06 June 2006

“Innocuous” fiction

There is argument that fiction is “innocuous” merely virtue of it’s being innocuous. And because it is innocuous (merely by virtue of being fiction) anyone who attempts to refute any claims made by a work of fiction is making a big deal about nothing.

Here’s a bit of innocuous fiction:

“But you told me the New Testament is based on fabrications.”

Langdon smiled. “Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith--acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors.”

That’s from the innocuous, merely-fiction-and-for-that-reason-alone-harmless, DaVinci Code.

That passage contains no less than five truth-claims. Are they false (and therefore not worthy of logical rejoinder) merely because the person who asserts them is a character in a work of fiction? Or is it that they do not count as truth-claims (and therefore not worthy of logical rejoinder) merely because they appear in a work of fiction?

If fiction is so innocuous, then why did we have to read so much of it in school? Just for entertainment? Please.


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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