When Fantasy Becomes the Voice of Faith: How Edgy “Christian” Fiction Is Transforming Today’s Church
By Richard and Linda Nathan
Fantasy became the voice of faith. And it made for a cracking good story."
Stories teach. Whether we read a novel just to kick back and relax or to jump into an exciting adventure, we enter another view of reality—of one or possibly more worldviews.
Since our central purpose as Christians should be to glorify God and to grow in our knowledge of Him, we should be alert to a story’s influences—even when we read for pleasure.
In recent years, fiction aimed at Christians has exploded in the marketplace with such new categories as Christian Fantasy, Christian Science Fiction, Supernatural, and Christian Futuristic Fiction (often apocalyptic). Christian novels used to be relatively wholesome and instructive, but nowadays many popular and even Christian authors are emphasizing disturbing elements common to pagan, occult, and secular novels.
Some publishers are fueling the flood by trying to repeat the phenomenal sales of Frank Peretti’s spiritual warfare novels, the Left Behind series, and the fantasy novels of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis with countless imitations and wannabes. (Estimates of the worldwide sales figures of The Lord of the Rings run from 150 to 200 million, according to Zaleski, 2015.) This is all part of an enormous rise in the love and promotion of fantasy and mythology. As the Zaleskis ' article about the Inklings says, “Fantasy became the voice of faith. And it made for a cracking good story.”
Nevertheless, we’ve found hardly any Evangelical Christians nowadays questioning the popularity of such mythological/fantasy thinking. Fifty or sixty years ago, this type of thinking would have been anathema to many biblical churches.
Why? Is fantasy really the voice of faith?