Character Envy

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January 9, 2013 by bradcharlesbeals

It’s interesting to me that I can invent a character that I admire.

I heard myself say recently, “I wish I was more like Josiah.” Josiah is the protagonist of my novel Catastropolis. He’s a clear-sighted prophet whose unblinking obedience to God’s law gets him a bullet in the head and a platform to preach from. Yes, in that order.

I wish I were more unblinking, and I can see plainly that I’m nothing like Josiah. There’s a wide gap between us. The gap, of course, is my conscience’s valid accusation against me; and the standard that my conscience knows well (because God wrote it there) is personified in characters like Josiah Mench.

I know how I should behave, and I don’t. That’s the biblical explanation.

Modern psychology dismisses the gap as an evolutionary function derivative of our ability to reason. We think; therefore we can imagine other standards; therefore we can compare ourselves to those standards to see where we exceed or fall short. It’s all purely objective (standards are merely social constructs) and precludes any notions of right and wrong.

And that’s where the modern psychologist (read humanist, naturalist, atheist, whatever) has to levitate for lack of solid ground because he can’t consistently obvert moral absolutes. Peel back the layers in a “social construct” and you’ll quickly find solid things. Universal things. Theft of personal property, a slap on the face–these are not constructs. These are objectively wrong. Ask anyone robbed or slapped. They’ll tell you.

The modern psychological framework flattens characters like Josiah, makes them null and void. As it does to all of us.

Give me a biblical understanding of fiction–of real life–any day.

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