A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) A Wrinkle in Time question


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Religion and Literature
Kristin Hennessy-McDonald Kristin May 15, 2011 08:26PM
When I was in middle school, we had to read this book in our english class. There was a certain percentage of the class who refused to finish the book, because of one paragraph in the novel. It threatened one girl so much that she claimed to have seen the devil and thrown the book when she read it. The paragraph...one in which Jesus Christ is listed as an agent of good, one who brought the light, in a list alongside Buddha, Gandhi, Copernicus, and many others. These people decided that, in listing Jesus Christ alongside Buddha, that it was belittling the divinity of Christ, and that L'Engle was "spitting on their faith." And their parents actually wrote letters to the school to ban the novel. I believe in Jesus, but I couldn't believe that such an uplifting book, about the ability of the human spirit to overcome, was damned, simply because the author had the audacity to name both Jesus and Buddha as agents of the light alongside oneanother. I just wanted opinions on how others felt about my experience, and ask if anyone else had experienced something similar.



I loved this book!

I agree with so many of you that it is sad how so many "devout Christians" miss out on the true lessons of great stories because they get hung up on one tiny word or sentence instead of looking at a book in its totality. This whole book deals with the triumph of good over evil. I definitely sensed religious undertones, but in a pro-Christian manner. That is why I was so surprised to read the initial post that Christians took offense to the book. I myself am a Christian and like L'Engle find my values often seeping into the actions of my characters, but at the same time I enjoy great fiction writing for what it is - FICTION.


Werner (last edited May 20, 2011 04:15AM ) May 19, 2011 05:35AM   1 vote
The late Madeleine L'Engle (she died in 2007) was a devout, practicing Episcopalian all her life, and a long-time church librarian for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Christian themes and a Christian worldview underlie all of her work (see Caryl's comments above). So, to put it with brutal bluntness, the idea that she's "spitting on" the Christian faith here is ignorant and ludicrous.

In the particular paragraph of A Wrinkle in Time (a book I've read, and enjoyed greatly) that these people were objecting to, Jesus is cited first among the "fighters" of the cosmic battle against Evil/Darkness that the childeren list, and they're prompted to do that by Mrs. Who's quote from the Gospel of John, "And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." To place Jesus first in this context is not to impugn or demean him. The writers of the New Testament make it very clear that he is, first and foremost, fully human, "made like his brothers in every way" (Hebrews 2:17), living as a human to redeem humans. To be sure, that isn't all he is, but it's an essential part of who he is, and makes it possible for him to be our example as well as our redeemer. Indeed, to say that we're called to follow him in being fighters against cosmic Evil/Darkness is a pretty good capsule summary of the New Testament message!


There wasn't anything wrong with this SCIENCE FICTION book. People get so offended way too easily, it makes me mad.


Kristin wrote: "When I was in middle school, we had to read this book in our english class. There was a certain percentage of the class who refused to finish the book, because of one paragraph in the novel. It t..."

Wow! That is hard to believe. I myself am a Christian but I absolutely enjoy this book. I can't believe someone wouldn't read it just because of that alone. I think it's well worth the read. As I always say I respect anyone's religious beliefs and maybe that's why it really didn't bother me.


Good heavens! Let's throw the baby out with the bath water!

A Wrinkle in Time sings all the goodness that is Christianity: love for other people and God. Exposure to differing views can strengthen one's own views, sort of like vaccines strengthen the immune system. (I said SORT OF!)

If one can't tolerate even the mention of another religion, one's horizons really need to be expanded.


I love this book but have never discussed it with anyone other than to recommend it. I am a Christian but certainly believe that Buddha is "an agent for good" in the world. A list does not make everything on the list equal in value.


I agree with (the other) Melissa. I read this back in school and remember loving it and it being sci-fi, but nothing at all about any religious undertone. Certainly noone in my class was offended. So this topic surprised me a bit.

Oh well. Each to their own.


Poor A Wrinkle in Time. I didn't realize until adulthood how controversial this book actually is. Many non Christians hate it, because they feel the religious themes are too over the top. Yet, it was never accepted by the Christian community, because of the part you mentioned above, as well as nods to paganism throughout (crystal balls, witches). You'll never see it in a Christian bookstore sitting aside classics by authors such as C.S. Lewis. Madeline L' Engle was a Christian, but not a strict fundamentalist, because of her belief that all souls are granted admission to heaven. (At least, that's what I've read).

I love the book. I find it creative and appreciate the way it celebrates intelligence, courage and love. A Wrinkle in Time was the story that got me into science fiction as a kid.


Kristin wrote: "When I was in middle school, we had to read this book in our english class. There was a certain percentage of the class who refused to finish the book, because of one paragraph in the novel. It threatened one girl so much that she claimed to have seen the devil and thrown the book when she read it. "

REALLY?!?!? How was it that her parents never taught her to distinguish imagination from reality? This is the same problem that I have with people who refuse to allow their children to read because it might lead their children to believe that they will encounter on their walk to school.

To remove all fantasy from a child's world seems to me to be a great pity. To take away fairy tales and fiction because "I haven't taught my child to distinguish between fact and fiction' is to me more an indictment of the parent than the child. Imagination is what brings great discoveries and allows faith to expand beyond what can be seen.

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
— G.K. Chesterton


I am Catholic, but I still enjoyed the book. I loved it, and I don't find it insulting at all that they list Buddha besides Jesus. He may have been atheist, but he knew principles.


