Is Fantasy Inherently Sinful?

[This is one part of a multi-part series. Please start at the beginning: https://randallfcurtis.com/2016/01/02/the-dangers-of-fantasy/).

                It is difficult to write off an entire genre as sinful, but there are certain inherently sinful components generally characteristic of works of fantasy. The two most common are idolatry and magic.

                The majority of fantasy worlds assume the existence of other gods within the secondary reality of the story world. Within the secondary world these gods rule and are worshiped. The books by Rick Riordan are the most obvious contemporary example. Riordan writes books in which the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods still exist today. These are some of the very gods the authors of the Bible had in mind when condemning idolatry.

                There are fantasy worlds in which there is no god, but atheism is hardly an improvement over outright idolatry. Also, there are fantasy worlds in which there is a god who bears great resemblance to the biblical God. In Tolkien’s world the god is Eru Ilúvatar. However, Tolkien’s god is rarely directly active in the world, and he is surrounded by a pantheon of lesser gods. Even Lewis’ Aslan fails to live up to his resemblance to Jesus – at times appearing weak or ignorant of some fact. And Aslan apparently rules over a variety of alternate universes.

                The majority of fantasy worlds also assume some form of magic or supernatural power. In some works of fantasy the type of magic depicted is very similar to pagan magical practices throughout history. In others fantasy worlds, the magic is unique. In Tolkien’s world, for instance, Gandalf’s use of magic is very limited. At times he even seems hesitant to apply the use of the term “magic.” It could be Gandalf is one of the lesser beings in the hierarchical pantheon of supernatural beings. His power at times appears more similar to that of angels than that of a magician. However, Gandalf does speak of knowing magical spells and runes. Even more disturbing is the way Aragorn in an act of necromancy summons an army of the dead.

                At this point in my discussion, many people would think, Give me a break! It’s just fiction! It’s a flight of fancy! None of these authors (except L. Ron Hubbard) are claiming that the false gods in their books are real or that the magic in their books are real.

                 I am not certain how fiction gives anyone an excuse for glorifying idolatry and the practice of magic. It is difficult to find two sins for which God expresses more abhorrence in Scripture. God hates idolatry. God hates the practice of magic. In the Old Testament law, both were punishable by death. If God hates these sins so much, then why would we want to create secondary worlds in which these sins are OK?

                To put it in perspective, let me use an example of a sin that we find particularly abhorrent in our culture today: child molestation. Let’s say that I wrote a fantasy novel in which child molestation is assumed to be normal, legitimate, and morally good. Would such a novel be tolerated in Christian circles? I think not. Do you think God would approve of such a novel? I think not. Do you think God would give more of his approval to a novel which assumes idolatry? I doubt it. From a divine perspective, idolatry is about the worst thing there is. Shouldn’t we share God’s perspective on it?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Is Fantasy Inherently Sinful?

  1. billhoard says:

    This is interesting, I would definitely disagree that these things, as they actually are, are inherent as sinful in Fantasy. Let me get magic out of the way first. I don’t know what definition of magic you are working with. I would say that the sinfulness of the “magic” in a given fantasy world depends on that world’s magic system. Magic is a perennially difficult term to define. It is usually a functional stand it for “forces we don’t understand”. So if I took my phone and traveled to the medieval period, the phone would be a clear work of magic since it is based on principles which those folk (and frankly I) don’t really understand. I think the magic which is condemned in the Bible is “power which comes neither from the world God has entrusted to us or from God”. It may be even more narrowly “power granted by demons”. An important question is always “is it possible that there may eventually be a genetic or otherwise scientific explanation for the capacity this ‘magic’ user has”. The difference between the X-men and Brandon Sanderson’s mistborn is essentially the presence of a psuedo-scientific explanation for the x-men’s abilities.

    But more generally both of your objections fail to take into consideration the counterfactual nature of literature. The thing you have to work out first is whether those (worship of the divinities in the story and use of certain forms of power) are wrong within the conceit of world. While it is clearly wrong for real people to worship and unreal god, it is not so clearly wrong for unreal people to worship a god which is precisely as unreal as they are.

    If I might anticipate your objection that most people do not analyse fantasy literature to that degree of philosophical and literary nicety, I want to point out that your title and leading question are about “inherent” sinfulness. I will grant that these elements in Fantasy create a danger for those who read it poorly but that distinction specifically defines the difference between “inherent” and “accidental” qualities. I can see an argument that these characteristics make fantasy inherently dangerous, just not that either is actually inherent to the genre or that when they appear in the genre they are inherently sinful in that context.

