March 24, 2010

There is a Difference

2010 1508 page7 capOST CHRISTIANS ARE PRETTY SENSIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO understanding the difference between fact and fiction.
Yet when it comes to responding to some of society’s popular trends, some Christians think it their duty to rise in defense of biblical truth, even if it means attacking a work of fiction. I’m thinking of The Da Vinci Code, for example. You remember the premise: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were supposedly married; and the novel is a thriller about how the protagonist identifies one of Jesus’ last surviving descendants.
The fact that this book is a work of fiction didn’t stop countless fundamentalists from producing books, pamphlets, and blogs denouncing the book and promoting the truth about Jesus’ life and ministry. I once sat through a 60-minute sermon in which the speaker (with the aid of PowerPoint) refuted every bit of heresy in the novel. (One can only wonder where he was when Angels and Demons, a novel critical of the Roman Catholic Church, was published and subsequently made into a blockbuster movie.)
The point is: Whether we’re talking about Harry Potter, the Left Behind series, or The Vampire Diaries, no useful purpose is served when we engage the public in a discussion about fiction as if it were fact. Most people know the difference between the two.
The only thing such a debate reveals is that Christians are easily sidetracked about matters that most of society sees as entertainment, not doctrine.
If we want to be known as defenders of the truth, we have plenty of real error to oppose. But if we can’t tell the difference between the two, we’ll earn nothing but scorn from those who’ll think, Poor Christians—they don’t know the difference between fact and fiction. 
Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published March 17, 2010.