Do you ever find yourself conflicted when reading books--does your faith ever stand in the way of you 'enjoying' other books--secular books? Do you try to read only Christian books? Do you read 'secular' books regularly? Have you ever enjoyed a book but hesitated to share it with your Christian friends? Do you think you should judge a book critically looking through the lens of faith...or do you think that fiction is fiction and that it's just a story? When does entertainment become dangerous?This question was in part inspired by a recent review I read of Coraline. (The movie which they rated as "very offensive.") I haven't seen the movie, but I have read the book. And while I didn't love, love, love the book. (Just enjoyed it.) I certainly didn't bring a thousand and one spiritual implications to it. Didn't see it as an attack of Christianity by any means. But I wasn't looking for places to be offended. The other thing that inspired me was the release of Twilight, the movie. (Compare it to that site's review of Twilight, which they rated positively. My question? Does lack of sex between Bella and Edward really make this one Christian-friendly? Yes, it's good that the two don't have sex. But it isn't from Bella's lack of desire. She'd have Edward in an instant. Especially in later books she is begging for it all the time. It is his old-fashioned values and his restraint that keep the two from having sex before marriage. Bella's no role model--or at least she shouldn't be for young girls.)
I think one's faith will always effect your reading of a book in (at least) a small way. You can't divorce yourself from your faith completely. But it doesn't have to be the only way you see the world. In other words, I don't look for ways to be offended. I don't bring to my reading the attitude that I need to scrutinize and examine every single word (and punctuation mark) for hidden-and-not-so-hidden attacks, affronts, and slams to the Christian faith. If you go into it with the idea that every single book you read is dangerous and offensive, then you'll find lots of dangers and offenses.
I think it is easy for some people--as hard as it is for me to grasp--to assume that if you read about it or see it on tv, you'll want to do it. If a fictional character has a beer at a party, you'll want to go out and do the same. If a fictional character has sex, you'll want to go out and have sex too. If a fictional teenage heroine gets pregnant and has a baby, you'll want to go out--on purpose--and have one too. I don't think it works like that.
That being said, some things DO offend me. Some things I do feel uncomfortable with. There are books that I categorize as not-for-me because they clash so much with my faith and worldview. There are books that I would say are better left unread by Christians and their families. But I would never go out of my way to act as an alarmist either. There is no one way for a Christian to react to a book. There isn't an absolute "the christian's reaction" to this or that book or movie. You see a large spectrum of reviews, reactions, responses to every thing. And just because one Christian is offended doesn't mean that every Christian will be.
Reading is subjective. I can HONESTLY SAY that there are books and movies which I wish to this day that I hadn't read or watched. Because I wish I could purify my mind.
But I think the more strongly you're grounded in the faith--in the word of God; in your relationship with Jesus--the better you'll be. "Dangerous" ideas can't shake your faith if it's strong and grounded.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible