(If you’re interested in creating another religion for your story, I will have another blog post covering other religion soon, but this blog post will focus on the Christian faith.)
At minimum, your story needs to have a worldview that agrees with the biblical worldview. All worldview strive to answer the questions:
What is the nature of God?
What is the nature of man?
In Christianity, the nature of God is all powerful, all loving, all knowing, seeking to build a partnership with humanity.
The nature of humanity is we are living in a fallen world, our default setting is rebellion against God. If your story disagrees with these two views, you need to adjust your story so it has a Biblical world view.
Avoid Word-for-Word theology
Let me give you an example from a Christian fantasy I read. The major of people worship multiple gods, but those who follow the Way (Christianity) only worship the true God, very similar to how the early church would have operated in ancient Rome. The main character is introduced to the Way and goes to a worship service in a home church. So far so good.
Then they read from their sacred scriptures. It is a word-for-word copy of a Biblical passage. Word-for-word. The only change was the names God and Jesus were replace with their fantasy names. This in a fantasy world where magic exist, and yet they have an identical copy of our Bible?
If your story is a fantasy or science fiction that has no connection with the real Christianity, I would avoid direct Bible quotations or modern-religious terminology all together. Instead, translate concepts-for-concepts.
Core beliefs of the faith should not be tampered with, but the words we use to express those truths should be unique to our story.
The story of Christianity starts with God creating a perfect world, desiring to have a partnership with humanity. Humanity rebels, breaking the unity with God. Still, God seeks humanity, becoming human as Jesus, walking among us, dying on the cross, and being resurrected three days later. Those who believe in Jesus are united with him, and just as he died, our old rebellious self dies, and just as he was raised from the dead, we too will rise from the dead.
Can you take any of these concepts and translate them into your fantasy or science-fiction world? Absolutely!
The best example I know is how C.S. Lewis incorporates Aslan into his Chronicles of Narnia series. Aslan is clearly a Christ figure, sacrificing his life to save Edmund in The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, and rising from the dead and defeating evil. Lewis was able to capture the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus in Aslan without quoting a Bible verse.
Practicing Christianity in the future
It is possible, like in my story, that there is a connection to the real Christian faith. My story takes place 400 years from now, and the Christian faith is still practiced. I do include verses in my story since the characters are connected to the real Bible.
However, how Christianity is practiced by your characters should not be a carbon copy of how it is practice today. Even now, Christianity is practiced differently all over the world. The core beliefs and values are the same, but not everyone attends a big church on Sunday, sing some songs with music, and listens to a pastor preach.
If we are just going to copy-paste today’s Christianity, then we are not adding any new insights to the faith.
We are authors. Our craft is word smithing. Our creative practice should not stop when it comes to expressing our faith.
What is your philosophy when it comes to adding your Christian faith to your story?
Photo by Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash