1. Sounds interesting 🙂

    I think God initially planned for humans to be egalitarian, or at least at doesn’t mind the idea, but I don’t really see it as him changing his mind. To me it’s kind of more like he had two plans, and which plan came to fruition depended on our choices.

    Gods actually being angels/demons is a trope I kind of like. I’ve seen one or two people express disappointment with it at times, but I think they’re underestimating it’s potential for interesting worldbuilding and drama :p Like, I have a couple angel chars that end up being worshipped and treated as gods when they didn’t want to be.

    I’ll try to think of some more stories later that kind of use magic in the way you asked about. My current WIP doesn’t really have magic in it, but it does have its version of God, and something that is seen as both a gift and a curse by its people. Sort of a curse from the standpoint that some humans begged God to change an aspect of their biology to try and make their society safer and more righteous(which could be seen as rebellious or trying to change a good design) and there are some negative consequences to that. But then another common narrative is that it was instead a blessing, because there are some upsides to the humans’ request and it was their attempt to follow God’s rules better. So, a story world where there’s a curse of sorts, but no magic.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Autumn, my personal take on the curse of Genesis 3 is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to in effect reverse it by promoting gender equality, but we should not on the other hand be dismayed by the fact that men will continue to dominate certain areas of life–like combat arms in the military. I.e. the curse will never be fully reversed until eternity comes, I’d say.

      As for gods actually being angels/demons as a trope, I’m not familiar with many stories that do that. Maybe a couple of them. But perhaps I’m simply not reading enough of the right kind of story. Could you please name some stories where that’s already been done?

      Also, on what basis did people you know express disappointment with that trope? Why were they disappointed?

      And I do find it interesting you’ve created a story world without magic, but with a curse…

      • notleia says:

        Welp, it’s a variation on the theme of advanced alien races being worshipped as gods, a la Stargate.

      • I see the curse in Genesis 3 as more than lack of social equality. It’s a form of madness women suffer from. The most militant feminists will seek out men to dominate them to their own horror.

        Despite generations of feminism copies of Fifty Shades and Twilight sell of the shelves like nobody’s business. I suggest the book The Cinderella Complex by Collette Dowling for further commentary.

        I don’t agree with what Dowling says. We women can break the curse as individuals by total surrender to Christ. When He is our Lord we shall be free indeed regardless of career or marital status.

        • *all of Dowling’s conclusions

        • notleia says:

          Speak for yourself. I’m not suffering from a misplaced need to dominate men. I’m suffering because society is reluctant to grant me the same self-determination as a man and I have to push upstream to do the things I want, like not having children and dressing like a (homeless) androgyne. (I also suffer because of our society’s assumption in the moral shortcomings of the poor, but that’s another topic.)
          This is why it’s considered kinda rude to diagnose strangers on the internet.

        • Travis Perry says:

          I can agree that Genesis 3:16 is subject to multiple interpretations. Part of the verse, the part about a woman’s desire for her husband, is especially difficult. But the “he shall rule over you” part is much more straightforward. And it’s clearly a curse.

      • Seems l like Anime consistently uses that trope (angels/demons as gods). Blending western and eastern thoughts together.

      • Yeah. I don’t know if it would be reversed by making both men and women equally strong/good at combat, though. It’s probably more like certain things would be eliminated, like the need for combat at all. At least depending on how much the state of our bodies/existence would change. IDK. I agree that people shouldn’t immediately freak out about harmless gender differences remaining. The differences aren’t usually the problem, it’s more an issue of how we react to them and such.

        Kind of hard to think of specific examples of that trope right off the bat. Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy and Lost Books does it, since the Shataiki bats(which represent demons) are worshiped as deities by the Horde. Apparently Paradise Lost uses the trope too.

        A lot of the examples I’ve seen have been in Christian fiction, but I’ll kinda pay attention for more to mention in the future. I think it’s more common than the average person would think, but it’s hard to remember specific instances since it’s not usually the most notable part of a story. That said, I might just feel that way because it’s a trope I love and use all the time and thus keep in my head.