  2. billhoard says:

    So child molestation is clearly evil and so is idolatry. However there are some distinct differences. First in the fictional world, the children would (presumably) still be children, whereas the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn’t exist in many fantasy worlds. So the question “It is proper to worship the creator?” could be answered affirmatively in both a fantasy book and in our reality (it’s just that the term “creator” would refer to different objects), whereas the answer to the question of child molestation would be being answered differently. I think the distinction you want to notice is whether the particular act would still be sinful given the different particularities of the fictive world.
    So remember your question is whether Fantasy is inherently sinful and you are pointing to magic and idolatry as two inherent sins of fantasy. I am saying that in the context of the particularities of the fantasy world, we are not actually dealing with idolatry (magic is a different issue altogether which I addressed in the previous post).

    • But moral “rules” are part of the particularities of the secondary world. This is becoming more and more the norm in fantasy novels. Authors play with changing accepted moral norms. Why would there be any difficulty in making the acceptability of child molestation part of the original underlying assumptions necessary for the reader to step into the secondary world?

      • billhoard says:

        Gotcha. The relevant distinction is between changing moral principles and changing the particulars which determine the way in which the principles are applied. So worship of the creator might be an example of a principle, who is the creator of the given “world” would be the relevant particular.

      • Two rather related questions:

        1) Are you saying that authors as secondary creators are not free to determine the moral principles of their secondary worlds? Are they not free to define morality in their world however they see fit?

        2) Are you saying that God is negotiable when moving from the primary world to a secondary world, but morality is non-negotiable? In other words, are you saying that authors are free to change out God for other gods or no god at all as long as they do not change basic morality?

  3. billhoard says:

    I’m not so much talking about what would be right or wrong here, I am talking about what is fundamentally possible. An author can write a world without God and the reader’s mind is capable of accepting it (our conscience may or may not rebel but it doesn’t shatter the willing suspension of disbelief). But when a writer tries to posit persons who operate in a Nietzschian “transvaluation of values” the closest they can get is to recommend a society which follows a different value system. An actually different value system just wont work.
    The term “basic morality” is sort of problematic here since I’m not quite clear what you are referring to. I would say that they can’t change basic moral principles, but they can change the particularities which determine how those principles would apply in a different “world”.

    • I want to start out by clarifying what I mean by “inherently” sinful. I am not referring to the moral value system within the secondary world. I think you understand that, but I just want to be clear. What I mean is, is it morally wrong to write a story about a world which presupposes other gods or presupposes magic or presupposes child molestation is OK.

      I find the responses you have been giving very intriguing. First, moral experimentation happens in fantasy and science fiction all of the time. Some authors even seem to find this moral experimentation to be the primary reason for writing in these genres. Many of them would disagree strongly that the value systems in their stories do not “work.” Even the less serious recognize that one of the main reasons for this kind of experimentation is to allow people to simulate the experience of living according to a different value system for fun and for a “liberating” experience. They accomplish this exactly by the transvaluation of values – by the rewriting of reality in such a way that evil becomes good. For example, magic – which is universally described in the Bible as utterly evil and wicked – is described as having light and dark sides. Witches can become cute and cuddly fairy godmothers. Magic can be employed without twisting things towards evil. You may disagree with my particular example, but I think you get the idea.

      Second, I find it very intriguing that you would assert that a different value system will not “work” within the boundaries of a secondary world, but a secondary world can “work” without the existence of the biblical God.

      And so, third, the connection you assert between reality and the secondary world is so tenuous that the existence of God is unnecessary in the secondary world, but the connection between reality and the secondary world is so strong that the secondary world has to conform to the value system of the real world and the reader can through the (you would say, real) experience in the secondary world actually experience real Beauty, Goodness, and Truth in the real world. That appears very contradictory. Again, you want to have your cake and eat it.

      And also, fourth, you are suggesting that somehow a value system makes sense without being grounded in the biblical God.

      What has happened is that you are putting forth ideas that perhaps make some logical and rational sense, but have led to at least practical difficulties (if not some contradictory claims).

