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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
7:21 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
My son was christened last weekend.
I attended a pretty standard Catholic school. I’d heard the story of Adam and Eve more times than I could count. I’ve read Genesis along with the rest of the Bible (standard part of the curriculum at my college). Heck, our fair Hellion is writing about the First Couple, per se. So, I’m familiar with the story.
But during a pre-christening meeting, our pastor claimed he always saw “Original Sin” as less like the Garden of Eden and more like Operation Entebbe.
A little background, for those unfamiliar. In 1976, an Air France flight was hijacked. The hijackers rerouted the plane to Uganda, where a sympathetic president gave them amnesty. The hijackers released all non-Jewish folks and held the Jewish, claiming they would kill them unless Israel submitted to their demands. But instead of giving into their demands, Israel sent a group of commandos that eliminated the hijackers--Operation Entebbe--with only minor casualties.
The pastor said when he thinks of original sin, that he doesn’t think of the timid version in the Bible, the apple, the snake, etc. He thinks of it like the hijackers on that plane. An insidious evil, intending to do harm, intending to enforce its will upon something else. And he thinks of baptism like the Israeli commandos, the thing that’s going to come in and wipe the slate clean.
He said that what God did, by sending Jesus, would be like if I was on this plane full of bad guys and they said to me, “We’ll let everyone go if you just give us your son to kill.” He asked me if I would be able to sacrifice my son to save many others. I answered honestly, told him that I couldn’t. I’d go myself, but I didn’t think there was anything that would make me give up either of my sons.
I’m not sure if that makes me a good person or a bad person. I’d like to think that I’m a good person, that I’m loving and charitable. But when he put it like that, if I would give up what I prized most—these little people who completely trust me—I realized that I might be “good” but I’m not that “good.”
And worse, I am not sure I want to be that good. Do I believe that the rest of those people's lives—just because there are more of them—are somehow more valuable than my one son or even both of my sons? Do I believe that sort of sacrifice would make a difference in the “hereafter?”
I got his underlying message, but I’m still not convinced the correlation worked and I’ll leave you out of my personal spiritual questioning beyond this.
However, I can’t help but think that my questioning of these sorts of things, the way I view God and all that is spiritual, helps to define me. Yet I don’t think once in my years of writing that I've stopped to think about my character’s spiritual development. Even when I was writing my last book—with angels and demons and all kinds of religious stuff—I didn’t go near their own personal spiritual quests.
I had to ask myself why. Is it that I’m afraid of turning readers off? Spirituality is a very touchy thing in this PC age. Or was this something more personal to me?
I don’t know.
But I could see how a characters belief or disbelief in a higher power might change their outlook on the world. Might make them even question their ability to love and be loved. Maybe it would even make them question whether loving at all is worth it.
So, pirates, a very deep subject for you. Do you think about your characters’ spiritualities? How do you think pluming spiritual depths might affect your characters’ motivations?
Labels: Gunner's Grumblings (Marnee)