Eye of the Oracle

February 4, 2008 at 9:34 pm (Family Life, Religion)

A little background first: My daughter has been reading the ‘Dragons in our Midst’ series. She enjoyed the first two books, even to the point of reading them to her brothers. My wife and I looked at them first (obviously) and didn’t see any problem with them. My wife even posted a review of them in her blog. BUT… We picked up the 3rd book from that series, and the first book from the next series (which was also a prequel to the ‘Dragons in our Midst’ series). She initially read the first few chapters, and got a strange feeling about it. I read the first chapter and told her to not read any more. We felt that since she had recommended them in her blog, she really should post the new information and warning about them. My daughter also had a problem with the third book, and stopped reading it a few chapters from the end. It makes me immensely proud that she was able to hear the ‘still, small voice’ that it took me better than a quarter century to finally recognize.
My daughter’s post is at her birdwhisper blog, and my wife’s is at her blog. My wife’s blog is subscribed to by the author’s feed-reader, which notified him immediately of the post with the name of his book. Obviously he wasn’t happy about it, and left a comment on her blog – and also at my daughter’s blog – and also as a forum topic on his fan-forum. This generated a lot of comments, which I feel that I need to address.

Many of the comments drew a comparison between his series and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Narnia’ series. They also defended his series as being Biblical, but also fantasy fiction. Honestly, I was impressed by the comments. Knowing that they were coming mostly from teens, they were more articulate and respectful than comments I’ve seen coming from adults. My response follows:

Less than half way through the first chapter – about the point where Samyaza was trying to trick the angel guarding the garden of Eden, an internal alarm went off. The holy spirit was warning me about it, and some of the names sounded familiar. Upon investigation, I found that most of them are referenced in heretical writings. Good enough for me – I stopped reading and none in MY house will read them again.

There is a significant difference between ‘Eye of the Oracle’ and other fantasy fiction such as the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, or ‘Chronicles of Narnia’. The difference being that EOTO has a biblical story retold with ‘extras’ added to it, specifically extras that are from heretical writings. LOTR and Narnia have non-biblical stories, and therefore are free to include anything they like. Christian interpretation can found in them, but you have to be looking for it. An even broader case can be made for them exemplifying moral behavior – the struggle of good vs. evil, an individual prevailing against an overwhelming opponent, friendship and loyalty, etc. Because they are not re-telling a Biblical event, the standard that we hold them to is much lower. Do they romanticize wrong behavior? Are negative consequences shown and properly attributed? Christian fiction has the additional requirement to edify God, AND to be theologically correct.’Eye of the Oracle’ takes a well known Biblical story, and re-tells it. When dealing with the Bible, we MUST treat it honestly. There can be NO artistic license taken with it’s text. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Gal 5:9) This is most especially true when the ‘extras’ added to the Biblical narration are from apocryphal and heretical sources, as is the case with ‘Eye’. Claiming ‘It’s just fiction’ does nothing to remedy that problem.

Was the ‘Passion of the Christ’ Christian fiction, or was it a corrupting of true doctrine by incorporating the visions of Anne Catherine Emerich (http://www.olrl.org/prophecy/emmerich.shtml)? If your pastor told you that it was more holy to pray for souls in Purgatory than for living sinners, that the saints are more powerful on their feast days, that Christ suffered more from a wound on his shoulder than any other, and that he was subsisting entirely on communion wafers, you would leave that church and never look back.

Was the ‘Da Vinci Code’ harmless Christian fiction, or a corrupting of true doctrine with Gnostic heresies by incorporating the gospels of Thomas, Philip and Mary? If they’re true, and Christ wasn’t a man and didn’t die on the cross, then where does salvation come from?

Is ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ harmless Christian fiction? It includes a disclaimer to that effect at the onset before the movie, before ‘speculating’ on all of the different ways that Satan may have tried to seduce Him.

