Too much fiction?

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We need to examine ourselves with respect to this issue. It cannot be denied anymore that there are now more cases of people, especially the young, who are badly affected by fiction stories which obviously can give us a lot of advantages and pleasures but can also inflict serious albeit subtle dangers.

Fiction, of course, is a good literary form of storytelling that can lead us to new insights and vicarious experiences, teasing our imagination, creativity, and inventiveness. As such, it is something most welcome in our lives.

We just have to be most wary of the dangers fiction stories can also cause. This can happen when the distinction gets blurred between the real and the unreal, faith and reason, the moral and the immoral, good and evil, right and wrong, true virtue and vice and the many caricatures a virtue can have, etc.

Cases of failing to make these distinctions are increasing. Many people are more inspired and influenced by fiction than by what our faith teaches us. They are guided more by worldly values than by faith, hope, and charity.

They are more emotional and temperamental, easily given to violent knee-jerk reactions, than rational and properly restrained. They are guided more by a worldly sense of justice than by charity, mercy and compassion.

There are those whose feet are already off the ground as they swoon into fantasy land and create a bubble for themselves, and so they get harmed as they fall back into reality again. Some fiction stories consistently tickle the base passions of men such that they can hardly control and regulate their urges. They play with our emotions.

Because of fiction stories, many have lost their sense of prayer and sacrifice and are simply carried away by activism, rash judgments, indiscretions, etc. They are continually sensually titillated, while spiritually impoverished.

One's sense of self-worth and self-esteem is based more on worldly pride than on godly humility. Many fiction stories fail to distinguish between what is good fun and what is already being frivolous.

We really need to be more keenly aware of the dangers and excesses of fiction. We have to do some serious assessments of the shows and stories presented on TV, the internet, and the media in general, probing into the main interests and motives of those behind these shows and stories. There is strong basis to suspect that they are more interested in ratings and profits than in the real common good of the people.

We cannot afford to be naïve anymore. Times are getting complicated and we cannot dismiss the idea that there are dark forces that are taking advantage of our complicated times to push their evil agenda.

Let's never forget that Christ himself warned us to always be very vigilant, and that we should be clever as serpents even as we should also be simple as doves. This is no paranoia. This is prudence. We have to learn to do battle with the enemies of God and of our soul who may appear to us as sheep when they are actually ravenous wolves.

In this issue, we have to learn the skills of detecting the objective dangers of fiction stories and of helping the subjective analytical appreciation by people, especially the young, of these same fiction stories.

This will take a lot of effort, but it would all be worthwhile. Let's hope that after some time, we can acquire the skill and expertise and can truly clarify things insofar as fiction stories widely marketed in the media are concerned.

We should not just be warned about the dangers arising from sex and violence. We should be more wary of the dangers that affect our faith, hope, and charity, and the many other human virtues flowing from these theological gifts.

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