By Dan Wooding —
If you enjoy being scared to death, Stephen King is the writer for you. He is the master of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy and his books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books.
King’s other much-anticipated new novel Joyland, has just been released from publisher Hard Case Crime.The popular master of the macabre has sprung a big surprise that will astonish many of his fans. In a recent interview with Terry Gross of National Public Radio (NPR), he revealed that he believes in God and intelligent design, and he also shared about his personal faith experience.
When asked by Gross about his belief in God and whether it has changed over time, King replied, “I choose to believe it. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together.
King went on to say, “But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality – the big guy’s personality. And the thing is – I may have told you last time that I believe in God – what I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I’m totally inconsistent.”
On whether he was interested in the supernatural as a child, he said, “At some point a lot of interviewers just turn into Dr. Freud and put me on the couch and say, ‘What was your childhood like?’ And I say various things and I confabulate a little bit and kind of dance around the question as best I can, but bottom line: My childhood was pretty ordinary, except from a very early age I wanted to be scared. I just did. I was scared afterward.
“I wanted a light on because I was scared. There was something in the closet. My imagination was very active even at a young age. For instance, there was a radio program at the time called Dimension X, and my mother didn’t want me to listen to that because she felt it was too scary for me, so I would creep out of bed and go to the bedroom door and crack it open. And she loved it, so apparently I got it from her, but I would listen at the door and then when the program was over I’d go back to bed and quake.”
Carnival Workers and Televangelists
King, the author of The Shining, The Green Mile, and Dreamcatcher, which were all adapted into full-length motion pictures, then told Gross about the connection between carnival workers and televangelists, saying, “It isn’t overt in the book, but, sure, I think that we have a lot of carny aspects to life in America – everything from television and the movies to our religion. And we can see from the megachurches that – my goodness, Terry – people love a show.
“You can have a nice Methodist church somewhere in Oak Park, Ill., if you want it. People are going to come and they’re going to sit there and the organ’s going to play and that’s all terrific, but what I want is down in the ‘amen’ corner, Jesus jumping. I want that big choir with the people swaying from side to side, ‘Ooooh, God,’ and I want the electric guitar.
“Then I want the preacher where the guy’s going to walk back and forth and not just stand like a stick behind the pulpit. He’s going to, you know, shake his fist a little bit in the air and then he’s going to smile and throw his hands up and say, ‘God’s good! God’s great! Can you give me hallelujah?’ I just adore that. And it’s really only about two steps from the carny pitchman, because I like that, too.”
When asked what scares him now, King said, “It’s been quite a while since I was really afraid that there was a boogeyman in my closet, although I am still very careful to keep my feet under the covers when I go to sleep, because the covers are magic and if your feet are covered, it’s like boogeyman kryptonite. And I’m not as afraid of that as I used to be. The supernatural stuff doesn’t get to me anymore.”
“So here’s the movie that scared me the most in the last 12 or 13 years: The movie opens with a woman in late middle age, sitting at a table and writing a story, and the story goes something like, ‘Then the branches creaked in the …’ and she stops and she says to her husband, ‘What are those things? I can’t think of them. They’re in the backyard and they’re very tall and birds land on the branches.’ And he says, ‘Why, Iris, those are trees,’ and she says, ‘Yes, how silly of me,’ and she writes the word and the movie starts. And that’s Iris Murdoch and she’s suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s the boogeyman in the closet now. … I’m afraid of losing my mind.”
When asked whether his writing changed after being hit by a car and becoming addicted to OxyContin, a habit he has since kicked, King said, “When I said that I wasn’t going to write or when I was going to retire, I was doing a lot of OxyContin for pain. And I was still having a lot of pain and it’s a depressive drug anyway, and I was kind of a depressed human being because the therapy was painful. The recovery was slow and the whole thing just seemed like too much work, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll concentrate on getting better and I probably won’t want to write anymore.’ But as health and vitality came back, the urge to write came back.
‘The prospect of imminent death has a wonderful clarifying effect on the mind’
“But here’s the thing: I’m on the inside and I’m not the best person to ask if my writing changed after that accident. I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know that … was close, that was really being close to stepping out. The accident, and a couple years later I had double pneumonia and that was close to stepping out of this life as well, and I think you have a couple of close brushes with death like that, it probably has [an effect]. Somebody said, ‘The prospect of imminent death has a wonderful clarifying effect on the mind,’ and I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think it causes some changes, some evolution in the way a person works, but on a day-by-day basis I just still enjoy doing what I’m doing.”
Note: I once interviewed Stephen King and that is why I was so fascinated to discover that he is now revealing a new side to his personality — a faith in God and belief in intelligent design — that no one who has read his chilling books thought would be possible. Maybe it would be good to pray for this exceptional writer; that this will now be more reflected in his books and movies. His new book is called Joyland, and maybe now that he has come out into the open about his beliefs, he would experience a lot more joy in his own life.
As Jesus once said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10:10 (New International Version). May that be the experience of not just Stephen King, but all of us as well. — ASSIST News
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here