I’m afraid I will offend a lot of sincere believers I respect with this blog. But what I have to say really needs to be said. Most Christian art and literature stinks!
I’m not referring to the lack of swearing and explicit sex and perhaps violence as well. I’m referring to everything wrong with the Harry Potter novels (from a purely literary viewpoint) x 2. And no, most Christian novels aren’t filled with witchcraft. If anything they’re not imaginative enough.
Here are 3 common problems with Christian literature in particular. Mind you, not ALL Christian fiction is this bad–thank goodness!
- Two-dimensional characters. All the Christians are so pure and perfect that there is no real internal conflict. Most of the non-Christians would make Snidely Whiplash look like a well-developed, realistic antagonist. And why is it that the most likeable non-Christian is always the one to convert–after which he/she is so pure and perfect that they no longer struggle with temptation and all the conflicts are miraculously resolved for them?
- Predictable, overdone plots. Everyone knows after the first page or two who will convert before the end. You can also tell before the end of chapter one who will wind up together in Christian matrimony (more on that in point three!) People who are lost at sea are never really dead. They invariably return before the trilogy ends. If a hero is missing in action, he is sure to return the day after the heroine marries someone else. Adopted children always brood about how their birth mothers didn’t want them, even if they didn’t know they were adopted till their wedding day (a common theme.) Birth mothers always agonize over how evil they were to give their babies away–instead of aborting them or bringing them up as a single teenager in poverty and ignorance. What about a happy, well-adjusted adoptee who was pleased with the family who selected her? How about a woman who gave her baby up for adoption and realized it was the right, unselfish thing to do at the time? I don’t know what most Christian writers have against adoption.
- An overemphasis on marriage. Prairie romances and Amish romances are referred to as romances and not conversion stories for a reason. The hero or heroine converts by page 125 and the wedding takes place in great detail on page 150 before the wedding bells and book end on page 175. It makes me want to puke. No wonder most Christian men prefer nonfiction to novels. I’m a woman, and it’s too sugary for me. I may be a borderline diabetic. Ha ha. If I had a teenage daughter I would forbid or at least limit her reading of sweet Christian romances. The food equivalent of sweet romances is candy, pure and simple. A steady diet of either will make you sick. Worst of all, the perfect romances and men make women–married or single–discontented with their lives. Married women wish they were married to Cowboy Clem from Maybelle Sirrup’s latest tome When the Heart Weeps. Single women wish they were married period and sometimes may even doubt their salvation due to the lack of cowboys in their lives.
If you are still reading this, thank you for bearing with my rant. If there are any exceptions to this kind of Christian literature will you please list them?
I do like the novels of Catherine Marshall and Eugenia Price. Unfortunately they’re not here now.