The Hunger Games – a Non-Reader’s Review

I generally try to avoid as much of the popular culture as possible. Most is just trash and a waste of time so unless I have a reason to look at what is popular in the forms of entertainment, books, movies or music, I skip it. I usually only look into it when it crosses my line of sight if a Christian begins discussing something that sends up red flags or recommends it to me. A few weeks ago a friend pointed out that one of her teens had asked about reading “The Hunger Games” because another Christian teen had recommended it, but they, the parents, decided not to allow it due to the premise of the book. Now I recognized the title because I had heard hype about the movie coming out but I was clueless. When I had seen the title “The Hunger Games”, honestly, I thought it was a reality show like “Biggest Loser” which I have heard of before. But since other Christians were allowing their teens to read the book I thought I should at least check it out. At least confirm it wasn’t the latest dieting fad. Ha, boy was I wrong!

My oldest two (20 and 17) children said that several of their friends were reading the book and it had been discussed quite frequently. I asked them what they thought and they both said the book and its theme were rather stupid and they weren’t interested. Well good, but not exactly a Biblical reasoning. Was the rejection just a matter of taste or is there a Biblical reason to reject the book?

Now, of course, my natural inclination is to reject anything the world goes crazy over, usually that suffices. But when other Christians are thrilled over something then maybe it is of value or worthwhile. But then again, maybe not. Years ago when my oldest was just starting school I trusted a good Christian friend on her evaluation of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. I had never read it and when you have children who read voraciously it is very hard to keep up if you didn’t grow up reading sound Christian books yourself. In retrospect I may not have let my children read the Narnia series or at least not as first and second graders. Why? Read here. Not only that but I have actually matured in my faith since my first were young. Imagine that! My view of books and media through the lens of Scripture is quite different now.

So for the benefit of my children I decided to review “The Hunger Games”. But I’m not going to read the book nor watch the movie. Horrors! Review a book without reading it. Yeap! Just as I can write about the horrors of drug abuse with ever having taken illegal drugs, I can review a book without reading it, especially in this internet age. Since the book and the movie are very close I will focus mostly on the book. Generally the movie is said to be milder in the violence described and to have left out portions of the book.

For those who are clueless like I was here is the Amazon description of the book:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

That would be enough for me to avoid the book right there – “kill or be killed.” If it was turned into a video game, which I’m sure it will be, would you let your children play it? Generally as Christians, I think not. But we seem to think reading about killing isn’t as dangerous as watching it.

So how do you evaluate a book without reading it and with just a general idea of what it entails? First you start with your plumb line – the Bible. Then I would take ideas and concepts from the book and compare the ideology and doctrine back to Scripture. The hard part is recognizing the ideology behind certain concepts. Logic and deductive reasoning was sorely lacking in my public school education and I’ve yet to come across a curriculum that teaches that well. Any suggestions?

We are given some general guidelines in Scripture:

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV) Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

That’s nothing new, we all know those. But often the argument is that the Bible is very clear about evil and describes it in detail – gory detail at times. However, the Bible is not literature, not even excellent literature, nor should it ever be lumped into a literature class, but it is the direct words of God to Man, its violence and gore is revealing human nature and how God has worked throughout time.

So I will break this review into several parts due to the length.

 


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31 thoughts on “The Hunger Games – a Non-Reader’s Review

  1. I have read the first book (The Hunger Game). Benjamin has, also. I wondered what the hoopla was all about. it is available free on the Kindle Lending Library. Benjamin saw it on the Kindle. He read it without me knowing. i would not recommend it for most kids his age. One death was extremely sad. It made him cry. Another is super gruesome. A large portion of the book is very violent. It is probably along the same lines as Eragon or Lord of the Rings, as far as the violence goes.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Kelli,

    Several whom I’ve talked to didn’t know what their child was reading but assumed that because others allowed their children to read it that it was OK. I have to say from what I know about the book and the violence I couldn’t honestly recommend the book for any child or even adult. I think we are desensitizing ourselves more and more as we partake of the worldly fare. Things like The Hunger Game cause me to reevaluate other books, which seem to be stepping stones farther and farther from the Biblical sensitivity to sin, death and violence.