        Overly Sarcastic Productions has mentioned the trope/disappointment. This is one video where it was kind of brought up. Watching until about 2:42 should give you a bit of an idea. You could just watch from 1:10-2:42 if you’re in a hurry, but that will provide less context for some of the labels she puts on things:


        From what I can tell, she feels like the trope limits creativity and story possibilities and such, though it’s not just about the deities actually being angels/demons thing, but also about how pantheons in general are handled, so there’s more to it than the angel part.

        She doesn’t seem opposed to the trope, just thinks it’s a bit unfortunate and I guess prefers being able to squish multiple pantheons together and have them be actual deities. A lot of people might be annoyed with the gods as demons trope because they see it as censoring/not being allowed to have their fun pantheon tale.

        I think my ex mighthaveish felt this way a little as well, but not in the sense that he hates the gods actually being demons thing. He likes stories with both tropes. I doubt tons of people have huge problems with it or anything, but a decent amount might get vaguely annoyed, disappointed, etc with the gods as demons trope because it makes them miss out on something they like and it might have connotations of censorship.

        • Travis Perry says:

          Ok, the trope exists–but look, the really uber-common trope in fantasy fiction overall is having a pantheon of male and female dieties and any effort to step away from that is relatively fresh, from what I’ve seen.

          • To an extent, yeah, and I think that’s one reason why I do like the gods are actually demons idea. Some of it could be a genre thing though, now that I think about it. Like, some specific genres of fantasy might stick to one trope more than another. Like, it’s probably a more common trope in Christian Fiction than mainstream, for example. So maybe for Christian audiences it might seem stereotypical, but when trying to reach out to more secular audiences, it might be something different and interesting we can actually offer people.

        • notleia says:

          From what I’ve heard, the main issue about women in combat is the pay. They’re already in combat zones, usually as translators or liaisons or techs, but they don’t get paid to reflect the increase in risk.

          But yeah, in most everyday cases gender differences are unimportant and irrelevant. An average man might lift more than an average woman, but the average pallet jack can lift way more than the average man.

          • The issue at hand is probably more along the lines of hand to hand combat. It’s not to say that it makes women or men actually better, or that it is currently the most important army skill. It’s just an example of a physical difference, at least when it comes to average size and weight and muscle strength.

            Something I believe strongly and discuss in my stories is that people should try and be as capable as they can, though, and learn other ways to compensate for their weakness. If one can’t be physically strong, they should train to be as ok as they can in that area, but emphasize other skills, like persuasive and strategic ones, more. Though I think everyone should learn those last two as much as possible regardless.

            • Travis Perry says:

              In combat, being able to pee standing up is a pretty big advantage. And men can’t get pregnant. And don’t need menstrual supplies. And can haul a certain amount of gear better than women on average, including hauling body armor and ammo and dragging the body of a fallen comrade.

              I by the way am all in favor of letting those women willing to put up with the devices that let you pee standing up as a woman (they are disgusting, but are real things and some women use them) and who can otherwise hang with men because they are able to do all the lifting and shooting and dragging men in the infantry do, join the infantry. Good for them. But it’s in fact a really small minority of women who can and/or want to do that–I have known a few like that. The rights of these few should be protected and they should be given their chance. But if we build the best infantry we can under those realities, we will never get close to 50 percent women in the infantry. And we’ll have next to zero in the Special Operations units.

              If we were on the other hand to insist the infantry had to be 50 percent women and 50 percent men, that would degrade the infantry.

              But there are other combat arms things in which there is absolutely no difference in performance between men and women or maybe women even have a small advantage–such as being a fighter jet pilot.

              All of what I just said is fact-based. No kidding.

              • Yeah, I kind of said what I did just to name an example, but I do agree that it can get a lot more specific than that. I find it a bit ridiculous when people insist that there needs to be a fifty/fifty split in any particular field, too. The issue is the way people treat each other, NOT numbers.

