Saturday, October 13, 2007

Speaking Too Soon

I recently wrote about my excitement in sharing some of my favorite books with my daughters including the Dragonlance Chronicles. They have really been enjoying it and I've been thrilled that they haven't been preaching to me about the evils of books and movies with gasp, the horror...magic.

Well, it seems that horse has reared its head again. At dinner tonight, Erica told me that she did not want to continue reading those books because she realized she "wasn't setting a good example" of being a Christian, that the books are "evil," and she has a "strong feeling" God doesn't want her reading them. After some prodding, she admitted that this came about because she told their grandmother, Lisa, why they were late coming home last week (just one more chapter, Dad?) and she flipped out. Yes, she is my ex-mother-in-law, but she is genuinely mentally disturbed. Despite the verbal abuse my daughters take from her (a short time before this discussion, Erica told me about wanting to shake Lisa), they believed her (it's reinforced with their mother and church, too) and realized that, yes, fantasy novels are a tool of the Devil to lead people astray and into the pits of Hell.

I'm amazed sometimes that I am able to remain calm during these situations and not shout, "Think about what you are really saying!" but I do. I just question my daughters and force them to articulate exactly how they feel about the books. Why are they evil? Other than reading these books and believing something different from you, have you seen my, your father, doing anything evil? If you have free will, how can a book give you bad thoughts and make you evil? What, exactly, is a "good" Christian? Does your mom, grandmother, or church give you a reasoned argument for why these books are evil or is it just "they are because we said so?" Why is this fiction bad, but other types are not?

Of course, my daughters cannot give any good answers for questions like these. I know that, but I force them to really think about it. Erica was crying by the time we were done, but she did admit she liked the book before Lisa said anything to her. I was hoping our talk would be enough to convince them to read tonight, but they didn't want to, at least not Dragonlance. These battle are so wearying mentally, but I can't, won't, give up on my daughters. I owe them that.

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