| reading non Chrisitan books?|
I found myself in the middle of a discussion about a few books last night and I was hoping to hear some thoughts from some who frequent here. We were talking about the Harry Potter books and how they are not really beneficial for Christians to be reading. Some in the group disagreed. The topic then got brought up about other books, such as Hamlet, Macbeth, King Aurther and the knights of the round table, Lord of the Rings all deal with magic to some degree or have magic in them. Should Christians be avoiding these books to? I have read some of these books for school and really didn't think about it at the time, but last night I did not have an answer?
| 2009/8/29 16:10||Profile|
| Re: reading non Chrisitan books?|
I agree that we shopuld be careful what we read as Christians. What we read influences how we see things. I think the books you mentioned though, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are good books. They clearly define evil and good and there is very strong Christian imagery and message in both regardless of whether it was intentional. They open people to the concept of Lordship in a spiritual sense, a spiritual battle, a need to choose carefully which side you are on, rely on the strength of the "lord" whose side you choose. Dumbledore or Voldemort in Harry Potter; Gandalf or Sauron in Lord of the Rings. The need to persevere, take action, fight the good fight to deliver all those unaware of what is going on in their world. There is inevitably a sacrifice to be paid, Harry Potter has to die, So does Gandalf ( although he comes back much like aslan in narnia), Frodo must undertake a terrible journey into the darkest place carrying the weight of evil around his neck in the form of a ring. He must choose not to love his own life but give it up and struggle tired as he is up mount doom (mount calvary?) into the enemies hands to destroy it forever. Sound familiar?
I think that discernment is needed. Much non christian literature is strongly Christian, though obviously not all. Some books that do harm are " christian" eg "the shack" ( no offence to people who liked it, i didn't agree with its view of God and found it dangerous).
| 2009/8/29 19:12||Profile|
| Re: |
thank for sharing your thoughts here. I am seeing more every day that I need to be very watchful of what I put before my eyes. Few years ago I would not have thought about some of these books as being dangerous, now I am seeing things differently.
Anyway thanks for responding.
| 2009/8/29 19:53||Profile|
| Re: |
I think that discernment is needed. Much non christian literature is strongly Christian, though obviously not all. Some books that do harm are " christian" eg "the shack" ( no offence to people who liked it, i didn't agree with its view of God and found it dangerous). A.J
I couldn't agree more. Discernment is important and it comes through the leading of the Holy Spirit and the reading of God's word, the Bible. As long as we remain steeped in God's word, the reading of fiction can be enjoyable and potentially harmful content can easily be recognized and classified as such.
Discernment is EVEN more important in reading material called "Christian literature" because here there is a danger of swallowing false teaching hook, line, and sinker through misplaced trust in the "Christian" label. Being steeped in God's word is critical to avoid pitfalls here.
I share your view of "The Shack" which many consider a Christian book -- I consider it blasphemous and dangerous. Any author, no matter how well-intended, who attempts to capture the character(s) of God in a work of fiction, and who brazenly identifies these characters openly as "God the Father", "God the Son", and "God the Holy Spirit" is not only bound to fail, but also bound to mislead others in their understanding of almighty God. Its is a dangerous work that is disrespectful of the majesty of God.
This book is immensely popular, and I am not surprised, for scripture says that the world will love its own (Jn 15:18-19).
| 2009/8/29 20:01||Profile|
North Central Florida
| 2009/8/30 12:23||Profile|
| Re: |
I have a question: with many good books out there, why choose to read books that use devilish imagery? those that raise doubts as to whether they should be read?
One cannot be careful enough about what books are safe to read. For example, I loved the "Anne of Green Gables" series. The author L. M. Montgomery also wrote the "Emily" series. These books are trash! I read one or two and was thoroughly disappointed, no maybe almost angry. Just because they are old books, written in the early 1900s does not guarantee that they are edifying. Harold Bell Wright was a prolific writer but I do not like his either - they will kill their enemies and feel good about it.
(EDIT: Maybe I am spoiled? I grew up reading Danny Orlis books by Bernard Palmer.)
