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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mailvox: Christian book ratings

CM asks if we can put together a rating system for Christian books. I think this is a good idea, although I think it bears some discussion on the best way to do that.
We are an ultra-conservative homeschool family with 8 children. Two of my older sons and I love SF books, table top games, and movies. My 12 year old is reading through the Monster Hunter series of books now. I do not mind the occasional curse word or sexual innuendo here and there. But if it gets any racier than Correia’s works I will not let them read it until they are a little older. We’ve enjoyed some of your novellas, too. Keep up the good work.

Anyway, I do not have time to keep up and read new SF works to screen them for my sons (12 year old blasted through the first Monster Hunter in one day). Is there a possibility in the future that your blog and/or Castalia House could have a sort of SF book rating or review site that would inform Christian families like mine? Just FYI, the Hollywood movie rating would be inadequate. Many PG-13 rated movies are considered nearly XXX to us.
My thought is something similar to the SJW review of games system might be useful, with zero being the perfect score of containing nothing that would be objectionable to the Christian AND containing genuine and explicit Christian elements. There is a difference, after all, as Misty of Chincoteague is entirely unobjectionable, but it has no Christian content per se.

Let's consider some possible point factors, beginning with those that would likely be more or less acceptable to most Christian parents, but are potentially indicative of religious or ideological problems:
  • contains no genuine and explicit Christian element +1
  • exhibits unconventional Christian theology +1
  • characters demonstrate disrespect for peers or parents +1
  • an animal or major character dies +1
  • contains suggestions of physical violence +1
  • features strong independent female +1
  • contains squishy Disney-style "moral" messages +1
  • Features fairies, unicorns, or creatures from classical mythology +1
  • Features the open use of magic by the characters +1
Then there are the elements that will be objectionable to the more conservative families:
  • contains direct descriptions of physical violence +2
  • features indirect sexual themes +2
  • contains egregious or saintly minority characters +2
  • features aggressively "pro-science" themes +2
  • contains euphemistic swearing +2
Followed by those elements to which most parents will not want to expose their children:
  • contains openly atheist characters +3
  • contains detailed portrayals of physical violence +3
  • features PG-13 sex scenes +3
  • advocates left-liberal political or ideological positions +3
  • contains light and occasional swearing +3
  • Features emotionally devastating scene +3
  • Features demonic aliens or magic-based societies +3
And then the completely unacceptable:
  • contains openly atheist or anti-theist messages +5
  • mocks Christianity +5
  • sadistic horror and physical violence +5
  • features pornographic sex scenes or romanticizes adultery +5
  • features homosexual and other sexually deviant characters +5
  • contains a considerable quantity of vulgarities and obscenities +5 
  • contains openly occultic elements indicative of actual practices +5
Now, it is important to keep in mind that a novel can contain absolutely every element here and still be a Christian novel. What makes a novel Christian or not depends upon its intrinsic recognition that Jesus Christ (or some fictional facsimile therein), is the Lord and Savior of Mankind.

A Throne of Bones scores a lot of points, Book Two will score even more. But they are not books for children; I haven't let my own children read them. Every parent has to draw their own line, but it would certainly be useful to have a large database at Castalia House where books could be rated. For example, The Lord of the Rings would rate about a 8 of 75. A Throne of Bones would rate 40. A Game of Thrones would rate 65. I think anything over 15 should be considered unacceptable to most parents.

There is considerable room for improving the system, and I would welcome suggestions as well as the rating of various books.

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293 Comments:

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Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 7:07 AM  

I would think that sex and language should probably be weighted heavier than anything else, if we're going by what seems to bother these sorts of parents.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 7:12 AM  

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/protecting-your-family/book-reviews-for-parents/book-reviews-for-parents

Focus on the family has a bunch of book reviews. While they don't have much sff, their format could serve as a model.

Blogger Heuristics February 10, 2015 7:17 AM  

Something similar for gaming: https://www.christcenteredgamer.com/

They divide the score in two, one overall score and one morality score.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 7:26 AM  

I want to boil it down to a single number. That's what is most useful. Nor am I interested in a quality rating, those can be found elsewhere.

Blogger Gilbert Ratchet February 10, 2015 7:31 AM  

"There is a difference, after all, as Misty of Chincoteague is entirely objectionable, but it has no Christian content per se."

Just to clarify, do you mean "Misty of Chincoteague is entirely unobjectionable"?

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 7:37 AM  

No, I REALLY just hate horses. Corrected.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 February 10, 2015 7:48 AM  

Vox, even when there's nothing overtly bad in a narrative, the narrative can still be very bad, Vaccines, GMO, Global Warming, multiculturalism, all "human rights"
Mark Steyn recently tried and failed to demolish the "banality of evil" by comparing it with the "glamour of ISIS throat slitting, head hacking, burn them alive evil".

The Brady Bunch might rate well, A Doris Day movie might rate well -
yet, it's no indication. I'm not saying I have the answer to anything, but I suspect, CSLewis, GK Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, {insert your own pick of them] want, expect, demand,

supernatural passion. A life lived without a fire in the belly is a bad life = even if it 'rates' well. I think, suspect, recommendations have to be "ad hoc" - like every bit of genius ever was.

Anonymous The Original Hermit February 10, 2015 7:56 AM  

Perhaps negative points. A book had such a strong Christian message that it counteracts anything that adds points.

Anonymous The Original Hermit February 10, 2015 8:00 AM  

For example, there's an atheist on the story, but he converts to Christianity.

Anonymous Joe Doakes February 10, 2015 8:20 AM  

If she lets her kid read Sci Fi, she's not what I'd call an ultra-conservative, she's what we back in the 1950's called "normal." But just as "normal" has changed, so has Sci Fi, and not for the better. A 12 year old boy should be reading "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" and not "Wereseal Lust" so she's absolutely right to ask for help screening his reading material. Thanks for taking up the call, Vox.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 8:22 AM  

Perhaps negative points. A book had such a strong Christian message that it counteracts anything that adds points.

No, that's a judgment call. What would "counteract" the effect on a child's psyche of reading a detailed murderous child rape of the sort SFWA Grandmaster Samuel Delaney describes in loving detail? The purpose is to let people know what is in there, not try to justify it for them.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 8:23 AM  

One thing that might be adjusted:

characters demonstrate disrespect for peers or parents

I'd say it should only be +1 if the character demonstrates disrespect and suffers no consequences. Take the parable of the prodigal son. Both sons demonstrate INCREDIBLE disrespect (the more you know about the culture at that time, the more layers of disrespect you see), yet the prodigal does suffer for it and learns a lesson which I think should remove the +1.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 8:23 AM  

I think anything over 15 should be considered unacceptable to most parents.

Ender's Game is probably right around that.

