Friday, October 12, 2012

The Personal Limitations of Fantasy

Fantasy may fit well into the biblical realm, depending on how the supernatural element is used. However, just because it’s permissible doesn’t mean it’s beneficial. Since we are each unique with individual quirks, we also must take into account personal factors.
Here are six arenas to consider (this list is not exhaustive):
Spiritual Maturity
(stages of growth spiritually; does not pertain directly to age)
Unless the supernatural elements are exceptionally clear-cut, infant (brand-new) Christians should probably avoid this genre until they have a basic grasp of what distinguishes God’s power from Satan’s.

Child Christians probably will handle fantasy well as long as the supernatural is handled properly, and they may even benefit from it as fantasy often provides the heroic heroes who are worth imitating.

Adolescent Christians must tread somewhat carefully as they are at a stage where they see all that could be. Thus they could become obsessed with supernatural power itself, which could become spiritually unhealthy and dangerous, even if the power portrayed is “of God.”

Adult (mature) Christians should be able to approach the genre freely and, like young Christians, may benefit from the fresh takes on familiar topics that this perspective-bending genre specializes in.

(things you’ve gone through in the past that may affect the present)

Because of the supernatural, someone who has dealt with the Occult should probably avoid this genre. Past drug habits, war experiences, and addictions to escapist activities may also prove problematic.

Marital Status

As most fantasy tends to be of life-and-death situations, romance and sexual elements tend to be fewer and less stressed, making the genre accessible to anyone, no matter their marital status.

(close connections with minors or immature Christians)

Reading/watching fantasy is probably not a problem as long as you avoid the borderline stories and take time to discuss the genre (e.g. why not all fantasy is of the Occult) with the mentee. In fact, fantasy can be a great teaching tool because of its otherness. 

(the atmosphere of where you work and live)

If your area has strong leanings toward the Occult, eastern religions/mysticism, or pagan rituals, it may be best to avoid anything that looks like these things, including fantasy.

(what you do for a living/spend majority of time doing)
Tread carefully if your occupation places you on the frontline of spiritual warfare, consistently deals with alternate worlds (e.g. computer gaming), has current or historic ties to paganism/eastern mysticism/the Occult, or requires you to work with/around people with strong leanings to such.

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