Friday, October 25, 2013

How Seculars view the Church

Many Figures On The Market Square In Front Of The Martinikirche, Braunschweig - Cornelis Springer

The Church has had an interesting role in modern fiction; sometimes it preys on the innocent, and acts like the center of intolerance and spiritual tyranny. At other times, it takes the role of mercy, in the form of kindly priests or wise ministers. Mostly, it is a force of spiritual light which does not illuminate, cast against a force of spiritual darkness that darkens just like the real thing.

What are we seeing here in literature? It's complicated. The Western world has always had an arduous relationship with Christianity.  It has loved Her, and it has tried to use Her for it's own ends. In a fit of boredom it forsook her, and sampled other things. But post-Christian thought failed,* and now the relationship between the two is choked. The west looks back at Christianity with a mix of admiration and horror, and literature reflects this. Authors sprinkle kindly ministers in between radical Knights Templar. Christianity is good, bad, sane and crazy--sometimes all at once.

This is not entirely secular bias. Christians have been good, bad, sane and crazy; and we shouldn't react to their confusion by setting the Church up as a utopia--secular readers will assume that the real Church is a dystopia. Churches really are large groups of sinful human beings, some of whom have accepted Christ, and some of whom have not. It's bound to get messy.

*  It only took two World Wars, a cold war and the rise of global Islam to show us that. Aren't we quick-witted?

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