Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Books and Movies Survey: Books

Photo by: amenic 181

Thirty-five Christians answered true/false questions about how they choose books and movies. Participants were two men and thirty-three women. Enjoy reading their responses. Quotations are random and may or may not express my own personal viewpoint. All quotations are used by permission.


1. I read a variety of books.  True 33  False 2

2. I only read Christian books.  True 3  False 32

"I do read secular books, but mostly non-fiction. (History/Biography, Health/Fitness). I used to read thrillers as long as they didn't have any sensual or sexual content, but in time realized that the language (even sparse) and worldview did affect my thinking. I haven't read one in years.”

3. I only read non-fiction.  True 2  False 33

“I only read (some) Christian fiction. Over the years, I have become more picky about the authors I read. I see a danger in getting lost in a love story that does not truly 'seek first the kingdom of God.' Biblical principles meant to protect the Christian are often broken and then magically rewarded with a fairy-tale-of-grace 'Christian' ending. This is dangerous, because it can leave us either dissatisfied with what God has given us or deceived into thinking we can handle something outside His walls of protection. Reading is my favorite form of relaxation, so when I can carve out the time, it's important to me to know I'm not going to waste my time. For light reading, I enjoy mostly male authors, historical fiction and suspense whose theme is character building or spiritually challenging. I especially enjoy biblical allegory.”

4. I value the classics.  True 31  False 4

“I only bought my child well known classics or Christian books to read.”
5. I look for good moral tone. (The good guys win; the bad guys lose. No sleaze, immorality, etc.)  True 31  False 3  Sometimes 1

“This was not true when I was a teenager and read some books that my parents didn’t know about. It caused me great harm spiritually.”
6. I care about bad language.  True 34  False 1

“The only time I would ever give it a ‘pass’ is if I am reading a true life story about an unsaved person and they use it in their life.  However, I don’t want to see much of it in those books, either.”
“If I find bad language or something against my morals, I will not finish the book.”
7. I read books before I let my children read them.  True 23  False 7

"I read or at least speed read all books by unfamiliar authors. If an author has proven trustworthy in other books, I do not read all their other books prior to allowing my children to read them."

“I would definitely proofread books for my kids (or take the word of trusted friends who had already screened them). If my kids were in public school I would insist on seeing the list of required reading and check things out. I just read an online article about a book assigned to a HS class that had some very graphic descriptions of a sexual nature. An upset parent was quoted as saying he would have been arrested for distributing pornography, if he had stood on a street corner passing out materials with such content!”

“Generally. I do let them read certain books if I've read enough of that author to know they are trustworthy (biographies by Christian authors, for example).  I also let them read books recommended by a very small handful of people with the same standards as I have, and books on certain homeschooling reading lists.”  

“I was probably more lenient in this area than some, since there was no reasonable way that I could read every book my children wanted to read. (I had a couple with voracious book appetites!) I would tend to read a book or two by an author and if I had no objections, I would give the thumbs up for that author. My eldest child knew my standards, and I learned to trust his judgment on books appropriate for my younger ones. I would, on occasion, check up on the eldest and read a book just to be sure he was staying on track.”

8. I believe books influence thoughts and viewpoints.  True 35  False 0

“This is definitely true, especially for young, impressionable minds. However, as (what I consider to be) a mature adult with a fairly well established worldview, I don’t necessarily avoid books that might hold a different position from mine, say politically or theologically. On the other hand I would definitely stay away from other topics, like the occult, for example.”
“Definitely! In fact, at one point of my life, I was reading mostly secular fiction and I noticed myself having sympathy for totally anti-biblical attitudes and lifestyles. I have also noticed that if I read books with bad language I find that language popping out without even realizing it. So I changed what I was reading. ‘I will set no wicked thing before my eyes’ does not necessarily mean just an image!”

“I also believe some of what you choose to see or read depends on your emotional make-up. For example, some people are more imaginative/emotional and more easily affected by what they see and read than others.”
“Absolutely! One of the reasons reading the Bible—first and foremost—and then other good Christian books is so important!”


“You can often know that an author is good, a publisher can be trusted, or you can flip through the book to get the general tone of the book. Also, often the first chapter, a few pages in the middle, and the last chapter will tell you if the book is worthy of reading.”

You won't want to miss the next post, about movies. 


  1. I'm so sorry I missed doing this survey. I kept it in my e-mail to remind me, but it's been a little hectic here, as you know. :-) I think by and large my opinions would follow the majority opinions listed here.

    One thing I struggle with is that sometimes there are things in older classics that are easy to overlook, but they stand out in newer works. For instance, in Dickens' books as well as others there is mention of drinking. It's not promoted, but it is mentioned as a matter of course, and of course since they are not Christian books and are writing about people in the times he lived in, it's understandable. But if I am reading a more modern book and people use alcohol, it bothers me. Same with dancing and the use of "damn" and "hell." I wonder if it is a double standard, and if we do a disservice to our kids when we tell them, "There is good in this old classic if you overlook a couple of things, but don't read this modern book with some of the same issues." Or maybe in the classic it seems so far away it is not a temptation, but in a more modern book it would be. I don't know - I still wrestle with that.

    I'd also qualify the "no immorality" rule, personally. I take the same guidelines as the Bible, where there is immorality and gruesome murders and such, but they are not told in a tantalizing way, and they are clearly depicted as wrong, and those involved face some kind of consequence.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I believe with you that the moral tone is important--where sinful actions are punished and not glorified. God bless!


Please share your thoughts.