Reblogged: Sin and Magic in Fiction

Earlier this week I read this post about fiction and sin. It reminded me of an old post from last year. Remember when we discussed the grey areas of reading fiction – where right and wrong aren’t immediately evident?

Some of you lovely readers made some great points. Our standards were diverse, and it was a sanctifying and edifying experience to be able to discuss our viewpoints.


In her post that I’m reblogging today, writer Suzannah Rowntree, offers her viewpoints on sin portrayed in fiction and whether or not – and when – it’s wrong to read such. You can view her post here:

Sin and Magic in Fiction (Part I) – written by Suzannah Rowntree at Foundations of Reconstruction

Of the two guiding principles that Suzannah shared, the second one resounded with me most. In it, she said:

If it’s imperative that our fiction should deal with topics of sin and evil—and I think it is—then the question is how? This is the point at which we might be tempted to answer the question quantitatively. One or two swearwords are OK, but not lots. Or a little bit of bad attitude, but nothing too outrageous. Or an implied liason, as long as the camera fades to black before the clothes come off.

There’s one problem with this approach: it’s not the approach we see in Scripture.

-Suzannah Rowntree, Foundations of Reconstruction

“It’s not the approach we see in Scripture.” And Scripture is the standard. What good, biblical truth! Definitely read the whole post; it has good value.

Also, please go ahead and leave a comment on Suzannah’s post to engage with her about what she wrote. But I’d also be interested in hearing from you here if you feel so compelled to share.

  • Of the two principles, which is your favorite? Why?
  • Do you have an outstanding quote?
  • How does your viewpoint align with or differ from Suzannah’s? Would you add anything?

4 thoughts on “Reblogged: Sin and Magic in Fiction

  1. I read her post, it’s good.
    It’s hard as a Christian reader to find good, interesting, clean books. And a lot of books walk along a thin line and it’s hard to tell if it’s fine to read or not.
    I don’t believe it’s wrong to portray sin in fiction – depending on how you represent it. If the character sins and everything is fine and it’s normal it’s showing that that sin is fine to do. But if a character sins and you show the consequences of it, showing that it’s wrong, it’s fine. You just have to show sin as it is: wrong.
    To be honest the whole discussion about magic exhausts me. Because people debate if it’s wrong to read books like Harry Potter or not and if it’s wrong to have magic in books. Witchcraft is definitely a sin and evil.


    1. She did raise some good points.

      I know! Those books that hit the perfect sweet spot are few and far between. I generally rate and review books according to how compelling they are and how biblically enriching to my spiritual growth. Fiction, I find, is especially hard to find something just right.

      That’s a good way to put it, Sarah, that the whole magic debate exhausts you. I think it’s true of a number of topics. I want to strive for excellence and whole-hearted devotion in my own life, but grace and unity with other believers (despite disagreements in topics not essential to salvation). Sometimes I wonder if bringing up conversations like this defeats my second purpose, but on the other hand, I think it’s healthy to be able to genuinely relate over these topics despite differences. What do you think? Is it beneficial or divisive to bring up such topics?


      1. Well I think regardless of what others opinions are we should respect that. We are definitely not going to agree on everything. I think it’s good – to a point – to talk about those subjects, try to see things from their view. Just as long as we don’t start a huge argument or such.


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