One of the items that commenters seem to be stuck on is the idea of the Nephilim. Nephilim (strongs # 5303) is NOT translated into English in many versions of the Bible. Selectively ‘transliterating’ a Hebrew word for giant/tyrant/bully doesn’t give it a different meaning. There is no reason to make ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6 mean something different than it does in Romans, where all who are ‘led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’. And IF they were some hybrid, then they ALL DIED during Noah’s flood (Gen 7:21-22). As appealing as the idea of a god/man hybrid is (Greek & Roman myths are full of them), the only ‘Christian’ sources are the heretical ‘Book of Enoch’ and ‘Book of Giants’.

‘Eye of the Oracle’ is especially dangerous because it corrupts sound theology by mixing (capital T) Truth with fables and heressy.

Sure, it’s ‘just a story’ and you won’t confuse it for Truth. You’re grounded and strong enough to be able to tell the difference, right?

WRONG.

Without looking it up, see how well you can Biblically answer these questions. How many angels sang to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds? How many wise men traveled to see Jesus after he was born? When did the wise men see Jesus? If you got them wrong, your knowledge of the Bible has been tainted by our ‘Christmas Culture’. Perhaps you can tell me how many angels God placed to guard the garden of Eden, and how many of them held flaming swords? If you’ve read ‘Eye of the Oracle’, your answer will differ from God’s.

Those who treat most of the bible stories as allegory or legend probably don’t have a problem with it – the details change, but the essence of the story remains the same. I, however, believe that the entire Bible was written by God working through human instruments, that ALL of the words are true and significant, and that they will remain that way forever. As such, any scripture story re-told as fiction must be held to the highest standard of biblical accuracy, neither adding nor subtracting. ‘Eye of the Oracle’ does not meet this standard.

And, specifically in response to Mr. Davis, who said:

  • “You are doing harm to a series that God is using in a powerful way to change people’s lives for the better.”

God can use dishonorable vessels for honorable purposes. It is our responsibility to NOT lead children even one step down a path that has the potential to cause them harm. Something about a ‘mill-stone’ comes to mind. From what I have read of your work, you have an incredible talent. Judging by your forum and comments I have seen, you have an intelligent and devoted following.  It is a shame that your work has the potential to confuse them about sound doctrine.

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31 Comments

  1. Elaine said,

    Very well said.

  2. APuritanLady said,

    Excellently worded, my friend.

  3. tessofthebellgrades said,

    I am just observing the lack of comments trying to make you change your stance and retract your opinion…..it seems it’s much harder to refute a sound biblical argument (with references to other books) than it is to try to refute an emotive and personal argument doesn’t it?

    I agree with Elaine and Colleen, very well stated.

  4. capitalggeek said,

    That, and the forum topic where he asked people to comment on my wife’s blog was removed entirely.

    Roaches run when you turn THE LIGHT on. And the Truth hurts.

  5. apuritanlady said,

    Ouch! But good point!

  6. tessofthebellgrades said,

    Roaches run when you turn THE LIGHT on. And the Truth hurts.

    Yes, OUCH, but I like how your mind works.

  7. peachiestpigpen said,

    Good post…………..Now you have been tagged to list 7 weird or strange things about yourself.

  8. Krista said,

    Again, I find myself hesitant to jump in and post anything. It’s my sadness that is compelling me to add a comment here.

    Please understand that I am not taking issue with your family for heeding a prompting to discontinue reading the series. Having read your wife’s post about her history with the occult, and your daughter’s post about her struggles with fantasy stories, I can understand why you might make the choice you did to stop reading. As I said on your wife’s blog – or was it your daughter’s? – I do think God can tell one person or family to do or not do something, and yet not lead others the same way. His relationship with us is so personal, and He knows what could be a slippery slope for us even if it isn’t for another. It doesn’t automatically mean that the thing He leads us away from is evil, it just may be the wrong thing for us right now. Even that could change at a different time.

    I don’t really like to keep chiming in on a debate that seems to have stalled out, so I don’t plan to post again. I just felt it was important to try one more time to speak truth in love.

