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Faith in anything besides Himself?
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Alec Trevelyan: Of course you'd say that, James Bond, her majesty's loyal terrier, defender of the so-called faith.
--Golden Eye (1995)
Does James Bond have faith in anything but himself?
Ian Fleming gave Bond a Scottish father Andrew Bond, which for this blogger indicates 007 was a protestant of some description. Fleming himself was brought up in the non-conformist tradition and from time to time worried about the moral effect Bond was having. As this letter to a vicar who had preached against the books indicates.
“ In a letter to the Rev. Leslie Paxton, of the Great George Street Congregational Church, Liverpool, he revealed a side of himself few of his friends can have suspected:
I see from the public prints that the Sunday before last you preached a sermon against the leading in my books, James Bond, and, presumably by association, against myself.
Now, having had a Scottish nonconformist upbringing and considering myself at least some kind of a sub-species of a Christian, I am naturally very upset if it is thought that I am seriously doing harm to the world with my James Bond thrillers.
Would you be so very kind and let me have a copy, if you have one, of your sermon, so I may see the burden of your criticisms and perhaps find means of mending my ways if I feel that your arguments have real weight behind them.
I can, of course, myself see what you mean about my books, but it occurs to me that you may have put forward profounder arguments than those that are already known to me.” (From John Pearson's Life of Ian Fleming).
The apparent lack of moral framework in the novels caused some reviewers to label them "anti-Christian" but Kingsley Amis put it well when he rebutted those accusations.
“I should have thought that a fairly orthodox moral system, vague perhaps but none the less recognizable through accumulation, pervades all Bond’s adventures. Some things are regarded as good: loyalty, fortitude, a sense of responsibility, a readiness to regard one’s safety, even one’s life, as less important than the major interests of one’s organization and one’s country. Other things are regarded as bad: tyranny, readiness to inflict pain on the weak or helpless, the unscrupulous pursuit of money or power. These distinctions aren’t excitingly novel, but they are important, and as humanist and/or Christian as the average reader would want. They constitute quite enough in the way of an ethical frame of reference, assuming anybody needs or looks for or ought to have one in adventure fiction at all.” (From The James Bond Dossier 1965)
In an interesting turn modern day Christians use the secret agent as an evangelism tool. Former Bond girl turned Vicar Shannon Ledbetter may well draw on her time as Bond's love interest to talk about the love of God in her sermons or use these Bible study notes "What does the Bible say about James Bond 007, threats and thrills, guns and girls".
Was James Bond religious? Never say never again.
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|mkfreeberg||Faith In Anything Besides Himself? (page: 1 2)||23||Dec 11 2011, 7:45 AM EST by Anonymous|
Thread started: Jul 18 2008, 10:52 AM EDT Watch
Interesting article. Discusses the conflicts Ian Fleming had with some of the the church elders who felt his thrillers were "anti-Christian," etc.
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