SHADOWMANCER: A TANGLED TALE

By Marcia Montenegro (page 5 of 5)

Written April/May, 2004

ADDENDUM: AUTHOR G. P. TAYLOR, WHAT DOES HE SAY ABOUT HIS BOOK AND BELIEFS?

In an interview dated Sept. 26, 2003 found at http://www.zanzaro.com/shadowmancer/interview.htm (accessed 4.26.04), G. P. Taylor, the author of Shadowmancer, clearly states that his book is not Christian: "Firstly Shadowmancer is NOT a Christian book. I get emails from Muslims - Hindu's and all sorts of faith thanking me for the book." He goes on to say, "As far as religion is concerned - I am not very religious. I am a believer but don't care for all the religious trappings and man made traditions that go with it. I follow Riathamus." He also is an admirer of the Harry Potter books and of J. K. Rowling, and considers it an "accolade" to be compared to her.

In another interview, Nov. 23, 2003, at http://www.theweeweb.co.uk/gp_taylor.php (accessed 4/26/04), Taylor says: "Shadowmancer is not a Christian book, it is a book about good and evil and appeals to Jews and Muslims as well as atheists. I was ordained after youthful experiments with punk rock, druidism, the occult, and transcendental meditation. I read the Qu'ran before reading the Bible and I am just as happy to talk about the Talmud. My writing is informed as much by Judaism and Islam as it the by the Christian tradition. It is the account of an eternal truth."

Taylor answers the question of who is Jesus by saying, "Jesus was the Son of God. He was a radical theologian of the time who came to liberate women, the poor, everyone who had been oppressed. A man, fully human and divine, his miracle and power and wonder transformed the lives of those he came into contact with" (http://www.rejesus.co.uk/encounters/interview/04_gp_taylor/text_interview.html, 2003 interview, accessed 4/26/04). However, he says nothing about Jesus coming to atone for sins. When asked if Jesus can "survive" the Church, he responds: "Of course he can survive the Church, I think he is better off without the Church." He may be talking about a church that is just organized religion and not the true church, but the true church is the body of believers, and Jesus said that he loved the Church. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" and "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church" (Ephesians 5:25, 29).

More Comments from G. P. Taylor on Shadowmancer:

From http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/faith/2003/shadowmancer/index.shtml (BBC, December, 2003, accessed 4/26/04):

I didn't set out to write a Christian book, and it's not a Christian book, it's a book that deals with eternal images of faith. A lot of my readers are Muslims, and a number are Jews. Three Muslim guys turned up at the door asking me to sign their books. It appeals to them because the main character is black, he's from Ethiopia and they said to me ‘He's a Muslim, we know he's a Muslim Mr Taylor'. So they look at the book from a Muslim perspective. The Christians read it and think ‘It's a book about God', the Jews read it and think ‘It's a book about Yahweh,' really it's a monotheistic book with themes of good and evil that are familiar to all the major religions.

I wanted to make God really positive and reflect how he really is in my belief, and the belief of thousands of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

It should be pointed out that Taylor believes the Muslim God is the same as the Jewish and Christian God (see comment at same website).

From a July 3, 2003, interview at http://www.surefish.co.uk/culture/features/030703_gp_taylor_interview.htm (accessed 4/26/04): It's not a Christian book, I refuse to have it called that. Yes I've quoted from the Old Testament, but the Old Testament is the book of the Jew and the Muslim as well. That's why I did only quote from the Old Testament so that it did have an appeal for those of no faith and faith.

"I think many people today find their spirituality in literature, instead of in organized religion, and I'm trying to show the choices." G. P. Taylor, The Daily Record, 4/27/04 at http://www.dailyrecord.com/morrislife/morrislife11-shadow.htm (accessed 5/10/94).

http://www.rejesus.co.uk/encounters/interview/04_gp_taylor/text_interview.html (2003 interview, accessed 5/9/04): "I wanted to make my villains scary, frightening, horrible and realistic – something that would really frighten the crap of out the kids! If you read the Bible, especially the Old Testament in Hebrew or Greek, you will find it is quite a scary book, with very dark themes, but, like Shadowmancer, the Bible also has themes of light, hope, goodness, purity and resurrection. Always there is this great overcoming, there is redemption, light, hope, peace and, ultimately, there is the victory of good over evil. Children like to be frightened and need to learn to deal with fear. Fear also brings an excitement which then brings them on to learn and read and keep turning the pages. That's all that I wanted to do, write a book where kids turned the pages. Shadowmancer is aimed at older children. Yes it is frightening, but it's also a feel-good story

. . . .I get emails from Muslims who are convinced it is a Muslim book, from Jews who are convinced it is a book about Judaism, and from pagans who are convinced it is a book about paganism. I think the story resonates at a deep level, but my character Raphah is never named as Jesus, so to Jews he could be the coming Yeshua, to Christians he could be Jesus, to Muslims he could be the Prophet and to pagans he is in some ways an avenging angel. Shadowmancer is not a Christian book, it is a book about good and evil.

I was ordained after youthful experiments with punk rock, druidism, the occult and transcendental meditation. I read the Qu'ran before reading the Bible and I am just as happy to talk about the Talmud. My writing is informed as much by Judaism and Islam as by the Christian tradition. It is the account of an eternal truth.

I wanted to appeal to as many different people as possible, to different faith groups and people of no faith. It's a story which deals with issues of life, death, faith and hope in a "non-Goddy" way... and then people can draw their own conclusions.

[On Jesus]

. . . We have to get our heads around who Jesus really was. He was the black guy from the north of the country who didn't fit in. He was the outcast who came with these radical ideas. It was revolutionary what he had to say and if the Church could get to grips with it, it would be a completely different institution.

We have paganised Jesus, we have taken the Christian Jesus and made him into the pagan Thor, like we have taken the goddess Diana and converted her into the Blessed Virgin.

With Roman influence, Jesus became very much like Caesar, which made Christianity the legitimate religion for empire ? they couldn't have coped with Jesus the illegitimate black Jew being the key to eternal life. We have taken the established pagan religions of Rome and converted them into the liturgy and ritual of church. We are wolves in sheep's clothing.

We can have Jesus representing our particular ethnic or religious group, but let's not forget what he was really saying. We have to get back to who Jesus, the disciples and Paul really were and what they were really saying.

Jesus was the Son of God. He was a radical theologian of the time who came to liberate women, the poor, everyone who had been oppressed. A man, fully human and divine, his miracle and power and wonder transformed the lives of those he came into contact with. He is a mindblowing God. We don't do him justice, we underplay him all the time.

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