                This next part isn’t directly related to what you’re saying or meant to disagree, but it’s something your comment made my mind go to. Mainly, just the idea that no one person has it all, as far as combat abilities go. Like, one of my closest female friends during fifth and sixth grade was pretty athletic and one of the stronger girls in my age group. I wouldn’t have a hard time imagining her being able to rise to some of the physical challenges of being a cop or firefighter or soldier if that was her interest(if she didn’t like the physical activity in question, she didn’t always put out the needed effort. And now that I think about it, she did have asthma, so that would work against her).

                People seem to think more about physical ability when deciding to be a soldier or something, but I don’t know how she would have done emotionally. She wasn’t the kind of person that bled emotion everywhere and would have been embarrassed about crying in public and stuff, yet I know she was still more on the ‘sensitive’ side. Not necessarily a bad thing, but from that standpoint war might have taken more of a toll on her.

                My advantages/disadvantages are completely flipped. I’ve never been very physically strong or coordinated, and have far less interest in those things in the first place. Things involving dexterity, interpersonal strategies and academics are where I’m more comfortable. And even though I care and CAN get emotional, I tend to be better at regulating it, and due to the way I usually process things I’d probably have an easier time overcoming trauma/adjusting to a civilian life after my time in the military was done. But regardless I already have goals outside that, so I wouldn’t get into that field unless I had to.

                So, all that to say, the physical aspect is important, but I guess when individuals decide to choose a military, police or firefighting job, they should think ahead a bit and weigh out a lot more than just the physical side.

  2. Stephen Smith says:

    Thank you for handling these topics. I’m struggling to define the limits and characteristics of the magic system in my book and everything you’ve said in this series of articles is helpful. One of the problems is that my antagonists wield (demonic-sourced) magic, but my protagonists only have passive resistance from their faith. I’ve hinted in the book that magical powers ultimately come from God, and I plan to impart active powers (“magic” if you will) to my main protagonist in a sequel, but this first book really begs for active powers performed by the hero intermittently and especially in the climatic scenes (as part of his hero’s journey and discovering who he is and what happened to him as an infant).

    So these discussions are helping me pick my way carefully through a minefield littered with possible blasphemies. ?

  3. notleia says:

    Yay, a concrete example! Is that why you’ve been vocally worried about paganism lately, feeling like you’ve been enabling it because of publishing this?
    It’s interesting to map the edges of your personal comfort zone with these ideas. You’re not bothered by a female monotheity, but you’re not interested enough in deconstructing cultural assumptions about gender identities/roles in order to question a just-so story about why they exist (tangent about privilege, yadda yadda).

    • notleia says:

      Copout, that’s the word I wanted. You’re okay with using a curse as a copout for maintaining the status quo. I guess that is the path of least resistance.

      • Travis Perry says:

        Simply because I don’t parrot what you parrot doesn’t mean I favor the status quo…though I do actually think about what is and is not possible and what does and does not matter.

        Because I see eternity as a reality, I think you waste a lot of your time on utterly trivial matters. And it seems the opposite is true–it seems because you live for this world, my interest in eternal matters seems trivial to you.

        • notleia says:

          Whoa, I wouldn’t go there. That last paragraph is a literal reason that 19th century conservatives gave for being again any progressive reform like workers’ rights, prison reform, or abolishing slavery. It also a reason they gave for stealing Native children from their families for forcible assimilation.

          • Travis Perry says:

            I think you’ve got your history wrong. Nineteenth Century religious conservatives (of the sort who believed in heaven and hell) were very active in opposing slavery. They were not quite as active in some of the other things you mentioned, but they took part. The Temperance Movement in particular, a darling of religious conservatives of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, lapsed over into the Woman’s Suffrage movement and many other social causes.

            It was the Social Darwinists and the “practical men of commerce” who were not all that interested in “religious dogma” who were the chief opponents of workers rights, women’s rights, etc. (Breweries were actively against Women’s Suffrage, to give one specific example.)

            As for the decision to take Native American children and put them in institutions that were meant to Christianize them and ALSO make them culturally Anglo American, I agree such actions were in part motivated by an interest in providing for eternity. But that’s not all that motivated such actions–and in fact you have to ignore the tenor of a lot of what the Bible says (in the story of Joseph and elsewhere) to think it’s a good thing to take children and force them to assimilate to another culture.

