Learning From Novels?

I have had many a discussion with people about William Young’s book The Shack. Many liked the book and were profoundly affected by it. I reviewed it and while I found the book enjoyable and moving, I said that there was a danger in the book at how we view God and the Trinity. People reminded me that the book was a novel and that it did not speak to doctrine, which I understand. But often sub-consciously, we can take a novel and think it is real teaching. In my review I mentioned that people had said that The Shack had ‘sorted out the Trinity for them.’ That worries me.

Then I saw a recent letter in the New York Times Book Review Section. It illustrated my point exactly. A portion of the letter says:

Thank you to Maureen Dowd for her honest review of “The lost Symbol.” [Dan Brown’s new novel]. The only thing lost in this book was a reason to read it. I too waited patiently for its release because I so enjoyed “The Da-Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” I can’t describe the thrill I felt when I viewed the Last Supper in Milan just after completing the chapter describing its meaning…. .

Do you see the problem here? I can’t describe the thrill I felt when I viewed the Last Supper in Milan just after completing the chapter describing its meaning …. .To think that Dan Brown’s novel is a serious source for describing the meaning of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper is silly. Do not misunderstand me – I know that many novelists research their books and have ‘real’ information in them. But to say that your understanding of something is based on a novel is somewhat ludicrous.

Is it not a sign of our times that people now regard novels as being a serious source of accurate, and real information to the point of relying solely on the information in the novel and not even researching it more broadly with other sources?

Advertisements

One thought on “Learning From Novels?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s