    Once again, I am seeing comments made here – both by you and by some commenters – that strike me as being very presumptuous in nature. To be specific, “tessofthebellgrades” makes an assumption (and states it as fact) that Bryan Davis and his fans aren’t commenting on your blog because they can’t come up with anything to refute your words. Your comments then imply that he removed the post on his forum because he was tucking tail and running – or, by your description, being the “roach” that he is (in your opinion) and hiding from the truth. (By the way, seeing a believer use those words against another believer just broke my heart. ) You go to say that “the Truth hurts” – yes, it can sometimes…but so can having someone slander you and attack your integrity when all you are trying to do in your life is serve Jesus Christ. Your words *imply* that Bryan Davis removed the post and isn’t responding because he knows he’s been “busted” by you … like you exposed him for being a guy who really *was* trying to lure kids away from God and into the occult, and now he’s trying to hide. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Can’t you see where he might have chosen to delete the post and remain quiet for reasons other than what *you* might think? I’m assuming you haven’t actually spoken with him to find out why, and I know you aren’t able to read his mind. I don’t understand why you would lead your readers to believe that you have his motives and actions all figured out.

    Sadly, I don’t have great expectations that my words will have the impact I would like them to have. Still, I felt that someone needed to gently nudge you to really examine your comments and the attitude behind them. From where I stand, I feel like I’m watching one part of the Body attack another, and it’s so sad to watch.

    Praying over the situation.

  9. Melissa said,

    “Roaches run when you turn THE LIGHT on. And the Truth hurts.”

    How can a Christian man say such hurtful words? We are to be like Jesus Christ in our attitudes. Once again you are assuming why the topic is gone. You DO NOT know the reason and yet you pretend to know. You are wrong. How would you like it if someone dragged your name and books through the mud? You’d be quite hurt that someone would do that. That they wouldn’t believe you and tell others the wrong assumption. Mr. Davis is a very Godly man. You are in the wrong. Satan is using you to defame Bryan Davis’ good name and you’re letting him.

    Yes, I can see how someone might not like the books, but to claim such reasons to be true and show them publically is wrong. To defame somebody and accuse him of “running from the truth” in the way you have is very wrong. We as Christians are supposed to be examples of love.

    What example are you setting for your children if you mock somebody like you have? Not a very good one and yet you claim otherwise.

    You need to do a lot of soul-searching and praying about the whole thing.

    PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COMMENT IS ANONYMOUS

  10. Melissa said,

    I commend your wife for her last post about the subject. It was very well written and shows good heart. Jesus must be pleased with it. =)

  11. capitalggeek said,

    Krista & Melissa (The anonymous one):
    I find it curious that niether of you care to address anything of substance from my post, but are continuing to portray how good and Godly a man Bryan is. Not that I disagree, but I believe that the books that he has produced are likely to lead people away from biblical truth, and turn the Bible into nothing more than a fairy tale. The only way that readers won’t be harmed by that, is if they have already relagated the Bible to that status.

    THE LIGHT that I refer to is the light of Biblical scrutiny, which I have addressed. My wife and daughter wrote opinion pieces from their individual backgrounds, which is good. In my opinion, the bigger issue is the confusion that I stated above. Niether Bryan, nor anyone that he has directed here have opted to address that.

    What Tess assumed appears to be born out by the fact that nobody has even attempted to address the substance of the post. In truth, I was referring to all the commenters from the other posts who didn’t address the core issue of intermingling heressy with Bible as roaches. My assumption of why he removed his forum thread was somewhat sarcastic, as I don’t know his motivation for doing so.

    Melissa said “How can a Christian man say such hurtful words?” – apparently it comes easy, as you accuse me of being a tool of Satan in the same paragraph, and later accuse me of setting a bad example for my kids. Talk about defamation….

    In a nutshell, I’m willing to entertain discussion on the substance of the post. If the only comment you have is that Mr Davis is a good and Godly man, that the books are just fiction, helped you in some way, etc. I’ll probably not respond. Please refer to my ‘Commenting Policy‘ if you have questions.