I think it's hilarious that someone didn't read L'Engle because she was sacrilegious. I mean, this is the woman who said, "We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it." How can you get more Christian than that? It's one of the great positives of this book - it's a thing of beauty, but it doesn't insist that its beauty is exclusive.


I read this novel in middle school, grade 7 I think. I didn't get any religious undertones at all! I read this for what it is, science fiction! I loved the main character but was completely baffled by her little brother. And the family dynamics were interesting but very sad. I loved the images this novel created but could never read any of her other novels just because I found this book a little difficult to digest. I still remember the scene where they are walking down that street and the kids are all playing in complete unison, creepy!

I feel sorry for people who read a book like this and all they can think of is their religious beliefs and how much they should be offended by something like this. Why does this have to have anything to do with religion? Can't it just be teen fiction? It's the same thing with Huck Finn, all some people read is race and skin color. I'm not in any way comparing those two novels, just how controversial they can be. I read a book for the story, sometimes I might get something more out of it, a belief, an inspiration, a laugh. I don't think I've ever read a book and been offended. Interesting question about religion, thanks for posting.


I thought it was one of the best parts of the book. I agree that people can get so touchy about their faith sometimes. Not everyone is like that of course. But I was a Christian at that time and didn't find any offense with that certain paragraph. :)


??There are many people today--living people not book characters!--who feel Jesus Chirst was only "a good man". They do not believe He was divine.

Any Christian, as they get older, is going to be exposed to that opinion. I personally beleive Jesus is divine, but I do know that not everyone shares that belief.

In "Wrinkle" the characters speaking of Jesus as only one of many good lights are aline beings. It would be unlikely that they would espouse the Christian viewpoint.


Speaking as a devout Christian, I find it very sad that so many other Christians are close minded and won't read some books because they find it to be sacrilege when in reality it is the exact opposite. Reading an opposing view is supposed to help to strengthen your own beliefs, not hinder them. It's like when you have to write a paper for school, you should use at least one paragraph to disclaim the opposite view and it really strengthens your argument.

Anyway, I also read this book in middle school, which was about 7 years ago, and I personally don't remember it having any "religious undertones" at all. But maybe that's because it's been so long since I read it. All I remember is really enjoying this book and at the time it was one of my favorite books ever.


Kaleigh~A Doctor Who InkWizard (last edited Jul 21, 2011 04:38PM ) Jul 21, 2011 04:37PM   0 votes
Kristin wrote: "When I was in middle school, we had to read this book in our english class. There was a certain percentage of the class who refused to finish the book, because of one paragraph in the novel. It t...The paragraph...one in which Jesus Christ is listed as an agent of good, one who brought the light, in a list alongside Buddha, Gandhi, Copernicus, and many others. These people decided that, in listing Jesus Christ alongside Buddha, that it was belittling the divinity of Christ, and that L'Engle was "spitting on their faith." And their parents actually wrote letters to the school to ban the novel. I believe in Jesus, but I couldn't believe that such an uplifting book, about the ability of the human spirit to overcome, was damned, simply because the author had the audacity to name both Jesus and Buddha as agents of the light alongside one another. I just wanted opinions on how others felt about my experience, and ask if anyone else had experienced something similar."

I believe in Christ too, and, I don't think that L'engle was trying to put down religion but, to lift it up. She was just listing all the good people and different religions. She wasn't harming it in anyway. And I am not being defensive or touchy, I am just stating my opinion. Anyone else ageee?


None of us have full integrity, meaning that we don't fully integrate all our beliefs with all our behavior, even if we're trying. For that reason I'm hesitant to point fingers at anyone who's trying to assess, weigh, and test ideas to understand what they believe; my issue is when they don't, when one merely accepts what others tell them without thought, or don't bother to weight their actions against any standard.
Scientific theory isn't just for science, it's for life principles as well. Some things we can discover by looking at the world around us (what happens when people do 'x'), and some things we have to test for ourselves, though minimizing risk while maximizing helpful learning should come into play as well or we might deserve a Darwin award of some kind.
Too many hours of TV and gaming, not enough hours of thought, reading, and discussion.


Honestly, I am most definitely a non-Christian, and I always get a bit touchy at the mention of Jesus or God in books (purely because I so often find myself being "preached at", which I find very uncomfortable and irritating). However I can respect others' beliefs and religions. What I find upsetting is that so many Christians read this and are offended by the mention of Buddha. Why expect people to be so respecting of their religion, if they cannot respect - or even accept - others'? It's pretty hypocritical.


I must have missed the religious overtones. I enjoyed the first two books emensly and plan to read the rest. I first read this in Catholic school 7th grade and at the time wondered why they allowed the book because it contained scientists and science made them a bit uncomfortable. I even reread the book a few years ago and missed getting preached at. I may just be used to the consept because I've read so many older books where christianity was such a part of every day life for the majority that it was always there. Maybe I blocked it out.


Nope, but it doesn't surprise me one bit. People can be so touchy about their religion. Makes me wonder how sincere their claimed 'beliefs' are.


My teacher once told me that a family left my christian school because a teacher was reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in class for English. Apparently this family thought all fantasy was anti-christian or something insane like that

4478821
Susan And that has some of the most blatantly Christian imagery in all of fantasy!
Nov 03, 2011 06:21PM
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Michael I feel sorry for those people, especially when they don't even give such great stories a chance.
Nov 03, 2011 06:26PM

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