Friday, October 19, 2012

Fantasy's Benefits

About now you may be asking,
“Why bother to read fantasy at all?”

Because fantasy, like every other genre out there, addresses specific heart needs and expands our understanding. So what good does fantasy bring to our lives?

It removes veneers. Though the worlds of fantasy may be wild and weird, the stories rarely tackle complex theology. Rather, they place familiar truths—forgiveness, redemption, sacrifice, sovereignty—in such bizarre settings that we can’t miss them. As Christian novelist John Olson has said, “Story gives us a glimpse of the reality we can’t see because we’re so distracted by the fantasy of our lives.” 

It gives us heroes. We long for people we can look up to and imitate—role models who can show us how to live, why we should do right, and what’s worth dying for. Such “heroes,” however, have become few and far in between. Fantasy attempts to give us a few heroes back.

It acknowledges our need for the supernatural. God created us for Him. So when we sinned and became separated from Him, a huge hole was left behind—a supernatural void. Therefore, science is not enough, can never be enough. Fantasy, in our technological age, validates that.

It offers hope in a dark world. Read the headlines. Watch the news. Evil is strong, evil is pervasive. Everything in us rebels against the thought of evil winning, but in the light of such evidence, we start to despair. Fantasy, mimicking the great story ever told, affirms that in the end, good wins.

But perhaps most of all, fantasy expands our concept of God. After all, He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). Fantasy pushes our imaginations into the realms of the “impossible” and then declares God is still bigger! Now that is a God worth worshiping.


Keanan Brand said...

Excellent post.

Had a conversation with a friend in the wee hours of this morning, all about books and writing and excellence and genre -- a big mix of a conversation -- and it all came back around to God.

Cool how that works.

Chawna Schroeder said...

Sounds like a great conversation, Keanan! Those types of talks are some of my favorites. And yep--it all comes back to God, and I can think of nothing cooler than that.