    Edited 20060208@1910

  12. capitalggeek said,

    An incoming link & discussion from ritersblock where they are discussing the standards that we use to judge Christian fantasy fiction.

    http://specfaith.ritersbloc.com/2008/02/07/how-do-we-judge-fantasy.aspx

  13. Jess said,

    Hello,

    As I’m only a teen, you might disreguard what I have to say. That is fine, so long as you read what I say and prayerfully consider what I believe God wants me to say. I read your post ,and all the comments that were there (up to Miss Krista’s), last night. It broke my heart. I am, admittedly, rather recently a Christian, but I don’t think that makes a difference. I might not know as much about the Bible as someone who has lived by it for years, but I know one thing that, sadly, you seem to have lost sight of. ‘Do not Judge.’ It hurts me to see an adult, any adult, but expecially one who claims to be speaking for God, judge another and say hurtful things without cause. I know you say you don’t want to hear anymore that Mr. Davis is a kind, sweet, loving, Godly man. But I tell you any way that he is. I was struck by the Godliness and love expressed in your wife’s and daughter’s posts even as I was hurt by what they seemed to suggest (if you care to see my response, it is on Colleen’s blog). Reading yours I am only hurt. Lacking is the love I found in theirs. Lacking even is the example of good Christian conduct I found. I am very very sorry if I offend, but my heart is breaking and even though I’m trying to let God speak through me, it’s difficult for me to see this from a Christian adult and still hold the respect for believers I did before…

    As you asked, I will also respond to the parts of your post you requested feedback on. As you have not read the boks yourself, I cannot expect you to fully understand, but there is no way that anyone reading one of Mr Davis’s books, especially Eye of the Oracle, could be even tempted to think less of the Bible. He used the book to SHOW the story of the Bible, not retell it. Sure, there are differences, bt it’s fiction, fantasy. If someone cannot understand that, they shouldn’t be reading it. If they don’t realize it’s fiction, they must be lucky, because I certainly don’t have dragons in my neighborhood. I say this with a smile. I do not intend to say anything in a harsh way, but only in Love. True, there can be dangers with combining truth and fiction, but isn’t that what historical fiction is? If one doesn’t know the Bible well enough to understand that some of the things in Mr. Davis’s books don’t really happen, perhaps they will be confused,but only to an extent. And maybe the book will inspire that person to pick up the Bible and check for themseves. I knew that it was fiction, but I still did the same. I understand your concern about mixing Truth and fiction. I do. But in this case I truly feel that it is ungrounded.

    On thing you said sticks out to me.
    “And IF they were some hybrid, then they ALL DIED during Noah’s flood (Gen 7:21-22).” Mr. Davis id not change anything the Bible says in this part. All the Nephilim on earth at this time DID die. They appear later because their SEED was carried in the wife of one of Noah’s sons. This is not said in the Bible, true, but Mr. Davis wrote a story, not a Biblical resorce.

    You warn against taking artist license with the Word of God. I completely agree. If one is trying to pass it off as the word of God. But if one is taking Biblical stories and rewriting them AS FICTION then I don’t feel that it is wrong. I may not be as developed a Christian as you, but that is what I feel God is saying to my heart. I spent a lot of time praying last night, and that is what I feel.

    Also, you point out about how our view (such as that of the Christmas story) has been tainted, and how you are of the opinion that Eye of the Oracle will do the same. I want to add one thing to that. It might be posible for that to happen, but ONLY IF THE PERSON IN QUESTION IS RELYING ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE BIBLE FOR THE TRUTH. Only if the Bible is our main sorce of information can we truly know God. If you call yourself a Christian and you don’t know the truth of the Christmas story, perhaps you should dust off your Bible and read Luke. I did that this year and it made an real difference. As for Mr Davis’s books being the cause of leading people astray with mistaken ideas, He does not claim to have written a substitute for God’s Word, but only a story to demonstrate God’s love and steadfastness through the ages, since the start of the world. Sure, he presents Evil, but turn on the news. Even the Bible shows the horror in the world.

    I am truly and deeply sorry if anything I have said seems offensive. I truly do not intend it to be and am only trying to say what God has put on my heart. Thank you for your time.