    I have a couple more posts to go on this subject. See what you think.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  2. Thank you so much. So glad someone is speaking up on this issue. The ten commandments were not suggestions, no matter how many crumbs of goodness Christians try to mine out of these books/film, attempting to justify the fact they are being entertained by the same thing the world is entertained by.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Anonymous,

    “being entertained by the same thing the world is entertained by.”

    That pretty much sums it up right there. 🙁

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  3. Quite simply, I don’t read novels. It’s years since I have read a Christian novel and in no way would I read a secular novel.

    This sounds like another hyped up movie like Twilight or some other godless and blasphemous movie.

    They are not worth watching or reading.

    You have to question the mentality of someone who writes these books or makes movies of them.

    They don’t measure up to scripture because they are not meant to. They are not made to please God, but man’s fleshly appetites.

    They will burn into your mind things that you will never get rid of, even 30 or 40 years from now. Is it worth it?

    On a personal level, my favourite genre of reading is Christian biographies.

    Sorry this post is so long.

    God bless.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Dora,

    I dislike novels and fiction even the “Christian” sort. Of course, things like “Pilgrim’s Progress” are totally different and not comparable to the fiction today.

    You do remember things from your childhood, of course, it seems you never remember the things that are important to remember but you remember the bad, gruesome and evil. 🙁

    I agree with the Christian Biographies and I also enjoy history books, especially Christian history, but even they don’t get a blanket pass, depends on whose biography it is. I never really care for biographies of those who are still alive because things may change.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

    #1HungerGamesFan Reply:

    Shut up!!!!!! No one should listen to this narrow minded lady!!!!!!! She hasn’t even read the book!!!!!! Don’t you EVER call the Hunger Games garbage. You complain about gore in the Hunger Games, but the Bible has more gore. Talk to me when you’ve read the book, okay, honey? Thank you.
    P.S. I am Christian and I’m a 13 year old boy.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    #1HungerGamesFan,

    Thank you for proving my point better than I ever could.

    I’d love to discuss the Bible and a Biblical view of what a Christian is like with you.

    Praying for you.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

    #1HungerGamesFan Reply:

    Berean Wife,
    Thank you for such a calm and reasonable response. I am sorry I was so rude in my response to Dora, although in my defence, Dora jumped to very extreme conclusions. I would like to discuss my opinions on the Hunger Games, as well as the Bible and the “ideal” Christian.
    The book’s age recommendation is “12 and over,” although a violence-sensitive 12-year-old obviously shouldn’t read it. I have to admit, though, my siblings, both nine, both know the plot very well, as I’ve told them the whole Hunger Games story. They know this gore-filled, gritty, controversial story by heart. And are they having nightmares or trying to kill people? No. I wouldn’t suggest telling the Hunger Games to any other nine-year-old though.
    Also, my idea of an ideal Christian is someone who goes to Church everyday. They don’t complain about secular literature and entertainment just because it is secular. Instead, they experience it for themselves and review it fairly, making very valid opinions that people want to listen to.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    #1HungerGamesFan,

    Thank you for the apology for being rude.

    Have you read my review on The Hunger Games?

    I have several posts about it.

    http://www.bereanwife.net/2012/04/the-hunger-games-a-non-readers-review/

    http://www.bereanwife.net/2012/04/hungry-for-what/

    http://www.bereanwife.net/2012/05/the-hunger-games-playing-the-suicide-card/

    http://www.bereanwife.net/2012/05/the-hunger-games-government-as-antichrist-or-messiah/

    These will explain why there are issues with The Hunger Games. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to with age or the gore but more to do with being contrary to what the Bible teaches.

    I hate to tell you but being a Christian means much different than going to Church.

    Being a Christian is recognizing that we are sinful and have rebelled against God. But even while we have rebelled and hated God, God provided His Son to die and suffer the punishment of our sins for us. We must repent of our sins and worship the Lord. Only then can we recieve forgiveness for our sins. Then a true Christian will seek to glorify the Lord in everything they do, everything they say and everything they think. Every thought of a Christian should be filtered through the commands in the Bible.

    That is the problem with The Hunger Games it does not pass the Biblical filter for believers.

    There are several very good articles on the sidebar of the website which may be helpful to you to see what a true Christian believes and behaves as.

