Something that I think every Christian wonders is if we should read secular fiction or not.
In secular entertainment in general, there is a lot of bad content that isn’t wholesome in anyway. However, I will say that there is some clean content that is secular…you just have to find them.
Since I am a teenager now, my parents allow me to choose what books I read. But of course, our family has boundaries of what enters the home and what will not. And you know, even if my family didn’t have boundaries, I know myself. I know what I can and can’t handle by just looking at a cover or reading the synopsis. Then content-wise, I go based on if reading something will harm my mind or not.
Although I read more Christian fiction now, I still do read some secular fiction, but I’ve learned to become picky.
If there’s a book I’m interested in reading (especially if it’s a newer release), I’ll read reviews about it first, specifically three-star ones. Typically, in three-star reviews, the reviewer will share both what they did enjoy and didn’t enjoy, along with content warnings, if there are any.
It allows me to be aware of what’s in the book and if it’s something I want to tolerate. Plus, it helps me to dictate if reading that book will be a waste of time.
Now, I will say that sometimes a book may not either have three star or under reviews. What do I do about that? Well, if I’m still interested in the book, I will begin to read it, but if I notice something I don’t like, I’ll put it down.
For example, I started reading a book earlier this year called The Tiny Mansion and deleted it off my e-reader after reading the 15th page. Already that fast, the author alluded to the LGBTQ agenda, even though this was a Middle Grade.
To be honest, when it comes to secular fiction, I think as Christians, we must be super cautious and pay close attention to the content.
I know that a lot people may say that there’s nothing in Scripture about it, so we can read whatever we want. But if you think about, there is. Although it doesn’t outright say that we can’t read a certain series, the Scripture is a guide to help us determine if something would be good for us to consume or not.
When it comes to choosing books to read, always remember Philippians 4:8 as a guide for discernment.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (emphasis mine)
Personally, I don’t think it’s wrong to read secular fiction as long as there’s no content that will make you stumble and goes against what the Bible says. If there are ungodly things present in the novel, it should not be read any further. If you start reading a book and realize that there’s ungodly content, you’re glorifying Christ if you put it down. And you know, since even books can be evil, that’s why I stay away from a lot of genres. Despite being a teenager, I only read Middle Grade and Classics in the secular fiction department.
Friend, don’t fill your mind with things that will cause you to stumble. Even with what we read, we are to honor God and guard our minds from things that are evil.
Heart check: Based on Philippians 4:8, are those traits exhibited in the media you consume?
To God be the glory,