            I would say though that the Gospel should have been shared to Native American adults much more effectively. As happened at certain times in American history, albeit not that commonly.

            • notleia says:

              Okay, I worded it poorly. The anti-reform factions gave that as a reason.

              There were Christians on both sides of the arguments, I know that very well, but what kinds of Christians were the reformers? Quakers, for the most part. Are modern fundagelicals the theological/ideological heirs of the Quakers? LOL no. They are the ideological heirs of the anti-reform factions, like the Southern Baptists.

              And isn’t it so magnanimous of you, to consider issues that don’t really affect you to be unimportant.

              • Travis Perry says:

                Nonsense on the Quakers–not that they didn’t contribute, but Evangelicals in general were at the forefront a lot of the things I mentioned, especially British Evangelicals against slavery. The only case that Christians were on the other side of an issue actively that I can think of were apologists for slavery from the South. But the European apologists for Colonialism (and there were many of them) went straight to Darwin as soon as Origin of the Species was published.

                However…I don’t know where you get the idea that I only consider issues that don’t effect me to be unimportant. Not so. Some things that affect me personally are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. And some things that don’t affect me at all I care very much about, e.g. human trafficking and sexual slavery.

                But your “right” to wear gender-ambiguous clothing really falls under the category of “First World” problems. Not something I’m losing any sleep over.

                Though on the other hand, I do care about people becoming Neo-Pagans, because I think that puts them on the road to hell. But for you–“Whatteva! Say, what about my right not to have children without being looked down on!”

    • Travis Perry says:

      The reason I launched this series was in reaction to E. Stephen Burnett rolling out his take on fantasy magic from back in 2014 on a Facebook post several weeks ago. I thought his exegesis of the Bible wasn’t very good, so I rolled out my own article from 2014 on my blog to show how I’ve dealt with the same issue.

      I’ve continued talking about it because I had more to say. And I’m not done yet, in fact.

      My thoughts on fantasy magic come way before Dawn Before the Dark. However, they did shape the way I viewed, edited, and expressed my concerns for the future of the story with Wendy Blanton. My views on magic also have influenced how I’m promoting and discussing this story.

      My concerns about fantasy magic stem from my older sister, who at one point in my life was my best friend, who went from being a fantasy fan to a full-blown Pagan priestess as an adult. Since I am a genuine Christian who believes in heaven and hell, I found this very distressing. As I should have.

      • notleia says:

        Does that mean she’s not your friend anymore? That’s kinda sad, but probably inevitable since you don’t sound all that compatible anymore.
        But I’d be interested in meeting her, if only to compare-contrast your image of her with how I find her to be.

        • I’m sure they’re still friends… Travis doesn’t strike me as that kind of person at all. He strikes me as warm, accepting, and open-hearted.

        • Travis Perry says:

          First of all, being friends with my sister is a complex issue in which our differing religions is only one factor. I don’t really have to answer, but will anyway.

          I attempted to maintain a friendship with her for many years after she radically departed from who she’d been when she was younger. Sometimes it sorta worked and along the way I met dozens of modern Neo-Pagans in her circles and I am concerned about their growing numbers in the world based on things I’ve observed. Which is part of why I’ve written this post and others like it.

          Second, my sister hasn’t spoken with me since 2015. That’s because she decided to have a zero-tolerance policy concerning me not agreeing with her on the legality of gay marriage. Not that I’m particularly hard on this issue. What I actually suggested to her is perhaps the federal government should not recognize anyone’s marriage and let the matter be strictly a private affair (allowing for policies that would allow people to pick a “designated beneficiary” for healthcare benefits who could be anyone, like a sibling even). But that was it for her–anything less that being fully pro “marriage equality” was absolutely unacceptable to her.

          • notleia says:

            Well, I know about complicated family relationships. That’s why I live a 16 hr drive away from mine.
            I can mostly put up with my dad’s bigot opinions in small doses, in emails I can skim and only respond to the parts I want to engage with. We still have enough to engage pleasantly on, even if it might be a rather shallow relationship.
            You may want to trivialize gay rights as a reason to cut off contact, but she’s evidently decided the pros of your relationship doesn’t outweigh having to put up with your crappy opinions and the sh*t-tier compromises you offer.