So, what are good books? Good question....I would guess it may take time and lots of reading to determine what writers are to be trusted.
| 2009/8/30 15:50||Profile|
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Perhaps this suggestion avoids a hard-and-fast answer to the original question, but I try to ask whether I am confident that reading or watching a particular thing will directly benefit Christ and His Church. That cuts out almost everything questionable.
If I were a pastor and had to respond directly to the arguments of a vain philosopher, or write a detailed critique of a popular work of fiction, I might be persuaded to read those books.
Generally, there's something more obviously edifying and beneficial to read, watch, or do... so why should I be bothering with lesser things?
| 2009/8/30 19:21||Profile|
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I kinda feel like I should come back and clarify something. I do not nor have I ever read any of the Harry Potter books. I have a relative and some friends who like to give me a hard time about this and the other night we got into a discussion on this topic and someone mentioned that when I was in school I read Hamlet, Macbeth, and the tales of King Aurther(these were required reading for me at the time in my literature class) They brought up the fact that these books all deal with magic just like Harry Potter does so what what he difference. At the time I guess I felt a bit ganged up on and I did not really have an answer to them in what the difference was. I posted thinking that I was looking for an answer about why one of these books is better then the others but have since prayed about it and realize that my answer is simply this, I don't read any of these books now because they do all deal with things that I feel the Lord leading me to have no part in:-)
Any way just wanted to clear things up and thanks for all the great replies.
| 2009/8/30 19:43||Profile|
| Re: reading non Chrisitan books?|
I found myself in the middle of a discussion about a few books last night and I was hoping to hear some thoughts from some who frequent here. We were talking about the Harry Potter books and how they are not really beneficial for Christians to be reading.
I am not really a frequent here, but couldn't pass on this question you asked!
In general we know that God hates magic. Simply because excercising any powers not from God can never lead to God (if it would God would love magic).
How come we can be entertained by that which God hates? When I married (yes, for the ppl who still remember me.. I'm married now :-P), we decided to not have anything in this house which is against God. But to my shame we did start to compromise here and there and had to "clean out" dvd's and games again.
Acts 19:19 "19 And not a few of them that practised magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."
I wonder, would those guys have burned Harry Potter? :-)
| 2009/9/1 14:00||Profile|
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I think it's a matter of personal conscience. I personally genuinely believe Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to be good and find especially Lotr very edifying spiritually.
Thanks for the links. Half of my degree was philosophy in literature so i guess to me the most important thing in weighing a book or film is it's message or its messages. I would like to write teen fiction one day. Personally I wouldn't use magic as a story telling means as I agree it should be completely avoided. C.S. Lewis however thought otherwise and I wouldn't condemn any of the Narnia books because he has used magical wardrobes, magic rings and mythological creatures.I think they are good not because they are entertaining- that's neither here nor there morally- but because the key messages of Narnia (and Lotr) illustrate the Christian message.
I am from an occult background myself and recognize the message of paganism and "magic". It's there in Phillip Pullmans books, it's there in the huge selection of vampire stuff targeted at teenagers, It's strong in Paulo Coelho s popular books ( lots of christians tend to like "the alchemist", which is pure evil in disguise although containing no use of magic i can recall). I try to read what my peers read in order to be able to discuss it when needed, not that I think everyone should do that. But back to the point, i sense no pagan message in Lotr, or Narnia. Harry Potter i thought was fine, probably because the author has no background or interest in the occult and all of the "magic" in it is just story telling device not pagan philosophy.
I'm not trying to say that anyone who doesn't feel right about Harry Potter or Lotr or Narnia that they should change their mind and read them. I think that it's up to individual conscience. And if someone's conscience says no then they shouldn't read them. And I do appreciate people may want to change my mind as I understand what it's like to try to convince people that things are wrong and damaging. I spend enough time telling people to avoid things myself; James Bond films (terrible role model), Friends ( teenage girls 60% more likely to get pregnant apparently if they watch it),Skins (pure, pure evil, this made me very upset and all the british teens are watching it, if you are a parent please watch an episode, someone should be petitioning for it to go off the air). But although i respect your position, i find it's whats inside a story that can harm not the outside shell.
If someone said that everything that has magic in it should be banned then we wouldn't have the precious word of God itself. A.J.
| 2009/9/4 16:19||Profile|