Can you give some guidelines in judging literature? Is there a difference between Wicca (witchcraft as practiced by modern pagans) and fantasy? Is fantasy literature unbiblical?


John Frame offers a helpful distinction in this regard by explaining the difference between "hearing" and "hearkening." Simply put, it is not wrong to listen to false worldviews, but it is wrong to adopt, follow, or obey them. To use a biblical example, the Bible teaches us not to "listen" to false prophets. But it can't possibly mean that we aren't to "hear" what they have to say, otherwise we wouldn't know what they were teaching and we wouldn't be able to determine that they were indeed false prophets. Rather, it means that we are not to obey what they say, or to heed their prophecies.

We may look at fantasy literature in a similar way. If we read the literature and our worldview, behavior, thinking, faith, etc., are not adversely affected, then there is no fault. On the other hand, if the literature causes us to think wrongly about God, to fall into pagan/Wiccan practices, etc., then we have clearly crossed the line from "hearing" to "hearkening." It is not the reading of the literature that is wrong; it is how we respond after having read it that is wrong. But if we can't read it without "hearkening," then it is wrong for us to read it. This is a determination that must be made on an individual basis, and so it requires wisdom.
I myself have read fantasy books throughout my entire life -- it is still my favorite genre. Yet I have never been tempted to adopt any sort of evil practices or thoughts as a result. But I know people who cannot say the same thing, who were so influenced by fantasy novels, mythology, or whatever, that they fell into pagan religion. For me, it was not evil literature; for them, it was.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.