            • Um. Who’s the bigot again?

            • I don’t know exactly what happened in Travis’ situation, and from both observation and experience I know that when it comes to interpersonal situations, there’s usually something every person involved could have done to make things turn out better, regardless of who was actually at fault. And, yes, if she didn’t feel like talking to Travis again, that’s her choice.

              But it comes across like you automatically think she did nothing and Travis did everything. You may or may not be correct. It also comes across like you automatically assume liberals are going to be right in any given situation and that conservatives are so bigoted and evil they probably deserved whatever happened.

              I have a nonbinary friend(in her coming out video she said something about not caring what pronouns people used for her, though). And I’m not as close to her as I want to be. Maybe if you heard nothing more than that you would think it was because I’m too bigoted to want to hang out with her, or that I did something to make her stay away, but that isn’t what happened. We don’t talk much at all, but during some of our earlier online interactions she said she felt like I was one of the only people that seemed to care about her. And that’s with not having a whole lot of interaction with her(we hung out initially because we were taking the same college class, after that we only have occasional online interaction)

              The reason we aren’t as close as I’d like is because I worry. A lot. From what she’s said, I know she’s been through a lot. I can tell her parents haven’t always treated her right. At the same time, I’ve seen lots of signs that her decision making and perceptions of certain situations aren’t always great. It would be very easy to accidentally offend her. I haven’t really had any political discussions with her, or even really talked about my views on anything. I don’t talk to her much outside giving her tidbits of advice and encouragement now and then, because I want to minimize any chance of hurting or upsetting her. That would make us both feel like sh*t, and after everything she’s been through I want to be a bright spot in her life instead of a dark one. But when I do interact with her, it can be very stressful for me to obsessively check over everything I say to make sure I don’t get anywhere near hurting her, and dealing with someone that I can sense those levels of fragility from actually sort of triggers some of my own deeply buried anxieties.

              There’s always a lot more at play than you know. Not every conservative is like the people you hung out with, and not every liberal is perfect or innocent. Keeping that in mind more would probably improve the effectiveness of your communication.

              • notleia says:

                As much as I want to be the rational one, I’m probably projecting some of my frustrations onto him.

                But it would still be a crappy opinion even if he wasn’t the one holding it.

              • “the rational one”? Um. Ok.

              • You might have misunderstood her. It sounds like she’s saying that she WANTS to be the rational one, but realizes she may have been projecting a bit.

              • “probably projecting” is an understatement.

                You don’t criticize bigots then turn around and be a bigot without warranting a bit of unhappy laughter.

              • Of course it’s an understatement. That’s how people talk, especially when they’re starting to back off and think ‘ok, maybe I was wrong/got carried away/shouldn’t have done that’. But her words were at least a partial admission of fault, and the rest of what she was saying was partially due to a misunderstanding, which could have been cleared up. Your response wasn’t in proportion to that.

                The irony is that you’re basically saying she deserves your response because she was being a hypocrite(calling someone a bigot while also being a bigot herself). But then you would also be a hypocrite for calling her irrational when your responses have been emotional rather than rational. The sequence of the conversation has also been hypocritical in the sense that it’s been complaining about Travis’ sister and notleia being judgmental and cutting people off just for disagreeing, yet Travis has come off as a little obsessive about pushing notleia off this site.

              • All I did was point out she was being hypocritical (she was), and irrational (she was), and that she only admitted the possibility that she could have been in the wrong (which is what she did), rather than saying, “Alright, sorry.” Explain how I’m being emotional rather than rational.

              • Well, her post basically said she realized that she WASN’T being rational, because she was INSTEAD projecting. But your response sounded like you thought notleia was actually claiming to be ‘the rational one’.

                Your responses to her seem to be more along the lines of venting or satisfying anger/frustration, rather than trying to fix the issue constructively. That comes across as more emotional than rational. If someone is starting to admit fault(even in a small way), it also isn’t rational to keep sneering at them, because it partially discourages the option of them continuing to calm down and change their mind. It’s more likely to incite defensiveness than trigger an apology. That said, she was talking to me when she said she was projecting onto Travis. She didn’t cause me any direct problems, so there wasn’t any need for her to say sorry in that particular post.

