If you are like my family and am homeschooling your kids this question will come up. Some parents have told me that they believe fiction has many non-christian elements and themes that could lead their little angel astray. Other parents are more practical and just believe it is a waste of time and non-fiction is a better use of the limited educational time available.
Let’s explore the issue of truth and fiction first. We all want our children to know and love God’s truth, the gospel. Is it true to say that the truth is not found in fiction? I don’t believe so. If we look in the Bible we see fiction used to make the truth better understood and more real to the reader. The Bible has characters like the potter, the sower, the shepherd, and the prodigal son, that could all be called fiction. Other fictional elements like the sheep, bread, seeds, and the Word. We see stories and parables throughout scripture.
Why would God use fiction in the Bible?
The truth is easier to know and understand using an existing relationship with characters and elements such as the ones used in the Bible stories and parables. There is another reason to use fiction…emotion and impact. Fiction can move someone when knowledge sometimes falls short. An example of this is the story(fiction) Nathen, the old testament prophet, uses to convict the heart of king David. David had stolen Uriah’s wife and has Uriah killed when God sends Nathen to him. Nathan could have just confronted David with the facts but God lead Nathen to use a story(fiction) to “kindle David’s anger” before revealing David’s sin. Imagine the impact of that fiction over the facts, David is crushed by his sin. Fiction can move us in an emotional way that just facts or knowledge can’t.
Is fiction a waste of time?
Fiction exercises our imagination, our ability to see what could be. I want to be Christlike, it takes imagination to see myself acting Christlike. I see myself using imagination to see myself reacting well to difficult situations and confrontation. You get the idea, we are called to be something we have not yet become and fiction helps me see in a more real way the person Christ wants me to be. I believe fiction doesn’t have to be a waste of time.
We should be discerning in what fiction we read or allow our children to read but I don’t think we should avoid fiction.