I tend to read secular books that are controversial so that I can be prepared when I get into a discussion about them. I try not to completely judge a book based on what people say because a lot of people refuse to read (or insist on reading) a book… just because of the hype. Even Christian books throughout the ages have been judged poorly when they first were written (C.S. Lewis fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia, for example). I’ve read The Davinci Code, the Harry Potter series, Twilight saga, The Hunger Games trilogy, and several other controversial books. I don’t care for some of them and others I have no problem with. No matter what my view is on these books, I can have a knowledgeable discussion about each of them should they come up in conversation. The same goes with movies. I will often watch a movie just because it is controversial so that if someone asks I can give my honest opinion. And just to be fair, I have also read “Christian” books that many Christians love which I personally feel should never have had a Christian label due to bad theology (for example The Shack-see my review here).
When it comes to the above mentioned books, I find that people question whether or not I should have read them. Yet, often they still come to me to get my opinion about books or movies on their radar. Generally, instead of saying “yes or no” about whether they should read or watch something, I will just tell them what the book or movie is about and let them make their own decision based on their convictions. If they ask questions like, “Isn’t there a lot of witchcraft in that book?” or “Do you think the book could lead someone astray?” I will answer truthfully.
All that being said, there are some types of books and movies that I will not read or watch.
One type being horror, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to instill extreme fear. I don’t mind most thrillers like murder mysteries, crime drama, or suspense (like Frank Peretti books or Morgan Freeman movies). I just don’t like to fill my mind with books or movies that have no other purpose than to cause extreme fear.
Another type being erotic, where the sole purpose of the book or movie is to arouse a person sexually. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post… A facebook page that I follow posted the following article I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The author lists four reasons why she is not going to read the book Fifty Shades of Grey both from a personal and biblical perspective (I highly recommend that you read this article because she discusses more reasons than I plan to list here). On the facebook post, both sides were discussing if the book was appropriate to read using the same arguments that people use for other controversial books/movies (“it is not biblical” or “it is just a fiction story”). I have not read this book but I gave my opinion. Someone who has read the book accused people of being judgemental. Personally, from reading the posts, I did not feel that anyone was being judgemental but were just stating their opinions based on what they believe to be true according to the Bible. I believe that it is okay to discern whether or not you should read or watch certain media. It is also okay to state your opinion and/or debate as long as you do it humbly. I do not know if the accusation was aimed at me or someone else but it prompted me to want to elaborate on what I was saying in the discussion. So here is my opinion…
Unfortunately, even in the Christian community, there is a problem with pornography addictions. Marriages have hit rock bottom or have even lead to divorce because of this problem. Most people associate pornography addictions with men but women can be addicted to porn as well. Many people also associate pornography with magazines or movies but I believe that erotic romances should be added to that list.
One online dictionary defines pornography as the following:
1. the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3. the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction
Most women are not stimulated by photos in the same way that men are BUT we are stimulated by words and attention. This is one reason why women are more prone to having an emotional affair with a man who gives her attention and says all of the right things. When it comes to books, most avid readers would admit that they get caught up in the story as if they are apart of it. Readers can imagine the scenes, conversation, and actions as they are reading (even if they have never seen the movie that was made for that particular book). Most readers agree that books are generally better than movies because of the amount of detail given in a book that would be impossible to show on-screen. My husband (who is not a reader) thinks it is hilarious when I am reading a book and have tears flowing down my face. He also thinks I’m crazy if I am reading a book and bust out laughing. My point is, a book can bring out just as many emotions as a movie can: joy, sadness, anger, fear, love, lust, etc.
Most Christians would agree that adultery is a sin. The Bible takes it one step further and says that lust is also a sin:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 KJV)
So, using the above scripture as guidelines, read the following Amazon description of the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Then, make an informed decision on whether or not you should read it.
“When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”
Bottom line is, I have not read this book and I don’t plan to because of the erotic label. I have read books and have watched movies in the past that I never should have read or watched. I have learned from my mistakes and I don’t want or need to fill my mind with images and emotions that are not pleasing to God or my husband.
Here are two great resources for dealing with sexual temptation and sin: