[DWJ] witches in fiction, and exploiting

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Jun 19 08:11:41 EDT 2006

Philip wrote:

>When in Christian groups (I am a Christian, FWIW) I say that although we
>are taught that Christ is the only way to Heaven, there is nothing to
>say that one cannot find Christ outside the institutional Church, or
>even in other religions, my comments generally do not go down well...

I find it a little surprising how many Christians are so strongly in favour
of the Narnia books, when the message in the last of them is so clearly
that bad Narnians are not saved but a good Calormene *is*.  The young
soldier has worshipped Tash all his life, and Aslan still accepts him.  How
does that fit in with the "anyone who isn't my sort of christian is damned"
outlook, I ask but get no answer as a rule.

[Magic: the Gathering]
>I must admit that I don't know the specific game being cited here, but I
>agree with Minnow about trading-card games in general.  Even without the
>random-pack scam, they are bad.  The idea seems to be that you buy cards
>with real money; and you play games with the cards, in which the cards
>change ownership.  Kids gaming with real money, by the back door!  And
>as Minnow says, the odds are slanted in favour of those who spend more,
>which would be big-time illegal in a real casino.

It didn't matter back in the days of cards being put into cigarette packs
or bubble-gum packs, that they were random, because they were free.  What
is objectionable to me is random things being paid for, and I'll bet that
the boring ones outnumber the interesting ones by a very large margin
indeed, too.  But you're right, it is gambling with real money as well,
even after that initial wrongness has been swallowed.

>A while back there was a fuss among some friends of mine from church.
>The daughter of one had found a trading card of some description, and
>(presumably for want of anything better to do with it) had offered it to
>the nephew of another church member.  The adults concerned were
>horrified, and gave the poor girl a good telling-off, but this was
>apparently because the picture on the card was a "fiend" of some sort,
>and therefore evil.

So a picture can be evil.  Interesting concept.  I always thought that it
was "by their deeds shall ye know them", and that evil required conscious
decision and action, which a picture doesn't really qualify for.

The greatest evil ever, in some ways and if one is a christian (I really
don't want to get into "it was necessary or he couldn't have saved us with
it"), was the crucifiction of Christ, but it's ok to have pictures of that.
Or isn't it?  Is that something only the "wrong sort of christians" do?  I
find having a picture of someone being tortured to death pretty unpleasant,
and I particularly object when the depiction is of someone under that
torture seeming to be completely calm about it and not actually suffering,
with a beatific if slightly reproachful smile, but I wouldn't say the
picture is "evil", just that I find it offensive.

>I failed to see what the fuss was about.  If they'd been fussing because
>trading-card games seem to be designed with the sole purpose of
>enslaving children to money, I would have been far more sympathetic with
>the adults.

There I agree with you.  There's another reason too: if someone gets into a
stew about every little thing, when they get into a stew about something
that really does matter they won't be attended to.  I wouldn't have thought
that a child will continue indefinitely to heed the agitation of someone
who is perpetually and continually agitated about trivia.  (See "crying

>As I see it, the Christians are fussing over meaningless "fiends",
>totally missing the real evil, and Satan (or whatever you call the Evil
>One) is laughing all the way to the bank.

There is almost certainly something pertinent in *The Screwtape Letters*
about sidetracking people into worrying about the vestments being the right
liturgical colour so that they miss the important things about their parish
priest, like his being a really good man who happens to be colour-blind.
*Screwtape* is very depressing, but it has an awful lot of sensible stuff
in it.


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