Does Christian Fantasy exist?

Being a Christian, people might assume that my Fantasy writing is preachy. Or is for children. Or that I’m writing just for Christians and no one else. And may assume that I write “Christian” Fantasy.

Image from Wikipedia

I don’t write “Christian” Fantasy. I just write Fantasy.

I read C.S Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, and The Pilgrim’s Progress growing up. All of these Fantasy novels are great pieces of literature, however I wouldn’t say that they are Christian, knowing how many people of different beliefs enjoy these books. (Even though you can find all of these books in Christian Bookstores everywhere.)

My job as a storyteller is not to preach at you. It’s to tell the stories itching to come out of my brain, and onto the page. I’ve read novels where the author goes on mini rants, when they say they are Christian Fantasy writers. And this always happens when they tell themselves they are writing to convert people. If you write thinking that way, the story will suffer, and not even Christians will want to read it.

As with every writer, my personal beliefs show up in everything I write. (Stephen King is also Christian, but no one says he writes “Christian” Horror. Yet, his beliefs shine through in everything he writes.) But, I’m writing for all people who like Fantasy. You can analyze my books and short stories, and find Christian symbolism, that’s great. But that’s not why I wrote the story. Symbolism is relative to whoever looks for it.

When I was in public school I remember being told by the teachers to find the symbols and themes in a story. From Elementary to Jr. High we had to find the same exact themes the lessons told us there was. The symbolism and themes we found were OK, but they weren’t the answers according to the teacher.

When I switched to an online private school, it wasn’t until then in the literature classes where we were asked what themes and symbols we noticed, and were graded on how well we articulated what we noticed.

In my upcoming book Blade of the Broken, the main religious system is monotheistic. Meaning there is one God, not multiple Gods and Goddesses. And of course, like with most Fantasy novels there is also an Evil being. The religion is very similar to Christianity, because the religion I know the most about is Christianity. And the morals in the tale could be called Christian. Heck, even people of different faiths, like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and other groups might find symbols and themes they agree with, or interest them.

As a reader of Fiction what do you think? Is there such thing as Christian Fantasy?

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Jake Scholl is a Fantasy Writer and blogger residing in Boise, ID. Jake is a big fan of books, comics, heavy metal, movies, and video games. You can buy his novel "Blade of the Broken" wherever ebooks are sold.

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4 comments on “Does Christian Fantasy exist?
  1. I think one might right a story to try and get their point across, another their beliefs may just slip into it inadvertently, and another’s could just be completely misconstrued and have had nothing to do with it in the first place. A lot depends on the interpretation of the reader. When I read Narnia, I had no idea that they referred to Christianity (at least, supposedly) – as a child there was no link in my head. So for me, it never really felt like Christian fantasy, as it were!

    • jakeescholl says:

      Yeah, that’s the amazing thing about C.S Lewis. He had written a lot of articles and books about Christianity, yet his Narnia books were able to get him a bigger audience outside of his normally Christian audience. He didn’t preach; he just told an excellent story. 🙂

  2. C.Hill says:

    Out of the three authors you’ve said, I would disagree and say that C.S. Lewis was a Christian Fantasy author. It’s been a while since I read his books, but I noticed a blatant attachment to “Christian” symbolism. Nothing wrong with that. Does it alienate other religious readers? I don’t think so.

    But there’s a notable difference between Christian Fantasy and Fantasy with Christian aspects. A lot of Urban Fantasy has Heaven, Hell, Angels, Demons, and all that jive, but it’s not Christian. Books that have that while also being labeled Christian “Fiction” (A notable difference, for it’s not Fantasy) have deeper themes than most books.

    I’m a Christian and a Fantasy writer. Do the two mix? Yes. My novel’s main religion is based off of Calvinism, or a what-if of the research I did into Calvinism. Does it appear as Christianity in the book? Possibly. Am I trying to convert people? (Or in this case, push them away, because I write bleak novels and am showing an extreme, bad, pessimistic “what-if.”)

    Not at all. (I’m not trying to convert people, if you forgot from my long divergence.)

    Great, insightful post!

    • jakeescholl says:

      Yes, Lewis was a Christian author. In the way he was an author, and he was Christian. One person made the point to me that if you get your car repaired by a Christian mechanic, was that a Christian car repair?

      Thanks for reading! Glad you liked the post. 🙂

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