    Berean Wife

  4. Pingback: Berean Wife » Hungry for What?

  5. Thank you for your review, the spirit in me says “amen” to what you’ve expressed here. And I am also challenged to be more diligent about what my children and myself allow into our minds through books and film. The body of Christ needs a renewing of our minds–we have become too indifferent and desensitized to our worldliness. Your post serves as a good reminder and exhortation to preserve and protect the hearts and minds of our children, as well as our own. God bless you.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Ags,

    You are welcome.

    It is very easy to become more and more lax overtime. I find that I have to fight becoming too lax with my younger children, as if I had fought all the battles there were to fight with my oldest ones. It is also easy to let down your guard when you are part of a rather like-minded congregation. However, I find that over the years there are more and more areas that the Lord reveals to me as sinful worldliness, although occasionally He does reveal where I tend toward legalism and yet really have more freedom. But the majority of the time it is areas where I did not realize the sin and worldliness until I’ve grown and matured.

    We need to examine everything in light of Scripture.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  6. I just wanted to clarify, that when I said I like Christian biographies, I meant, of those who are dead, like D.L.Moody, Charles Spurgeon, George Mueller etc.

    Although, there could be one or two good ones who are still alive, and could qualify as not being worthless.

    Know any?

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Dora,

    Dead person biographies are the better kind. :0

    Ian Murray has a biography out about John MacArthur and while he is a solid Bible preacher I’m afraid his biography isn’t quite as fascinating as those from years ago. But then again is that not really the sum of most of our lives – to be found faithful in our profession and consistent in service in the same place over 43 years. All of us aren’t called to exciting ministries.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

    swmiss Reply:

    Dora,
    These Chinese Ginger Jars,
    In The Presence Of His Enemies
    Mountain Rain
    To A Different Drum
    First We Have Coffee
    We Two Alone
    The Hiding Place
    God Knows My Size

    🙂

    [Reply]

  7. You mean, 4 months down the line, and people are still reading this? I forgot about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Hunger games? Is that similar to the Olympic games? I watched some of that.
    I have to laugh at what the temporary
    #1 hunger games boy wrote.

    Temporay I say, because when all the dust settles, whose going to give two bits for the hunger games?

    Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away”

    This world will pass away, and everyone and everything in it. Then where will all this meaningless entertainment be?

    God is good, and may His name alone be glorified.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Dora,

    True The Hunger Games are just chasing after the wind. There will be a new idol for him to chase in a year or so.

    His comment makes me so sad. I pray the Lord will open his eyes.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  8. Hi BW,

    I have had a discussion with someone on another blog regarding the new Batman movie, and this Christian (ahem) said that he finds no problem with watching such a movie, infact he watches violent and disturbing movies all the time to gain some sight into humanity so he can be a better witness. I called him out on it and of course, he threw the Romans 14 at me and said in his freedom, he can watch this sort of material and I have no right to “judge” him on it. The same goes with those who watch this sort of tripe. Searing the soul and being boiled to death in their own desires. The sad thing is, they don’t even know it and get mad (furiously mad) at anyone who speaks out against it. Sad state of affairs for the so called church.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    The Master’s Slave,

    Discernment is a lost skill in the world today. The lasting effect of things we watch, read or listen to is downplayed. Like the frog in the hot water we soon lose our judgment and accept more and more without batting an eye. Just as we don’t have to experience adultery to counsel others in avoiding adultery we don’t have to watch movies like that in order to share the gospel.

    People can get amazingly angry when they defend their idols. 🙁

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  9. I appreciate your thoughtfulness toward the series. However, I think you are somewhat misguided in your opinions regarding the content. Whether or not you agree with the ideology or message behind Susan Collins’ work, it is important that you should read them thoroughly before passing on a public opinion or review.

    It is important that we, as Christians, are not simply reactionary in our response to our culture (even pop culture). But that we take the time to think (discern, if you will) and examine it–which may require reading the literature.

    Granted, if these books were filled with gratuity of a sexual, blasphemous or violent nature, which they are not (Collins actually handles the necessary violence very tactfully–much more tactfully than many classics), then yes we should avoid them as we should avoid “The 50 shades of Gray” series.

    From the thoughts you’ve outlined in your post thus far, I can see that you are approaching this series with presuppositions that just one read-through would dispel. I think you would surprise yourself.