    Love in Christ,
    Jess

  14. Melissa said,

    I don’t have to refute anything. You probably wouldn’t listen to what I had to say anyways. You don’t care to know.

    Hmm, so we both judged, assumed and defamed another person. Guess we’re not as different as we thought, eh?

    I will not refute anything, because as I stated above you don’t want to hear it. It will be of no use. Just me wasting my time and energy.

    I am by no means saying that you are right. I just don’t care to continue this exasperating conversation when neither of us care to change views on the matter.

  15. capitalggeek said,

    Jess:
    When the bible tells ‘judge not’, it is a warning that the same criteria we use to judge others will be used against us – see Matt 7:1-2. It also speaks to hypocrisy in the mote and beam, judging others by a harsher standard than we judge ourselves. I don’t believe that I have been hypocritical at all. Perhaps a bit sarcastic, even snarky, but not hypocritical. Christians are to have discernment.

    I don’t claim to be speaking for God. I am, however, a Christian, and as such it is my obligation to point out things that may be damaging to others. I have done it before with Easter protesters.

    As I said, I have read the first chapter of ‘Eye’, and that is enough. How much of the book would I need to read to determine that he incorporated Lilith and she maintained the character from pagan mythology. He included Samyaza, which is a version of Satan from early Jewish mysticism, and the character was similar. If you are really interested in finding out where the story came from, you can take a look at the ‘Book of Enoch‘. I think you will find some similarities to ‘Eye’. I don’t recommend you read much of it, for the same reason.

    That the book is ‘partially’ fiction is the problem. We all incorporate things that we learn (see/hear/read) into what we already know. Our mental storage system is like a filing cabinet. If we already have a slot for something, additions are filed in the same area. So, if you already ‘know’ the Biblical account of Genesis, ‘Eye’ will be filed with the same thing. It will take a significant amount of work for you to separate the two. LOTR & Narnia are entirely fiction, so they go into a different file than the Bible. There is NO confusion between them.

  16. Melissa said,

    What does it matter if my comment is anonymous?! It shouldn’t. That’s just being nit-picky.

    I don’t have a wordpress blog and don’t care to get one.

  17. Melissa said,

    Disregard my last comment. Please? I’m terribly sorry for how rude I’ve been. It is not right, no matter the circumstances.

    Y’know how it is when someone isn’t speaking highly of one of your loved ones and/ or their works and it hurts you? (Such as your daughter getting comments that disagree with her, so you know how it feels.) Yeah, that’s why I’ve been posting. Bryan Davis is my friend.

    I’ll leave all of you alone now. =)

    May God richly bless you, even more than He already has!

    Oh…and all of the Melissa’s have been me…

  18. Rebecca LuElla Miller said,

    Capital G Geek, I thought your post was a fair representation of your objections to the book, based on a high regard for Scripture. I thought it was especially commendable in light of the fact that your daughter and wife were in the center of the maelstrom. What I don’t understand, then is the “roaches” comment. To me this undermines your credibility, for surely, if you do believe that Scripture is authoritative and should be untampered with, by extension, it should be the guide of how we live. How is the roach comment consistent with loving your neighbor as yourself?

    Becky

  19. Sarah Nasal said,

    Since you would like discussion on the substance of your post, I will chime in. Please note this is not a criticism of the decision you have made for your family – it is your responsibility before God to determine what is right or wrong for you. But this is an objection to your summation of the series as wrong, and Mr. Davis’s works as causing harm to children. Romans 14:16 says, “Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil” and in that vein, I would like to address your remarks.

