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September 21, 2008


JS Bangs

I haven't read the novella in question, but I don't see how Gina Martinelli's description isn't "interpret[ing] their experiences in the vocabulary of their faith". Satan is part of the Christian vocabulary, and explaining the emergence of global consciousness as demonic deception is completely plausible. I could see other complaints against this treatment, but it can hardly be said that the Christian isn't allowed to interpret her experiences through her faith. It's just that the interpretation she arrives at is different from those of the other characters.


Is it possible that Kress was describing a condition of faith in which it develops to the point that it actually interferes with the transcendent experience?

A kind of a criticism of certain kinds of approach to to faith seems plausible here. Admittedly, she could have exchanged the woman in Shanghai for a Christian gnostic or mystic, and maybe made the treatment a little starker, but if she's specifically questioning the modern American evangelical tradition for claiming spiritual health as its bailiwick while simultaneously rooting its beliefs deeply in a kind of concrete secularism, I'm not sure that I'd agree that this is a bad choice.

I think it's probably a mistake to say that faith necessarily leads to a holistic or transcendent worldview.

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