OpenID freeonus February 10, 2015 8:24 AM  

The difficulty with a point system is that I wouldn't consider three 1s equal to one 3. It'd be nice to be able to zoom in on the detail.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 8:25 AM  

I'd say it should only be +1 if the character demonstrates disrespect and suffers no consequences.

The purpose is to let people know what is in there, not try to justify it for them.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 8:27 AM  

The difficulty with a point system is that I wouldn't consider three 1s equal to one 3. It'd be nice to be able to zoom in on the detail.

That is called "a book review" and there are plenty of them around. The point is to allow the rapid summary of everything in a flash.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 8:32 AM  

By my count, Foundation rates 13-16.

Anonymous Alexander February 10, 2015 8:34 AM  

There's a workaround for that. Add an A-E scale that marks which 'bad' category is the worst one the book scores at. So a 10B would have 10 points, with its worst score coming in from the +2 category, while a 10E would let a parent know that it has at least one +5 in the mix.

Boom, done. 10B, no problem let the kid read. 10E, maybe I as the parent want to either go through the book first or delve into more book reviews to get an idea of what's going on.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2015 8:43 AM  

The Bible is a 4? The major character dies and then comes back.

Anonymous NateM February 10, 2015 8:44 AM  

"The Lord of the Rings would rate about a 5 of 65. "

For the Gay Hobbits?

Blogger CDM February 10, 2015 8:45 AM  

The Focus on the Family system is alright but too long. VD's suggestion is very helpful and I am having a hard time trying to improve upon it. There needs to be a quick reference. I'd only offer in addition to VD's suggestions adding a single paragraph or providing bullet points of all the potentially negative aspects of the work.

Anonymous PA February 10, 2015 8:46 AM  

White male character shown up or morally chastised by a non-white character: +4

Anonymous PA February 10, 2015 8:48 AM  

... or bailed out.

Also: in your face nontraditional sex roles.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 8:58 AM  

White male character shown up or morally chastised by a non-white character: +4

Wouldn't that be covered by "contains egregious minority characters +2?"

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:00 AM  

Also: in your face nontraditional sex roles.

Again, "advocates left-liberal political or ideological positions +3"

Blogger JP February 10, 2015 9:02 AM  

I'd like to see how the Bible scores on this system.

Anonymous Difster February 10, 2015 9:03 AM  

There could be a single, score for those that want it, and a category by category score for those that want more detail.

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 9:03 AM  

I think this would be an excellent idea. I also have difficulty keeping up with screening the books my kids want to read, and this rating system would at least provide a quick filter or guide to exploring what material, themes, or content different families might find objectionable.

I would add:

Strong female protagonist/hero: +1 (+3 for us :) )

We use the Parent's Guide for movies since they use a combination of a rating system (1-10) and detailed description for different categories: sex/nudity, violence/gore, language etc.

I would really welcome something like this and it has my vote. Thanks for considering this, Vox.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 9:04 AM  

I added "or saintly" to the minority characters. I always hate the Saint Negro or the Saint Gay or Saint Indian characters. And it's almost always whites who write them. "See, aren't I a good SJW? Please don't call me racist!"

OpenID cailcorishev February 10, 2015 9:05 AM  

I think anything over 15 should be considered unacceptable to most parents.

Ender's Game is probably right around that.
By my count, Foundation rates 13-16.


That's a good sign. I'd say both those books are acceptable, but with problematic aspects a parent ought to be ready to answer questions about. I read Ender's Game with my 13-year-old students, and there were a couple scenes I cringed at. Foundation would be the same way: books you'd want your kids to read, but not at just any age.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:05 AM  

Let me try rating The Shadow and Night, the first book from The Lamb Among the Stars.
Contains no genuine and explicit Christian element +1: fails, as it is very genuinely and explicitly Christian.
Exhibits unconventional Christian theology +1: Depends. Millennial Kingdom lasting (in this case) almost 12000 years is required for setting. Explicit statement that the universe is billions of years old, and microbial through algae-analogue life evolved on other worlds, but nothing beyond that.
Characters demonstrate disrespect for peers or parents +1: This starts being a plot point, showing the growing troubles in society.
An animal or major character dies +1: Definitly qualifies. Might have to bump up this score based on later qualifications.
Contains suggestions of physical violence +1: Contains more than suggestions. Gets a higher rating.
Contains squishy Disney-style "moral" messages +2: Fails
Contains direct descriptions of physical violence +2: Succeeds here. Small-scale skirmish, and later a battle between company-sized forces.
Features indirect sexual themes +2: Succeeds: protagonist has an illicit (against both their parents' wills) engagement (at her desire) but ends up wanting to pursue romance with someone else. Premarital sex (of offscreen, nameless mooks) mentioned as an indicator of decay in social order.
Contains egregious minority characters +2: Played with. Effects of Tower of Babel have been undone and mankind is for the most part a racial melange on all colony worlds (Made Worlds they're called). Likely this is due to relatively low populations and parent-directed marriages. One of the protagonists is very much African (on Ancient Earth, the races are far more distinct than they are on the Made Worlds). One of the semi-major characters is mentioned as looking almost purely Chinese, and this is surprising.
Features aggressively "pro-science" themes +2: Science serves man as a tool to be used for the glory of God.
Contains euphemistic swearing +2: I don't see it (in this book...sequels introduce a different, far rougher society). If it's there, it's only at the same level as Bree does in A Horse and his Boy.
Contains openly atheist characters +3: Fails (this changes in sequels).
Contains detailed and gleeful portrayals of physical violence +3: Fails. Never gleeful.
Features PG-13 sex scenes +3: Does failed sexual temptation by a demonic entity go here?
Advocates left-liberal political or ideological positions +3: Following the model of the early church (where people shared resources voluntarily and not by coercion), everyone from garbage collectors to the highest planetary authorities has the same pay "and only God knows which work is more valuable."
Contains light and occasional swearing +3: Fails.
Features emotionally devastating scene +3: Aftermath of wanton cruelty (by villains), emotional impact of battle.
Contains openly atheist or anti-theist messages +5: Fails.
Mocks Christianity +5: Fails here. Later, where we have the Antichrist possessed by Satan, and demons acting openly, well, yes, there will be mocking of Christianity by the bad guys. Does that count?
Sadistic horror and physical violence +5: Not in this book, but again, you see it shown later on by the bad guys.
Features pornographic sex scenes or romanticizes adultery +5: Never
Features homosexual and other sexually deviant characters +5: Never
Contains a considerable quantity of vulgarities and obscenities +5: Never
So: Book 1 has a score of 13. This rises by Book 3 (The Infinite Day) to 33.

