Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. – Neil Gaiman, from Coraline
This quote is often misattributed to G. K. Chesterton. Paul Nowak from The Federalist sets the record straight below:
Here is the original that Gaiman cites, from The Red Angel in Tremendous Trifles – quoted a bit more at length than usual for context:
The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it– because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. When I was a child I have stared at the darkness until the whole black bulk of it turned into one negro giant taller than heaven. If there was one star in the sky it only made him a Cyclops. But fairy tales restored my mental health, for next day I read an authentic account of how a negro giant with one eye, of quite equal dimensions, had been baffled by a little boy like myself (of similar inexperience and even lower social status) by means of a sword, some bad riddles, and a brave heart. Sometimes the sea at night seemed as dreadful as any dragon. But then I was acquainted with many youngest sons and little sailors to whom a dragon or two was as simple as the sea.
I suspect that — at the very heart of modern Christian pietism, Christian retreatism, Two-Kingdom beliefs, and both amillennialism and pre-millennialism — is the belief that dragons cannot be beaten.
Far more importantly, Christ disagrees… and has shown the way to victory. Difficult and hard, yes, but extremely rewarding and satisfying.
A road to increasingly, steady, step-by-step victories that can be had right here on earth as well as the definitive victory Christ won for us, which we will receive on our resurrection day.
What we fear is what we worship.
It’s long past time for Christians to stop fearing the sterile, bankrupt (morally and financially), profoundly corrupt, and intensely evil Secularist/Darwinist New Order. Regardless of the money and the power they have, their sun has set, their story is finished.
It’s time to, once again, fear, respect, and honour King Jesus rather than wealthy and powerful men.
Starting now, and increasingly so, forever.