Re: [asa] YEC sub-group & fiction

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 12:53:19 EST

Mr. Moorad, such a family history must indeed have a profound effect on
your outlook --especially regarding sources of solace. I think it quite
appropriate and Divinely intended that the Bible provide just such
solace. I also think it may be an attempt to impose artificial limits
on God to say that he can't also story narrative (as I maintain He does
in some Scriptures) to communicate truth to us. I think fiction can be
a powerful communicator of Truth. And to suggest that we have full
access to and use of this broad "genre" and God doesn't, is (I suggest)
the height of hubris.

David O. --I presumed the sub-group status without too much reflection,
since it would seem exceedingly strange to me that someone could object
to all fiction on these superficial grounds, but then also be willing to
accept any less than literal readings of Genesis 1. Perhaps
fundamentalist atheists might fit this bill --but I don't think they
would reject all fiction out of religiously strict adherence to some
honesty principle. But the world is rarely as simple as our
generalizations make it....

Regarding other books that have been mentioned on this thread: I can't
think of any C.S. Lewis I've read that hasn't connected with me in
positive ways --including his highly fictitious "Till We Have Faces".
Regarding "The Shack" --I think this a great current example of modern
fiction that can (does) speak powerfully as a corrective to
long-standing fixations the church has become mired in regarding worldly
power, hierarchy, and authority. Yes --the case may be overstated a
bit, and I will agree-- it will fail the "is this strictly Biblical"
test at some points. But the thrust of the message given about how we
have let our fallen notions of authority and power displace the higher
original call to relationship is, I thought, spot on. Many are
offended at the notion of a Triune God who engages in any kind of mutual
submission; let alone submission to us. It's almost like we need to
learn Peter's lesson all over again when Jesus stooped to wash their
feet. We even commemorate the event, but then apparently put the whole
episode away in its box and think "that was all very nice, but Jesus
didn't really mean it. --now let's get back to the real God." We then
accuse the author of denying any proper role for any authority all;
which I think unjust. But if he does, then yes, that would merit some
criticism. I think the real source of objection to this book, though,
is that the remedying potion proves a bit strong; and many aren't yet
ready to have this truth spoken. So they find points of disagreement and
use those to dismiss the whole work.

BUT --to back away again from discussion over a specific book, I think
this serves to highlight precisely the high value fiction has as a
delivery for Truth. Lewis does it so well in the "Chronicles...".
When one is reading about Dufflepuds, one is freed from the need to
maintain vigilance about historicity as you can just get lost in the
silliness and humor if you wish. THEN the message being given doesn't
have to be constantly passing muster with any vigilante notion of
historicity. Whereas, in fictions like "The Shack", the author dares
to use names and people --God himself/herself -- putting words into
their mouths. So our suspicions kick into high gear as we think that
perhaps this author is trying to hide behind the label of "fiction"
while instead intending us to buy into it as Truth. And we are exactly
right --I think ALL fiction is trying to get us to buy into something as
Truth --there will be a message of some kind, however implicit it may
be. It's just that most fiction is much more subtle about it than "The
Shack" was.

"There never was a story anywhere that couldn't be made a little better
with embellishment..." --with apologies to Philip Gulley for my
ripping that line out of its larger humorous context. Anyone who needs
to loosen up stern religious frowns on their faces might give his books
a try.

Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> Dear John,
> There are many of us that TV is C-SPAN, History Channel, Military Channel, News Channels ( often, FOXNEWS) , Discovery Channel, National Geographic, etc. What do you make of these people? I just read “The Shack” but still I am totally sold on C.S. Lewis. I like things distilled rather than embellished. I believe reality is much more interesting that what the human mind can literally create. After all my parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks, which sets a measure of what is important and what is less so. Knowing that many of your uncles, aunts, and your two grandfathers were killed even before you were born is quite raw reality. She sough solace in Scripture and raised us reading Scripture specially the Book of Proverbs. BTW, I am a practicing physicist.
> Moorad
> ________________________________________
> From: [] On Behalf Of John Burgeson (ASA member) []
> Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 10:03 AM
> To: Merv Bitikofer
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [asa] YEC sub-group & fiction
> My own view is that thinking about things that are not so is one mark
> of a human being. Certainly it is a mark of a scientist.
> If they read "lots of history and biographies," are they aware that
> these kind of writings also come with their own set of fiction? Not to
> mention biases.
> In my own interactions with Henry Morris, Duane Gish and other ICR
> people, I do not recall this kind of attitude. But it's been 20 years
> now ... .
> On 1/24/09, Merv Bitikofer <> wrote:
>> I've recently become aware, within my school setting, of somebody who
>> pretty much rejects all fiction writings as lies. And come to think of
>> it, I have a very conservative home-schooling relative who, at the
>> moment, I can't remember her daughters reading any fiction works either
>> --and now I wonder if she feels the same way. (Maybe they read
>> Pilgrim's Progress --I'll have to check.) They read lots of history
>> and biographies & such. Is there a large community within YEC that
>> feels this way? When my colleague asked the first person about
>> parables in the Bible, she immediately was inflamed with the suggestion
>> that any parable wouldn't be historical. "My God does not lie!" My
>> friend wasn't sure what she would do with Nathan telling David fiction a
>> story about a rich man, poor man, and his sheep --or probably other
>> places where fiction was used to make a point as well. How would you
>> respond? (I didn't speak with her directly about it --and don't intend
>> to, but just want to know how widespread this sentiment is.)
>> --Merv

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Received on Sat Jan 24 12:48:15 2009

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