    Further, the books are well written–even offering a beautiful picture of redemption, and an ugly picture of the reality of humanity and sin. Collins does not glorify evil, but does the very opposite. The book is exciting, but cautionary.

    As a graduate student, I look back on my high school years and reading and compare this series to some of the well known classics (I read at a Christian School) that were not so cut and dry with good and evil as even the hunger games. If we can encourage and trust our children to read books and stories such as “Frankenstein”, “Lord of the Flies”, “Lord of the Rings”,”The Count of Monte Cristo”, “A Most Dangerous Game”, as well as many others (and we should encourage them to read them), they certainly have enough discernment to read “The Hunger Games” and to benefit from it.

    Again, I appreciate your caution–but I still encourage you to read the books.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Read Discerningly,

    Why do you think I must read a book thoroughly before I review it or warn others about it? Must I be divorced to warn others against divorce? Must I be abused to advocate against child abuse? Must I read the Koran to know it is a false gospel? By no means! The Holy Spirit in Believers is what grants us discernment. He knows all things perfectly. If my review was based purely on my own worldly wisdom then you would have a reason to complain. However, my review is based on looking at what the Bible says about the matter.

    Essentially this verse covers the whole series:

    1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

    The series will not cause my children to be more Christ like nor does it build their faith in Christ.

    I did take time to examine the material and actually wrote 5 posts concerning issues with the series. Did you take the time to read those? And deal with the actual issues I pointed out?

    Granted, if these books were filled with gratuity of a sexual, blasphemous or violent nature, which they are not (Collins actually handles the necessary violence very tactfully–much more tactfully than many classics), then yes we should avoid them as we should avoid “The 50 shades of Gray” series.

    I’m sorry but if you are a Christian then why do you not see these in the series?

    Sexual – Katniss and Peeta sleep together in a sleeping bag. The kissing. I’m sorry but parents would see the problem with this. What Christian parent would think sharing a sleeping bag as unmarried teens is a wise idea?

    Blaspheme – There are many examples but here is the main theme. Salvation comes through changing the government. That is the blaspheme of today that we can make the world a better place by voting in or by overturning government for a better government. Salvation does not come through the government.

    Violent – I’m sorry “necessary violence”? I think not. Better to die a Martyr than to “kill or be killed“.

    As a mater of fact since I wrote these reviews I did read through the second book in the series because I found it free on the internet. My reviews stand as they are and I was working under no presuppositions.

    Well written? By no means. The book was maybe intriguing to today’s readers, but it is not a classic nor well written. The second book was like she ran out of time. The last chapter was as if she tried to condense 10 chapters into one chapter. Broken, disjointed, jumbled, etc. You must read truly good books to understand well written.

    What is your criteria for “classics”? Are you basing that upon the World’s standard or on God’s Word? I do not consider the books you listed as classics when compared to God’s Word. How about Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” now that is a classic. Or how about Augustine’s “City of God”? Or maybe an easier read Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place“. If we base our criteria on the world’s standards we will fall short of God’s expectation of us.

    Try focusing your reading on the Bible and the true Christian Classics and you might just have your mind changed.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  10. Dear Berean Wife,

    I appreciate your very thoughtful answer.

    To begin with your last point, I agree that the Bible is the final standard, would never argue differently. It is inerrant, and every book would fall short.

    Yes, I have read Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” (several times); Boom’s the Hiding Place is an excellent read, and while I have not read “City of God”, I have read Augustine’s Confessions which has been a very substantial encouragement to my Christian life and is one of my favorite works of literature.

    These books, however, are “Christian Classics” (that is not to say that they are not considered Classics in the secular critique as well)–I recommend them wholeheartedly. However, I am not exclusive in my reading to only read the Christian Classics–as I hope no Christian is.

    Please understand that I am not arguing that Collins is going to become the next Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo (hardly) for posterity. For yes, as you mentioned, there are writing issues. But I don’t wish to belabor the technicalities of the book–for that was far from my point.

    Back to your first point: your comparison of not reading a book and writing a review to divorce and child abuse is nothing short of a rhetorical faulty analogy. I do not say that to be condescending–but because I feel that I can only call it what it is. There is no benefit in comparing circumstances that are in no way related; I do not see a way to properly address apples vs. oranges reasoning–except to address the issue itself.

