"Retcon" is short for retroactive continuity
, and it is a technique for resolving discrepancies in serial fictional works. What is less well-known is how well the concept works for various theological apologetics.
Now for some theological retcons:
So the idea of retroactive continuity makes the nature of a lot of theological apologetics much clearer. Greta Christina blogged on that in Why Religion Is Like Fanfic
, along with some broader issues.
Isn't this essentially the process of rationalization of encountered "facts" in order to reduce psychological dissonance? Those interested should see the works of Leon Festinger on Cognitive Dissonance.
WRT the relationship between the nature of historical narrative, fiction, and the rationalizations individuals will make to reduce cognitive dissonance, it should be noted that postmodern linguistic theorists such as Hayden V. White (see the 40 page introduction to his 1974 book Metahistory
) and others say that historians and writers of fiction both employ the exact same linguistic rules to create narratives. In other words, modern historians "emplot" their explanations using conventions such as Romance, Tragedy, Comedy & Satire. They also employ Arguments to support their plots, such as Formist, Mechanist, Organist and Contextualist arguments. What is more, historians also embed in their narratives elements of their personal Ideology, such as Anarchism, Radicalism, Conservatism and Liberalism. It is like Mr. Spock's 3D chess game.
In short, it is a phenomenological process: making "sense out of nonsense". Both historians and writers of fan-fiction, then, make sense of the "past" in light of what is important to them (or their audience) today. It does not mean that the past, or the discontinuous statements, do not exist and beg explanation, only that we tend to get what we want to get, so any analysis of fan-fiction or historical narratives requires deconstruction of what was said so the facts can be studied more clearly.