I’m not sure I could ever find anything more depressing than walking into a Christian store. Why? Because it’s like walking into a Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer movie: everything’s a parody, no originality. Look! In the window! It’s a Christian edition of Rock Band. Why? Why don’t Christian bands and group sell their music for rock downloads on the regular Rock Band or Guitar Hero? Why didn’t faithful developers create this play style to begin with?
Once upon a time, men of faith were the greatest innovators the world had ever seen. The printing press (one of the cornerstones of modernity) was invented by a man who wanted to make the Bible available to all. Mendel in studying God inside the monastery and in the field laid the foundation for genetics. Examine some of the greatest works of art throughout time, many of these were made by men of faith – for faith.
Yet today, what do I see around me? Music copied from other singers with Christianized lyrics slapped on. Games rehashed with “God” shoehorned into the plot. Where is the originality? Where are the Christian innovations? What’s worse than a lack, is that so many have been shunned. Tolkien was a man of great faith who revolutionized the fantasy genre and literature (and the movie based upon that work revolutionized some things too). But do you find the displays within the stores dedicated to him like there are of C.S. Lewis? (though I admit being a big fan of Lewis) Another great, powerful, Christian work of art recently released was Rowling’s own Harry Potter series. Yet there is no praise or encouragement for this woman from her own brothers in sisters in faith! Some even condemn her. Vox Day, a man who’s written three Christian fiction stories and the Irrational Atheist had this to say about his own publishing efforts:
The sad thing is that an author could probably get more press from the Christian media by writing a lousy novel about a transexual serial killer priest who rapes and murders his way to the papacy than he could by writing a good novel written from a Christian worldview that glorifies Jesus Christ. If Christians will not support Christian alternatives, then they had better not be surprised when the alternatives to the worldly things that offend them disappear altogether.
Examine the following.
- A villain kills an innocent man using a wand.
- A villain kills an innocent man using a gun.
- A guy uses a crystal ball to see what’s happening in a distant desert.
- A guy flips on a TV to see what’s happening in Iraq.
According to some, number 1 in both examples is much worse than number 2. Why? (answer: it’s labeled “magic”)
In an effort to fight the cultural virus of postmodernism, many Christians have resorted to over-standardization. They have forgotten that while Jesus might be the only path to God, there are many paths to Jesus (see: the New Testament). Yet every work of fiction is largely the same. The same heroes, the same trials… the command to rely upon God has been warped to the point that only Deus ex Machina are allowed to save the day. The wild, untamed God is made nice and safe while the heroes aren’t allowed to be too imperfect.
The worst of it is that I’d like to be a “real” writer some day. While I would expect to be bashed and hated by some elites and critics (who take art way too seriously) being disowned and hated by family (as I probably would be by brothers and sisters of faith) is rough.
Still… the best part about faith, is that it reminds you there are some things worth fighting for.