    I realize you are not writing on the professional level, but it would be unacceptable for a critic to review a book, movie or show without ever having experienced it in its full capacity. I realize you are not a professional, and I would not take issue with your review if I found that you had represented Collins intent for the books accurately (even if you disagreed with them).

    The first book is fundamental to read in understanding where she is coming from–and from your conjecture, you’ve seemed to interpret Collins quite differently than her intent. This is where I take issue.

    “Sexual – Katniss and Peeta sleep together in a sleeping bag. The kissing. I’m sorry but parents would see the problem with this. What Christian parent would think sharing a sleeping bag as unmarried teens is a wise idea?”

    Nothing to apologize about. I agree–this is not a wise idea, and a poignant issue a parent could easily discuss with a teen-aged child–and could even launch a good teaching opportunity about discernment and choices. At the same time, Collins does not in anyway sexualize this scene (she does the very opposite, and on purpose). No–the choice is not wise; beyond that there is no gratuitous detail about the scene (which is meant not to be sexual) or the kissing for that matter.

    “Blaspheme – There are many examples but here is the main theme. Salvation comes through changing the government. That is the blaspheme of today that we can make the world a better place by voting in or by overturning government for a better government. Salvation does not come through the government.”

    No. That is not the main theme. You may write Collins and ask her–she will tell you differently. It’s a dystopian book/seres–it’s about the potential for corruption and evil. From an historical standpoint, she is not wrong when you think of the awful atrocities committed by Germany and Russian against the Jews. Is better government the answer? No. Does she propose that? No. The book is about the decisions on the individual level (is Katniss perfect? Hardly. Is she human? Entirely. Can this be discussed–yes. and it is. Is this good discussion? Absolutely. Can we sympathize with her in this book as Christians? Yes. Must we agree with her? Absolutely not).

    Sin is very real–without grace, we are sinners to our core, and the potential for such atrocities in our world is not far fetched. This is a great cautionary tale–and THAT is what Collins wanted it to be.

    Regarding Salvation–we should never expect a secular author to get the gospel right in their message. As Romans tells us, they won’t–because they can’t. They don’t understand. They are not blaspheming–they are simply describing their own fallen logical intuition outside of grace.

    It is wrong to hold them to a standard they can never meet–and THIS is exactly why we read secular works with discernment.

    “Violent – I’m sorry “necessary violence”? I think not. Better to die a Martyr than to “kill or be killed“.”

    The Games are nothing short of a powerful display of the atrocities of such a wicked human government. Yet no violence is gratuitously described. As far as the Martyr vs. the “kill or be killed”; the games are far more complicated than that. Most of the contestants die of “natural causes” produced by the government. The main focus is to stay alive–not even to kill. Katniss never kills except out of self defense of her own life and another’s (self-defense is justifiable). The one “mercy killing” she commits is a good topic for discussion (whether one agrees or disagrees). There is no hidden parallel, circumstantially (which would make sense if you read the book) to euthanasia or abortion.

    I did read your other posts; and I still see that you approach this series with presuppositions that are incorrect (as you have with the main theme).

    These books are hardly harmful for the discerning reader, even produce fantastic discussion. Better yet, it deals with current topics that are hot in our society–and what better way to discuss such issues than to reference something familiar, such as this series? What a great platform for the gospel. But we must understand their logic, their thinking, their intuition, before we can present the gospel most effectively.

    At the very least, because of Collins’ sensitivity, Hunger Games (unlike Fifty Shades of Gray) is a perfect opportunity to step, vicariously, into their shoes, into their minds and experience their perspective and worldview through their eyes–while not endangering our own.

    Finally, I still encourage you to read secular works with discernment (which I do not think you lack).

    I say none of this in spite–and I hope none of this is taken that way.

    ~Read Discerningly

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Read Discerningly,

    Glad to know you have read some of the true Classics. Honestly unless a book imparts the truth of Scripture it is not a Classic in the true sense. That is why when teaching school I have found that upon reading what the world deems as classics they fail tremendously when compared to the Bible. Believers do not have to immerse themselves in the literature of the world in order to reach the world. The Bible is sufficient for everything pertaining to Godliness.

    2 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV)
    3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
    4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire
    .