      The question of child molestation has been something of a “trap,” and since this is a gentlemen’s discussion, I think it is only fair to stop stringing you along. I have put up an additional post here: https://randallfcurtis.com/2016/01/10/is-fantasy-inherently-sinful-part-2-of-idolatry-and-child-molestation/

      • billhoard says:

        So yes, I was aware that were trying to set up a rhetorical trap (I notice, for instance that you still haven’t actually addressed the points in my first comment). But generally my approach when confronted with such rhetorical “traps” is to cheerfully spring them so that we can see where things go.

        Side note, I’m now not sure whether to continue my response here or on the new post. For continuity’s sake I will, as much as possible, continue with my literary critique here and focus on a theological/ethical reaction on your “part 2”. This may require a bit of back-and-forth but I don’t see a way around that at present.

        I think the mistake you are making here is fundamentally literary and, to some extent psychological. First in literary terms, I think you may be conflating what a given fictional society accepts as morally feasible with what actually is morally feasible within a given fictional world. It is, or course, quite possible for an author to posit a fictional individual or society which believes that X is moral. What doesn’t work is for the novel to remain compelling while actually enacting the morality of X over a given period of time. Readers can accept that a fictional society might have different moral values and may appreciate seeing how the author postulates the impact those values may have on the society. But that is not the same thing as accepting that those values are actually legitimate. Your response seems to assume that something like cultural relativism is the case when we read literature.

        A useful example (but one I certainly to not recommend reading) would be Heinlein’s sci-fi book “Time Enough for Love”. The book tries to normalize incest (while doing all sorts of other things) and as a result the characters and their motivations become a sort of cognitive dissonance within the novel. The book ultimately fails because the (let’s call it “moral dissonance”) is so great that the reader is only ever able to tolerate the characters. There is no way to enter in to the world Heinlein is trying to construct.

        Contrast that with something like Farenheit 451 where the society at large has an enormously twisted moral framework, but because we see that their value set has led them to catastrophe, and because Bradbury does a good job constructing psychologically compelling characters inhabiting that fictional society, the book works quite well. Heinlein’s work fails because it is built on an attempted transvaluation of values, where Bradbury’s holds up because it is built on extant relate-able values which are being violated by the society of his world.

        To your reaction to my observation that a fictional world with a transvaluation of values doesn’t work while a fictional world with a different god (or gods) does, I don’t think you should be quite so taken aback. Humans (those of us who do not suffer from particular sociopathy, or psychopathy) are far more able to imagine a world without God than we are a human person (much less full society) which holds cowardice to be a virtue. You may find it odd that God has chosen to create us that way, but that doesn’t really have a bearing on the observation that we do seem to be that way.

        Your third objection, I’m not sure what you see as contradictory there. Many people see glimpses of God through the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that are part of this world without believing in Him. Why should what is true of our experience of the physical world not also be true of a fictional world, particularly a fictional world created by persons?

        To your “And Fourth…” I’m not a divine command theory person, I lean more towards something like virtue ethics. That is not to say that you aren’t making a point we might be able to discuss profitably, but I would want to know a bit more about what you mean by “being grounded”. I suspect that my answer will come down to the fact that God created us–including our psychology–and that as a result, for a fictional moral system to be convincing it must be at least as much grounded in I AM as any non-fictional moral system is if it is to be compelling to people.

        As a wrap up to this comment I want to remind you that my objection to your original post vis. magic and idolatry is not that either of those is ever morally right but that what is actually going on in a given fantasy novel is often neither of them, even when those terms are actually used. In your last response you used the term “magic” again, but you have yet to define it.

      • It seems like we are in a basic agreement that if authors can assume different gods, then they can assume different value systems or systems of morality. Your contention is that if a value system in a book strays too far from a biblical value system, then it becomes hard to maintain and internally breaks down. I would agree with your assessment. I would also apply that same reasoning to stories that presuppose other gods. Yes, it is possibly for the human mind to hypothesize such things, but in the end such a secondary reality will collapse into inconsistency without God. According to you what is at issue here is what makes for a “psychologically compelling” story. You state that human beings are better able to understand and relate to a world without God than a world with a radically different value system. Again, I would agree with this assessment of human beings.

        What I do not agree with is your explanation as to why people are this way. You say, “You may find it odd that God has chosen to create us that way, but that doesn’t really have a bearing on the observation that we do seem to be that way.” In other words, your logic appears to be, “Since that is how human beings are, then God must have made us this way. And since God made us this way, it must be OK.” Do you deny any effects of the Fall? The rejection of God as God is at the core of the Fall in Genesis 3. The fact that human beings gravitate towards the worship of something indicates that we are designed to be in relationship with God, but we worship the wrong things because we are fallen. Certainly, human beings find it psychologically easy to imagine a world without God, but that does not make it right. I discuss in my part 2 post that human beings find it easier to tolerate a world without God than a world with child molestation, but for the wrong reasons.

