Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cyndere's Midnight 4: A Response to some responses, part one

Among the responses to my posts were a few that call for more than just a brief comment. Taking this in either post order or by "ladies first," I'll begin with Rebecca Miller's comment on the second post.

"I see the whole beastman thing as a metaphor for our sin nature."

That's clear enough, but mostly from a Christian standpoint. After all, not everyone in the Expanse is a beastman, and all of them are more or less flawed. Given the general secularism of the story, it's quite possible to see only a drug reference. For that matter, though my reasoning is rather involved, I halfway suspect a reference to jihadists and their cultural/religious "drug" of xenophobic hatred. But this leads to another point:

"But is that me thinking the way I think or is this actually what Jeffrey wanted to communicate through his story? Or is he writing a story without any intention, which allows for multiple interpretations?

"There's the crux of the problem of this current popular trend among Christian writers to eschew theme."

This is a problem, and it's particularly troubling that Christians are following the world here. It's pointless to ask what someone means when he means nothing at all, and it's selfish to deliver a story "some assembly required." That doesn't mean the theme has to be obvious, but it does need to exist. Otherwise it's a story without a point.

It's also true that we subconsciously create or find themes. As I have been writing "Pandora's Lamp," the origin series for the League of Superheroes,I've gained and lost themes. (That's also why I made sure I was mostly through with the origin series before the first book went to press.) But there's a difference between unintended developments and unintended purpose. The first derives from imperfect knowledge; the second stems from intellectual laziness.

The Christian must always ask, "What am I modeling?" We are made in God's image, and if we obey God, we will become like him. Does God create without purpose? Many modern Christians evidently think so, which is why they are keen to ignore Design in their own work. This has dangerous consequences.

I'm appalled when I see "Creation versus Evolution" presented as the ultimate crisis. It isn't. The real divide is "Design versus Chance." You see, pagan gods were creators too, but they usually created at random. And many Christians act as though God creates randomly as well. This is reflected in the "Aurelia Thread" series by (among other things) the reflexive and politically correct equation of men and women. Put another way, they are not simply equal but congruent: ignoring objective data about physiology, he asserts that male and female fighters co-exist routinely in a roughly medieval setting. That's nonsense on several levels, theological among them.

I believe in a Designer, not just a Creator. So where there are differences, as there certainly are between men and women, they are not happenstance. They are meaningful. And unless I understand the meaning, I cannot understand the differences.

Unfortunately in this and other points, Overstreet is roughly in the same position as an atheistic evolutionist: yes, differences exist, and they do derive from something--some factor lost in the fog of prehistory that, combined with a fortunate mutation, set the pattern for the sexes to work one way and not another. But the differences are neither designed nor currently relevant: we may, even should, ignore them. Trans-sexualism and transhumanism show that we can reverse-engineer ourselves. If there is a Designer, especially an omniscient, loving one, that's not a good idea. But a mere Creator may be improved on.

In any case, as agents of the Source of Meaning, Christian writing should be more meaningful than non-Christian writing: we should be overflowing in the midst of the secular drought.

In my next post, I'll take up a longer response from Robert Treskillard.

1 comment:

Robert Treskillard said...


Thanks for tackling this.

Sorry if my comment was so long.

I have some thoughts on what you said here, but since it wasn't in response to my comment, I'll hold my tongue and not muddy the waters.

Looking forward to your post!


Powered by WebRing.