Wednesday 1 November 2023

Christian Fantasy literature and the wanting of Heaven -- rather than desiring death, or transhumanism

 Over at my Notion Club Papers blog. 


Francis Berger said...

Giving the current state of the arts, novels particularly, I had more-or-less written off the notion of art providing any sort of authentic Christian inspiration, but your brief post has forced me to reconsider my doubts. More than that -- it has left me feeling rather hopeful.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Yes, it isn't really what is most needed; but perhaps this is the best source of Christian evangelism we currently have.

Spurspright said...

To me, you are the best source of Christian evangelism. Only you have provided a vision of heaven that I would want to dwell in, and only you have made me, for the slightest moment, consider becoming Christian.

However, I am not Christian and don't think I will ever be. I am what some might call a pagan or a heathen, although I seem to conceive of a supreme power beyond space, which I love and bow to, that I imagine you would identify as Yahweh.
For me to become Christian, I would have to die, find out that Christ is like Charon, that is, necessary for me to cross over and take the final step to be purified and join other beauty virtue truth enjoyers in collaborative creation.
In that case, I would become Christian, if that being reached out to me and said its name was Christ.

I am, however, much like I sense that you are, loyal to beauty, virtue, and truth. I am not perfect, but I want to be good, morally and otherwise. I know that I exist to behold beauty, create beauty, and become beautiful (preferably together with others in loving relations), and I have a desire to make offerings to the source of my, and beauty's, creation. This is in my nature, and my nature comes from the same source as natural beauty, which is why I am drawn to it.

Although I am very alienated by Christianity, you seem quite similar to what I just mentioned. You are loyal to beauty and truth, and that's what really matters.
Your take on Christianity really isn't that bad, either. I might very well have become a Christian had your kind of Christianity been widespread, rather than the two rotten alternatives offered to me: Spiritually dead, repulsive, disgusting, and evil fundamentalist protestantism, or, fake liberal Christianity that doesn't even do what the book says.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Spursbright - I am not much worried about how you categorize yourself, since your motivations seem to be Christian. If you want what Jesus has to offer in terms of life beyond mortality, and will do what is necessary to attain that state - then I see no problem!

I think such an attitude is far more likely to lead to salvation, than (for example) leading some kind of elaborate public life of following observances and making ritual avowals... but without actually being motivated towards the resurrected eternal Heavenly life that Jesus offers us.

The problem for all of us nowadays is that there are so many value *inversions* that are *designed* to make us Not want Heaven; and (ultimately) to regard Heaven as evil; or to redefine Hell as Heaven.

As you say, valuing and pursuing the transcendental values (truth, beauty, virtue - in harmony) are a great help in keeping well-orientated; and indeed these (especially truth) are some of the main factors that led me to explicit conversion.