We need to put in the amount of dealing with the occult as part of the rating system. Like:
Deals with the occult +1: Ouija board.
Deals with the occult +2: Demons and angels treated flippantly when portrayed.
Deals with the occult +3: Demons shown as horrifically evil. Angels shown as horrifically good. (After all the angel is good, and you as a mere mortal are not...)
Deals with the occult +5: Demons shown in a positive light. Angels portrayed as bad.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 9:06 AM  

Strong female protagonist/hero: +1 (+3 for us :) )

Good point. I added "strong independent female +1" and reduced the Disney Squish down to +1. Most parents don't really object to that, after all.

Anonymous Andre February 10, 2015 9:08 AM  

What about scary stuff, in the lines of weird fiction, like Arthur Machen and Lovecraft? Occult as in heavily strange ("The White People"'s Green Book) and difficult to grasp?

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 9:08 AM  

Yeah, the occult/magic is missing. I'll come up with some additions there, although different than what you've got there.

+1 is fairies and unicorns or classical mythology, will build from there.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:09 AM  

I'd like to see how the Bible scores on this system.

Anyone want to help write the SCREENIT.COM review of the Bible?

Anonymous Andre February 10, 2015 9:11 AM  

Also, is it possible to write a Christian novel without even a fictional facsimile for Christ, but introducing other elements (Garden of Eden, Original Sin, The Church etc)?

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:11 AM  

"The Bible is a 4? The major character dies and then comes back."

4?


4?

The Bible would be about a 155.

Anonymous DJJ February 10, 2015 9:11 AM  

There's an interesting gaming site that has a great review system. It rates the game as a game, and has a separate rating for sex / violence / morals / etc.

Christ Centered Gaming

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:13 AM  

Honestly... this is just lazy parenting. Crazy thought... don't let your kids read something you haven't read.

Get off your lazy butt and be a parent.

Stop expecting the internet to do your work for you.

Anonymous paradox February 10, 2015 9:16 AM  

Graphic novels by Doug TenNaple great. Now some are adult oriented. My son's favorite is Cardboard. My favorite, more of a teenager audience, is Creature Tech

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 9:17 AM  

Deals with the occult +3: Demons shown as horrifically evil. Angels shown as horrifically good. (After all the angel is good, and you as a mere mortal are not...)

So... wouldn't that add +3 to the Bible?

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 9:18 AM  

My only suggestion would be to clarify this line:
features aggressively "pro-science" themes +2

If it's "pro-science" as in "Here Johnny, learn science so that you can explore the mysteries of God's world! Isn't science grand?" and aggressively so in that it's the entire plot of the book... well, that's different than those who hold "science" as their religion and messiah, which is where the real contention is. And that should be clarified because MPAI.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 9:20 AM  

@Nate Winchester
So... wouldn't that add +3 to the Bible?

Horrifically good, is the key point there. That is, plots where angels and the forces of good are uncaring monsters that dump on humans because humans are not good.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:21 AM  

What is MPAI, Student in Blue?

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 9:24 AM  

Most People Are Idiots = MPAI

Blogger S1AL February 10, 2015 9:25 AM  

@NateM - I'm not sure if you're a parent, but the prospect of needing to read even a quarter of the books I read just when I was in middle school (about 400) is actually staggeringly time-consuming if you read at a normal pace. Parents ask each other for advice all the time... I don't see how this is any different.

That said, I see the value in this system, but I think it risks walking the path of condemning the house because you don't like the paint. The Count of Monte Cristo comes to mind as an example of a book that probably scores around a 15 just on theological aspects, but the moral principles therein are great.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:26 AM  

Horrifically good, is the key point there. That is, plots where angels and the forces of good are uncaring monsters that dump on humans because humans are not good.

Yeah, the angel of death killing the Egyptian firstborns definitely falls into that category.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:27 AM  

@Student in Blue

That is, plots where angels and the forces of good are uncaring monsters that dump on humans because humans are not good.

Actually, @Nate Winchester had more of what I was thinking of.

The general idea, from Lewis's Space Trilogy is: you're trying to be rescued from Evil, but then you see Good, and compared to Good's goodness, you know you're evil as well, and so it frightens you. It doesn't even have to be that Angels go on a spree of destroying everything that is imperfect. Look at the reactions to angels in the Bible.

Blogger wrf3 February 10, 2015 9:30 AM  

Vox wrote: "I want to boil it down to a single number. "

A single number for an entire book? How is that any different than IQ for people? Where is John Wright to protest this utterly silly notion when you need him?

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 9:32 AM  


The general idea, from Lewis's Space Trilogy is: you're trying to be rescued from Evil, but then you see Good, and compared to Good's goodness, you know you're evil as well, and so it frightens you. It doesn't even have to be that Angels go on a spree of destroying everything that is imperfect. Look at the reactions to angels in the Bible.


Or my favorite: the Great Divorce.

Which is what confused me because I thought the point of the system was that (like golf) a low score was preferred. So it seemed to me that a book portraying angels/demons more accurately to how they should be (according to the Bible) should be given the +1 (or even 0) while less accurate depictions are the +4 and higher.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:33 AM  

A single number for an entire book?

Like ISBN?

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:34 AM  

So it seemed to me that a book portraying angels/demons more accurately to how they should be (according to the Bible) should be given the +1 (or even 0) while less accurate depictions are the +4 and higher.

That's stupid, because then the most horrific acts of sin get a +1 for being more accurate.

I'm not a parent, but I don't think parents want their kids to read graphic portrayals of child sacrifice or temple orgies because it's "more accurate."

Blogger Guitar Man February 10, 2015 9:34 AM  

Honestly... this is just lazy parenting. Crazy thought... don't let your kids read something you haven't read.

Get off your lazy butt and be a parent.

Stop expecting the internet to do your work for you.


I remember those Tipper Gore stickers that started appearing on my favorite CDs. They did nothing to stop me from buying them or listening to them, even if my parents (mom usually), objected to them based on a sticker.

Blogger SarahsDaughter February 10, 2015 9:36 AM  

Honestly... this is just lazy parenting. Crazy thought... don't let your kids read something you haven't read.

Sometimes you say silly things.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:37 AM  

@Nate Winchester

This is ratings for suitability for children. There are stories in the Bible (Ehud the assassin in Judges, for example), that I am just as glad that my children (3 and 7) are not reading. Yet.\

Eventually, as they grow, we show them more and more.

Now, I agree that angels as initially-terror-inspiring beings (when they aren't deliberately hiding what they are) is accurate. That doesn't mean I want my kids at their current age reading about how terrified people are of them, and why.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 9:38 AM  


A single number for an entire book? How is that any different than IQ for people? Where is John Wright to protest this utterly silly notion when you need him?


I believe the difference is that this project is a single number for an express, single purpose (notice there's a lot about a book that is not mentioned or judged) not the totality of it. The problem with IQ mostly arises when people want boil down the totality of a person to that IQ number. Especially for Christians who must remember that God is no more respective of intellect than He is of wealth (for we are all morons in the presence of the Infinite IQ).

