Written by Elizabeth Kitchens

Today we’re returning to our look into things to consider when writing or editing books with a story-world religion. 

  1. Is the Holy Spirit portrayed properly, or is he portrayed as the Force? Many of us love the Star Wars franchise, but it’s not Christian. The Holy Spirit is not the Force. The Holy Spirit is a person. He has a will and acts. He is not a duality, both bad and good seeking balance in the universe. The Force is impersonal and has good and bad sides (Eastern religion). The Holy Spirit is not a power source you can control or an impersonal force.
  2. Are all characters and groups portrayed as sinners? What is portrayed as the way to save the world (as in stop strife)? Unless you are writing a pre-fall world like in C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, then all—male, female, black, white, poor, rich, intelligent, simple-minded, native, immigrant—are sinners (Romans 3:23). Showing any group as somehow all innocents, all victims, while another group is all oppressors (with maybe a few “enlightened” exceptions), not only gives you flat, unrealistic characters but implies some sort of social justice is what is needed to save the world, not Christ.

If you have idealist characters eager to save the world, in the sense of stopping strife and wars and curing cancer or such, be careful not to imply that equality, wealth, and health will stop all conflict. Humans have a sin nature. No one teaches a toddler, whose needs are all met, to bite, steal toys, or throw a tantrum.

I’m not saying you need a sermon on the depravity of humankind, but consider whether your characters are thinking from a humanistic perspective or from one of wanting to serve others, knowing stresses like poverty and sickness can be alleviated but that hearts still need to be saved by Christ for peace to reign.

  1. Does the story have one being with three persons (as the Trinity is), or just something claiming to be three but still one? It’s tempting to read a story where three gods are mentioned but then mentioned to be one and think that’s the Trinity and yay for putting Christian truth in the book. However, if the members of this “one” god are given specific areas of command (a god of war, a god of harvest, for instance), if characters are devoted to one more than the others, if they are portrayed as different sexes or different species, it is not a representation of the Trinity. Saying “three in one” does not necessarily equal the true Trinity. Our world does not have a model for the Trinity, which is why it is such a mystery, and why we must be careful to understand what God has revealed about himself in Scripture.

This list is not exhaustive, but I hope it’s helpful. If nothing else, it never hurts to spend time thinking about our great God and what he has done.

J. Kitchens loves tales of romance, adventure, and happily-ever-afters and strives to write such tales herself. When she’s not thinking about dashing heroes or choosing the perfect word for her next adventure-romance fantasy story, she’s editing or enjoying the beautiful outdoors and time with family. She is a member of Realm Makers and The Christian Pen.