In the last year we’ve heard these accounts from at least one popular Christian leader, and from a popular comedy duo from an evangelical background. Of course, you likely have many friends or even family members who say they were once Christians, but aren’t any more.
In the new episode of Fantastical Truth, Zackary Russell and I don’t try to refute their points with logic and apologetics. (Others have been doing this well.) Instead we hope to explore why some professing Christians reject their faith, and not others. And we’ll ask a very cautious question: can excellent Christian-made stories help give young believers a stronger faith?1
We don’t mean to offer some Method to keep you strong in the faith, impervious to doubts or competing religions. We don’t say, “Here, read better Christian fiction and you’ll always keep your faith!” But we can look at our own accounts and see common factors.
We can also ask questions like:
- Do people who “deconvert” from Christianity “evangelize” for their view using the language and arguments of only “rational thought”?
- Do “deconstructing” non-believers recognize the significant role of human imagination in their change of mind/heart?
- Also, do they recognize that they are not simply “deconverting” from Christianity but also converting to the default religion of Selfism?
- In the deconverters’ past, what kinds of stories did they grow up with and enjoy for recreation?
- Which images, songs, movies, books, pictures took “shortcuts” to their brains, zooming past all the “rational thoughts”?
- In the deconverters’ present, what kinds of stories have reflected and shaped their dreams, ideas, and deep internal longings?
- What cultural forces have given them these stories, and aren’t these cultural forces also subject to skepticism and “deconstruction”?
How do great stories shape our beliefs?
Great stories shape our deepest desires.
We don’t mean these stories give us desires. Based on our deepest dreams and wants, we will prefer stories that reflect and shape these desires. The stories we love, past and present, reveal what people we truly are.
Great stories shape our view of the world.
For example, some “former Christians” say they met wonderful, moral nonbelievers in the world, who challenged their beliefs just by existing. But if you grew up with excellent Christian-made stories that already included likeable and moral yet non-Christian heroes, then this “groundbreaking” idea shouldn’t have taken you by surprise.
Great stories prepare us for hard truths about God.
Maybe you grew up learning complex apologetics arguments and nonfiction teaching about how/why a good God allows sin and suffering. But you need to experience these things to fully understand them. Scripture itself presents not just abstract teachings, but narratives in which even God’s heroes undergo suffering and other hard realities. Other stories, including stories made by Christians, should be doing the same, so that we are better prepared for this reality.
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Enter to win Tosca Lee’s The Line Between
We’re holding a drawing for two digital copies of Tosca Lee’s pandemic thriller novel The Line Between, courtesy of the author herself
According to our spring 2019 featured review, The Line Between “quests toward truth among apocalyptic madness,” and “truth glimpses give The Line Between surprising heart-warmth amongst the chill, while its road-trip quest drives fast through mad territory and never once feels bogged down in snowbanks.”
To enter the giveaway, you just need to be a current email subscriber for Lorehaven magazine.
We’ll reach out to our two winners next month before we make the announcement.
Next on Fantastical Truth
We’ll be joined by Kathy Tyers, author of many amazing sci-fi and/or space opera novels, including her landmark Firebird series set in a spacefaring world in which the Messiah has not come … yet. Her novel Crystal Witness will re-release from Enclave Publishing this summer. She will join us to explore that story and her whole career crafting spaceships and beyond.