As Patrick from patrick’s thoughts reminded me in his comments on my initial post on writing as a Christian, Christian authors have a standard to uphold. We cannot approach novel writing just as non-Christian novelists do.
1 John 1:6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and not practice the truth.” And 1 Peter 2:16 says we are to “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works…”
These are not the sort of Christians we want to be. Our novels have the freedom to include immorality in the pursuit of truth (one of the goals of art, as discussed here), but how much immorality is needed to create a work worthy of Him who is our Lord?
2 thoughts on “Should Christian Novels Be Different?”
It depends on what is in them. One novel I like takes on Chinese labor laws by describing the abuses in the system. Another features a character who stands up against the sex trade in SE Asia. The best Christian books don’t always aim for a sanitized pg-13 rating, they show us that despite the human penchant for immorality, we can appeal to our better selves and be like Christ to those around us.
I guess I’d wonder if they are better, as art, because of the graphic content they include or better at educating and highlighting certain social justice problems because they show things as they are, in great detail. Based on your description, they sound like the goal is to be an entertaining documentary rather than a novel.
And I think you can certainly show the human penchant for immorality without writing an R-rated book. You just might not appeal to reader’s curiosity or desire for the gruesome that way, but I think you can include sex, violence, and cruelty in an artistic way while still leaving some things up to a reader’s imagination.
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