Non-religious Reads

I had an interesting realization yesterday while on Facebook. A friend of mine had posted a request for non-religious book recommendations. I think it was 'cause she was tired of the non-fiction, self-help sort of things that we frequent, but got me started on an interesting {and relatively unrelated} train of thought as I asked myself what books I could recommend.

I couldn't think of any.

It's not because I don't read secular books. I do. {See Goodreads.} I read a ton of so-called secular novels.

But to me, they're all religious in one way or another. I don't know if they mean to be. But almost every secular novel--except the really bad ones--are something like a religious experience for me. They inspire me with thoughts of God, of my relationship with the King of the Universe. Like this line from Beth Revis' A Million Suns {which was stellar, by the way}:
"This is what I'm king of: a whirling mass of humans who either hate me or ignore me."
The context has nothing to do with Jesus, or even an allegorical perfect leader. I have no idea if Revis wrote it because it fit {it did} or because she knew that her words tapped briefly into the heart of my God. And then there's Megan Whalen Turner, who penned the following in The King of Attolia {which is one of the best books ever written}:
"That is the question...Am I king? Don't tell me that I have been anointed by priest and priestess or that this baron or that one has whispered sacred oaths at my ankles. Tell me, am I king?"
Is there any better way to describe the question that Jesus asks of us?

I read books to connect with God, and I usually do. We sit together, and He points things about about His heart, His character, the way He feels about me and my neighbor.

I can't help it. And so when I'm asked to recommend a non-religious book, I stumble. I don't read non-religious books. It has nothing to do with the books...and everything to do with me.

How do you read? If you're a spiritual person, what secular books have inspired your spirituality? If you're not, how do you feel when religion enters a secular read? It's okay to be honest here. :)

1 comment:

Faith E. Hough said...

Very interesting insights, Melody. I've never analyzed it quite this way, but I agree. I think all great art portrays goodness, truth and beauty (even if it is portrayed inversely by the lack of these elements), all things that point to God. Even books by atheists, because they make a point about the goodness of humanity or the need to respect our world (and so on), lead me closer to my creator.