Do nonbelievers see Christians as Alices in Wonderland? The latest movie adaptation of Lewis Carroll's 1865 story made me wonder.
In this version, courtesy of director Tim Burton, Alice is 19-years-old, with vague memories of a childhood dream about visiting an underground fantasy land. When a snobby suitor suddenly proposes marriage – a prospect Alice (Mia Wasikowska) regards as a prison sentence – she flees into a garden, discovers an opening in the ground and makes an unintended return trip to Wonderland.
While Carroll’s book strongly suggests that Alice’s adventures were a daydream, this take offers two options. Either Wonderland actually exists (I’ve seen stranger things in Tim Burton films), or it exists only in Alice’s head, as a place to escape to when the awfulness of the real world bears down.
To skeptics, Christians are the Alice of the latter option. In their eyes, the Christian faith is nothing more than elaborate fiction, full of fanciful characters (the Trinity), fantastic events (the resurrection) and a fairy-tale ending (eternal life). In this view, Christians who prioritize the world to come over present-day reality are both burying their heads in the sand and sticking them down the rabbit hole.
How, then, can those of faith persuade nonbelievers that we’re engaged in more than an escapist fantasy? How can believers counter this image of themselves as Alice or, even worse, the Mad Hatter?
Well, it may not be up to us. Sure, you could argue that Alice’s real and imagined worlds intermingle in the same way that the spiritual and earthly realms do for Christians (she applies lessons from one to the other, etc.) But in the end, trying to “prove” Christianity is as futile of an undertaking as trying to prove the existence of Wonderland. It takes faith to be a Christian, and often such faith only comes directly from God. So join the tea party along with Alice and the Mad Hatter – and don’t worry so much about the skeptics clinging to the here and now.