    I hear what you are saying about Narnia and LOTR not addressing a Biblical story and therefore differing from EOTO. However, you said your problem with EOTO started when you found characters from “heretical writings” in them. In the Chronicles of Narnia, which you seem by your comments to find acceptable, are many characters from pagan tradition: Bacchus (the Greek god of wine and intoxication, presented in a positive way, no less), a werewolf, Silenus (Bacchus’s drunk tutor), and so on. In one of Lewis’s other works, Till We Have Faces, a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, gods, goddesses, and pagan rituals abound and there is no “Christ-figure” yet the tale contains a powerful message about our relationship with God. George MacDonald, a 19th century minister and fantasy author, whose works inspired Lewis, incorporated the exact character you find so objectionable – Lilith. The works of these men have brought forth excellent fruit. I have never heard of anyone confused into thinking Lilith actually existed and was Adam’s wife, or anything of the sort, but I have heard many stories of those drawn closer to Christ, or actually encountering him for the first time, through works such as these. You may say you find it personally objectionable, but to say that it is wrong to incorporate characters from pagan tradition or heretical writings is incorrect.

    On to the fact that parts of EOTO address Biblical stories. You say, “There can be NO artistic license taken with it’s text. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump “ with which I wholeheartedly agree. However, Davis never attempts to add or take away from the Bible itself. He provides a work of speculative FICTION, which is by nature not meant to be fact, much less authoritative truth. Nowhere does he imply that the events of the Bible happened the way he describes, nor does he attempt to portray his fiction as truth. Just because parts of it address biblical events does not mean that Davis is adding to the narration of the Bible. It means he has invented a fictional tale, into which Biblical events factor. What about Biblical fiction – do you object to it on the same grounds?

    You say, “Sure, it’s ‘just a story’ and you won’t confuse it for Truth. You’re grounded and strong enough to be able to tell the difference, right? WRONG.” Actually, you do not have the authority to say what others will or will not confuse with truth. If you and your family feel that it brings confusion, then you should refrain from reading it as you intend to do. But don’t assert that people, in general, will be confused. I have read his books and have had no problem distinguishing between what the Bible says and what is contained in Davis’s fiction. Based on the responses of many others, I would say that most people are able to distinguish between fiction and truth. Fiction, by definition is “an imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented,” therefore, most readers of fiction do not believe that a work of fiction represents the truth of the matter. Furthermore, I think it is important for children to be trained to weigh things against the Word of God, if they are confused, and to be able to distinguish between fiction and reality.

    “Perhaps you can tell me how many angels God placed to guard the garden of Eden, and how many of them held flaming swords? If you’ve read ‘Eye of the Oracle’, your answer will differ from God’s.” Only if you are not aware of the Biblical account and believe Davis’s work to be an exact representation of what truly happened, which most readers of fiction will not.

    I wholeheartedly believe that the Bible contains absolute truth, and what is portrayed in it actually happened. However, I disagree with this statement as an impossibility “As such, any scripture story re-told as fiction must be held to the highest standard of biblical accuracy, neither adding nor subtracting.” If you are retelling a story as fiction, by nature you must add or subtract, or you are just cutting and pasting an exact copy of Scripture.

    Again, this is in no way a criticism of your personal opinion and decision, just a disagreement with the public assessment of Mr. Davis and his work set forth as fact here.

  20. capitalggeek said,

    Rebecca:
    The ‘roaches’ comment may have been over the top. Keep in mind that my wife and daughter were getting hammered at the time. My blog at that point had over 75 hits coming from their pages, and nobody chose to respond. I think that I correctly assessed the situation, that they were unable to refute anything and just chose to continue assaulting my wife and daughter.

    And as you are seeing at ritersbloc, a similar trend is starting there.

    Looking at Amazon, anyone who wrote a negative review was similarly attacked:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R22YRHSQ1FY0M9/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=0899571700#wasThisHelpful
    http://www.amazon.com/review/RVMQXH695AI84/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=0899571700#wasThisHelpful
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R1PCMVQJC9KQCH/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&ASIN=0899571700#wasThisHelpful

    Again, I probably shouldn’t have called them roaches. I would remove the post, but since it is referenced elsewhere, I feel that it is more honest to leave it in place.

  21. capitalggeek said,

    Sarah:
    You made my point exactly when you said “If you retell a story as fiction, by nature you must add or subtract, or you are just cutting and pasting an exact copy of Scripture.”

    That is exactly the point I’m trying to make. A Biblical story should NOT be re-told as fiction. That weakens the Bible. If a Biblical story is included in a work of fiction, it should be represented as Biblically accurately as possible, with as little added as possible.