        It is not so much an issue of divine command theory versus virtue ethics. One of the descriptions of the wicked person in Scripture is that they “forget God.” The wicked person forgets the existence of God, the character of God, and the fact that God judges evil. As described in Romans 1, it is the rejection of God’s existence that leads inevitably to moral decline. Replacing God with other gods cannot allow for a sustainable system of true morality over the long term. You believe that using a different value system within a fantasy world will cause the breakdown of the story, and the contention of a passage like Romans 1 is that exchanging gods will inevitably cause a different value system.

        And I have not forgotten about the question of magic.

  4. Pingback: Is Fantasy Inherently Sinful Part 2 (Of Idolatry and Child Molestation) | ALL=1

  5. billhoard says:

    “You believe that using a different value system within a fantasy world will cause the breakdown of the story, and the contention of a passage like Romans 1 is that exchanging gods will inevitably cause a different value system.”
    What I am saying is that Fantasy authors and audiences are not inherently “exchanging gods” they are imagining a cosmos with different gods. At no point does the author or the audience (if either is sane) enter so fully into the fictional world that they cannot distinguish between the fantastic and the real. It is the difference between saying “Let us try to believe that God is not God” and saying “let us imagine a setup wherein instead of God, there were gods and that they had such and such a character.” The two processes are significantly different.

    To your comment about the fall as psychological explanation, I am content to replace the phrase “God has chosen to create us that way” with “God has allowed us to exist that way” which holds the question of whether or not that psychological fact about humans is a result of the fall or not as unanswered. If you want to argue that it is a result of the fall (and that it is sinful since not all that is a result of the fall is necessarily sin), you will have to demonstrate it.

    Are you saying then that it is not right to even imagine a world without God?

    “And I have not forgotten about the question of magic.”
    Cool, so what is your answer?

    • 1) I get the distinction between the fantastic and the real. You yourself expect the fantastic to follow a certain system of values which is inherited from the real world. My point is that a proper system of values can only exist in light of the biblical God. So you yourself want a real value system in fiction, and I am saying that the real value system breaks down without the real God. You yourself do not find a story psychologically compelling without a value system consistent with the real world, and I am saying that the psychologically compelling value system hinges on the existence of the only psychologically compelling God.

      2) I explained the connection between devaluing God and the Fall in my part 2 post. The Fall results in an attempt to divorce the horizontal aspects of Goodness from the vertical aspects, and ends in inevitable failure on the horizontal front as well.

      3) Paul imagines a counterfactual (if Christ is not raised) in 1 Corinthians 15:13ff, and then promptly rejects the suggestion. There is some value to counterfactual thinking. It usually falls under the category of a thought experiment. I find that there is a whole thread of science fiction that boils down to using a story to explore some idea or issue. I see some value in that. I actually have such a sci-fi story that I might write where I ask if there is a place for God when science appears to have explained everything. But that is not the kind of thing being done in fantasy when they presuppose other gods. It is not a thought experiment to demonstrate the futility of living with pagan-style deities, or some such. It is considered fun. “Wouldn’t it be fun to visit a world without God?” And I think you actually underestimate the power of story. A story is most successful when you want it to be true.

      4) Magic: I already shared that I think it often boils down to a transvaluation of values. Something that is uncategorically evil in the Bible is rebranded as good. “It’s magic, but it is good!” I understand all of the arguments about defining magic in the context of the world. I used to give all of those arguments. I have found very few fantasy stories to which those arguments apply. I find that almost all fantasy magic bears a considerable resemblance to pagan magic, and it is becoming increasingly more similar as time goes on. Even in the tamest fantasies magicians use spells, carve runes, make use of the forces of nature, raise spirits, etc. Fantasy authors are generally not interested in distinguishing between their magic and pagan magic. In fact, for the most part they are enjoying the idea that such magic might exist — just as long as the reader understands that the good characters use “good” magic, and the bad characters use “bad” magic. That is the transvaluation of values by authorial fiat.

      The X-Men are an interesting example. They claim no magical powers. They are supposedly the next stage of evolution. I want to get two things out of the way at the beginning. First, I do not appreciate the worldview that assumes human beings may or will biologically evolve into something better. I don’t believe that. But I don’t think that is the main issue here. Also, second, I recognize that the X-Men series deals with a lot of issues related to racism, bigotry, xenophobia, etc., which is laudable. However, I do not think that is really the reason for their superpowers. If their main intent was to deal with human evolution and xenophobia, it could all have been done without superpowers.

      That leaves us with the superpowers themselves. For me the issue is not the trumped-up in-story pseudo-scientific explanation for superpowers. I think everyone recognizes it as being scientifically feeble (especially if, like me, you deny the serious possibility of future positive human biological evolution). It is an excuse to have people running around with superpowers, nothing more.

      So for me, the issue is why does the writer want to write such a thing, and why do people want to read it? I think it boils down to several factors. Humans are longing for a supernatural hero and savior, but they do not want to look to God. More than that, people, for some reason, want to find that supernatural savior in a human being. And more than that, people want to be that supernatural savior. That is why people read and watch movies. It is a form of vicarious living. I think that all of these impulses that people have are a mixture of bad and good, and the good in these impulses is answered only by a belief in a God-Man Messiah who transforms us into new creations in him. So I do think even superhero fiction is dangerous. We train our minds to want the wrong things.

  6. billhoard says:

    OK so I will try to respond to all of that but in the meantime, we aren’t connecting yet on my question about magic (and I am more and more thinking that this might be really useful for both of us in this discussion). Specifically, how do you define the word and what specifically about magic makes it sinful?

  7. billhoard says:

    “1) I get the distinction between the fantastic and the real. You yourself expect the fantastic to follow a certain system of values which is inherited from the real world. My point is that a proper system of values can only exist in light of the biblical God. So you yourself want a real value system in fiction, and I am saying that the real value system breaks down without the real God. You yourself do not find a story psychologically compelling without a value system consistent with the real world, and I am saying that the psychologically compelling value system hinges on the existence of the only psychologically compelling God.”

    So I think the mistake you are making here is demanding of a microcosm what can only be reasonably asked of a macrocosm. As I have stated elsewhere (I think on the next post) I agree that without God, any attempt at the creation of a world will have to ultimately fail. The key word there though is “ultimately” even the best fiction (fantasy or otherwise) does not fundamentally claim to be part of the real world created by God. Rather all fiction takes place in more or less fantastic microcosms. Those microcosms will all, of course, fall apart if they are stressed to thoroughly, nobody who is not God can make a comprehensively coherent cosmos. Your apparent requirement here (that a good fictional world must include I AM and I AM fully is if it’s value system is to be coherent) is flatly impossible for all fiction since God is more than can be contained within any author’s consciousness. Nobody can perfectly write God into a story and as a result no story can ever be perfectly coherent.
    Storytelling still works because we can create microcosms which, so long as we don’t poke the edges too hard, will stand up to visits and even rigorous use as image and illustration of particularly things. Thus is it not especially problematic to build a world which essentially borrows this world’s value systems (as nearly all fantasy actually does) wherein that value system does not break apart despite the absence of I AM.
    I would point out that plenty of people find many fantasy novels which are absent God but which have (within the tolerances actually found in the real world) equivalent value systems to the true values of God, which many people actually do find psychologically compelling. That would seem to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to build a psychologically compelling world without incorporating God as He is.

  8. billhoard says:

    “2) I explained the connection between devaluing God and the Fall in my part 2 post. The Fall results in an attempt to divorce the horizontal aspects of Goodness from the vertical aspects, and ends in inevitable failure on the horizontal front as well.”

    You actually don’t have an argument to this effect on that post, you have a psychological/theological hypothesis but you don’t actually demonstrate that A is a result of B, much less that A is inherently sinful.

  9. billhoard says:

    “3) Paul imagines a counterfactual (if Christ is not raised) in 1 Corinthians 15:13ff, and then promptly rejects the suggestion. There is some value to counterfactual thinking. It usually falls under the category of a thought experiment. I find that there is a whole thread of science fiction that boils down to using a story to explore some idea or issue. I see some value in that. I actually have such a sci-fi story that I might write where I ask if there is a place for God when science appears to have explained everything. But that is not the kind of thing being done in fantasy when they presuppose other gods. It is not a thought experiment to demonstrate the futility of living with pagan-style deities, or some such. It is considered fun. “Wouldn’t it be fun to visit a world without God?” And I think you actually underestimate the power of story. A story is most successful when you want it to be true.”

