Social Commentary from a Fictional Wizard

Novels are often good for astute cultural commentary.  But it’s not often this quotable:

The end of the twentieth century and the dawn of the new millennium had seen something of a renaissance in the public awareness of the paranormal.  Psychics, haunts, vampires — you name it.  People still didn’t take them seriously, but all the things Science had promised us hadn’t come to pass.  Disease was still a problem.  Starvation was still a problem.  Violence and crime and war were still problems.  In spite of the advance of technology, things just hadn’t changed the way everyone had hoped and thought they would.

Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become somewhat tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who had allowed the television to raise their children.  People were looking for something — I think they just didn’t know what…[T]hey were once again starting to open their eyes to the world of magic and the arcane that had been with them all the while…

This from Jim Butcher’s fictional wizard Harry Dresden, the hero of Storm Front, the first book in the series The Dresden Files (quote from page 3).  He’s right.  If you’re not prepared to deal with this, people, you need to bone up.  And don’t think you can just dismiss it all as a bunch of chicanery.  There’s chicanery present, certainly, but you can’t just respond like an Enlightenment science-worshipper here, for two reasons.

First, nobody will listen to you.

Second, you’ll be wrong.  There are gods many and lords many — always have been.  You can’t do battle with principalities and powers in the heavenly places by denying that they exist, or that they’re relevant to human life.

As Christians, we don’t fear the powers; for us there is one Lord, and only one, and He made the heavens and the earth.  But when someone else speaks about the powers, we don’t respond with a snort like they’re crazy, either.  The Bible teaches us better than that.


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