    That differs from something like Narnia, where the entire story is fiction, with alegorical elements from Biblical narratives.

    I know that this opinion will differ from others, and that there will be doctrinal differences between authors, where interpretations will be colored by those differences. (immersion baptism vs sprinkling comes immediately to mind)

    In a nutshell, is it possible to be too accurate when re-telling a Bible story, and what level of accuracy should be required?

    It is obvious that I don’t believe that Mr Davis’s ‘Eye’ book meet the criteria that I have set. My daughter read the first two of his ‘Dragons’ series, and since she didn’t have a problem with them, I would expect that they may meet that standard.

  22. Rebecca LuElla Miller said,

    Thanks for your response, Capital G. I do appreciate that you felt protective of your family. Ironically, I know Mr. Davis, who has written a book for fathers, would agree with you. In fact, I suspect you two would have much in common. Which is why I think all the rancorous rhetoric is a shame. I thought your wife’s apology for not first approaching Mr. Davis was admirable.

    From an observer’s point of view, what I tend to think is, we use the internet much as we do our cars—forgetting that there are other real people behind the wheels of the other vehicles.

    I could be wrong, but I doubt most of the strident comments on either side would have come out if this was a group of people sitting around a table sharing their opinions.

    As I said earlier, I thought you made it clear in your post what the issues were for you—the handling of Scripture and the treatment of your family. Who can disagree with that?

    The issues would seem to me to be, then, that you believe Mr. Davis did not handle Scripture appropriately, and that those who rallied to support him, at least some, targeted your wife and daughter.

    Perhaps when opinion is at the center of a disagreement, this is a time for all parties to agree to disagree.

    For me, even the smallest suggestion that an event differed from the Biblical account crosses a line. But what about Biblical fiction, in which a fictitious character encounters the Apostle Peter during the feeding of the 5000, say. What “license” does an author have to depict real historical people in the midst of real historical events involved with fictitious characters doing fictitious things?

    Is the issue that these fictitious people in Eye of the Oracle are evil?

    And BTW, I think we’ve restored the discussion at Spec Faith to a place where we can meaningfully consider these issues. Feel free to stop by.

    Becky

  23. capitalggeek said,

    The way that I see it, there are a few different ways that you can have ‘Christian’ fiction.

    1) A fictional story of any genre where there are characters that are Christians – The movie ‘Facing the Giants’ comes to mind.
    2) A story that is based on Biblical events, but doesn’t include any Biblical accounts. A story about a family in Babylon during the captivity would be an example.
    3) A story that ‘intersects’ with the Bible, where the vast majority of the story is apart from the Biblical account. I remember reading a short story once where the main character was a blind man that Jesus healed. The intersection with the Bible was really only one scene, and it matched the Biblical account exactly.
    4) A story that is not Biblical, but parallels a Biblical story. Something like Narnia, where the story is an allegory of Biblical events.
    5) A story that deals with prophetic events and creates a story around them – Left Behind comes to mind.
    6) A story that re-tells a Biblical narrative in a fictional way – like ‘Eye’

    I don’t know that I would approve of any of the last type. The prophetic story like Left Behind would have to be judged on just how doctrinally sound it was. As long as the Biblical narrative was accurate and not (or minimally) embellished, any of the others would probably be acceptable for me. Others obviously have different standards.

    I have really two issues with ‘Eye’. The first, which I could easily overlook, is that the main characters are evil. Not that you can’t have evil main characters, but their lives and actions seem to be ‘romanticized’. Yes, they do fail in the end, but they had a exciting time getting there.
    The second and major issue is that the Biblical account was ‘enhanced’ with characters from occult accounts of the same events. The characters were not changed from their occult origins, and the re-telling matched the occult versions much more closely than the Biblical account.

  24. Tim Frankovich said,

    A fascinating discussion all around. I’d just like to make one point and ask a single question.