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:38 AM  

"@NateM - I'm not sure if you're a parent, but the prospect of needing to read even a quarter of the books I read just when I was in middle school (about 400) is actually staggeringly time-consuming if you read at a normal pace. Parents ask each other for advice all the time... I don't see how this is any different.
"

I'm going to assume this is a comment in response to mine... if I'm wrong I apologize.

Effectively what this bit just said is "Yes you're right... I am in fact lazy."

And yes... parents do give each other advice all the time... and the vast majority of the time that advice is ignored because no one has the exact same standards you do.. and what's really important to you... maybe no big deal to them... and what's no big deal to you... may be the worst thing in the world to them.

And that's why you cannot possibly boil it down to a number.

Because a number would tell parents to forbid their kids to read the Bible.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:39 AM  

"Sometimes you say silly things. "

and precisely how is that standard silly?

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 9:41 AM  

@D.J. and Josh
I can understand your argument, and I think the problem lies with the wording of the line.

What is described by D.J. and Nate Winchester is basically the 'fear of the sinner', knowing that you have sinned and justly deserve punishment. That's part of the reason why we are called to both fear *and* love God.

...But that's where I see a number of fiction go astray. They only promote fear of God, and never mention the mercy. And without that mercy, the forces of good in fiction becomes a natural enemy of humanity instead of a savior.

Anonymous Stephen J. February 10, 2015 9:42 AM  

As a possible model, I would recommend a simplified version of the ratings system used at decentfilms.com; in addition to a basic 0-4 or maybe 1-5 "stars" model, DecentFilms rates films on a -4 to +4 "moral/spiritual value" scale, where -4 is "poison", 0 is "basically harmless" and +4 is "a feast for the spirit".

I would also recommend that the scale distinguish in at least some manner between the depiction of problematic elements and the explicit endorsement, or aesthetic glamourization, of them. The Bible itself contains no shortage of things a nine-year-old might be better reading with his folks first, as noted above.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:43 AM  

There are stories in the Bible (Ehud the assassin in Judges, for example), that I am just as glad that my children (3 and 7) are not reading. Yet.\

Hey my five year old self thought that story was awesome. Especially the part about the fat covering the sword and the servants thinking the king was on the toilet for two hours.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 10, 2015 9:44 AM  

I always hate the Saint Negro or the Saint Gay or Saint Indian characters.

I haven't even met you in person, and it's quite clear to me you're a full-blown redskin savage. Surely no one writes saintly Indians (feather OR dot)?!?

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:44 AM  

@Student in Blue

I agree that the line could be worded better. I tossed it out pretty much in stream-of-consciousness mode for something that would fit the Lamb Among the Stars trilogy. I am just pointing out that Nate Winchester was closer to what I intended.

Also Vox said that magic/occult will go in, but in a different form from what I tossed out, so this isn't going to directly affect the rating system anyway.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 9:45 AM  

I'm not a parent, but I don't think parents want their kids to read graphic portrayals of child sacrifice or temple orgies because it's "more accurate."

Josh, we were discussing SPECIFICALLY angels & demons, not life in general. Please focus.

Now, I agree that angels as initially-terror-inspiring beings (when they aren't deliberately hiding what they are) is accurate. That doesn't mean I want my kids at their current age reading about how terrified people are of them, and why.

Ah, now I follow you. Hmmm... ok I can see that. Not sure how much I agree but then for me it's academic while for you it's application so I'll willfully defer to you in this regard and agree then, that +3 would be accurate in that case.

Oh! Semi related, have you read George MacDonald's "At the Back of the North Wind"? (free on project gutenberg) I think it hits the fine line because it can easily be interpreted that the North Wind is an angel, yet she is kind and loving to the child main character, while we are told and given hints (though never shown) that she is terrifying and frightening to adults, especially sinners. I'm almost done with it and unless it has a major swerve in the last few chapters (which I doubt), I highly recommend it to you and your kids. It would rank about a 1-3 on Vox's scale. Definitely get it for your kids.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:48 AM  

"
What is described by D.J. and Nate Winchester is basically the 'fear of the sinner', knowing that you have sinned and justly deserve punishment. That's part of the reason why we are called to both fear *and* love God."

Where was the mercy for the cities on the plain? or for the entire world for that matter during the flood?

There is no way around this. The Bible... on almost every category from sex.. to violence... to mysticism.. would be rated as offensive to the Christian Ghetto denizens that fret over this stuff.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:48 AM  

Josh, we were discussing SPECIFICALLY angels & demons, not life in general. Please focus.

My point is that you can't invert the criteria for one category.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 9:49 AM  

@Stephen J.

I would also recommend that the scale distinguish in at least some manner between the depiction of problematic elements and the explicit endorsement, or aesthetic glamourization of them. The Bible itself contains no shortage of things a nine-year-old might be better reading with his folks first, as noted above.

This might be in the meat of the review (how things are presented), but for a summary, it is enough to show that things are presented. Children can be easily influenced by even negative portrayals, and when you get to adolescence and wanting to rebel (speaking from personal experience), the fact that something is shown in a bad light can be an encouragement to try it out.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:49 AM  

The Bible... on almost every category from sex.. to violence... to mysticism.. would be rated as offensive to the Christian Ghetto denizens that fret over this stuff.

Yes, but the Bible also doesn't have English cussing in it, so it's ok...

Blogger John Wright February 10, 2015 9:50 AM  

"I'd like to see how the Bible scores on this system."

Pardon me, but the Bible was not only NOT written for children, it was not written for the faint of heart.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 10, 2015 9:51 AM  

Nate,
"Honestly... this is just lazy parenting."
I agree.
My resolve is more along the lines of teach them to shoot and think and let them know there is plenty of Evil shit out there, but as long as the ammo is dry and they practice clearing the holster it can be dealt with.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 9:51 AM  

A single number for an entire book? How is that any different than IQ for people?

Yes. Considerably, since it is not distributed on a Bell curve or dependent upon genetic factors.

You must have a very difficult time in stores. "Sir, a single number? How can you be certain that every individual who walks through this store will place precisely this value upon it?"

Blogger S1AL February 10, 2015 9:51 AM  

@Nate - yeah, typo my end. But I see what you're saying. Heck, I'm sure many parents would object to the Riordan novels on the basis of magic and old religions, but I think they would make for teaching opportunities... But who knows, maybe I'll see it differently when I have kids.

Anonymous karsten February 10, 2015 9:53 AM  

I like this in principle but not in specifics.

If would be more useful if it were a traditionalist rating system rather than a Christian rating system.

This, having negative points awarded for SJW elements, but positive points awarded for so-called "racist" "sexist" "homophobic" elements, would be far more beneficial.