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
    17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    I disagree that my comparison is faulty. True wisdom and maturity is displayed by the ability to learn from others without having to experience something on your own. I do not have to be divorced to warn others about divorce. I do not have to have cancer to know that cancer is undesirable and to be avoided. I do not have to read about corruption and evil I only have to look at myself to see it. I do not have to read about Dystopian societies to know that our world is quickly become such, yet I have a future hope in Christ.

    How exactly do you “know” Collins intent for the books? Even if you knew her very well, you cannot say for sure what her intent was. You could only say this is what she said the intent was. As we all know everything we do, write or say does not always come out as we intended it to. Perfect example is Uzzah in the Bible. As far as we can tell Uzzah intended to steady the ark with his hand when the oxen stumbled. He showed no evidence of intending to desecrate the ark with his unclean, sinful self.

    2 Samuel 6:2-7 (ESV)
    2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.
    3 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart,
    4 with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
    5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
    6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.
    7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.

    Whether or not Collins intended to do so or not she has taught the things I pointed out. There is enough evidence for that from reading forums where readers are discussing the series “The Hunger Games”. Which I did read alot, because that is where you will see what points people actually got from a book. As for the individual points I pointed out, you assume the average parent desires, have time to or are even able to discuss the book point by point with their children and teens. Sorry, but that doesn’t happen very often. Even parents who homeschool and have much control over what their children read have little time available for point by point discussing of difficult topics. But the average child, even Christian child, has no guidance and is left floundering through topics that are beyond the grasp of adults to deal with. The average parent doesn’t even know what their children are reading. Children do not need to be grappling with the weight of the world and the sin of the world. They have enough to deal with the weight of their own burdens and their own sin.

    I do not expect Collins to get the gospel right, I expect her to display the world’s beliefs and the lies of Satan. That is why I discourage children from filling their minds with worldly concepts and the world’s reasoning.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

    Anonymous II Reply:

    After reading the discussion between “Berean Wife” and “Read Discerningly,” I must say that I agree with “Read Discerningly’s point of view. Collins wrote these books as a work of fiction. They are not meant to be viewed from a Christian perspective and contain no allegorical elements. The books are meant to be read for fictional enjoyment because they offer an interesting “what if” future for the United States.

    We as parents have a responsibility to educate our children on the morals of every book they choose to read whether that be Les Miserables (which has prostitution and language) or allegorical Christian fiction like The Binding of the Blade series (contains violence). Although we do not have the time to go point-by-point, we should try to be aware of what our children read so we can answer any questions they have.

    Bottom line, Christians should use discernment in all areas of entertainment: whether tv, books, internet, etc. Parents should teach their children discernment so they can make wise choices in their reading materials. If you believe that it would be wrong for you to read The Hunger Games, then don’t. But you should also not force your opinions on others [In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul outlines Christian liberty when referencing meat offered to idols.] In Christian liberty, my family has chosen to read The Hunger Games after considering all the variables. Please be respectful of other Christians who have chosen to do the same.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Anonymous II,

    Concerning Collins books and whether they are to be viewed from a Christian perspective.

    Is there anything that a Christian is not to view with a Christian perspective? We are to look at everything through the lens of being a Christian.

    “The books are meant to be read for fictional enjoyment….”

    Are we not still to seek to glorify God in all we do, even our enjoyment of fiction? Is God glorified by your reading of the books?

    Christian Liberty covers areas in which there is freedom from sin, never should it be used as an excuse for sin. The meat offered to idols covers an area of no sin because “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one” the issue was another’s conscience verses cheap meat.

    But what does that chapter actually say?

    1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (ESV)
    9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
    10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?
    11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

    Thus using 1 Corinthians 8 would mean you would give up your perceived right to read the books so as to not be a stumbling block to those who perceive it as sin or who cannot handle the subject matter without risking falling into sin.

    How have I exhibited disrespect by discussing the content of the book with a Christian perspective?

    Berean Wife

  11. Berean Wife,

    I am assuming that Anonymous II means that since the Hunger Games were not written from a Christian Perspective–we should not expect it to hold to our beliefs or our Christian standard; and therefore when it doesn’t, why should we should we act surprised, and be disappointed with it? It is what it is–and our kids should even understand that for themselves (with guidance, if they need it). If they don’t get that, they have not been grounded firmly in a biblical worldview–and will only find a harsh awakening to life in the future. Children must be taught discernment–or else they will not be able to think for themselves.

