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The Times
  • Religion News: Do Stephen King horror stories echo the Bible?

  • Weekly Religion News with an article exploring the religious themes in Stephen King's horror novels, "Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith and Living Your Dreams" by Shawn Johnson and more.

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  • “The Bible is in many ways the ultimate horror novel.”
    That is the last sentence in an article by CNN’s John Blake exploring the religious themes in horror novelist Stephen King’s books.
    “… I hate organized religion. I think it’s one of the roots of real evil that’s in the world,” Blake quotes King as saying in a 1988 interview with Janet C. Beaulieu on his latest book at the time, “The Dark Tower.”
    But King describes himself as a Christian, according to his website –– and Blake says “he was raised as a ‘hard-nosed’ Methodist taught to believe in the Antichrist.”
    Why, then, would King infiltrate his horror novels with hidden lessons from the Bible and Jesus Christ? Blake says the best way to “understand King’s faith is not through his words, but through his stories.”  
    Take “The Green Mile,” for instance, a 1996 King novel adapted into a movie in 1999. The story is about a gentle giant, John Coffey –– Blake points out the J.C. reference –– who is facing the death penalty for a murder he didn’t commit. While serving time on death row, the larger-than-life inmate quietly goes out of his way to help his friends and what should be his foes. Eventually, he is put to death via the electric chair.
    According to Blake, the death of John Coffey echoes a common theme throughout the Bible: God can be cruel. After all, God sent his only son to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. The Bible itself is a story of floods, sacrifice, blood and death.
    Blake quotes the Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, a retired Episcopal priest who has written about King’s religious tones for Christianity Today magazine. One line from “The Green Mile” that struck Zahl:
    “Yet this same God sacrificed John Coffey, who tried only to do good in his blind way, as savagely as an Old Testament prophet ever sacrificed a defenseless lamb… If it happens, God lets it happen, and when we say, ‘I don’t understand,’ God replies, ‘I don’t care.’”
    Zahl refers to one side of God “whose eye is on the sparrow”; the all-loving, all-knowing God that roots for human kind, always. And then there’s another side of God, says Zahl. The “Holy Other, incomprehensible,” writes Blake, “the one who allowed Job to suffer.”
    “Good horror examines the struggle between good and evil,” Blake quotes J.M. Rawbone as saying. Rawbone is an English horror novelist who has also written about King’s religious themes.
    “People tend to think that Stephen King is anti-religious because he is a horror writer, but that’s completely mistaken,” says Zahl.
    Page 2 of 2 - Week in Religion
    - June 6, 548, this was the last year the Church in Jerusalem observed the birth of Jesus on this date. (Celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 began in the late 300s in the Western Church.)
    - June 7, 1941, in England, the four-day Anglican gathering known as the Malvern Conference opened. It was presided over by Archbishop William Temple.
    - June 8, 1954, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio was formed, representing 39 Southern Baptist churches in that state.
    -- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church
    Good Book?
    "Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far about Love, Faith and Living Your Dreams" by Shawn Johnson
    Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She wasn’t sure what her goals were. And she wasn’t sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God.
    -- Tyndale House Publishers
    Quote of the week
    "A Christian is a person who has the possibility of innumerable new starts." -- Francis Schaeffer, American Presbyterian apologist
    The Word
    ward: Large congregations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called wards, and they are led by a bishop and two counselors. Wards have specific geographic boundaries, and Mormon families attend the meetinghouse in their ward. Small Mormon congregations are called branches, which can develop into wards.
    -- religionstylebook.com
    Religion Around the World
    Religious makeup of Albania
    Muslim: 70 percent
    Albanian Orthodox: 20 percent
    Roman Catholic: 10 percent
    - CIA Factbook
    GateHouse News Service
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