Are My Books Biased?

A dear friend has pointed out to me that my fantasy novels do, indeed, display a certain “Protestant” slant. This is not an unfair observation; but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

The Temple in Obann–that is, the Religious Establishment–is riddled with corruption. Under Lord Reesh’s direction, the Temple has given itself over to worldly concerns and has no real connection to God. Although the Temple is corrupt, the worst thing about it is that it is ossified.

I never meant the Temple to be analogous to the Roman Catholic Church. The First Prester is more like the Archbishop of Canterbury than a Pope, and he has a seat on the High Council of the nation’s oligarchy. What’s really wrong in Obann is that the Temple doesn’t preach and teach the word of God and has led the people into an empty, ritualistic semblance of religion.

In that respect it resembles many churches and denominations in our own world, Catholic and Protestant alike. In that the Obann Temple has substituted man’s words and traditions for God’s laws, it resembles the religious establishment in Jerusalem as characterized by Our Lord Jesus Christ: for instance, “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:6). There was no RC Church when Our Lord spoke those words, but there was a religious establishment.

I’m sure that if one reads all the books in the Bell Mountain series, it will be easily seen that the Temple in Obann does not represent any particular church in our world, but rather an established religion in general, an institution whose interests have become an end in themselves.

The difference is that there are probably more good individuals in the Temple than there are in the three branches of the United States government.

18 comments on “Are My Books Biased?

  1. What do you mean: “Are my books biased?” All books are biased. Everyone should know that! Mine sure are! Incidentally, what’s wrong with that? After all, people, not robots, write books. Not all books deserve the name of creative writing, of course. Smile!

    1. Of course, what I write is influenced by what I am. If I were a robot, what I wrote would be influenced by what my programmer was.

      Really, I just wanted to make it clear that my depiction of the Temple is not meant to be an attack on the Roman Catholic Church in particular.

  2. The difference is that there are probably more good individuals in the Temple than there are in the three branches of the United States government. And, of course, we just MIGHT find that someone in the temple just might change for the better, whereas, who expects that of the three branches, especially when the branches become the trunk!

  3. Of course they are biased, as is everything else. I will now write the only unbiased statement in the history of the written word: “Um, I think that some stuff might have happened somewhere, at some time. Hope no one is offended.” Actually, even that statement could be considered biased, because it mocks the truly mentally vacarant whom actually talk in this manner.

    Are your books biased against Catholicism? I never picked that up in reading your books. I think that all organized religion could come under the umbrella of Obann’s temple. While I always perceived “The Temple” as having Christian overtones and biblical parallels, I would be hard pressed to describe what denomination it might be. It’s more one the order of allegory to make a point, as opposed to a criticism of any actual group.

    1. Thank you! Glad somebody got it.
      Speaking of somebody, where is everybody? Yours are the only comments I got yesterday and today so far. Where did everybody else go? I keep checking to make sure the comments aren’t disabled, and they’re not, at the moment. Has something drastic happened to the rest of the country?

    2. Well, according to the Yale (quack) psychiatrist Bandy Lee, Trump is going to cause the extinction of the human species. So perhaps Trump has begun with your usual commenters.

      As for the original topic of this thread, at first I, too, thought the Temple was supposed to be the Catholic Church, but then I realized that the partnership with the State was pretty un-Catholic, except in parts of Europe at various times, and then the alliance was seen by the rest of the Church to be a form of corruption. Now, everyone here knows I’m Catholic, but I’d be the first to acknowledge that the human element within the hierarchy of the Church has always been prone to corruption, like all of fallen humanity, and has often succumbed to the lure of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. In fact, we have a joke that one of the marks of the divine origin of the Church is that she’s survived her clergy. 🙂

      But in response to your more recent critic, I don’t see much Calvinism in the books, either — unless we get involved in the usual begged question about whether what appear to be the characters’ free choices of good and evil are instead signs of their predestination.

      And the following may be regarded as heresy (!!!), but I had more objections to some of the theology in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books than I’ve ever had with the theology in your Bell Mountain books. I suppose you can take that as a compliment!

    3. You’re not alone in those objections. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, warned Lewis that some readers wouldn’t take to his inclusion of, for instance, a “river god” in Narnia. I know many Protestants who think CSL went way too far in including elements of pagan mythology. And I groan when he says, in “The Last Battle,” that “It’s all in Plato.” Ugh.
      But Lewis had a long way to come up from atheism, and that he made it at all is a testimony to the power of God’s grace. I love his books in spite of the few quibbles I have with them.
      As for the Temple in my books, I do hope readers notice that there are some notably good people in the Temple, too. I’ll leave it there, lest I inadvertently drop a spoiler.

      And I don’t think any of us will have to take a theology test before we can get into Heaven.

  4. It’s hard to see Calvinism in the “Bell Mountain” books with all that prophesying going on, especially by children. But for me, that’s what makes the books so interesting.

    1. I purposely use the Bible as my inspiration and as my model of reality, even though I’m writing about an imaginary world. I haven’t resorted to any theological tomes. And if my overall tone is somewhat Protestant, well, that’s me. Who else ought I to write like?

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