SF Author John C. Wright
takes an axe to Phillip Pulman’s recent defense of his trilogy by saying
"If I wanted to send a message I would have written a sermon."
In a grand post he shows how Pulman’s sermon as a story form suffered precisely
for this. He shows the inconsistencies in the story arc and the broken promises
made by story elements throughout.
That whenever the demands of the story conflicted with the message, the message
One thing I liked about John C. Wright’s books that even though almost
all of them were written when he was still an atheist that the stories never
suffered for this and that storytelling was always the most important thing.
The other day he also had a post
on those who charge religion as being wish-fulfillment.
To those of you who think religion is a self-delusion based on wish-fulfillment,
all I can remark is that this religion does not fulfill my wishes. My wishes,
if we are being honest, would run to polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance
and violence: a Viking religion would suit me better, or maybe something along
Aztec lines. The Hall of Valhalla, where you feast all night and battle all
day, or the paradise of the Mohammedans, where you have seventy-two dark-eyed
virgins to abuse, fulfills more wishes of base creatures like me than any place
where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. This turn-the-other cheek
jazz might be based any number of psychological appeals or spiritual insights,
but one thing it is not based on is wish-fulfillment.
The charge of wish-fulfillment also seems strange in the face of Jesus calling his disciples to pick up their crosses daily and that they would be persecuted
for following him.
I think it is wish-fulfillment to put off religion by calling it wish-fulfillment.