Do Christians want to read a different kind of fiction than non-Christians?

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Posted 7 years.

2 Comments

  • Cameron Engel - 7 years ago

    Food sacrificed to idols.

    Intrinsically there is no problem with most forms. But people have varying responses and reactions, so one person's prohibitions will be different than another's.

    Mark 7:15 says that nothing from outside the body can defile a man, but what comes from inside is what makes him unclean. With literature, that is a matter of personal discipline and reflection. There are people who cannot read the Song of Solomon without some prurient interest. That is a matter of uncleanness coming from inside the person. If our minds turn to hate when we read of God's justice in the Bible, and we start wishing God's wrath on people different than ourselves, the uncleanness is coming from inside us.

    Similarly, if modern secular literature causes us to sin in those ways, we probably shouldn't be reading it. I personally draw the line before Anne Rice, for example, because the prurience of bondage, subservience and torture is not what I want to flavor my world. I have read some of her stuff and reject it on that basis. It isn't sufficient for me that she explain it away as the character of vampires.

    There might be other reasons we don't read some things. But it certainly is not restricted to the choice between Christian and non-Christian writing. I think some Christian writing focuses so heavily on the Schadenfreude of the unsaved that we build up callouses against those people and prejudice ourselves against them. Some of the televangelist drivel that tries to get us to hate the rest of the world while smugly congratulating ourselves for not being like them sounds eerily like the story of the Pharisee and the Publican, and is worth less than some of the agnostic or atheistic literature out there. And, yes, I know you are asking about fiction. The principle is broader than the genre.

    I think the question is the wrong question. I think the right question is whether each one of us has the capability to discern when we are opening up our own Pandora's box and releasing our uncleanness to the world instead of showing the world the love of Christ. Sanitized writing stamped with a religious fish is no better for us than solid writing by skilled writers. In many cases it is worse; it lulls us into a false sense of truth.

  • Peggy Wilmeth Carr - 7 years ago

    Becky, when I looked at your list, it was like looking at a smorgasbord. There are some things that are not, or should not, be attractive to Christians, who want to stay on target with the Lord, IMHO--if it only were, so humble.

    I was interested in Chuck Colson's "take" on Alfred Hitchcock's work. He thought it not only valid, but inspiring, because the plots always included the fact that the good guys win. So I have been thinking about that, a lot, and recently read through a book, quickly, that made me extremely uncomfortable, so I could have a better familiarity with writing page-turners. I didn't, as I thought I would, have any nightmares from the book, (a mystery about horrific crime) but I haven' t been able to forget my unusually graphic recollections of certain scenes, despite the fact I knew all along they were fictitious.

    So, this is my point. I think everybody is affected in some way, by everything they think and hear and see. There are people who are able to be affected less than others, and every Christian is responsible to God for what they put into their mind, as food for the Holy Spirit. It either feeds the Work and Life of the Holy Spirit within us, or it quenches the Work and Life of the Holy Spirit.

    The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." I don't think this means that, if you think about doing the dishes, your whole life is about doing the dishes! I think this means that whatever you read and regard highly, affects your life to the degree you regard it. Since I know the Bible is True, I regard it highly and I tend to remember things about it that I wouldn't remember about an ordinary book. I have heard it said that,whatever you read today, you become, in five years. It makes me want to read the Bible and inspirational things, because I want to be an inspiring person, but I don't want to be single-faceted person and I know God is multifaceted.

    In the Bible, we have, interestingly enough, many of the genres you mention, but some are missing, and the question I would pose is, are they missing for a reason, other than to allow us more creativity? Is the set of genres in the Bible, in fact, a model for us?

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