Friday, January 21, 2011

A Confession: Reading Bad Books

I wanted to write down my opinion on reading heretical and other so-called bad, inappropriate, immoral books, but having little time, I decided to double the challenge and kill two birds with one stone. So, I’m joining my thoughts with this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt – to write a piece using only dialogue.

 Red Writing Hood

“I want to make a confession, Father.”
“Speak, my child. I’m listening.”
“I often read books the Church says are bad or even heretical.”
“Oh, well, my child, if you know you’re not supposed to read such books, why do you read them? Those books corrupt you mind and taint your soul.”
“With all due respect, Father, I disagree.”
“How is that?!”
“I don’t think such books cause any damage to either my mind or my soul. On the contrary, I think I benefit from reading them.”
“What do you mean? Benefit?”
“Er, those books make me learn a lot about God and people.”
“You can learn the whole truth about God from the teachings of Mother Church. Everything else just confuses you and weakens your faith.”
“I wouldn’t say so. Er, I admit reading those books is a kind of a test for my faith. They make me think, but as I think about what is said in them, my faith only gets stronger.”
“It is very dangerous to think like that, my child. This tests, as you call them, are too big a temptation. You shouldn’t be reading things that might tempt you into unchristian thoughts or actions.”
“But, Father… Didn’t God give us free will to decide for goodness by ourselves? Whatever I read, I see what people should and shouldn’t do and I can distinguish by myself what is right or wrong. Isn’t it more valuable if I chose to be good and what to believe on my own than just blindly follow the rules?”
“My dear, that may have been so until now. But, eventually, you will give in the temptation. So, you’d better avoid this kind of reading in the future, will you?”
“Er, I… I can’t promise you that, Father.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that, my child. You see, this is a sign of the Devil’s work already. I can’t give you absolution if you don’t intend to reform, then.”
“That’s all right, Father. I don’t mind. I leave that to God.”


  1. Very good dialogue, you argumented your case well. I completely agree with you. You know, a book is just a book, a fun story to pass the time. Only when you see something more in it does it become something else, for example dangerous. But if you can think on your own, then you shouldn't worry.

  2. Ooooh a rebel. I like her already.

    Coming from TRDC

  3. I like her too. It seems that the priest is missing a real opportunity to actual discuss issues of faith and struggle.

  4. I love the last line-it is the perfect ending. Faith is one thing-but blind faith? Being a critical thinker-like your character-is far wiser. This was good!

  5. @ Irena: I agree, you see things if you want to see them, and past them also.

  6. I like this girl! She has TRUE faith in God, not just what has been told to her.

    Great job

  7. I like this one too. The dialogue was straight forward and smooth. I like that the protagonist stuck to her beliefs even though the priest tried to discourage her.

  8. Love this! Other religions and beliefs aside from mine fascinate me, and what better way to grow in faith than learn about faith? Bravo!

    P.S. What books did you have in mind while you were writing this??? I just read one called "Atheism" on a trip to Vegas, and when I heard the guy on the other side of my beau on the plane say he was a pastor, I slipped the book back into my bag. I wanted to be braver ... but I just couldn't read that in front of a pastor!

  9. It is so sad when religious people are closed off to discussing religion, isn't it?

  10. I am curious to hear what books fall under this category. PS I do love a rebel.

    Stopping by from the RDC.

  11. @ scracklep and (Florida) Girl:

    I'm sure quite a lot of fiction is deemed unsuitable, for example paranormal for promoting godlessness, and (most) romance for promoting immorality.

    As far as hereitcal books, I think everything that contradicts the accepted Church teachings would be categorised inapropriate.

    I had in mind books such as The Last Gospel by David Gibbins, The Magdalene Line trilogy from Kathleen McGowan, Languedoc Trilogy by Kate Mosse and probably the most notorious example would be His Dark Materials by Philip Pullmann.

    Although I perfectly understand the reasons for condemning these books, I also think if you are able to read past the obvious and do some thinking, you can discover they are actually quite in harmony with cristianity in general.

  12. @ Cheryl:

    Yes, it is sad. I think priests (not all of them, of course) are often too on defense line, as if they were afraid for their faith, maybe that's why they find it so difficult to open for dicussion.

  13. I love this! I have often thought this way. My mother-in-law won't read a lot of the books that I do because they don't align to her religious beliefs. I think this is really sad because she is missing out on a lot. Just because you read about certain acts or ideas does not mean that you condone or agree with them. And the last line is perfect because when it comes down to it, that's all that matters right?

  14. As a book person, I get very upset when people condemn books as being "bad" or unsuitable. I love the ALA's Banned Books Week! Great job using dialogue to discuss this.

    Here from Red dress Club!


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