Is it Christian to write magic?
Well, that was easy. Do you know why it was easy, because that was the logical thing for me to say. I’ll take it one step further: if you’re a strong Christian who is not a writer, particularly a fantasy writer, you expected me to say that. Maybe you even wanted me to say that. Why? Because there is a false presupposition about magic that it is inherently evil. I say false because the connotation of magic is a negative one in most religious realms… other than satanism I suppose, but that’s a different subject entirely.
What is the nature of magic?
In order to discern whether or not it is right or Christian to include magic in our writing we need to define the nature of magic. It’s not only bigoted, arrogant, and blind to say that magic is not Christian, but it is also uneducated.
However, in all fairness, the accusation I just made was also bigoted, arrogant, and rather blind. The old adage “it takes one to know one” is annoying, but also annoyingly accurate. Often when accusing someone of being unfair, biased, prejudiced, insensitive, discriminatory, or my favorite, intolerant, we are guilty of the same.
Regardless, or perhaps nevertheless, magic is misunderstood. I’m not saying this simply because I am a fantasy writer, though that aspect of my character is a dark lens to my perspective that often needs to be removed before I can see clearly. I say it, because that is how you see it.
What is magic?
Now for a sub-question of a question I didn’t answer. Don’t you just love it: the irony of when a writer will ask his audience a question, set them up for some genius answer, and then pose another question to divert their attention. Well, rather than drawing you away from my initial question, “what is the nature of magic?”, by defining what magic is I hope to bring you closer to finding the answer of its nature on your own.
Ultimately, every writer must decide for themselves what is acceptable to include in a story and their perspective will alter their opinions on matters such as magic. However, what is magic?
MAGIC: the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
To say magic itself is not Christian is to deny the supernatural entirely. God works wonders of magic. But, simply because this is what the word means doesn’t mean this is how it is used. However, according to the definition of magic, there is nothing wrong with it as a concept. Thus, the nature of magic is a spiritual one; but is it a positive or negative spirit. A spirit of beneficence or malice?
Is magic good or evil?
This question is a snare because it has no answer, only an appeasement: what is formally known as a cop-out. Most people attempting to justify the use of magic will say that it is not inherently good or evil, only the use of it bears those attributes. That is simply a dodge and doesn’t solve our quandary. For one thing, if magic is used for evil, does that mean it is wrong to write it? Or is it wrong to write only good magic and therefore betray the basic evil of man as God created Him? What limitations must then be placed upon magic that we stifle its use to essential a state of non-existence.
Magic can be used in three ways in Christian writing.
- As a mandatory attribute of beings in the world
- As a element used strictly for allegorical purposes
- As a force or current that ties somehow into a scientific explanation.
It’s not so much magic that bothers the religious audience as much as it is the characters who bear it inherently. Wizards, witches, sorcerers, necromancers, and hosts of evil span seem to be the height of what magic achieves in fantasy literature. It’s pathetic, also apathetic on the part of the authors, and has imposed a skewed perspective of one of the favored elements of fantasy writers today.
But, I don’t believe magic has a nature unless it bears the nature of whomever bestows it. God works through magic with a supernatural power, if magic does exists, we see it every day for magic is the impossible, incomparable, blessings of God.
As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to chat with me in the forum on this topic.
—the anonymous novelist