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183. Are Some Books So Scary That They Must Be ‘Banned’?

While some people want to restrict books and critics condemn “bans,” the most feared Book of all tells us to discern all things for Christ’s sake.
Fantastical Truth on Oct 10, 2023 · No comments

Happy “Banned” Books week, to all who celebrate. 1 Yes, we’ve used scare quotes! Some of these books are scary and earn caution. Yet some people think you’ll be so happily scared by hearing these books are “banned” that you’ll want to support them automatically. About this trope, we have questions. Aren’t some books really horrible for some or most or all readers? If so, is this really a matter of whether these books should be banned? And if so, who should ban them from which kinds of readers, and why?

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Concession stand

  • “Banned Books Week” is led by the American Library Association.
  • Some celebrants have genuine beliefs, including a basic freedom idea.
  • We’re speaking directly to the marketing shtick that can appeal to fans.
  • See some silly examples like, “Repeat after me: I read banned books!
  • Or see a more benign example: “These are the most banned books …
  • The list includes, say, Huck Finn, Animal Farm, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451.
  • Do watch inflammatory (ha ha) terms like “banned” with implications.
  • “Banned” does not mean “burned,” though you may make associations.
  • Words like these are often used as shortcuts to “hack” your imagination.
  • When we say banned, more positively, we only mean limited, restricted.
  • Also, some “banned books” shtick isn’t political. It’s basically clickbait.

Quotes and notes

1. Some books are actually harmful to many readers.

  • We not talking about age-appropriate books that describe some sin.
  • Scripture similarly describes acts of evil to shock Israel, and/or us now.
  • God’s very Law is intended to reveal the sin-corruption in our hearts.
  • Thus, no Christian truly believes in ignoring evil; that’s a stereotype.
  • It would be sentimentalism to ignore the reality that some books harm.
  • Some activists try to turn this around; they claim the books show reality.
  • That may be true if the book explores, say, Nazi Germany or racism.
  • But it’s a bait-and-switch to take this principle and defend Sexualityism.
  • Many books are basically porn and endorse/encourage rank perversion.
  • Spoiler alert: these books should arguably be banned everywhere.
  • This is the cause of many of today’s hottest “banned books” disputes.
  • It may be necessary to share the book’s content to raise awareness.

2. Many books do deserve caution and reader limits.

  • In our Lorehaven reviews, we include Discern and Best for sections.
  • Of course we don’t try to “ban” books. Only recognize reader limits.
  • Everyone does believe that some books should be limited like this.
  • Stephen will risk a pitch: that’s partly why he cowrote his own book.
  • He noticed some Christian materials presumed “discernment” is for kids.
  • Our resources weren’t exploring different maturity/sensitivity levels.
  • Little kids shouldn’t use matches. Older kids must learn to use them.
  • That means we need real trust for their trainers: parents and/or teachers.

3. We only debate who should limit books and why.

  • Some books should arguably be banned for some readers and places.
  • And other books, arguably, shouldn’t be banned at all (but may be limited).
  • Example: I don’t want When Harry Became Sally in elementary schools.
  • That title would simply not be appropriate for those ages of readers.
  • And yet the world’s top marketplace, Amazon, bans this book for all.
  • Which books, then, do the “banned books” activists tend to focus on?
  • Stephen says some people lack moral proportion to make these choices.
  • For example, it’s wrong to treat Christian/conservative parents as villains.
  • This reveals disordered moral priorities, but possibly some projection.
  • We might guess some people are projecting their own family trauma.
  • Unfortunately these habits can also “emotionally bribe” some Christians.
  • The activist can “hack” your own backstory if you have suffered legalism.
  • “I’ll make you feel like you’re fighting legalism like you grew up with.”
  • “And in return, you’ll let me feed abusive poison to small children.”
  • But the “banned books” issue isn’t about your own personal backstory.
  • At the same time, some Christians have morally panicked in bad ways.
  • Examples: 1990s parents who lost battles to block Harry Potter books.
  • That “cry wolf” problem led to legal/moral resistance to parents today.
  • Some otherwise decent librarians/teachers feel the “culture war” heat.
  • Whenever possible, we need to apply positive social pressure on them.
  • We’re all being subjected to some larger corrosive cultural forces here.
  • And we still don’t agree on definitions for parenting and education.
  • Christians need to define these, and especially define what books are for.
  • Are they only weapons in a culture war? No. Tools for learning? Maybe.
  • But the purpose of a book, a parent, and a child is to glorify God forever.
  • Secular society won’t agree with that. Can we find any agreeable areas?
  • If not, then people may be called to resist a bad system or else leave it.
  • We see many parents lamenting the bad stuff in children’s/teen books.
  • There’s a place for that. But why not also seek out great Christian books?
  • If you can, try to ignore bad books and let them fade into obscurity.
  • Share books that are beautiful, good, and true, not just the bad ones.
  • Let’s stop enabling the “banned books” clickbait activism and ignore it.

Com station

Sheriff, a hero of the Guild, enjoyed episode 182:

The longing for home that you mentioned in this episode is mentioned in several hymns and Christian songs, but two in particular (which undoubtedly show my age 😆) are “Home Where I Belong” sung by B.J. Thomas, and directly related to the Wizard of Oz “The Land of Oohs and Aahs” by Reba Rambo.

Mission update

Next on Fantastical Truth

What could be more frightening this spooky season than the most wicked regime from real history? Only in this historical fiction, the Nazis are hiding in a Romanian prison mine where they try to torture their victims—that is, until a mysterious enemy in the dark forest rises up to destroy them with zombie-like plant creatures, a granite face, and supernatural symbols? Pastor and paranormal novelist Marc Schooley, author of König’s Fire, joins us to explore the problem of evil versus the amazing grace of our sovereign God.

  1. Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash.
Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

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