Monday, November 10, 2008

When in Doubt: The Overriding Principle

We have studied the biblical foundation for fiction. We’ve measured our maturity. We’ve explored personal limitations. We’ve built our guidelines and created checklists. We’re armed and ready to move boldly through the fictional realms.

Then we bump into the book or movie that defies it all.

It meets only half of the biblical guidelines. It borders the edges of our maturity and personal limitations. And the checklists? Forget it. Half the questions don’t even seem to apply anymore.

What to do now?

Thankfully, we’re not the first to encounter this problem. The Apostle Paul faced a similar complication in Romans 14. Yes, this passage talks about eating meat, but the same principles are relevant to fiction. (Replace “food” with “books and movies,” and equate veggies to Christian fiction and meat to secular works.) So what does Paul say about our uncertainty?

“But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. “ (Romans 14:23)

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But when you dig into the verse, you will find that this statement is for our protection. Consider a movie. Which images are easier to avoid—the ones you are trying to erase from your memory or the ones you’ve never seen at all? Like a man defending a castle, we can keep the enemy outside the walls of our mind at bay with less work than the one within our heart’s gates.

So when in doubt, face about!

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