    I don’t think you are all correct that “A story is most successful when you want it to be true” witness the success of the horror and dystopia genres. Even in Fantasy people are able to enjoy much of it precisely because we know and take comfort in the fact that it isn’t true. On a surface level of course you will find plenty of folk daydreaming about inhabiting the worlds they read about, but a few minutes of sober reflection and they will express gratitude that they don’t actually inhabit those worlds. Either way, the question is whether the genre is inherently sinful and a capacity to be used in a sinful way is not at all the same as being inherently sinful.
    Granted in fantasy, the authors are generally presupposing other gods, I don’t see any problem. They are building their own microcosms, not claiming that God does not or that He shouldn’t be worshiped in the real world.

  10. billhoard says:

    On magic my response basically boils down to “what they are writing about isn’t actually magic – the thing condemned in the bible”. But I won’t really be able to get into that till I get your definition

    I’ll respond to your thoughts on the x-men later 🙂

  11. billhoard says:

    “The X-Men are an interesting example. They claim no magical powers. They are supposedly the next stage of evolution. I want to get two things out of the way at the beginning. First, I do not appreciate the worldview that assumes human beings may or will biologically evolve into something better. I don’t believe that. But I don’t think that is the main issue here. Also, second, I recognize that the X-Men series deals with a lot of issues related to racism, bigotry, xenophobia, etc., which is laudable. However, I do not think that is really the reason for their superpowers. If their main intent was to deal with human evolution and xenophobia, it could all have been done without superpowers.”

    I’m not really sure I follow you (or at least I want to be sure that I am reacting to what you really think rather than a misunderstanding) in this paragraph. When you say ” I do not appreciate the worldview that assumes human beings may or will biologically evolve into something better” is it the evolution or the “better” that you object to. I imagine you could grant that humans may evolve a group who has (for instance) larger and more sensitive ears, and that may be beneficial to those humans. Of course the “x-gene” which creates apparently random and usually remarkably more powerful humans is wildly scientifically improbable it is clearly a plot mechanism which enables the fictional world, but I don’t really see what worldview component you are directly objecting to.
    I generally agree that the x-gene was chosen because it was a convenient and sufficiently plausible justification for granting superpowers in the Marvel Universe (which predates the x-men). I imagine that the main intent behind X-men comics is: to tell a good story. And good stories are built on (among other things) compelling themes and characters. Of course interesting and important themes can be explored without superpowers but there is no basic reason why they ought to be, and certainly the mutant superhero lends itself quite naturally to the “powerful minority” narrative and question.

    “That leaves us with the superpowers themselves. For me the issue is not the trumped-up in-story pseudo-scientific explanation for superpowers. I think everyone recognizes it as being scientifically feeble (especially if, like me, you deny the serious possibility of future positive human biological evolution). It is an excuse to have people running around with superpowers, nothing more.”

    That seems a tad dismissive but sure, nobody that I know of insists on the scientific feasibility of the x-gene.

    “So for me, the issue is why does the writer want to write such a thing, and why do people want to read it? I think it boils down to several factors. Humans are longing for a supernatural hero and savior, but they do not want to look to God. More than that, people, for some reason, want to find that supernatural savior in a human being. And more than that, people want to be that supernatural savior. That is why people read and watch movies. It is a form of vicarious living. I think that all of these impulses that people have are a mixture of bad and good, and the good in these impulses is answered only by a belief in a God-Man Messiah who transforms us into new creations in him. So I do think even superhero fiction is dangerous. We train our minds to want the wrong things.”

    This paragraph just strikes me as odd. First, I think your psychological hypothesis here (that people enjoy superhero fiction because they want to entertain stories of a savior and to identify with and as saviors – all without God) is broadly plausible but a little preemptively judgmental of other peoples’ motives. I think you ought to produced some evidence in support of such a negative assessment of superhero fiction readers. I certainly wouldn’t hold such a view of other people’s motives without evidence of such a motive.
    Second it is strange to me that you jump to the conclusion that enjoying superhero fiction (even granting that it is dangerous) is equivalent with training “our minds to want the wrong things” just after you have granted that there is an element of real goodness which exists in that same fiction. Might we not just as much be “training our minds to want the right things?” Why default to the worst, rather than the best (or better yet a simply open) possibility?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s