The Colour Out of Space

Don’t read this story by H.P. Lovecraft, famous American author of horror from the early 1900s. Like many of his works, it is seriously disturbing and perfectly reflects his philosophy of the universe, which is completely antithetical to Christianity.

A meteorite, filled with strange color, falls from the sky onto American farmland. It begins to change the the plant and animals life, altering it in unsettling ways. The water is tainted, and soon the crops become inedible. The animals turn odd shapes as well. Eventually, everything turns gray and crumbles to dust, including the family who lives on the land.

Cheery, huh? Lovecraft believed that humans are totally insignificant on a universal scale, and that any attempt to find meaning would end in disaster and horror. He called this philosophy “Cosmicism” and wrote stories filled with alien terrors indifferent to humanity.  

This is what makes the meteorite in the story so horrifying. It is not hostile towards humanity. It is just indifferent. It changes and alters humans and their familiar biosphere, not out of malice, but for some unknown reason. The real horror comes not from the destruction of the landscape and inhabitants, but in the meaninglessness of it all.

This is Lovecraft’s philosophy, and it shows in his other stories as well. Sometimes the narrators of the stories find evidence of non-human races that lived on the ancient earth before humans, and sometimes the aliens come from space. In either case, the message is obvious: in the wide scope of things, humans don’t matter.

Christianity, by contrast, is anthropocentric. The universe has a creator, who knows it all, and sustains it moment by moment. Lovecraft supposes powerful beings, but not an all-powerful one.

This God created human beings above all creation, in his own image. He even took on human flesh, died, and rose from the dead to bring eternal life to human beings. Humans are the most important part of creation, and not insignificant at all. The universe was made for us.

The contrast wasn’t lost on Lovecraft. He ridiculed Christianity as manipulating emotions, while claiming that he didn’t care for immortality, and that he wished he was something other than human. His view of the race could hardly have been dimmer.

Lovecraft’s philosophy led to horrifying stories, but Christian philosophy could lead to stories beautiful, adventurous, and fun, with likable characters, humor, and a purpose-infused, human-centric universe.

Let us know what you think Christians could do to reflect our worldview in our stories!

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