On the other hand, creating this one list might make the kind of list that I'm proposing (which would be very different) more possible.

Anonymous Rhys February 10, 2015 9:54 AM  

As a recommendation for CM (supposing he hasn't already thought of it) how would you rate the Heinlein juveniles?

I got to about 15. I am also not a Christian so maybe there were pro-atheistic elements I don't remember.

Of course the adult Heinlein novel's are probably going to max out on everything except left wing politics.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:55 AM  

"Pardon me, but the Bible was not only NOT written for children, it was not written for the faint of heart."

Indeed. But getting the christian ghetto types to accept that is a herculean endeavor. We constantly smash them in the head with the Bible on topics like this because its the only hammer we have.

Anonymous PA February 10, 2015 9:56 AM  

It looks like there are two categories of child-inappropriate literature: things they are not ready to think about (sex, violence) and things that demoralize (race or sex politics).

Atheism or questioning of Christianity straddles both categories.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 9:57 AM  

If would be more useful if it were a traditionalist rating system rather than a Christian rating system.

It's a system for Christian parents.

Absolutely no one is stopping you from creating your own traditionalist rating system.

Blogger SarahsDaughter February 10, 2015 9:58 AM  

and precisely how is that standard silly?

While most of the readers here likely have an interest in SF, there are a few of us who don't, at all, yet our children do. Also, my children, for example, are observably more intelligent than I am and can read much faster than I do. They don't have an interest in the books I read (mostly nonfiction) either.

Do you think a parent like me, who doesn't read SF is a lazy parent?

The same is true with games. I have a son who is a light gamer, the extent of my gaming ability is saving the princess. So when he was younger, I relied on the ratings and reviews of games.

Anonymous AT February 10, 2015 9:58 AM  

A ratings system would be useful, especially one that allowed multiple reviewers to submit reviews. One of the reasons I ignore most of Vox's book recommendations is that the first Tom Kratman book I sampled (Caliphate) started out with page after page of profanity and explicit sex.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:58 AM  

" Heck, I'm sure many parents would object to the Riordan novels on the basis of magic and old religions, but I think they would make for teaching opportunities... But who knows, maybe I'll see it differently when I have kids."

Everyone had different standards. I've had Ned Flanders types tell me they won't let their kids listen to brad paisley because he's secular. So I said, "What if he's singing An Old Rugged Cross?" They then said, "He's singing along with instruments and that's not in the Bible."

There is no helping some people.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 9:59 AM  

My point is that you can't invert the criteria for one category.

Well you kind of have to for angels/demons since there's no outside reliable standard for them. In concept, it's like trying to rank how vampires are depicted. Vampires aren't real so whether they're monsters or heroes doesn't entirely matter. For we Christians, angels and demons ARE real, but all we have of them are accounts in the Bible. So on the one hand, especially to those outside the faith, discussing how angels/demons are portrayed can seem like discussing how vampires are portrayed: a pointless discussion. On the other hand, the 3 big faiths how angels/demons are portrayed is important, but the only standard we have to measure it by is the Bible's depiction.

Like when Vox talks about women fighting. One doesn't need the Bible (or any other book) to explain how women fighting should be portrayed, you can gather real world data on the matter. For angels/demons? Not really.

So you're point is flawed, because this is one criteria that is different from the others.

Pardon me, but the Bible was not only NOT written for children, it was not written for the faint of heart.

Well yes and no. The Jews were instructed to teach the law to their children and to tell the stories of all that God had done for them to said children. But then again, that was a time where children would have been regularly exposed to sex and violence from farming at the least. "Protecting our children" from such things is a modern luxury and one a lot of parents should probably be more thankful for.

But amen, it is not for the faint of heart.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 9:59 AM  

"If would be more useful if it were a traditionalist rating system rather than a Christian rating system."

So there is a difference?

Anonymous Anubis February 10, 2015 10:00 AM  

Here is a book with a higher rating than the LOTR
•features homosexual and other sexually deviant characters +5. Sodom & Gomorra
•Features emotionally devastating scene +3 Lots wife, Noah's flood
•contains egregious or saintly minority characters +2. the good Samaritan
•features strong independent female +1. Eve
•contains direct descriptions of physical violence +2. Main character flipping tables and chasing people with a whip
•characters demonstrate disrespect for peers or parents +1. Judas
exhibits unconventional Christian theology +1. polygamy, the party before Moses brought down the commandments
•an animal or major character dies +1

Blogger Raggededge February 10, 2015 10:05 AM  

Just because Vox may develop a rating system for Christian books doesn't mean you have to completely ignore your own discernment and common sense. It's just a guide for God's sake, it doesn't mean you can't read the Bible. Geez.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 10:05 AM  

•exhibits unconventional Christian theology +1. polygamy, the party before Moses brought down the commandments

That's history, not theology. When you have the consistent message of 'these things did indeed happen, but this is how things are supposed to be,' you can't say that it's 'unconventional Christian theology'.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:06 AM  

The bible contains every single item on this list

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 10:06 AM  

"And that's why you cannot possibly boil it down to a number."

Of course. Fair enough. But it does provide a quick starting point to explore possible objectionable themes further though not a substitute for reading the book yourself. We have standards which may exempt my kids from reading a book even if the book would get a 4. It is helpful in genres such as SF/F, a genre with which, at least for me, I am largely unfamiliar.

If anything, the rating system could help narrow the reading list down for more of us lazy parents.

Blogger wrf3 February 10, 2015 10:07 AM  

Vox wrote: You must have a very difficult time in stores.

Successful troll is successful.

(and, since this appears to be going over people's heads {except, of course, for Drax}, Vox isn't the troll).

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 10:07 AM  

"The bible contains every single item on this list"

It may be important to consider the Author though . . .

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:07 AM  

"Do you think a parent like me, who doesn't read SF is a lazy parent? "

Yes. I do. You think I want to trudge through the crap I've had to trudge through to make sure its up to snuff? Ya think I'm interested in the crap they put on TV today? The garbage apps and games in the App Store?

I don't do it because I like the subject matter or because I am interested in the product at all. I do it because of what I am interested in: my kids.

I force myself to take a keen interest in anything my kids are into. If there is a game like they are into... I play it with them. If their is a show they like... I watch it with them. I hate Teen Titans Go. I HATE It. and yet I have seen every episode...

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:11 AM  

@Nate
There is no way around this. The Bible... on almost every category from sex.. to violence... to mysticism.. would be rated as offensive to the Christian Ghetto denizens that fret over this stuff.

Of course. However, as far as I can tell, this is not a metric aiming to be inoffensive, it's a metric aiming to determine just how accurately Christian something is (without being specifically denominational).

