Dean Koontz is an insanely popular author, having sold over 450 million copies of his books. His Odd Thomas series has also been a stunning success. Here, I will take a worldview level look at the whole series. There will be SPOILERS for the whole series in what follows. I will not be summarizing the plots of these works, but brief summaries can be found on Wikipedia (follow internal links).
I think the concept of “faithful goodness” best summarizes the main character, Odd Thomas. I call it faithful goodness because time and again, Odd has every reason to flee from doing right, yet he persists in doing the right thing. He believes in a higher order to the universe to which all–including himself–are held accountable, but this is not the motivation for his continuing to do what is right. Rather, he acts as a kind of sacrificial/Christ figure. He does what is right because that is his nature. Ultimately, that leads him to giving up his life to save others. “Saint,” indeed.
Evil and Violence
The Odd Thomas series is filled with murderers, torturers, and worse. What kind of redemptive themes might be found amidst the chaos of all this evil? Dean Koontz stated in an interview:
I don’t shy away from having violent things happen, but I don’t dwell on it. I feel, as a Christian, writing books that have a moral purpose to them, it’s actually incumbent upon me to write about evil, because this kingdom is Satan’s and he is the prince of the world. It’s here and it’s among us… My villains are pathetic. I never glorify a villain. I couldn’t write something like Hannibal because there’s something there that makes the villain the most glamorous person in the piece. I can’t write that. I don’t find evil glamorous. You’ll never find it that way in my books. (Cited by Anthony Weber)
Ultimate glory does not belong to evil. It will be extinguished. Although evil and violence persist in the world in which we now live, that is a temporary state of affairs. Christ our King will come to create anew, bringing life and vanquishing death.
Yet this does not mean that we can ignore evil now, or that we should be apathetic toward it. Like Odd, we must persist in fighting it, faithfully clinging to the reality that God–the ultimate Good–will triumph in the end.
Hope is a defining and central feature of the Odd Thomas series. Whether it is Odd’s hope to be reunited to his lost life, Stormy, or the eschatological hope for the final consummation of the Kingdom, it is this reality that drives Odd and gives him comfort even amid the most vile circumstances.
It is worth noting that Odd’s hope is ultimately focused towards the hereafter, rather than the present world. Christians should also remember that our current reality is not what we should try to ground all our hopes in. We can gain the whole world, yet lose our soul. Our final hope must be grounded in the coming of God’s kingdom and the New Creation.
Dean Koontz’s works continually show the workings of Christian faith and a worldview that allows for mystery in the universe. I highly recommend picking up some of his books to explore the integration of the Christian worldview into fiction, and the way they can be woven together. I will give a warning: they are for mature audiences only.
Popular Books– Read through my other posts on popular books–science fiction, fantasy, and more! (Scroll down for more.)
Saint Odd– Anthony Weber reflects on the final book in the series, Saint Odd, from a Christian perspective. I highly recommend this post and also following his excellent site.
The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.
Another week, another round of posts for you to browse, dear readers. This week, we have Dean Koontz’s latest novel and literary apologetics, a scathing review of militant atheist Jerry Coyne’s book, male-female relations, the Jesus myth, and an analysis of an argument against the pro-life position.
Disciplining Healthy Male-Female Relations in the Church Part 1– Some have been arguing that we in the church ought to maintain a kind of separation between the sexes such that men and women do not form close friendships. Sometimes this is accompanied by what has become known as the “Billy Graham Rule”- the notion that a man ought not to be alone with a woman who is not his wife. Here is an analysis of that argument and a way forward from it. Also read part 2 and part 3.
Handling an Objection: “Jesus is Just One of Several Messianic Figures in the First Century”– Those who argue that Jesus is a myth often appeal to historical arguments, however fallacious, to support their position. Here is a critical review of one of these arguments- that Jesus was just one of the many messianic figures.
Dean Koontz’s “Ashley Bell”: The World is a Battleground– Dean Koontz continually puts worldview-level discussions into his novels. Here is an excellent analysis of his latest bestselling novel, Ashley Bell.
Omnibus of Fallacies– Edward Feser wrote a scathing review of Jerry Coyne’s book attacking theism. He notes a great number of errors throughout the book. I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with this review and the book so that if you encounter it in apologetic situations you can engage adequately.
