Saturday, February 7, 2015

Discussions Only We Know: Moral Standard

Discussions Only We Know

Moral Standard

So last week we discussed keeping your blog family friendly. Today's topic going to be a tough one for me. Today we're discussing standards--moral standards.

We all have one, right? Even if they're not the same. What do you do if a book you're reading discusses or touches on something that goes against your moral standards? Do you DNF? Or do you keep reading? Do you address it in your review? Or do you ignore it? Do you finish the book but not review it? Do you avoid the controversy, or do you face it head on? I need your help on this one.

Most people have some moral standard that they adhere to: don't lie, cheat, or steal, don't murder, etc etc. As a Christian, I have a standard that I adhere to as well, it's called The Bible. But as such, there are often subjects that come up in books that don't live up to my moral standard that many people don't see a problem with and just consider to be outdated.

The easiest solution is to avoid books that are outside of my moral compass, but that's not always possible. Book blurbs rarely cover every possibility that you might find offensive or against your own standards so I can't always know which ones to avoid. But sometimes what to avoid is obvious. That's not the issue. The issue comes when the "offensive" subject is slipped in and you've "come too far" to turn back.

Truthfully, The Bible is full of stories that break the standard. There's all of the things mentioned above: lying, cheating, stealing, murder, rape, etc. You don't have to read far into The Bible to come across stories that go against the morals God set up. These are usually used as examples of what not to do. And I think we can get the same results from literature today.

Just because I read a book about murder doesn't mean I condone murder. Just because I read a book about rape doesn't mean I condone rape. Just because I read a book where a character curses doesn't mean I condone cursing. But I know that what we feed into our minds and hearts stays there as well. I can read books about these subjects and know that I'm seeing what I should not do or how I should not behave.

But here's a kicker for myself: I've become desensitized to some things that "go against" my moral standard. While I don't do those things myself, it's nothing for me to read about them, such as cursing or premarital sex. But there are other things that I'm not desensitized to. I think each person is in charge of what they get out of each book--whether they walk away thinking "that's how I want to live my life" or whether they put the book down and think "I don't want my life to be like that."

What about you guys? How do you handle reading a book that involves something that goes against your moral standards? Does it matter what the point of the book is if something you disagree with is thrown in? Do you feel like you need to discuss these things in your review of the book? Or do you avoid them? Do you try to avoid books that conflict with your standards? Or do you just take each book as they come? Are you a reader that tries to learn from each book you read? Or do you just read for the sake of experiencing a story or escaping reality for a bit? I'm really curious what everyone else thinks about this topic. What are your thoughts? Let me know!


  1. Amber (@ YA Indulgences)February 7, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    Whoa, creepy, I totally was thinking about this exact thing last week and how I wanted to make a discussion about it. :) I may still do so. Though probably everything I was going to say there, I'm going to say here. Haha.

    I sort of set aside my moral standards and just….kind of file it away and keep reading whatever book. In two of the recent books I've read, there's been talk of how "horrible" God is and everything and that sort of really bugged me, but I never mention that in reviews because it's like….well they're just "my" views, I'm sure other people won't care. Truthfully, I don't want to offend anyone by bringing up the moral views that go along with my beliefs. So I guess you could say, I'm desensitized to it. Or, it bothers me, but I push it aside because "it's not real".

    This was such a fantastic discussion.

  2. I have pretty loose standards for moral issues in books. It would really take a lot to offend me and make me want to dnf. I don't avoid things that might make me uncomfortable. Life isn't lived in my comfort zone, in order to be well read I have to step out of my box.

  3. I'm a reader who likes to push her boundaries and step outside her comfort zone. I've read and loved books I'd never thought I'd even want to read, let alone feel comfortable about. They don't really affect my reviewing or feelings, either. I can understand diverse reactions and questionable morals, even if I don't agree with them or condone them in real life. I can handle a lot of delicate subjects, *but* they have to be done well. I think books are a safe place to explore all of the issues and topics that people shy away from in life, though there are some that don't handle them very well. But I love reading about a vast array of genres and subjects. I love pushing myself as a reader, and I think books have helped a lot with me being a more open-minded person.

    That being said, there is one subject I could never read about and that is incestuous relationships. I think those books would be too uncomfortable for me to read, and so I don't think I'll ever try one. Really great discussion, Sandy! :)

  4. I love when someone else is on the same wavelength as me.

    I absolutely hate when a book randomly throws in a comment about how horrible God is. It absolutely infuriates me, but mostly when it doesn't fit with anything going on in the rest of the book. I can understand not addressing it in your review because it's just your view, but your review is your opinion anyway, right? So just like any other aspect is your view that would be the same. I know what you mean about not wanting to offend anyone but bringing it up. That's kept me from saying certain things as well, but I think I might want to change this about myself. I need some courage.

    Thanks so much for your honest comment Amber!

  5. I wouldn't say I live in my comfort zone either, but I do know that there are some things I just don't want to read about. Thanks for your honest comment Karen!

  6. Oh I didn't mean that you did. I hope it didn't sound that way. I just don't worry about how I feel it before I read it. I refuse to put warning labels on books, I would rather be surprised by the taboos. It is just fiction anyways.

  7. Oh no! I didn't take it that way. All good! Thanks for checking though!

  8. I have to give you kudos for stepping out of your comfort zone. I definitely read the occasional book that pushes me, but that's not WHY I read books. So that's not something I do too frequently just for the sake of stepping out.

    I agree with you. Sometimes books are the best place to explore all subject because it is fiction afterall.

    Yes, I think incest would be a subject I'd probably avoid. The Mortal Instruments was enough of a push on that for me.

    Thanks for stopping by and giving your honest opinion Holly!