                If you don’t care about fixing it constructively and are responding that way just because you want to, that would also be an indication that your approach is more emotional.

                Yes, she was being hypocritical and irrational. That doesn’t automatically mean that anyone criticizing her is automatically being correct and rational in their responses. That’s an important thing for Christians to realize in their interactions with others.

                That said, I wasn’t trying to offend you or start an argument. It’s just that your post didn’t make sense(she was saying that she WASN’T being rational at that moment, but your post sounded like you thought she was claiming to be ‘the rational one’) so I was just pointing that out.

                Maybe you read her post entirely correctly and responded that way on purpose for some reason, but knowing that would probably be beneficial in terms of figuring out more about your communication style, so if that was the case and you don’t mind explaining your intent/goals/reasons I wouldn’t mind hearing them so I can understand the situation better.

              • I knew what she was saying. After how offensive she was to Travis, it seemed (in her words) a “sh*t tier compromise” to say what she did. On top of it, there’s the irony of her doing exactly what she criticizes everyone else of doing. Notleia makes good points fairly often, so it’s hard to believe she’s not aware of what she’s doing. I don’t need an apology from her. Nothing I said was intended to gain one.

                I disagree that it, “didn’t make sense.” You just don’t like how I went about pointing out that she was being a hypocritical jerk. Which is fine. But it doesn’t mean I was being emotional rather than rational.

              • Notleia and I disagree on lots of things and as such we argue. But I try to work through her negative perception of conservatives while I’m at it(I don’t expect her to agree, but she would probably be less stressed and have an easier time with others if she got through some of this stuff.). That said, I completely ignored the last negative comment you made to her. Even though it was kind of pointless, it didn’t really matter to me. I would have ignored this other one too if it actually seemed to be replying to what she actually said. One of the only reasons it matters to me is because I actually try to get somewhere with people, though. Your reply to her had a chance of undoing a bit of what progress I might have made earlier in the conversation. I would hate to have that happen from something as simple as you possibly misunderstanding her.

                Apparently it wasn’t a misunderstanding and you actually got what she said, so from that standpoint it’s fine, whether or not I agree with your method.

                I wish you would have said so sooner, though. My intent was just either to clear up a misunderstanding or see what you were actually trying to do. It started out with me leaving a clarification, and you could have easily said something like ‘Oh, I know exactly what she meant, I’m just pointing out that she’s been irrational in this conversation.’ That would have been the end of it. Instead you got mad(Even though I was being calm and we had not argued previously.) and just said notleia deserved some unhappy laughter. Your anger came through in your wording and seemed to have turned onto me when it didn’t really need to be. But…oh well. I’m sorry I bothered you. I didn’t intend for this to turn into a big long thing.

                As a side note, I’ve gone through and observed many cruddy situations that came about because of misunderstandings. In fact, part of what notleia said during this argument seemed to be because she misunderstood Travis. It’s just become part of my general process to try and clear those up when I can. I somewhat regret not trying with notleia’s misunderstanding, but I was kind of in a mode where I wasn’t sure I should keep intruding on their argument when the issue had a chance of resolving on its own. Probably shouldn’t bother or care in the first place, but understand that trying to clarify is more just me trying to help or solve issues, rather than to bug you.

              • ? I was trying to clarify, not getting mad. Obviously I did a poor job of it, so I’m sorry about that. The “probably projecting” was in reference to what she had said, not you. What irritated me was you saying I was being a hypocrite. Because I think that’s both a massive stretch of logic, and also uncalled for.

                Notleia doesn’t like conservatives because she WANTS to not like conservatives. You’re not going to change her mind, and neither am I. (Yes, that’s my opinion, I realize.) But she has no right to make personal attacks against a stranger for no good reason.

                No worries between us… I hear you.