From the topic: "Let's consider some possible point factors, beginning with those that would likely be more or less acceptable to most Christian parents, but are potentially indicative of religious or ideological problems:"

The "more or less acceptable to most Christian parents" is what I mean by "non-denominational" or "shared across denominations". And " potentially indicative of religious or ideological problems" is exactly what it means - things that fiction do that, while seemingly Christian, is actually contrabiblical, or promotes anti-Christian behavior as "good" and "right".

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:12 AM  

" It's just a guide for God's sake, it doesn't mean you can't read the Bible. Geez."

That's not the point. The point is that if these do-gooders who complain about every nit of disagreeable content (honestly there are sites that literally count each individual curse word and provide the data) are hypocrits. They don't apply this same standard to the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:13 AM  

"it's a metric aiming to determine just how accurately Christian something is (without being specifically denominational)."

and by this metric the foundational Word of God on Christianity is not Christian.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:13 AM  

However, as far as I can tell, this is not a metric aiming to be inoffensive, it's a metric aiming to determine just how accurately Christian something is (without being specifically denominational).

It's both.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:15 AM  

@Nate
and by this metric the foundational Word of God on Christianity is not Christian.

Except I'm pretty sure this metric was intended for novels, for fiction, and not history (The Bible).

It's like rating an orange as a terrible fruit because it fails at the metrics for apples.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 10:16 AM  

I do it because of what I am interested in: my kids.

Says "Der Hausfrauhrer"

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:17 AM  

"Except I'm pretty sure this metric was intended for novels, for fiction, and not history (The Bible)."
but but... how will our poor dear christian parents who have no interest in history and just don't read that fast be able to find good Christian History books for their kids to read?

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:18 AM  

@Josh
It's both.
Feel free to share why you believe that.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:20 AM  

@Nate
but but... how will our poor dear christian parents who have no interest in history and just don't read that fast be able to find good Christian History books for their kids to read?
*rolls eyes*

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 10:20 AM  

@Student in Blue wrote: However, as far as I can tell, this is not a metric aiming to be inoffensive, it's a metric aiming to determine just how accurately Christian something is (without being specifically denominational).

I would say 'accurately Christian and suitable for children', because there are accurate elements of Christianity (polygamy, rape, murder and vengeance, summoning of the dead, dealing with demons, and more I've left out) that would not be good for children to interact with, without also having parents around to help guide them. So a higher score isn't necessarily that a work is bad in terms of creation, or even of subject matter, but rather that it needs someone with a mature grasp of Christianity to help out someone who doesn't.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 10:20 AM  


but but... how will our poor dear christian parents who have no interest in history and just don't read that fast be able to find good Christian History books for their kids to read?


What does that have to do in a discussion about fiction??

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:21 AM  

"I see my children during the two hours between when I come home from work from my first job and go off to work my second job. They are at the age when reading ten books a week is the norm. There is no way for me to read their books before they read them, or to know what they are reading at school."

Then your priorities are out of order.

I cannot pretend to be surprised that someone that has virtually no relationship with his children is offended by my comments.

I'd be ashamed if he were not.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 10:23 AM  

Nate: Are you married with children whom you are helping to raise?

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:23 AM  

Feel free to share why you believe that.

From the OP:

with zero being the perfect score of containing nothing that would be objectionable to the Christian AND containing genuine and explicit Christian elements.

That's why you don't let your five year old read Waterloo watership down or where the red fern grows.

Blogger SarahsDaughter February 10, 2015 10:23 AM  

Yes. I do.

I probably am lazy in that aspect. Until what age will you continue this? My youngest is 13 and all three are very different in their preferences. The 13 year-old likes to read stuff that makes her cry like The Fault in Our Stars, the other daughter is reading Unbroken and American Sniper, and my son is reading Kratman and one of Vox's. In that situation, would you have them hold off on reading a book until you could get through them all?

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 10:24 AM  

Who would have thought a thread about a potential rating system for fiction could be so entertaining? Too much fun.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:25 AM  

"What does that have to do in a discussion about fiction??"

Look... no one is asking you to rate the Bible on the scale. We're using the Bible to point out that the whole concept of a scale.. or worse boiling a book down to a single number... is daft.

Blogger JP February 10, 2015 10:26 AM  

I would opine that we modify some of the items like such:

shows anti-biblical views/actions/etc in a positive light: +1
shows anti-biblical views/actions/etc in a negative light: 0 (or -1)

e.g. if there's an openly atheist character who finds Jesus/Aslan, that's pretty good actually.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 10:30 AM  

The conversation has already started to go there but I want to push it there a little harder:

How does this kind of censoriousness and sheltering not just set kids up to not understand the world or have what ultimately becomes an SJW soft view of the world? I read through the Bible at 10 and didn't miss a beat of the murder, torture, sex, insect, war, horrible disease, and etc that's there. It should be there, it's how the world is because of sin and it's a sickness to not understand that.

My 2nd grader had Sadako as one of her study projects at her Christian school. In discussion between the two of us we talked about everything from the basics of how The Bomb works to how it made people sick after the fact to how many such Bombs exist as far as we know and who holds them. It gave her a couple nightmares. It should. It's a nightmarish topic. I know she understands the gravity of the topic because of that. Now she's processed the information and is stronger and wiser for it.

The world can be violent, it isn't a thing to censor. Sexuality isn't a negative, it isn't a thing to censor (any more than scripture would, anyway. If it's in the bible it isn't evil to read)

The active positive promotion of bona-fide scripture states it sin as if it's a good thing is a negative. And yeah, the active promotion of other agendas is a negative at the stages where tangible discussion of the content isn't that possible (kindergarten possibly grade one). But after that read some things the family disagrees with, see if they pick out the problems on their own and point out the problems you see later.

Killing their suspension of disbelief and awakening their discernment when reading or viewing any medium is probably one of the biggest favours a parent can do. Once you have a critical thinker rather than just a consumer of stories you can pretty much let them pick whatever they want to read in reasonable confidence that they'll pick apart objectionable things themselves.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 10:30 AM  

JP: Possibly a -1 modifier, but if an orgy is presented in a bad light, it's still something bad that's presented, so I want a net positive score (though not as bad as if the orgy is presented in a good light).

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:32 AM  

@Josh
Objectionable =/= Offensive

Anonymous Alexander February 10, 2015 10:33 AM  

Nate, why is your wife so lazy/uninterested in your children?

OpenID cailcorishev February 10, 2015 10:33 AM  

Vox wrote: "I want to boil it down to a single number. "

Not sure what's so difficult about this concept. Take the 5-star rating at a place like Amazon: it gives you a quick notion of how much the book is enjoyed. If you want to know more, you check the rating breakdown or dig into the reviews.

