Skip to main content

Why should I read fiction books?

Russell Moore provides a helpful answer on the value of reading fiction to Christians :
Fiction helps the Christian to learn to speak in ways that can navigate between the boring abstract and the irrelevant mundane. It also enables you to learn insights about human nature. I’ve never had a problem with drug addiction. I can’t imagine why on earth anyone would take meth. Reading stories of life in Eastern Kentucky and about the motivations behind a meth addict can teach me to address those things biblically, and to see where I have similar idolatry that would be just as incomprehensible to someone else.

I would say that fiction, along with songwriting and personal counseling, are the most constant ways that God teaches me empathy. It’s easy in evangelical Christianity to assume that everyone who opposes us or disagrees with us is simply to be verbally evaporated as an enemy to be destroyed. But no false teaching and no wrong direction has any power unless it appears to someone to be good. Jesus teaches us that those who hand over the disciples to be killed will “think themselves to be doing the will of God.” Almost everyone is the hero in his or her own personal narrative.

People don’t think of themselves the way super-villains do in some old cartoon, rubbing their hands together and plotting “the reign of eeeee-vil in the world. Ha ha ha ha!” Fiction helps people honestly present those internal stories that people tell themselves, things they won’t disclose in, say, a debate or a non-fiction monograph arguing for their way of life. In fiction, a Darwinist can show you what it’s like to be scared that you’re living a meaningless life in a meaningless universe, but he can also show you where he finds those things, like awe and love, that he can only ultimately find in God.
I think those are three great reasons why fictional stories should be read - insight into human nature; teaches us; and allowing us to understand individual narratives. Moore adds further that fictional writing is part of the creation mandate because in writing good fiction we are living out God's creative purpose. We are thinking God's creative thoughts after Him. I would of course add that what is true of fiction is also true of fiction based movies! Christians must watch fiction movies for the same reason. 

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor

Beverly Knight closed the opening ceremony of the Paralympics with what has been dubbed the signature tune of the Paralympics. I had no idea Ms Knight is still in the singing business. And clearly going by the raving reviews she will continue to be around. One media source says her performance was so electric that "there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as she sang the lyrics to the song and people even watching at home felt the passion in her words" . The song was Gloria Gaynor's I am what I am . Clearly not written by Gloria Gaynor but certainly musically owned and popularized by her. It opens triumphantly: I am what I am / I am my own special creation / So come take a look / Give me the hook or the ovation / It's my world that I want to have a little pride in / My world and it's not a place I have to hide in / Life's not worth a damn till you can say I am what I am The words “I am what I am” echo over ten times in the song. A bold declaration that she

The Gold of Affliction

Suppose that a loving father in some high room, throws down a bag of gold to his child, and it falls on the child's head causing injury. While the child is feeling the pain, he is impatient and troubled; while he looks only at the leather bag he is not thankful; but when he looks into the bag, and sees what a great deal of gold his father has given him, then he speaks well of his father, notwithstanding the injury to his head. Affliction is a bag of gold given to the people of God; though it seems from outside like a bad leather bag, yet there is gold within it. As long as we simply stare at the bag, or focus only on the suffering, we are not thankful, we do not praise the Lord, but are much discouraged; but if we would look into the bag, and count our gold, then we would have comfort, and not be discouraged. I tell you from the Lord, there is gold within; look in this bag, the bag of affliction; count over all the gold which the Lord has given you in this affliction, and then you

Workers for Your Joy (A Review)

Workers for your Joy (WFYJ) is about what Christ calls leaders in his church to be and do, particularly the teaching office in the church (i.e. pastor or elder).  It presents a biblical vision of leadership by going through the fifteen qualifications of elders listed 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The central question Mathis is basically asking is – how should we pastor or lead the church in light of these qualifications? The target audience of the book seems to be those who are in the early stages of pastoral ministry. The book was part of the seminary syllabus at Bethlehem. However, the author does explicitly state that the book is also meant to be of use to church members in considering what Christ expects of leadership in the local church.   Mathis has written this book because he believes leadership has fallen on hard times. The church in the west and the society around us has become increasingly discontent with being led due to the high-profile cases that have sprung about leadership.