Pageviews last month

Monday, 30 June 2014

The pagan hero vs the christian conqueror

I've written before about the warrior mindset and the pagan world view, but this is where they come together.

About a year ago I satisfied a sudden urge by reading through the entire Harry Potter series in a single week. I had basically ignored the series when it came out in book form, content merely to read reviews. I couldn't help being exposed, however, to images of the movie series, and after years of hearing one allusion after another I set out to see if I could examine the Potter phenomenon firsthand--thus my reading binge.

I came away from that binge with a better understanding of the pagan mindset--for Harry Potter's universe is, apart from passing references to Christmas and witch burnings, totally pagan. There is no supreme good or supreme evil, only an amorphous power that can be tapped equally for one or for the other, depending mostly upon the skill and dedication of the one tapping into it. And that is exactly the pagan mindset.

As I considered what made Harry such a powerful force (for good, as it turned out--or at least, against evil), I realized that the fact that he was good did help--but it wasn't sufficient. Other people in his universe were good, but being good was not sufficient in and of itself to overcome evil. Indeed, it was only the last straw at the tipping point. Harry's primary virtue was bravery. In every book in the series, he single-handedly took on the personification of evil, and prevailed. At other times, however, evil prevailed until he was able to acquire some magical tool to fight back. Tom Riddle also sought those tools, and had he managed to acquire them all, even Harry's bravery and goodness would not have been enough.

So, the formula for success in the pagan universe basically breaks down to:
Ownership of all the magical tools = victory every time.
Ownership of some of the magical tools + bravery = victory, unless going up against
Ownership of some of the magical tools + bravery + good. In that case,
Ownership of some of the magical tools + bravery + good = eventual ownership of all remaining magical tools, or at least all the most powerful one(s), thus resulting in victory.

Now, in the Christian world view, magical tools can be totally overcome, not by more powerful magical tools, but by spiritual purity (Matthew 17:21). Thus good is not the final ingredient needed only when up against a magically equal but evil force; it is the primary weapon against evil.

Thus  massive power struggle ensues, wherever the Christian worldview confronts the pagan one--with bravery and good on one side, and bravery and magical tools on the other. For the Christian, however, bravery is merely the last ingredient, to be pitted merely against the remaining bravery of the sorcerer who has just seen his most powerful magical tools rendered useless by an invisible foe.

Elijah on Mt. Carmel is an excellent example of the Christian world view confronting the pagan in a massive show of force. Mustering all the magical tools at their disposal, represented by hundreds of ecstatic priests sacrificing their own blood to Ba'al, the pagans were confronted by the spiritual purity of one man, represented by restoring the altar of God on the high place of Mt. Carmel. Elijah showed his superior bravery by daring to challenge and even mock Ba'al, and when the power struggle came down in favor of Elijah, by ordering the deaths of all his opponents.

It was a lack of bravery, however, that removed Elijah from the scene when no number of palace guards could even arrest him. When his bravery failed, all the spiritual purity he could muster availed him nothing, and he fled for his life from henpecked Ahab's pagan wife. Elijah needed some personal ministering, not only by an angel, but from the Voice of God Himself, before his powers returned.

Sorcerers can be defeated without any human or magical powers, simply by applying the formula of good + bravery against the foe of magic + bravery. The pagan's bravery will vanish when he sees his magical powers rendered inert, but he will try to win by threatening the Christian with physical harm instead. In order to prevail the Christian will have to show bravery against both attacks.

1 comment:

  1. Good presentation. I don't know if you read a lot of fantasy but your analysis would carry over except that the "good" is very loose equivalent. The pagan view of good allows what we would consider gross immorality. This paganism is also saturating other genres.

    Grace and peace.


One comment per viewer, please--unless participating in a dialogue.