Jane Austen is thought to be one of the world's best novelists. She is also known to have been a serious Christian. Her Christian morality shaped her novels and brought her characters to life. The two are inseparable. Yet Jane wrote some highly critical even inflammatory descriptions of characters like the one for Dick Musgrove. She described characters and their actions in a manner today (2005) that many wearing purple shirts and pointy hats on Sunday would say were "unChristian". Christians today are not allowed to judge people or their actions. But Jane Austen certainly judged and those judgements did not impinge on her Christian reputation. In fact they enhanced it. What has happened over the last 200 years to cause this?Mrs. P answers the question to my satisfaction here:
I believe the cult of Sensibility and Romanticism has invaded our everyday life. It has invaded our schools, Colleges, Universities, the Human Resource Departments of most corporations and most of our churches. This is one of the reasons why Christians are required to sound like goofy babies when they speak. Why they can no longer judge people and their actions for fear of sounding unChristian. Romanticism is a demanding mistress. To be a Romantic religious person, you must always feel it - be on fire so to speak. Very tiresome because as everyone knows there are just times when you just don't feel it. Religion is not about emotion or feelings. If it is, it will disappoint you profoundly if you're lucky enough. Jane Austen understood this. This is why she did not like the Evangelical Movement. She saw it as being too dependent on feelings. Jane Austen was guided by the immutable moral standards as defined by Orthodox Christianty. As a result she was capable of great affection, great love, humor and sadness. Her characters were as well. This is why she and her novels have been so beloved for so long. This is also why they are so misunderstood.