be marketed as such. As for who should write them, I am of the opinion that the religion of the writer doesn’t matter so long as they don’t participate in abusive behavior themselves. And from my understanding of the subject, some (not all) S&M or bondage is a form of roleplaying, which makes the subject even more tricky.If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of it, the old and new testaments was quite a different world from our own. The view of a woman and a man’s role within society was quite distant from our own. There were common practices of slavery, concubines, polygamy, etc…even in Jewish communities, stuff that many modern western societies find difficult at best to identify with. I try to avoid the mindset that just because it happened in the bible, that it is moral or right.

Kris Dzr
Guest
Kris Dzr

Many christians have reservations about writing fantasy because the Bible makes it clear that christians are to steer clear of magic, soothsayers, pagan gods anything along those lines. It’s not a matter of CAN christians, it’s SHOULD they? Is writing fantasy endorsing/promoting/being involved in magic and things that the Bible tells us we shouldn’t? That’s the question many christians find themselves asking. It may be difficult with someone with dissimilar beliefs(or who believes the Bible is just magic and fairy tales anyway) to rationalize but I would put it akin to say a person taking a role in a movie that was derogatory to their race/gender/sexuality. CAN they do it? Yes, of course. But is it in the best interest of the group you represent? Can you just chalk it up to entertainment and not worry about it, or is it more serious than that? That my friends is the dilemma.

keikomushi
Guest
keikomushi

@Kris Dzr I believe this is also an issue of world-building. If you create a fantasy setting that uses a magic system based around getting demons to do stuff for the spellcaster, then they would obviously have a different role in a story than someone that calls upon the assistance of angels in pursuit of divinely-charged objectives such as tearing down a dark temple. These ideas can be used as tools for a story, but aren’t the only element to rely on. Writers also draw upon real world problems such as racism and negative politics, which can also be integrated into world-building factions. Every little thing adds up and flavors your world setting. 

Halcyon15
Guest
Halcyon15

Or, as my novels have it, magic is a gift from God, and possessing the gift is akin to possessing perfect pitch or incredible drawing talent.

Kris Dzr
Guest
Kris Dzr

I’d also like to add that I find it a bit insulting and belittling when people refer to my beliefs as “magic and fantasy”. Come on guys, let’s not be condescending, you don’t have to believe, but you also don’t have to be a jerk about it.

Justine Graykin
Guest
Justine Graykin

As an atheist, not my place to comment one way or the other.

Yuki Kiriyuu
Guest
Yuki Kiriyuu

It’s not the religion that is important. It is the stories they are writing and the worlds that inhabit them that is important. A writer is a writer, first. When I choose a book, I choose the stories and the worlds that inhabit the writer. It is a great privilege to be part of this offering. Choosing a book isn’t about choosing a religion. It is about accepting the worlds within the writer.
A writer write to live in the worlds that are living within him/herself. He/She’s giving a life and a voice to them. Writers are creators, and freeing those stories and those worlds (sometimes secrets one) asks both courage and peace from the writer.
Writing stories is universal. Which mean, univers-all ! The writer’s living in the paradigm of creator/creature.
Writing is a very personal thing. Just like religion. If one shares stories, one shares what is within the Self.

keikomushi
Guest
keikomushi

@Yuki Kiriyuu I find that a good hero is larger than life and their morals aren’t limited by the confines of how some people understand those of their own religion. Any writer that uses their fiction for promoting their own religion (morals do not come into this) or preaching, then it should be categorized under a Religious Fiction sub-category. But yes, a writer should stay true to their story first.

Jason Toney
Guest
Jason Toney

I’m a Christian and I thoroghly enjoy fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with being entertained. Just don’t think of it as reality. To me, the Bible is reality. To others it might not be. I can’t force anyone to believe it, nor will I insult them if they don’t.

Mythic Scribes
Guest
Mythic Scribes

Once again, please refrain from insulting people’s religious beliefs. We’ve had to remove several more offensive comments. Even if you disagree with a religious tradition, it is rude and uncivil to publicly deride those who practice it.

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