This has produced a bit more chat and less discussion than I had hoped. To clarify what I've said so far, I've repeatedly acknowledged that the book is well written. I do have problems with the logic and theology, and these are not based on whether certain models for werewolves and vampires are followed. Rather, the question is whether there is a model. From what I see, I doubt it. There are logical contradictions and theological problems:
Richard is both dead and alive simultaneously. His heart apparently does not beat, but his blood evidently circulates; he does not breathe, except when he does, and his physiology simultaneously is and is not normal.
His curse appears to be mere suggestion (his aversion to "holy" things acts like a psychological phenomenon), yet it has effects (levitation, not showing up in mirrors, etc.) that psychology cannot explain, unless we allow psionic activity, which is theologically troublesome.
The curse is also a problem because it can be addressed (at least partially) through non-spiritual means. It's like curing a demoniac with electric shock therapy. This implies that the spiritual is simply another form of the physical--a view that can't be reconciled with the Bible.
Then there's the matter of someone who has been convincingly declared dead getting all chatty at the end. ("Oh, yes, I was dead, but I'm better now. It was only the 24-hour death, you know.") All in all, a splendid argument for cremation.
Okay, so what? Why does it matter? Can't we just do simple fiction? Simple answer: no.
There are at least two reasons for this. To begin with, Christians are indwelt by the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the Universe; we have "eternal life," which properly does not mean merely life that keeps going like a drum-banging rabbit, but life that is from outside the Universe itself.
We can't be ordinary. Nothing we do can be ordinary. And it is nearly blasphemy to say otherwise: it's like saying the Atonement never happened.
One of the things that got Israel into a lot of trouble was the idea that they wanted to be like other nations, with idols, a human king, and so forth. It didn't work, because they were God's chosen people, and he wouldn't let them be ordinary.
Sound familiar? When we say that we want to produce dreck like everyone else (and we certainly try), aren't we doing the same thing? But we're called to a higher standard, and we can't escape it. (And for the record, no, I'm not calling Never Ceese dreck. I'm speaking generally.)
But there's another reason: we are our brother's keeper. You may say you're not a teacher, but just as we are all witnesses to those around us, so all Christian writers are teachers to their audience, especially if that includes the unsaved, which is hard to avoid. When they read our stuff, they'll say, "So that's what Christians think about X." Like it or not, we've just taught someone something, and given the various warnings about false and careless teachers in the Bible, we'd better hope we taught them well.
(This is why I don't think Christians should write unless it's part of their gifting as teachers, evangelists, prophets, apostles, or whatever. There are plenty of unsaved people out there doing their own thing; we don't need any more like them from our own crowd. We don't even need all the pagan writers we have! But people who write as unto the Lord are a rare gift.)
And thus my fussiness about details. We do all this as unto the Lord, so we should be careful, especially in theological speculation. We all err, despite our best intentions, and we must trust God to make up for our ignorance and folly. But we owe it to him to do our best.
1 year ago