What is the main conflict in the novel "This Present Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti ?
The main conflict in this novel is the supernatural struggle between good and evil as determined by an evangelical U.S. later-twentieth century Christian perspective. On the surface, the conflict occurs between the New Age Universal Consciousness Society that is plotting to take over the small college town of Ashton and the forces of Christian good represented by pastor Hank Busche. Using Christians and those who have been corrupted by New Age ideology, angels and demons fight it out: in other words, the real conflict occurs on the supernatural or spiritual plane. The novel illustrates to its audience that one cannot be too vigilante in adhering to Biblical standards of purity and orthodoxy, for attacks arrive from those who twist the meaning of the Bible: demons come disguised as angels of light speaking words that on the surface, sound reasonable. For example, the demon of Complacency, a demon it could at first be easy to overlook, for what is wrong with (seeming) contentment?, gets its "taloned fingers" dug into the town's newspaper editor, Marshall Hogan. Prayer thus becomes an important weapon for fighting the devious ways of the demons trying to infiltrate human souls: we all need spiritual guidance to help us discern good and evil. The book can be criticized as an imperfect work of literature but it has been influential in encouraging prayer and theological orthodoxy in the evangelical world.