When Fantasy Turns Toxic
I’m always getting emails from the ACLU asking me to help them protect America’s schoolchildren from “religion.” The public schools, they say, are to be a religion-free zone. Since they never object when those schools extol Islam or promote paganism, it’s easy to see that when the ACLU says “religion,” what they mean is Christianity.
That’s why my home town had to rename its annual Christmas Parade, after 100 years and more, “the Winter Festival,” which makes it sound like we’re about to set up a wicker man and do human sacrifices. Meanwhile, just a mile down the road, an enormous Hindu Festival goes off every summer without a peep of protest.
Naturally our secular wise men, our ruling class, are rock-solid for protecting children from the baleful influence of Jesus Christ. So many of the churches are so weak and namby-pamby, the de-Christianization of America goes on and on without their even noticing. As long as the new multi-media center puts more fannies in the pews, who cares what judges and other such creatures do to marriage?
All together, they create a religious vacuum. You know what happens to a vacuum: it gets filled. And what is rushing into the vacuum in the children’s souls who have been denied the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
We got a glimpse of it recently when two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin took a third girl into the woods and tried to kill her. Being inexperienced at murder, they didn’t quite finish the job: at this writing the victim, although stabbed repeatedly, still clings to life. The Guardian has the full story.
Why did the girls do that? It was a kind of sacrifice to a fictional monster named Slender Man. Created just a few years ago by someone who did not mean any harm, Slender Man now has a large following on the Internet. The idea seems to be that if you give someone else’s life to Slender Man, he won’t take yours. Several bewildering schools of thought have already developed to “explain” who Slender Man really is, what he wants, and what happens to children who attract his notice. It has gone way farther than ever intended—all the way to murder.
As G.K. Chesterton noted, when someone stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing; rather, he’ll now believe in anything.
Today we are offered many substitutes for God, a whole menu of pseudo-religions: the infallible oracles of Science, and its cultic spin-offs, Evolution and Global Warming; societal salvation by turning girls into boys and boys into girls; faith in the all-wise, all-powerful State (and, by extension, the thieves and mountebanks who operate its apparatus); assorted New Age superstitions–
–And now, coming up quickly on the outside track: Slender Man.
I am, among other things, a fantasy novelist. I tell stories about imaginary people in an imaginary world, in the hope that my books will be serviceable to Christ’s Kingdom. (For more information, visit my blog, http://leeduigon.com, and click on “Books.”) I conform my novels to a Biblical world-view and hope they do some good.
Why do this? Because in the world of Young Adult fiction, fantasy is king. Apart from a plethora of novels devoted to deviant sex and teenage angst, fantasy has the most titles on the bookshelves. This is because fantasy can work very powerfully on the human mind: and young minds are the most receptive to it. It seems wrong to concede this territory to the wicked.
It would never occur to most fantasy writers that anyone would ever believe in their creations. But we are not taking into account the wider cultural influences. So you can create a character like Slender Man, just for entertainment and a few cheap thrills—and the next thing you know, two kids are butchering a third as an offering to Slender Man. You never wanted anything like that to happen, never dreamed it would—and yet it has.
When we part company with what God has told us is true and right, and holy and just and good, sooner or later we are sitting down to dinner with whatever is false and wrong, and debased and unjust and evil. Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life. All the other ways are dead ends, no matter how they might appeal to us as smart, sophisticated, cool, or liberating. As King Solomon put it, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
Fantasy writers must take care in what they write. If there is any seed of evil in it, today’s debauched culture will surely make it sprout.
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