Are true evil-conquering stories a great good?

  • Clarifying the question

    Question: Are true stories (i.e. histories) involving good overcoming or reversing evil themselves a great good?

  • Debates this question affects

    One of the main popular debates this impacts is the debate over where some great goods require and/or risk suffering. If true evil-conquering stories are a great good, then that would be an additional reason that might factor into God's ultimate decision to allow a measure of evil and suffering in the world, especially if there are eternal story-type benefits.

“Yes, after all…
  • Stories are intuitively seen as good

    It seems intuitively recognized that valuable true stories (of justice, courage, diligence etc.), where the type of good corresponds to the type of story, are a great good. A world without evil is a world without parables, novels, or movies. Or at least, it is a world where they are not as sympathized with or created in the first place (no Batman Begins or other superhero movies, no Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Chronicles of Narnia etc.). Specifically, consider movies based on true stories, movies like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Braveheart, Remember the Titans and many more. These are stories involving trials, where characters exemplify great goods, such as...

    • Forming powerful bonds in the context of evil/suffering.
    • Re-forming their own evil character/prejudices for the better.
    • Sacrificially performing great feats for others (or to promote the good).
  • Stories are supreme teaching tools

    Stories are especially adept at enlarging our sympathies, as well as cultivating our mental and moral development. Jesus persistently would teach lessons and concepts through stories, and God arranges history in a story-driven way.

    “[Narrative] creates a deep and immersive simulative experience of social interactions for readers. This simulation facilitates the communication and understanding of social information and makes it more compelling, achieving a form of learning through experience. Engaging in the simulative experiences of fiction literature can facilitate the understanding of others who are different from ourselves and can augment our capacity for empathy and social inference.” [Raymond Mar, Keith Oatley, “The Function of Fiction is the Abstraction and Simulation of Social Experience” in Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol 8. No. 3 (2008), 173.]

  • Stories are heart-transforming

    Stories are able to naturally inspire us and incline us to think differently without violating our free will. They are persuasive in a way dry prose often is not.

  • Stories are world-honoring

    A true evil-conquering story intrinsically increases the value of our world; a final defeat of evil represents an eternal victory for the good, and a victory for the good is itself good. There is an experience-sharing that will go on for eternity through narrative; we will be the valued eternal story-tellers in the afterlife, tellers of our own experience and lessons. It is an honor to live in a world where man sinned, and God put into action a brilliant rescue operation exemplifying the love of Christ with a climactic conclusion.

  • Stories are person-honoring

    In stories, the protagonist is honored. Moses and other Biblical figures, for this reason, will be forever honored in the afterlife. We too have the blessed opportunity to be eternally honored in the afterlife for our good deeds in this life. Note too that there is an experience-sharing that will go on for eternity through narrative; we will be the valued eternal story-tellers in the afterlife, tellers of our own experience and lessons.