There is something that annoys me a lot, and that is when authors are vague in their descriptions of truth for fear of being "preachy". It makes me so sad when I see Christian authors try to water down the gospel so as not to offend anyone. God has given us a Truth that needs to be told, whether people want to hear it or not.
Don't get me wrong; I am not saying we should shove it down their throats and beat them upside the head with it. But I think we certainly do not need to be cautious about pointing to God in fiction. People can interpret "truth" and "faith" and "love" as meaning anything they want it to in this day and age; from Islam to New Age it differs. But real truth, love, and faith can only be found in one place, or rather, in one Person.
Do people even care? Will it really affect anyone? Yes. I can tell you from experience that God can touch a hard heart through fantasy when nothing else could.
No, I'm not going to tell you that I was saved through The Princess and The Goblin. I became a Christian when I was six years old, and lived my whole life going to church and believing in God. However, when I was in my early teens, my family decided to move across the country, away from our friends and everything I had grown up with. I became very sad, although if you had asked me then I would probably have said I was fine. I began to build walls around my heart in a sort of quiet rebellion against God and my family. All I wanted to do was be alone and read fantasy. I went through so many books during that time.
Finally, I picked up C. S. Lewis's fantasy book The Magician's Nephew. I had already read all of The Chronicles of Narnia years ago, but I had run out of stuff to read on this particular day. I remember sitting on my bed, recalling the plot as I read. If you don't know the story, GO READ IT! But seriously, the gist of it is that a boy named Digory accidentally brings an evil Empress into the fantasy land of Narnia. In that land, Digory sees Aslan the Lion, who is the Christ figure of the story, and realizes that Aslan can help Digory cure his dying mother. Desperate, Digory attempts to ask Aslan for help, but because Digory brought evil into Narnia, Aslan appoints Digory to go on a quest that will defeat the wicked Empress. Digory agrees, knowing that it is his duty, but feels ignored by the Lion and thinks that he will now never get a cure for his mother. The scene comes to a point where Digory at last blurts out:
"But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then, he [Digory] had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them: now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
"My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great...."
I started to cry as I read this, because it reminded me that God really, truly cares. He doesn't just care about us, He cares about the things we care about (as long as they are not sinful, of course). This passage was a moment of truth, real truth, for me. I saw that He knew my heartache, even knew my rebellion, and still loved me. I had been looking at His giant claws, expecting them to rain wrath on me for my rebellious spirit, but all the time He knew my pain and was aching to comfort me, He just wasn't able to until I let Him. It didn't all end there, but my regression from rebellion had begun.
This is why I believe vagueness doesn't help anyone. We are up against so much, from Harry Potter to Twilight; people who read fantasy are just not hearing the truth.We can reach people though fiction, even fantasy. So why would we not? To create a bestseller? Oh, yes, I'm sure that's what Jesus would have done. (Excuse the sarcasm, bear with me.)
There is nothing wrong with writing for entertainment. But why not use the gift God has given you to encourage and point people to Him and Him alone? I challenge you to write with godly purpose. It will be rewarded.
Post Tenebras Lux!