              • Well, I know you weren’t saying that I was ‘probably projecting’. But your wording generally sounded angry when replying to the initial post I left saying you might have misunderstood notleia, so it sounded like you were mad at me for bringing it up in the first place.

                And I guess just for future reference…it came across like your definition of being rational rather than emotional was simply to have a reason for being angry. My definition is different, however. Everyone has a reason for being angry, so that doesn’t really mean much. If someone is being rational in a situation, I see that more as their willingness to keep their emotions under control or set them aside if need be in order to approach the situation constructively…even if one thinks the other person isn’t going to change their mind.(Though I of course don’t think trying to convince someone is automatically the correct response either) If we were both defining the emotional vs rationality thing differently, I think that caused some miscommunication.

                Buuut, thanks for being willing to have the conversation with me in the first place.

              • You can be highly emotional yet perfectly rational. You can also be completely emotionless and highly irrational. Rationality has nothing to do with emotions, and everything to do with reasoning. So, yes, it actually means a lot. This is the definition of the word according to the dictionary:


                1. the quality of being illogical or unreasonable.

                I think it just comes down to that you had a different goal/motive for engaging in the convo than I did, and we disagreed at a more fundamental perspective-level. That sound right?

                Anyways, I understand what you’re saying about emotionality/rationality, and at a certain level I agree. Makes me think about psychosis, and how we can feel we’re being rational when we’re really not. But unless I’m on the Truman Show, or I’m imagining this whole thing, I don’t think that applies in this case. Lol…

                Notleia was a jerk, that irritated me, I made a snarky comment intended to show I didn’t think that was ok (and that I thought her “woops” was pathetic). Seems perfectly normal to me. But I’m fine disagreeing…

              • I agree that someone can be feeling a lot of emotion and still be rational, it just depends on how they engage with it. But, yeah, I’m fine with disagreeing 🙂

            • Travis Perry says:

              Notleia, why do you comment on this site at all? You do realize “Speculative Faith” is a site for Christians, right? I mean, you’ve made a few oblique references to having gone to church and that you grew up in religious circles, but do you actually have any “Faith” of your own to go with your interest in things “Speculative”?

              If not, why are you here?

              As for my sister, she was in a polyamorous situation in which she considered herself married to a man and a woman. This is not currently legal in the United States (though it is in the Netherlands, I think). What I had said kinda defended her doing what she wanted, on the basis that perhaps marriage should be a private issue and not a public one. She seemed fine with me as I said it and right afterwards. But a few months later she sent me a message on Facebook saying she was done with me because of my stand on gay marriage, something I hadn’t even repeated to her or anyone else in the meantime. Then she blocked me. I don’t have her phone or address–she cut me off in one moment without any opportunity to talk it out or even to apologize.

              It was weird and out of the blue and highly judgmental of her–obviously in my opinion. I’d give you contact information for my sister so you can ask for her side of the story–but I don’t have any.

              • notleia says:

                “Separate but equal” is a sh*t-tier compromise. Ask black people how that concept worked out for them.

                We’re probably going to see some social evolution in regards to common-law marriage, but gay peeps should have the option of the legally stable and established version if they so choose.

                But as much as you want to paint your sister as the unreasonable one, breakups (of whatever type) don’t require the permission of the other party. Honestly, tho, would anything really would have changed if you guys did hash it out again? (Says the chick who argues with people on the internet as proxy for people she can’t argue with without more personal repercussions)

              • Travis Perry says:

                How is “marriage as a private, not public matter for all people” separate but equal? It would be equal, period, but not status quo. Though you are probably right in thinking my sister read that as “separate but equal”–but that would make both of you too locked into ideology to realize when someone is sincerely offering to be fair, because the offer doesn’t match your preconceived notions and you’re so sure you’re right you don’t even bother to reason anymore. Both of you.

                But anyway, I’m less interested in the questions you chose to answer and you making proclamations about a person you don’t even know and more interested in the question you did not bother to answer directly. Why do you comment here?

                Are you here just to argue with people you disagree with by proxy? Is that why you comment on this site? But that’s not what this site is for. It’s for Christian people to explore certain issues that relate to speculative fiction.