One score could be helpful for parents in limiting the number of books they have to vet. Little Mary Sue comes home from 3rd grade and says Jenny told her she really needs to read this The Bear in the Deep Woods book that her mom gave her, so you look on the scale and see that it has a score of 65, so you tell her no. You don't have to read that book to know it's going to be unacceptable to you. And if a book scores a 2, maybe you just take a quick skim through it or read a couple reviews before approving it. For the books that score in the middle or questionable range, you look into them more or read them yourself and make your own call.

It's really not that complicated or scary, nor is the idea that the Bible is an exception that doesn't fit the rule.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 10:35 AM  

Look... no one is asking you to rate the Bible on the scale. We're using the Bible to point out that the whole concept of a scale.. or worse boiling a book down to a single number... is daft.

That's rather like saying it's daft to boil an entire game down to a single (or pair) of numbers so keeping score is pointless or that you can't boil an entire team down to a W-L record.

Nobody's arguing that the entirety of the book is represented by this number. It's just an established signal to parents in order to help me process a large amount of information quickly just as a game score or W-L record doesn't capture the entirety of a team, but signals certain things to those in the know.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:36 AM  

Objectionable =/= Offensive

In this discussion, they mean very similar things, unless you want to tell us what you mean when you say offensive/inoffensive.

Anonymous jamsco February 10, 2015 10:36 AM  

" I've had Ned Flanders types tell me they won't let their kids listen to brad paisley because he's secular."

For the record, this Ned Flanders type wouldn't tell you that.

"I force myself to take a keen interest in anything my kids are into. "

Also for the record, I applaud this approach and I think I need to be more like this.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 10:36 AM  

The world can be violent, it isn't a thing to censor. Sexuality isn't a negative, it isn't a thing to censor (any more than scripture would, anyway. If it's in the bible it isn't evil to read)

That is ludicrously stupid. I don't want little girls listening to "FUCK HER DEAD FUCK HER" and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. I don't think little boys should listen to Ministry. I don't think either of them should be reading 50 Shades of Grey or watching Saw. But that's all just fine by your standards. Just, you know, explain that it's BAD.

You don't teach children discernment by throwing them into a deep end full of piranhas. That's just stupid.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:37 AM  

Nate, why is your wife so lazy/uninterested in your children?

1) you must be new here
2) you're an asshole

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 10:37 AM  

@prariepolyguy

I'd say that it becomes censoring when we forbid something without looking at the context. The goal as I understand it is to have parents work with their children through troublesome books and point out the troubles and problems, so they can see and start thinking about it.

I don't think Vox, or John Wright, or any of us here in the comment section will disagree that that is what the goal ought to be.

Now there are some parts that are too old for children (though when a child becomes old enough is going to vary from child to child...and could well be before parents are willing to admit it...), and there may be some themes that parents may not want in the house at all ("I will not have X, Y, or Z in my house, and as long as you are subject to my authority living here, or a guest, I expect you to abide by those rules...").

So this is not a be-all and end-all, but it is a tool to help us think about books, entertainment, etc..

Blogger SarahsDaughter February 10, 2015 10:38 AM  

Nate, why is your wife so lazy/uninterested in your children?

I'm sure she's not, she does what I counsel all wives to do and that is submit to their husbands. Nate's just showing us SAHM's up, it is very reasonable that a man would outperform a woman in this area as well. He's likely got the laundry going, dinner planned, house cleaned, kids' school lessons complete, has read 100 pages, written a blog post, tended to the animals, and done some yard work...and it's not even noon.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:38 AM  

"Until what age will you continue this? My youngest is 13 and all three are very different in their preferences."

See this is the key to it all. As the kids get older the work load changes. And it varies with individual kids as well... some 9 year olds are ready for some hard topics that other 14 year olds simply are not. And as they get older they certainly consume more... but they are also ready to handle more as well.

discussing sex with a 16 year old is not the same as discussing sex with a 10 year old right? So as they get older and more mature you lower your standards and loose the reigns and trust them more. You have discussions with them about what they are reading and what's going on in those books and what things are issues.

By the time they are in their teens they should be on your side... looking out for this stuff themselves and complaining about it right along side you.

I worried myself sick as a kid that my parents would divorce. And my wife's parents did divorce. So we decided our kids weren't going to have that worry. We actually raised them such that they, even the 12 year old to this day, are largely unaware that divorce exists. The two oldest understand the concept but thing its just something that never happens. its not done.

some day they'll find out how common it is.. and they'll be stunned... but that's fine. We'll have that talk then.




Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 10:38 AM  

How does this kind of censoriousness and sheltering not just set kids up to not understand the world or have what ultimately becomes an SJW soft view of the world?

Because you choose the books you throw at them to gradually expand their minds, rather than some moronic parents of a friend like the woman who bought Mortal Kombat 2 for her five year old because he wanted a video game.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:39 AM  

You don't teach children discernment by throwing them into a deep end full of piranhas. That's just stupid.

Remember, there are some Christian parents who are stupid enough to send their children to public schools so they can be missionaries to the other students.

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 10:40 AM  

" . . .the whole concept of a scale.. or worse boiling a book down to a single number... is daft."

Perhaps. But how does using a rating system imply that a parent has no relationship with his kids? The OP would seem to imply that CM is genuinely concerned for his kids.

I haven't read all of Mr. Wright's novels, but I did express to him that our standards were fairly conservative, and he graciously told me which novels of his I should probably avoid and gave me a summary of what I might find objectionable in each one. I was grateful for the input. Does that make me lazy? Does that mean I am not involved with my kids? I would like to think it helps me be a bit more efficient.

A rating system is no silver bullet, but just another helpful tool. Every little bit helps.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:41 AM  

"Nate, why is your wife so lazy/uninterested in your children?"

***chuckle***

Dude... DrWho works like 30 hours a week. We busted our asses from the time we were teenagers to make sure we'd have the money... and the time... to raise our kids the way we wanted.

So now most days... DrWho has already been to work and is home by the time the kids are finishing breakfast.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 10:43 AM  

(any more than scripture would, anyway. If it's in the bible it isn't evil to read)

"FUCK HER DEAD FUCK HER"

I missed that passage in scripture, or one with very similar content. Can you give me chapter and verse?

I wouldn't want you to have ignored a qualifier in your response, after all.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:44 AM  

"Perhaps. But how does using a rating system imply that a parent has no relationship with his kids? "

It doesn't.

That was a specific response to John C. Wright... who explicitly stated he had a very limited relationship with his kids.

Because work.

Blogger CDM February 10, 2015 10:47 AM  

Nate -

I don't let my children read anything I haven't so your thoughtful counsel is useless to me. However, thier mother is at home with them for most of their schooling so they may have picked up a few things off my radar.

