I’ve recently written on the Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis and I’ve written a few blogs on the Harry Potter craze as well. I have also recently read the Brothers Karamazov. I don’t really read that much fiction, but I do think it’s good to every now and then. I can picture some people wondering why.
Should we not spend our time in educating ourselves and learning all that we can? Well, I can see the point some, but I don’t think it’s valid. I see the people in the Bible doing a lot more than having their nose in books. (I say this as someone who has a book propped open in the bathroom so I can read while shaving and brushing my teeth.)
I see Jesus in the Bible regularly teaching and then at times having meals with the people. I have no outright evidence of this, but I don’t think theology was always the topic of discussion. They probably chatted about any number of things much the way that we would do so today.
I also think if we all took this approach, the human race wouldn’t last much longer. Many fine scholars are married. That would mean that they’re spending some time going out there and finding a spouse and if they have kids, well, we can be sure that other things are being done besides reading.
So let’s suppose we’re talking about the person who likes books but thinks all fiction is a waste of time. To them, I again disagree. Fiction goes back much farther than we realize. It was written as a teaching tool as well and not primarily for entertainment, although it was meant to be entertaining.
When we get to the Greeks, we find them writing plays. While this was entertainment, it was not in a vacuum. Worldviews were being expressed and lines were being drawn. The greatest ideas of the time were being shown. I even think of a line from the play Antigone that shows a belief in a moral law outside the king.
What’s the point? It’s something to make an argument for objective morality and it should be done. The value of fiction is that fiction allows us to see the living out of ideas. You want to argue that morality is above the king and that all of us are subject to it. Great! A play like Antigone though shows how that might look if it is lived out.
That is a real gift of fiction. It also enables us to live out adventures so that when the time comes, we’ll be ready. Want a mystery? Go to the library. Want an adventure? Go there as well. This can apply to movies and TV shows as well. We can get to experience things on a unique level as well as get to see ideas lived out.
I do enjoy non-fiction reading the most, but I can’t deny that I do learn much from Fiction. Is it a waste of time? I don’t think so. Of course, some fiction probably is. Some non-fiction probably is. However, God gave us imaginations. Pity us if we don’t take the time to use them and enjoy them.