1. Steve Taylor says:

    Good article. Before I was a believer I read whatever I wanted to (my grandmother owned a bookstore). Although things were not the same back in the day, not everything was safe. I quickly learned that good books had to be sought out, they just didn’t happen by chance. In the US there are over 500, 000 books published every year. That leaves about 499, 950 books I will not be reading this year. I think that the odds are in my favor to read 50 really good books.

    Now as a follower of Christ I find that I really enjoy reading fiction that helps me in my walk is what I really enjoy reading. Of course not all fiction written by Christians is good or theologically sound so even there discernment must be practiced. I occasionally go to the library and pick up audio books of the classics to listen to on my long commutes but mainly my reading lines up with God’s Word. I had a decade and a half of secular philosophy in my formidable years and I’m done with it.

    BTW. I am reading my first Amish book. Yes, it’s Kerry Nietz’s Amish Vampires in Space. And no I did not pick it because it’s controversial. And yes, it’s very good. Pick up a copy if you want to be cool.

  2. bainespal says:

    I once read an atheist nonficton book, an anthology of essays defending atheism and smearing God. I didn’t have enough motivation to read the whole book, but I read enough of the essays to be seriously disturbed.

    I don’t regret it. I did it because there was a very vocal atheist in my class, who I had run into before and argued with. I realized that if we were going to understand each other, someone needed to take the initiative to descend into the worldview that we perceived to be warped and ignorant. As a Christian, I figured that should be me. That’s what Christ did, and in my pathetic little attempt to imitate Christ, I asked the atheist to find me a book on atheism of community college’s library.

    Motives are at the heart of choosing what to read, I think.

    Agreed, but I don’t think the affect that you think the book will have on you is a good reason for deciding not to read a particular book. At least not always. We can’t predict how a book will affect us.

    I’m pretty sure that the true purpose of discernment is for the benefit of others, not for our own safety. If someone saw me reading that atheist book and thought, Paul must be an atheist now. Maybe I should be an atheist too, then my public act of reading the book would have been bad. That example would never have happened, of course, because no one is that shallow, but discernment out of concern for others might be more relevant for entertainment.

What do you think?