Category Archives: Religion

ideological lockstep

Jon Del Arroz did an interesting experiment where he went through the Twitter feeds of the current writers for Marvel comics and found that all of them were progressive and strongly anti-conservative and anti-Christian to one degree or another.

This isn’t at all surprising. People like this march in ideological lockstep, and work in unison to exclude anyone of conservative or Christian leanings from publishing on their platforms. (They all claim they don’t, of course, and perhaps they even believe it themselves, but their actions put the lie to it.)

This is why Rod Walker spends so much time inside publishing (not counting Castalia House). Indie publishing allows an author to establish his own platform without suffering through would-be commissars controlling the traditional publishing industries.

Rod Walker’s book shows what happens when ideological conformity gets out of control. 

against nihilism

Rod Walker liked this comment at the Castalia House blog:

I… honestly cannot read preachingly nihilist hard SF anymore. It isn’t even that it offends me or depresses me, it is that it angers me. It was “Blindsight” that “killed” it for me. I remember how, after I finished the novel, I spent some time browsing user reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, to see if anyone else saw what I saw. What I discovered was that every other guy praised its author’s outlook, and barely anyone was challenging it in spite of novel’s sharply didactic nature. Those who gave it low reviews did so because they found it boring or too “sciency”… It was as if anyone with half a brain agreed with Watts.

Nihilism is a fundamentally adolescent way of looking at the world. Alas, some people do not grow out of it.

Rod Walker’s book avoids nihilism.


a Christian frame

Jeffro Johnson has a stemwinder of a post at Castalia House. Read the whole thing, but Rod Walker especially liked this bit:

The Hard SF that Raymond is talking about here was part of a larger culture war against the previous science fiction authors that were (on balance) unselfconsciously Western, Christian, and American in their outlook. Everything that we complain about ruining science fiction today came in right alongside Campbell’s efforts.

This, by the way, is the root cause of why people are upset with the sort of literary criticism we do here at Castalia House. They see that an essentially Christian frame is persuasive, exciting, provacative, and effective… but they’ve been programmed to think that the right thing for Christians to do is simply stand aside and concede ground generation after generation in the culture wars. Far from driving people away, it grows readership like nothing else.

That’s one of the things that RW really appreciates about indie publishing and Castalia House. One can write a Christian frame to the heart’s content. RW has indie published things with Christian elements that never would have gotten past the old gatekeepers.

Rod Walker’s book isn’t overtly Christian, but the bad guys are Space Marxists.


Ring Cycles

At the Castalia House blog, an interesting discussion of the similarities between Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings and Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Central quote:

The details are far less important than the common starting point: the crisis of the immortals. Wagner’s immortal gods must fall as a result of the corrupt bargain they have made with the giants who built Valhalla. Tolkien’s immortal Elves must leave Middle-earth because of the fatal assistance they took from Sauron. The Elves’ power to create a paradise on Middle-earth depends upon the power of the three Elven Rings which they forged with Sauron’s help. Thus the virtue of the Elven Rings is inseparably bound up with the one Ring of Sauron. When it is destroyed, the power of the Elves must fade. More than anything else, The Lord of the Rings is the tragedy of the Elves and the story of their renunciation.

Rod Walker admits he is not cultured enough to appreciate Wagner.

That said, he suspects the similarities between Tolkien’s work and Wagner’s work derive from the fact that they were working from the same source material, old pagan European myth. The difference between their work is that Tolkien took a Christian angle and Wagner took a pagan one.

why contempt is dangerous

PCBushi was kind enough to link to Rod Walker’s previous conversation about the dangers of contempt. Central quote:

Bingo. Perhaps this is the word or idea that I needed to complete my thoughts in the Harry Potter post. Contempt is a nasty thing. While it can galvanize a particular group against another, it can just as easily destroy one’s chances of conversion, repulse those who aren’t hardcore believers one way or another, or distance allies who feel it to be an unworthy or unfair expression of disagreement.

Still, why is contempt dangerous? Rod Walker thinks there are two explanations, one based in Christian thought, the second based on the application of logic.

In Christian thought, contempt is a sin because you are seeing your neighbor for worse than he really is. In other words, you are lying to yourself about your neighbor. Lying to oneself is still a lie, and therefore a sin.

From the standpoint of applying logic, contempt means you are seeing someone or something for worse than it really is, which means any decisions you make about the object of contempt are flawed, because you are basing the decision on a premise which is at least partially flawed. Any syllogism that proceeds from false premises will be incorrect, and history is replete with examples of what happens when leaders make decisions from incorrect data or flawed assumptions. Military is filled with examples of disastrous battles, and business history with examples of product failures.

So while contempt may feel good, it is a vice in which it is best not to indulge. There are many things today that are as bad as they appear, but there’s no need to lie to oneself about how much worse they are.

There is no contempt in Rod Walker’s book!

a review of The Missionaries

At Castalia House is a good review of The Missionaries by Owen Stanley. Central quote:

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The characters are larger-than-life, but I have met them before in the strong moods of my friends. Reality resembles the cartoonish cast of the novel so well, I became convinced before I realized it. Satire of this quality and depth of engagement is rare, especially when it fits inside the framework of a story.

Rod Walker quite enjoyed The Missionaries himself. It was quite funny, probably because he has met many people like the titular missionaries in real life himself.


one out of ten

Rod Walker heard a good sermon today on Luke 17, specifically the account of ten lepers. Of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured of leprosy, only one returned to thank him.

It is a good reminder to cultivate gratitude within oneself.

It is also a good reminder not to expect too much from people. Jesus is the Son of God, and only 10% of the lepers thanked him! RW supposes we mortals can only hope for 3 or 4 percent.