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.

Some snippets.

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?

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Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2013, in Books, Christian Living, Fundamentalism. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I don’t know if it would ever survive down to #10, but there is no way the Bible passes this one:

    “10) Does the story contain unnecessary crudeness, violence, vulgarity, deception, torture, lying, hate, trickery, etc.?”

    see, e.g., Job, Isaac. From my read the Bible fails 8 and 9, though, so maybe you don’t get to 10.

    Wait, wait, the Bible fails #1 and #2! Luke 2. Awesome.

    “7) Does the flavor of the story and its characters leave a child thinking that he has a right to “pursue his talents”?”

    Ummmm, that’s what I want my children to do. What is the alternative?

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  2. I could go through every single item on that checklist and find a Bible story, or book of the Bible, that would violate their criteria. I started to, actually, but then thought, ‘Why bother?’

    I’m really at a loss as to what books would pass muster.

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  3. My oldest struggles with being timid with respect to certain things, which I only hope is not an unknowing result of something I am doing or have done as a parent. I like it when she reads books about strong and independent children (particularly with girls as protagonists although for the time being I think I am going to have to be happy with strong women in supporting roles as she seems to want to chew through the Harry Potter series), I hope in some way those help her find her voice as she continues to grow and learn.

    Whoever wrote that list probably thinks the Harry Potter series are occult books. Nutters.

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  4. I’m sorry, I just have to rant. This whole list just blows my mind. It’s ridiculous, and what’s worse is it’s insulting and demeaning to subject children to read only books which pass this test. It sets up a twisted, cloudy window of a perfect world, when of course the real world is not like that. It’s full of swearing, drugs, alcohol, sex, homosexuality, deceit, narcissism, immaturity and a whole lot more. What do the parents do when their children finally grow up and step out into the real world? I wouldn’t be surprised if they (the children) had panic attacks and decided to hermits for the rest of their lives. We need to immerse culture, not shelter our children from it. It’s degrading to expect children cannot handle subjects like this, and then expect them to turn into fully functional adults. Children naturally doubt. They question. They make mistakes, like everybody else, and they learn from them. But here, they’re being brainwashed, and it makes me sick.

    For the record, I think the Harry Potter series is one of the best things to happen to children’s literature because it doesn’t shy away from subjects like death, good, evil, dating, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, the strength of the human spirit and, most importantly, the power of love. People say Harry Potter’s evil because it’s full of magic and witchcraft and sorcery, but through and through, the messages in it are about the battle between good and evil and the eventual victory of love over all. (After all, Dumbledore did say love is the most powerful kind of magic.)

    There. Rant over. At least for now. Thank you for sharing this.

    Lily

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  5. Rant away, Lily!

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