    Additionally, Anonymous II carefully pointed out that the book was not meant to be allegorical (as you have implied and even drawn out parallels)–but a look into the “what if” that many not even happen in the future . . .

    Further, to call reading the Hunger Games “a sin” could potentially come across as very disrespectful to Christians and Christian parents who have evaluated the books as the literature that they were written to be.

    To follow your logic, Berean Wife, reading anything by secular authors such as Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Orczy, Dumas, or the like would also be sin (because, let’s be honest, their books contain far more disturbing things and themes than that of the Hunger Games). No they aren’t “Christian Classics”–but we don’t expect them to be. But their stories have made us think about our world and to mature in our own knowledge without endangering a worldview that has been carefully founded in the Bible. And to take that full cycle, it is our Biblical worldview, which has allowed to approach such literature in the first place.

    Not to get on a rant, but YES the Bible IS the ONLY truth. It IS the only way. But it is NOT the only intuitive way of thinking–and that is where the danger from the outside comes in–and into our families when we try to isolate ourselves from it, rather than tackling those issues head on and answering the questions they raise (as the Bereans did). Philosophy should be something we discuss with our children and expose them to, or otherwise they will have a rude awakening to the world, when they realize their sheltered way of life and living is not the only way that makes sense (biblical truth or no). We must MUST teach our children to think of the world broadly with a strong (VERY strong) biblical worldview–so that when they are approached with such wrong, yet intuitive, philosophies that make perfect sense (despite the lies behind them), their faith is not shaken, and they can throw them out–not because they are told to or made to, but because they’re faith and love for Christ’s glory transcends.

    I say this in love because I have grown up at an extremely conservative and wonderful Christian University where university students come in, having been very (and even extremely) sheltered by their parents, that they LITERALLY have to be re-taught everything in apologetics and biblical worldview because they cannot understand how to handle and approach their own academic literature because they have been exposed to nothing other than what their parents have allowed or a stringent “Christian-only” based curriculum.

    I agree with those who say “apologetics have become a lost art” for the Christian, because we have more often than not isolated from those with whom we should be engaging for the glory of God. We’ve stopped asking questions and just labeled things as “Christian” or “Wicked” or “Sin” or, “something we should stay away from” rather than evaluating what something, or someone, or some books says about the world around us. It is imperative that we engage head on (and if that means reading–it means reading, Berean Wife) and are unafraid to answer from God’s Word the questions those philosophies entertain and ask, rather than dismissing them, and isolating ourselves, and our children from them.

    In short, that means if you are going to review a book of this nature–that has such a distinct impact on our culture, you must do so with a thorough knowledge of what those books are addressing and carefully, and prayerfully answer the questions it raises with what the Bible says rather than labeling it as “untouchable” or “sin to read”. Because unless these books are LITERALLY causing our children to sin—and I cannot think of how they would be, (unless they are inclined to go kill someone after reading them?)—they may very well be an outlet for our apologetics. And with the scope of the impact these books have in our culture, I would say they are.

    Finally, I say all of this in love. I am not about to go die for my beliefs or perspectives of the Hunger Games or its philosophies. But from experience, and seeing case after case, I know an isolationist approach is not at all biblical or helpful for our children.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Read Discerningly,

    We, of course, cannot and should not expect unbelievers to hold to Christian standards. They cannot understand them.

    1 Cor 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Nevertheless we can never not filter the world and it’s teaching through the Christian lens. These books aren’t necessary to life nor are they necessary to achieving an ability to discern. They are a fad, that is all. There are no deep truths imparted nor is there a reason to read them beyond being a part of the rest of the world. Why the assumption of that this is necessary reading? My oldest two, 20 and 17, both heard much about the book from peers and both said the books were stupid and a waste of time. They know what their Christian peers got out of the books and it was nothing of value. Believe me, my teens are better read than I ever was. We aren’t isolationist by any means. The 17 year old has been reading Plato’s Republic which is Christian by no means but it has had lasting impact on society since the 4th Century. It is worth using discernment to read because those ideologies will appear over and over again in society. R.C. Sproul is a great preacher / theologian who often teaches on how ideologies affect the world and have also affected our Christian life and Church.