    First, the character and myth of Lilith IS referenced by C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia – in the very first book, in fact. Mr. Beaver describes the White Witch as being descended from her, and he clearly identifies her as “Adam’s first wife.” In the context of the stories, it is a reference to Earth, not Narnia, and therefore would fall into the exact same category as Bryan Davis’ stories.

    Capital G Geek, you wrote: “A Biblical story should NOT be re-told as fiction.” Can I assume, therefore, that VeggieTales are not allowed in your home, as well? The vast majority of them are Biblical stories retold in a fictitious (and often highly silly) format, such as the people (peas) of Jericho throwing Slushies at the Israelites or Gideon handing out flashlights instead of torches. This is very clearly retelling a Biblical narrative in a fictional way, of which you say you would not approve. By your own definitions, Narnia and VeggieTales must both be considered anathema in your home, and I’m curious to understand further.

    I’m not seeking to criticize here. I’m seeking understanding. I’m not entirely sure where I fall on this subject, since the Lilith reference in Narnia has always troubled me just a bit.

  25. Rebecca LuElla Miller said,

    Tim, I think Capital G already mentioned that he sees a difference in stories that are retelling a Scriptural event and those that are not. From above, LOTR and Narnia have non-biblical stories, and therefore are free to include anything they like. VeggieTales, I would guess might be the same. No one really thinks Bob the Tomato is Samuel or whoever—I have limited exposure to these. 😉

    BTW, the conversation is quite active at Spec Faith so if anyone wants to weigh in over there, you’d be more than welcome.

    Becky

  26. Decompose » Border Skirmish in Christian Fictionland said,

    […] who questioned its “biblical compatibility”. The Speculative Faith site and its link to the original post have garnered oodles of interesting, sometimes heated, […]

  27. capitalggeek said,

    Tim:
    Lilith is mentioned once in Narnia, by Mr. Beaver (If I remember correctly). She is not a character in the story. Mr Davis has her as a character, and an important one. When I first read Narnia, I wasn’t familiar with the Lilith legend, so I just assumed it was something also made up. I may have to go back and re-read it to make sure.

    For me, the most troubling aspect of Narnia was in ‘The Last Battle’, where Lewis’s flawed view of salvation is apparent. I think that generated quite a discussion at our house.

    Veggie tales, IMHO, falls into the same category that a Sunday school skit based on a bible story does. While the re-telling is simplified (silly-ified?), nothing is added to it. Especially nothing from apocryphal books.

    There ARE ‘kids’ movies that do bother me. ‘Prince of Egypt’ comes to mind. I don’t recall what it was about it, but there was something that wasn’t right.

  28. capitalggeek said,

    Now that the discussion at SpecFaith and Decompose seems to have died down, what I learned from this whole discussion is this:

    Christian writers and their loyal fans aren’t really any different from secular writers & fans. Both are proud of their work and protective of it.

    The signal-to-noise ratio of any meaningful discussion is inversely proportional to it’s importance.

    ‘Christian Fiction’ apparently means nothing more than the ‘New & Improved’ on laundry detergent. It’s just trying to capture an audience.

  29. writersspace said,

    I am going to post a little link to something in Bryan Davis’s Blog:

    http://dragonsinourmidst.blogspot.com/2008/02/adding-to-or-taking-away-from-scripture.html

    I am not going to take the time writing out my complaints on your slams of the book, but I do have many. 🙂

  30. capitalggeek said,

    writersspace:
    I read that portion of Mr. Davis’ blog. It would be incorrect to claim that he violated any of the verses that he referenced. He did not add or take away from Scripture.

    The real question is if his book is edifying or harmful. I believe the latter, because of the reasons that I stated in my original post.

    I did not ‘slam’ Mr. Davis’ book. I pointed out problems that I have with his, or any book that incorporates mythology into a Scriptural account. And if you can’t take the time to articulate your complaints, don’t expect anyone to answer them.

  31. capitalggeek said,

    PLEASE BE ADVISED:
    As this topic is getting a little stale, I will remove any additional comments that reiterate previously expressed opinions or bring nothing of value to it.

    Please refer to my commenting policy if you have any questions.

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