Posted by: Phil Anderson | February 24, 2013

The Allegory Solution

A few weeks ago I wrote about my aversion to Christian fiction. However I am a writer, and as a Christian my purpose is to please God. So how do I reconcile the two? The answer, at least for me right now, is allegory. That’s a story that seems on the surface to be about one thing, but is really about something deeper, and it allows the writer to address Godly themes without risking a false or misleading representation of God himself.

One of the oldest and most well-known allegories is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It’s about a man on a journey, and it describes the places he travels through and the people he meets who either help or hinder him. It’s not the most subtle of allegories though. The man’s name is Christian and he is traveling from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. His path leads him through the Valley of Death and Doubting Castle, and the people he meets include Evangelist, Mr. Legality, Faithful, and a giant named Despair.

A more recent and slightly less blatant example of allegory is The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, which I listed earlier as one of my favorite book series and an influence on my writing. In the first book four children from our world gain entrance to Narnia, which is ruled by the White Witch, and one of them succumbs to her temptation and becomes a traitor. The lion Aslan sacrifices himself to pay the price for the boy’s treachery, but later returns to life and leads his army to victory over the witch. Aslan’s sacrifice is obviously a representation of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, but it’s not a perfect picture; there’s a great deal of fantasy mixed into the story.

Jesus Christ himself used allegories (or parables) when he taught his disciples. His stories weren’t really about wealthy landowners, shepherds, prodigal sons, and good Samaritans. He was speaking about the Kingdom of God.

My own foray into Christian allegory came about at the request of someone at my church. She had a script for a science fiction skit that was part of a children’s program, but rather than spend time and energy coordinating actors, sets, and props, she asked if I could adapt the script into a story that could be read to the children. The original skit included events that were at the same time miraculous and ridiculous, and it was the launching point for my theory of the Oxymoron of Christian Fiction and the importance of a careful portrayal of God and his actions. In my adaptation I removed specific references to God and made it an allegory of the importance of the Bible in a believer’s life.

I’d like to share this adaptation with anyone who is interested, but since its based on someone else’s work I won’t post it here on my blog. Instead, please leave a comment below and I’ll send a copy in pdf form or some other format. And as always, if you know someone who may be interested, please send them my way.

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Responses

  1. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉

  2. Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Cheers

    • Thanks. This is actually a standard WordPress theme called Ocean Mist.There’s more information on it way down at the bottom of the page.


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