Choosing Reading Material
Here is a checklist to determine what qualifies as suitable reading material.
As they so aptly say: It takes only one unwholesome concept in a book under the right conditions to create a miserable life, and possibly eternity.
1) Does the author depict ordinary parents as insignificant in comparison with people of a higher status or with more well known achievements?
2) Are children presented as capable of making their own decisions, almost as if they had equal decision-making ability with adults? Do we find child characters making decisions about what their parents should know? Does the author suggest that parents not even be informed about certain situations that affect the health, welfare, and even eternity of the child?
3) Does the tone of the book give credence to the idea that problems between a parent and a child arise because the parent does not “understand” the child?
4) Does the story line propagate the idea that a really good parent “finds a way” to align himself with the child’s wishes?
5) Does the story have one of those gallant, parent-supplanting outsiders who becomes the child’s champion, because he, rather than the parents, knows just how the child feels and how to win the child’s friendship?
6) Does the story contain incidents that leave a child thinking that what parents do not find out about is not a problem?
7) Does the flavor of the story and its characters leave a child thinking that he has a right to “pursue his talents”?
8) Does the story give the child the wrong idea about what to expect from life?
9) Do passages or characters disparage the idea of a woman being a woman?
10) Does the story contain unnecessary crudeness, violence, vulgarity, deception, torture, lying, hate, trickery, etc.?
11) Does the story glamorize competition?
12) Is the story an adventure story which creates lust for the excitement and the daring?
13) Are there animals with human characteristics? Are animals given an equal status with humans? Are they depicted as smarter than humans?
14) Is the story a fairy tale, fantasy tale or science fiction? Do they captivate the reader’s mind and Whisk him/her off to imaginary worlds designed to escape reality and truly functional thought? Do they contain witches and occult beings? Do they contain animals and other morphidite beings that confuse the minds of young readers, especially about God and spiritual things? Do these lifelike beings exhibit powers that rival or even exceed the miracles of God performed by Jesus?
15) Is it a romance story? Is the heroine swept off her feet with a tall, dark, and handsome prince, thereby making an ordinary God-fearing man seem dull by comparison? Will the book cause the reader to daydream about what her “sweetheart” will be like rather than equipping herself to be a serious Christian helpmeet to him to whom God gives her?
16) If the book says that it is a biography is it? Or is it a fictional story into which some historic names have been inserted and attached to characters who are really fictional and never acted or conversed as do the characters in the book. Will the reader be confused about history and think that the real figures in history said and did those things contrived by the author to make the story interesting?
17) If the book is historical fiction, can the reader understand what is history and what is fiction? Does the story, for instance, have some fictional teen-ager counseling and advising a real historical figure about real decisions and events? Will it give a young reader false ideas about history and a false, heady attitude about his/her self as he/she identifies with such fictional characters?
18) Are the children in the story respectful of, and obedient to, their parents, especially behind their parents’ backs, or does the story give subtle impressions that “kids should go ahead and be kids,” and “what Mom and Dad don’t know won’t hurt them.” It may not, but it will eventually hurt the children.
19) Does the story contain a pattern of children not being disciplined by parents for wrongdoing? Will the reader get the idea that such wrongdoing simply “isn’t a big deal?” Will the reader get the idea that consequences and restitution are not to be expected as a part of life?
20) Does the story encourage sin? No children are perfect. A story that contains a few misdemeanors which are handled promptly and properly by the parents may even be helpful in showing a reader some sin in his/her life. However, stories that elaborate on mischief, and which may even give a reader ideas of which he/she may not have thought, are not constructive.
21) How is the Word of God handled. Is it trusted and used by characters identified as Christian? Do they find their answers and wisdom in it, or do they use their own judgment or seek answers elsewhere?
22) What about prayer? If the book claims to be Christian, do the characters pray? Do they pray for spiritual things or carnal things? In other words, do they serve God, or expect Him to serve them?
As I read through their list, I can’t help but wonder if they even allow their children to read the Bible??
What, then, are the children allowed to read?