Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stephen King the Theologian?

According to a lot of analysts, yes, Stephen King has a strong, sophisticated understanding of Christian theology.  Every horror writer, it seems, contrasts good and evil, but King pushes further according to this article:
“People tend to think that Stephen King is anti-religious because he is a horror writer, but that’s completely mistaken,” says Zahl, a retired Episcopal priest who has written about King’s religious sensibility for Christianity Today magazine. “Several of his books are parables of grace in action.”
Evidently, some of his influences include C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, both Christians with highly complex symbolism in their novels with Christian themes (perhaps more complex and sophisticated with Tolkien, but that's my bias).  Especially important, according to the article, are the themes of "a child shall lead them," "God can be cruel" (think of Job), and "God chose the weak things."  I never have read much of King nor seen the movies made from his novels (except the Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption; oh, and I think I saw Needful Things), but from what little I've seen, there is a lot of Christian theology and biblical themes involved.  In Needful Things, the devil comes to town and tears a community apart through their desire for material objects; in Green Mile, John Coffee is a falsely condemned prisoner given the death sentence who heals and, otherwise, has a Christ-like demeanor.  Nonetheless, ultimately:
The Bible is filled with terror: demons, ghosts, floods wiping out mankind and the rising of the dead.
“Good horror examines the struggle between good and evil,” he says. “The Bible is the history of that struggle.
“The Bible is in many ways the ultimate horror novel.”

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