                Are you a Christian at all? Of any stripe? If so, please share about your personal faith. I’m genuinely curious.

  4. Toklaham Veruzia says:

    The idea of Cruthadair clearly representing an allegorical-God figure seems more problematic to me than if her nature and the natures of the three children were left ambiguous. Although God doesn’t have a gender in the same sense humans do, he chooses to represent himself as male in Scripture, so creating an fully allegorical female God-figure in a fantasy world would involve portraying God in a way that he most definitely does not portray himself.

    George MacDonald does something like this in ‘The Princess and the Goblin’. However, I find his use of the grandmother more acceptable than what Cruthadair sounds like above because the grandmother is only a semi-God figure, like Gandalf. She demonstrates some attributes of God, but is not all (she isn’t eternal, for one). Because of this, MacDonald had lot more room to be creative in developing the grandmother’s characters.

    An author with a character who directly corresponds to the God of the Bible must be careful to ensure that everything that comes out of that character’s mouth is something that God might actually say. While it’s hypothetically possible that God could choose to reveal himself in feminine terms, there’s no Biblical evidence to suggest that this is ever the case. I’m not comfortable portraying an allegorical God-figure as a woman. To me, it seems to overstep the bounds of creative license and cross the line from creativity to heresy.

    • I think it depends on the story, character, presentation, etc. If the author presents it as an AU that explores some what ifs, rather than saying it’s a direct representation of how God actually is, then might very well be ok. A book like that could actually explain some practical reasons why God is presented as masculine in real life.

    • Travis Perry says:

      The Hebrew word for “spirit” as in “Spirit of God” (ruach) is a grammatical feminine and its Greek analog (pneuma) is a grammatical neuter word.

      On occasion the Bible shows God adopting feminine language for himself, as in Christ saying he wanted to gather Jerusalem under his wings like a hen with chicks (Mat 23:37), or God saying he will comfort as a mother (Isaiah 66:13). God also cares about childbirth and delivery and protection of the young in the birth of many babies in the BIble–duties which in Pagan pantheons belonged to goddesses.

      So there’s some justification for portraying a feminine aspect of God. Though I agree that it isn’t justified to think of God as a woman in the heavens. But it’s not justified to think of God as a man in the heavens, either. God is a Spirit–the only truly male part of the Christian Trinity is Jesus Christ.

      I agree there are potential problems with heresy in portraying God in ways that dishonor God or falsely express who He is not.

      However, I cannot disagree more with you on the topic of an ambiguous presentation of multiple gods rather than a system pointing to a single Creator in which details may not be correct. Better by far, I think, to point to one God than to leave the door open for many gods. Though of course we don’t want to error in either way.

      Cruthadair may not clearly speak at all in this trilogy. As of now I have no plans for that and I don’t think Wendy does, either. As the story is, I’m publishing a book that in essence shows people having made a mistake about who their God really is–the rest of the trilogy will include a revelation of that mistake. Under the circumstances, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine even their concepts of Cruthadair may not be wholly correct.

      And have such things really happened in the actual history of our world? I would say they have–because I believe all humans were originally monotheists, who added gods and goddesses over time…

      • notleia says:

        I can see where he’s coming from, even if I think he’s wrong. Frank Peretti spent a lot of time in some of his books sowing panic about the creeping influence of Hinduism/Buddhism with the parts about the different gods being an illusion for the many facets of the one god-force-whatever that pervades the universe.
        But it does seems to be half the battle in the polytheistic parts of the world, to get them to stick with just one. They’ll be all, “your God sounds pretty strong, I’ll light him some incense too next time I light up for the others.”

        And hey, did I mention that you get props for not being weird about a female monotheity?

        • Travis Perry says:

          I have concerns about an exclusively female monotheity. But I take the idea of “God is a spirit” seriously. God, apart from the role of Jesus Christ in the Trinity, has no literal gender. Though for a variety of reasons the “he” pronoun works better for God that “she.” (Including because of Jesus.)

          I can live with “she” though–as long as we don’t in effect use that to create a blatantly false version of the Creator. As in, a literal, bodily mother in heaven, which would not be correct…

What do you think?