Fear of books is real.
I know that fear.
I remember the books that entered our house while my husband went on his destruction journey. I remember Dawkins and Sagan feeding his wounded spirit and backing up what he’d invited into his heart. I remember the fear.
I know the importance of knowledge, but I also know the importance of knowing—especially the opposite of our own perspective.
I lived with an acquired bibliography touting the antithesis of my whole belief system. Looking back though, I see that the books were just a mirror for him. They didn’t really influence his conviction in the way that turned his thoughts upside down—or in the way that battled the Holy Spirit and won. The books were not powerful in that way. They were more like…pacifiers. It wasn’t human influence that had him step away from God, it was his lack of faith. His own choice.
It’s telling how the Enemy might scare us into banning books from our homes and schools, when Christianity, in its modern realization, depends so heavily on the written Word. If we don’t know any other written word, then how can we test the Truth of God’s Word?
I was listening to a podcast the other day—given by an Orthodox priest, Father Thomas Hopko (may his memory be eternal). He was saying how important it is to understand the outside arguments, even those we might consider to be “enemies”…by first and foremost reading their works. He reprimanded “But what we must never do..is fear studying anything for fear that once we start we are going to end up losing our faith. What kind of faith is that? It isn’t faith at all.”
Fear is the opposite of faith, and if we are going to be in this world in faith, then we can’t fear the world we are called to love—including the works that are produced by the world. Christians lose much when we huddle in a corner, remove ourselves from tough conversations, keep only to our worldview and opinions without willingness to consider God might actually be bigger than our box. To miss the revelations of expanding our Love for the humanity He created—the humanity we will only know if we listen, read, expose ourselves to? How can we Love them if we don’t know them? Instead of my fear of losing my faith by reading my husband‘s books, what if I trusted God, read them, and could share my perspective through a faith lens? What if I missed an opportunity to love my husband well back then? I know now, that love was truly the answer to keeping our marriage intact. And for any missed opportunity, I am thankful for Grace.
But what I am pretty sure of, what proves my fear was irrational is that even If my husband never read those books I mentioned above, I am pretty sure we would still be here the same. They didn’t corrupt him. He had already lost faith long before that. Its up to him to choose for himself. His influence starts in his own will.
This might make no sense to you, reader. I am probably very rusty. But friends, wives of unbelieving spouses, don’t be afraid of books. Don’t be afraid of science. It’s important to know and understand because we are called to love others—even in their own messes—and listening and compassion are huge avenues for love to grow, for Faith to prove itself strong.