The Gospel according to Game of Thrones

Cersei Lannister is the usurper queen of the Seven Kingdoms. She has two brothers, Jamie Lannister, called the Kingslayer, and the dwarf Tyrion Lannister.

But, of course, you know all of this unless you are more removed from civilization than, say, the Starks of Winterfell or the White Walkers who roam beyond the wall.

If you are clueless about all of this, devotees of Game of Thrones — and they are legion—might consider you as uncouth as a drunken Dothraki warrior.

But take heart because, if you are a faithful Christian, you are already engaged in a historical struggle ever so much the grander than any clash of dynasties.

Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s medieval fantasy series, is an epic dramatic struggle between the forces of good and evil.

To the credit of the show’s eight seasons, it has often been difficult to know who was winning and who was not.

Sometimes it was a struggle to settle upon who was good and who was bad. At times you could only see who was bad and who was even worse. Circumstances shifted, and people changed.

The only constant was that the powerful oppressed the weak.

That remained true even when the weak became the powerful.

If this explains the television series to the culturally clueless, it also explains the Christian faith to the spiritually impoverished.

Game of Thrones is a terrific drama, played out in fictional history.

Christianity’s core claim is that history itself is a great drama, an epic struggle between light and darkness.

You might not immediately learn this by asking the average believer to explain the Christian faith.

Instead, you are likely to listen to a list of teachings, called doctrines, which are to be believed without evidence, and moral precepts, which are to be observed solely on the authority of those who promulgate them.

Yet the core of the Christian faith is that good and evil are at war and have been for as far back as memory goes.

Scholars call this “salvation history,” but ordinary people know it as the ongoing, daily struggle between right and wrong, one that surges around and within every human being.

Moreover, just as in Game of Thrones, in the real world it is hard to know who is what and which side is winning.

Good and evil are entwined in a violent vortex.

The sole constant is that the powerful continue to oppress the weak. Continue reading

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