    I did not say The Hunger Games was a sin. What I was pointing out is that Anonymous II misinterpreted 1 Corinthians 8. If they felt it was OK to read The Hunger Games, Christian Liberty wouldn’t be the response to one who did say it was sin to read it. The response to one who did feel it was sin would be to give up your liberty for the sake of the weaker brother so as to not be a stumbling block to them.

    1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (ESV)
    9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
    10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?
    11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

    As to whether reading the book series is a sin?? Yes and no.

    There are many who could read the series without being caused to sin in thought, word or deed. But then is it profitable? Maybe, maybe not?

    There are many who have read the series and have fallen into sin.

    ~ too engrossed in the material
    ~ sinful and or lustful thoughts
    ~ envy
    ~ contemplating suicide
    ~ making the books and movie an idol to worship
    ~ parents abdicating responsibility for their children
    ~ children defying parents to read the books or see the movie
    ~ reading the books becomes a stumbling block to weaker brothers
    ~ the young man who left this comment This Comment Makes Me Sad In So Many Ways

    I haven’t stopped asking questions as a Christian.

    My question to you is why do you feel reading The Hunger Games is necessary for a Christian? Give a Biblical basis with verses and not just “Christianized” ideology.

    And like my question to Anonymous II does reading The Hunger Games glorify God?

    1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

    Has reading the book built yourself up? your neighbor?

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

  12. I left quite a few loose ends in that last post–because of time. So some of your concerns do not surprise me–sorry for leaving some things not as thorough as I would have liked, had I the time.

    I do not think you can blame the books for those sins you mentioned at all. Each one of those that you listed is a manifestation of a deeper issue and not seeded (or even condoned) by the books.

    I enjoy R.C. Sproul’s teachings–and appreciate them a great deal. I agree with him in that area about how bad ideologies have affected the Church and Christians. However, the reason is because–we have stopped reading literature with discernment, and have only jumped on the band wagon for the sake of jumping on–not entirely the reason why I, or those I know closely, have read these books (though their popularity in the mainstream initially drew the interest).

    You asked if reading this book built yourself, or my neighbor, up: To answer that–yes. Surprising–I know. Like I mentioned before, I am a graduate student, and my fellow graduate students and I have had wonderful discussion about these books–and our own biblical worldview: addressing the issues within them (and there are issues within them–but not enough to preclude them for lewd inappropriateness–just not there). These books are current (and that is the beauty in it). Are they fads? Sure. But they are relevant–they are a snapshot of the current deep ceded ideology of today that is evidence of the questions that are in the minds of the people that are surrounding us. And that is something that is important to understand–for our kids to understand . . . and have the biblical answers to.

    To answer your question of “Does reading the Hunger Games glorify God?”
    This requires more than a Yes or No answer. All things must be done to glorify God. Can one read them to God’s glory–yes. I believe so, actually. When one’s mind is critically engaged, and while filtering all things through a biblical perspective. I think one actually can (and even enjoy the book at the same time–believe it or not). 😉

    Grace.

    [Reply]

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Read Discerningly,

    I don’t blame the books for the sin but they can easily become a stumbling block which will cause a person to fall into sin. All sin is ultimately a matter of the heart but that doesn’t mean we can be callous to what maybe a stumbling block for another.

    I’m sure as graduate students you very well could benefit from the discussing the book from a Biblical perspective with other students. However, that is not the average age of the readers of the book. The average age is teenagers but even those as young as nine have been reading it in public school classes no less. Several young teens we know read the book. Most because another Christian teen had read it so it comes with an assumed second from the parents which isn’t always the case. 🙁 If my oldest two, 20 & 17, felt really drawn to read the books for a sound reason then they could because they have proven their discernment over the years (even correcting mom at times). However, there is no way my 14 or 12 year old would be reading the books. They are too easily influenced and cannot handled the discernment needed even with my guidance.

    I disagree that the books are necessary to understand the thinking of society today. There is nothing new under the sun. Sinners are sinners for the same reasons today as from the beginning. The display of the sin and the stumbling areas may be slightly different, but the thinking is the same. As Sproul points out repeatedly “new ideologies” are just repackaged old ideologies.

    Berean Wife

    [Reply]

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