Friday, May 31, 2013

Stephen King on Religion (and How NewsBusters Got it Wrong)

The awesome Stephen King, from
Yes, NewsBusters again. I just extracted myself from a fight I kind of started at the supposed "media watch dog" site that is in reality an arch right-wing commentary site. I've commented before how the NewsBusters headlines often read to me like a big list of "so whats." They list a bunch of things that are supposed to outrage, but instead, I agree with them.

Well, this time, they went too far. They focused on one of my favorite authors--and I know he's considered somehow "not literary," but I don't care--Stephen King. Now, don't think I like King simply because he's a liberal. I like Dean Koontz too, and he's an obvious Orange County conservative. Still, King's stories are more dense, more layered. And with less focus on golden retrievers, Jeep Cherokees, and slightly mismatched male/female couples who verbally spar in humorous ways in the midst of catastrophe.

But one thing they both have in common is a seeming belief in the divine. Sure, they can skew that quite a bit, toward sci-fi, toward other-worldly rather than explicitly God, but other times they'll pretty much spell out a big-time, universe creating deity. As an atheist, this only bothers me a little. I mean, we're talking aliens, monsters, other worlds, alternate dimensions, time travel and IT. I can handle a little make believe.

So, how does this come back around to NewsBusters? Well, they are using him to make it seem that this very successful liberal author has duped NPR in his interview, by supporting Intelligent Design.
I ain't gonna lie, he said something along those lines. But they emphasize that as though it is his main point, but then downplay his conclusion.

My favorite King novel and adaptation was The Stand, 
in which religion is figured heavily. It didn't bother me.
But Randall Flagg and Mother Abigail could just be
"good" and "evil," right?
And I get what he's saying. We humans often say things like, "It must have been meant to be," and "it was fate." We say these things whether we literally believe that time and elements were physically guided or not. We can feel that something was going to happen, and fall into place, without necessarily believing that a supernatural entity was cataloging, manipulating and  guiding time and space to make something happen.

But, typical of NewsBusters, they will focus on what they want you to see. And their readers--as I've learned first hand in the last few days--will take the bait, and argue it strenuously.

Here is the line they highlighted: " if you say, well, OK, I don't believe in God, there's no evidence of God, then you're missing the stars in the sky, and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets, and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together at the same time."

What they don't want you to notice is this, "But at the same time there's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar. And you have to wonder about that guy's personality, the big guy's personality." And then even more clearly, "What I'm saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts."

I'm just saying, that conclusion doesn't really square with their headline.


Stephen King Shocks NPR Audience: Nature 'Suggests Intelligent Design' by God

On Tuesday's Fresh Air on NPR stations from coast to coast, host Terry Gross interviewed author Stephen King on his new book  "Joyland," which features a young man in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy and his grandfather, a radio evangelist named Buddy Ross, who insists the disease is divine punishment. . .

Read more at: NewsBusters

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