Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where doth strength lie?

Heracles kills the centaur Nessus to save Deianira - Franz Stuck

Heroes have to be strong, it's part of their nature. It's not that they can't have their moments of weakness, relapse and struggle--but in the end they're going to need to be strong. Otherwise, when push comes to shove and the villain plays his cards, the hero will break. And they would cease to be a hero, they would just be a main character.

So a hero has got to be strong, however the question is... where does this strength come from. In our postmodern world, that strength is always going to come within, the human animus is going to be the center of our strength. To quote the poem Invictus, 'I am the captain of my fate, the master of my soul'. That's what modern thought tends to glorify: the individual, the strong self, the lone ranger. To grow spiritually a person has to come deep into contact with their own inner awesomeness. Only then can they really truly reach their full potential. 

As probably a lot of you know, this is an example of bad worldview, but I have seen this in Christian books. The idea of self sufficiency is still appealing to a lot of Christians. That's natural. Ever since the fall humans have wanted to turn to their own strength and ingenuity to solve problems. We desire autonomy. Our way or the highway. 

The second way the hero can achieve strength through something outside himself. This is not necessarily a Christian view, but it is a religious one. It's very unpopular nowadays. Postmoderns don't like the idea of finding truth outside of yourself. Absolute truth is viewed as a dangerous thing nowadays. What if it offends someone?

The third and final way (which is really a subset of number two) is for the hero to find his strength in our God. This is the Biblical approach: something we've by and large forgotten as a culture, even though that was what made novels like Chronicles of Narnia so great. No matter what, in order for the heroes to win, they would always have to depend on Christ. That is where true strength comes from.

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