Today we're going to discuss why Christians should read fiction. If you are a lover of fiction, it's no doubt that you're heard all sorts of arguments against spending time reading it. In fact, a commenter just this week on my blog said she's heard it referred to as emotional porn. The very concept of Christian fiction had a huge battle to face in conservative circles and is, in my opinion, still facing those battles in its attempts to grow. Is there any value in reading fiction for Christians? Why are some people so resistant to the idea of reading fiction? If you DON'T read fiction, why don't you read it? (Please keep in mind we are talking about ALL fiction and not just Christian fiction)
The best books--regardless of publishers, regardless of labels--are those with complex characters that engage the reader on multiple layers. Books that make you think. Books that make you feel. Books that make you question perhaps. Books that leave an impression, make an impact.
I think most of what I read has some value. (Maybe the equivalent of a candy bar at times.) But I think almost all of it has something of value, of worth. Even if that something is just to illustrate the world's fallenness, its brokenness, its need for a Savior. I just finished a book actually that was about the meaninglessness of life, of the brokenness of humanity, of feeling hopeless and it had characters making really poor choices. And I didn't like what I was reading. Not really. Yet now that I think back on it, I see that those characters just had really big God-shaped holes. They were men and women living in darkness. They, of course, didn't realize their need for a Savior, didn't realize that there was someone who could save them, who could love them, who could redeem their lives from the ugly brokenness and the messy muck they had gotten themselves into. But I could. Of course I really really doubt that that was the author's intent. But still. If you bring God with you into the reading experience, you can get something (be it big or small) from it.