Artificial Distinctions within the Imago Dei– As someone who is pro-life, it is important to be consistently pro-life. This post answers an argument against the pro-life position: that pro-life arguments are dealing harm to others.
Every Sunday I offer a quote from something I’ve read recently. It’s usually from a book, but here I’m highlighting a quote from an interview. Be sure to check out the other Sunday Quotes and let me know your thoughts.
Suspense Author Dean Koontz on Evil and Satan
Anthony Weber’s excellent look at Saint Odd, the final book in the Odd Thomas series, got me back into reading Koontz after I hadn’t read anything from him in a while. Weber also shared a quote from an interview with Dean Koontz. I read the rest of the interview and I felt what he had to say about evil and its portrayal is worth taking the time to share and consider:
I don’t shy away from having violent things happen, but I don’t dwell on it. I feel, as a Christian, writing books that have a moral purpose to them, it’s actually incumbent upon me to write about evil, because this kingdom is Satan’s and he is the prince of the world. It’s here and it’s among us.
My villains are pathetic. I never glorify a villain. I couldn’t write something like Hannibal because there’s something there that makes the villain the most glamorous person in the piece. I can’t write that. I don’t find evil glamorous. You’ll never find it that way in my books…
Evil walks among us. We don’t always see it. Each of us, in our daily lives, encounters evil; we are tempted to evil every day of our lives. If we don’t want to read about it or think about it, I don’t think that’s a truly Christian point of view. We have to acknowledge it, face it and defeat it. That’s what each of my books is about. (Cited here; original here)
I think Koontz’s comments are well-worth considering. Evil is something that is foreign to this world. Satan and other spiritual powers are working to perpetuate evil in this world. We must not close our eyes to it, but rather, “acknwoledge it, face it, and defeat it” by the power of Christ.
I recommend Koontz’s works to you.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Chatting with Koontz About Faith– You can read the whole interview here. It is worth the time.
Saint Odd– Read Anthony Weber’s post about the final book in the Odd Thomas series.
I have scoured the ‘net and some of my favorite blogs to provide you with another round of excellent reads through your weekend and into next week! I hope you’ll enjoy them! Let me know what you think, and be sure to tell the authors you enjoyed their posts as well! The topics we have this week include Dean Koontz’s Innocence, the homo naledi fossil find, apologetics and atheism, and whether you can be pro-life as a man.
Responding to the Astute Observation that I am a Man– Are men allowed to be involved in discussions about abortion? Here, Josh Brahm discusses the common accusation that men cannot talk about pro-life/pro-choice issues.
Dean Koontz’s Innocence– I read this book about two weeks ago and loved it. Here is a fantastic look at some of the worldview-level issues the book raises. Dean Koontz is a Christian author who is one of the highest-selling authors in our time.
Bones of Contention: ICR Claims Homo naledi fossils of “imaginary creature”– ICR is the Institute for Creation Research, a Young Earth Creationist organization.
Repressed knowledge of God?– Thomistic philosopher Edward Feser questions whether it is accurate to say atheists have repressed knowledge of God. Specifically, he enters into a critique of apologist Greg Koukl. What are your thoughts on this discussion?
Women and Church Politics: Living Outside the Bubble– Politics in church? Surely not! Okay, yeah they’re there. Here’s a post that discusses how church politics can impact women.
Five Errors to Drop from Your Easter Sermon– Check out this read on common mistakes made when talking about Easter.
Tie-Breaker– What happens when married couples come to a point where they are at an impasse? Does there need to be a marital tie-breaker grounded in notions of hierarchy of genders? Check out this thought-provoking post on the topic. For my own thoughts on the topic, check out my post “Who’s in Charge?” over at CBE.
Dean Koontz’s “Innocence”– From the author (links removed), Anthony Weber, “Dean Koontz is perhaps the most famous Christian author alive today. He has sold over 450,000,000 books, with 17,000,000 added each year. He’s sold more books than Stephen King…” That’s why you should care about the guy. Check out this look at a recent book from Koontz.
What I Needed to Hear as an Atheist (And How I Needed to Hear It)– Approach matters! Check out this fantastic post on how we may approach atheists who are wondering about the faith.
Cosmos Scrubs Religion’s Positive Influence from the History of the Scientific Revolution– The TV series “Cosmos” has seemingly purged any notion of the positive influence of religion from the history of scientific development. Check out this insightful article which explores some of this history and the way “Cosmos” has distorted it.