Trinitas Blog

Read Broadly

Posted by trinitas on Nov 27, 2021 9:28:00 AM

booksWe should read broadly. People love diversity, and that's good--so I suggest getting books from a wide diversity of authors. Often when people say, “I read diverse authors,” they meet sometimes mean “I read multi-colored authors.” That's not what I mean. I mean that you should read ideologically diverse authors. For example, take Voddie Baucham. He requires his children to read Mein Kampf, Origin of Species, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and Greek mythology. He's not afraid to do that. He himself spends nearly as much time reading books with which he disagrees as those which affirm his positions, and he is able to identify with and profit from both.

In Mama Bear Apologetics, Hilary Ferrer writes, “It's dangerous to separate the world into ‘good, safe, Christian authors’ and ‘bad, evil, non-Christian authors’.’’ Why is this dangerous? What happens when a “good, safe, Christian author” says something false, or when a “bad, evil, non-Christian author” says something true? Don't let your kids be fooled by these categories; they can't deal with a mixture. You must teach them the ability to discern truth from error, and that requires you to expose them to some false ideas.

Reading broadly first forces you to read critically. If everything you read says the same thing, you have to ask yourself why it is true. It exposes your blind spots. If you read ideologically diverse authors, you will find yourself having your blind spots challenged; you will be pushed to reexamine your assumptions. Reading broadly also inoculates you against error. Kids should be exposed to the lies of the devil in a safe, controlled environment so they will build up an immune system that will protect them when they encounter these ideas in college, in the workplace, and on social media. Finally, reading broadly does not require agreement. We seek truth wherever we find it, and sometimes this is from non-Christian authors. All truth is God's truth. He is the author of all truth, so that when we find truth we can credit him regardless of the secondary resource from which it comes.

(This is a transcription of an excerpt from Dr. Neil Shenvi's plenary address titled "Christianity and 'Wokenss': Are they Compatible?" given June 17, 2021, at the Repairing the Ruins Conference in Frisco, Texas. A video of the full 45-minute talk is available through the Trinitas school office.)

Topics: Blog Posts, Social Issues, Reading

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