You say my suggestion is indicative of "lazy parenting." You may have a point with some parents or parents with 1 or 2 kids. I have 4 sons and 4 daughters. As I said, my 12 year old boy often reads well over 500 pages in his free time not including his school subjects - in a single day. Nowhere did I indicate in my note to VD that any rating system would replace my own screening. But it would save me and others like me much time in not even picking up some books. Maybe you've earned the right to brag but as I see it you could not keep up with jsut a few of my children's current reading not to mention their desire for more. We have no TV service and we screen cartoons / movies on Netflix, watch and play their video games and other media they consume. My guess is you could not on your best day keep up with my clan.

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2015 10:47 AM  

I may have missed it, but why must it be a single number? I haven't looked at it for a long time, but Ted Bahr had a Christian Movieguide that had something like 5 numbers. Likely the same numbers as noted here, just split out into categories so someone could quickly judge the value of the book.

Few things in life are completely linear and limiting it to a single scale is very limiting in all but a few applications.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:49 AM  

My guess is you could not on your best day keep up with my clan.

And thus was born...

THE DAD OLYMPICS!

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:49 AM  

"Because you choose the books you throw at them to gradually expand their minds,"

Maybe this is the concept that so many Ned Flanders types miss.. (not you specifically Jamsco. stand down.) As the child ages and mature... the standards should change.

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2015 10:51 AM  

I spelled his name wrong, though this does tread into review territory. I am not sure how you get even the single number without doing so however.

https://www.movieguide.org/reviews/spongebob-movie-sponge-water.html

Just one example from the current main site. Note it is split into 4 categories with an overall quality category. I recall some "bad" movies having high quality in the past. That would be quickly usable. Build up the resource over time and use a community scaling from known reviewers (watching for the Wikipedia challenges). That seems more valuable to me as a parent of adult children than a single number. Quick decisions can still be made. A paragraph on the content is a quickly readable review as well.

Anonymous anonymous editor February 10, 2015 10:51 AM  

I have no time to read my children's books before they do. The best method is to teach them discernment and critical thinking skills. The older children will often vet books for their younger siblings, as they have already been taught these skills. I don't give a flying fig about "naughty" words, really. Sexual innuendo isn't a big deal, either. It's more a matter of age appropriateness and world view.

Now as an editor of a start-up sci fi/ fantasy journal, I wish authors themselves would use a convenient rating system so I can automatically delete 90% of the deluge that reached the submission box this time around. It was such a joyous moment to realize that we didn't, for the first time, have to take what we got. We could pick and choose. But what did I have to pick and choose from? Sexy-demon-goddess-voodoo-sex/blasphemous-Jesus just wants you to love everybody. There were maybe two stories that fit into classic sci fi/fan. I had to solicit everything else and accept stories that were going to take a lot of work to edit.

So I'd love a rating system. Authors should just place a bright flashing sticker on their stories: Demon Sex or I F*ck Goddesses or Not Remotely Spec Fic Because I Ran Out of Space Due to Literary Racism Tropes. That might be a simple, convenient rating system for kids, too, since we ARE talking about about spec fic in this thread.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 10:52 AM  

@Josh
In this discussion, they mean very similar things, unless you want to tell us what you mean when you say offensive/inoffensive.

They're very similar but not the same.
"Being offended" is what "Christian Ghetto denizens that fret over this stuff" do, particularly when they, for example, label Harry Potter as being satanic because it sort of deals with the occult.
"Being objectionable" is what happens when there is enough incorrect (not "badfeels" but untrue, false) with the material that you can make a complaint with actual substance. That is, an objection.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 10:52 AM  

You may have a point with some parents or parents with 1 or 2 kids. I have 4 sons and 4 daughters.

Yeah without knowing exact numbers, some of other Nate's critiques break down as families scale up. There is eventually a point where the involvement he consuls just will not be physically possible unless a person is blessed with comic-book level super-speed.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet that JCW's household is on a higher scale than Nate's.

Blogger Guitar Man February 10, 2015 10:54 AM  

I was under the assumption that VP was full of logical people who actually home school their children...

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 10:54 AM  

If I were a betting man, I'd bet that JCW's household is on a higher scale than Nate's.

The stakes, my good sir?

Blogger Tomas February 10, 2015 10:55 AM  

Vox,

As a philosophical point behind the scale (which I think is awesome), would it be good to point out that it is less a scale of "objectionable to a Christian" (which it is, to a point) than a scale of "Christian maturity necessary".

As many have pointed out, there are a number of books which would are rightfully great reads and even important to the field but contain difficult issues (Ender's Game, Foundation Series). The scale isn't a "read this" and "don't read this", but rather a scale of "children should have no difficulties" to "prepare to talk with them" to "they should be well grounded and mature in their faith and philosophy". You see the same issue in specifically Christian literature - Narnia, not a problem; Chaucer, they need to be a little older; Walker Percy, you really need to be in college or adult to get this. Percy, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, or Flannery O'Connor would rate high on this scale and they are arguably among the most Christian writers of the 20th century (and yes, I'm Catholic biased, ubi petrus and all that). Their rating high is not a problem - it's a sign of necessary maturity.

And for those discussing it, the bible falls into the same issue. There is a long and laudable tradition of making dang sure people only read the parts they're ready for, especially in the more classically founded churches (Catholic, Orthodox, High Anglican and Reformed). The high rating simply reflects the classical wisdom.

Thus perhaps one should clarify that the scale is not a "this is wicked" but rather "this requires more maturity to wrestle with its contents". Of course, truly wicked works would rate high, but that's built into the scale - you must be mature to discern the good from the bad. And if its way up the scale, you have to wonder if its worth your time.

Also, I would love to be a part of any effort to do this for Castalia. I'm over educated in theology and am recently trying to get back into reading sci-fi and fantasy (college killed my tooth for fiction - I blame too many late nights with Aquinas and Plato). If you need readers and reviewers, sign me up.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 10:58 AM  

Listen, all y'all. Yes, higher score means worse book. AToB scored pretty high, and Vox says the next book will score even higher. That is because I actually hate our readers, and I asked him to write something even worse the next time. I mean, it's not the Evil Legion of Evil for nothing.

Moar higher moar evil. Period.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 10:58 AM  

" I have 4 sons and 4 daughters. As I said, my 12 year old boy often reads well over 500 pages in his free time not including his school subjects - in a single day. "

You have 8... I have 5. Congratulations. Folks with large families like us have to develop systems. Because as you say... at some point you are thoroughly out-numbered.

While the little buggers do read at an alarming rate... we have a keen advantage on our side.

We're decades older than them.. and have therefore been reading longer.

In short... I feed my kids a steady diet of the books I read when I was a kid. I already read them. I know what's in them. For the girls... I would talk to your wife and get suggestions from her about books she read and loved as a kid... and feed the girls those.

The other option... one that I may have to resort to... is to simply over-whelm them with material so there is no time for new stuff.

I keep 100 of what I consider to be the Greatest books ever written... and its my intention for the kids to have read all of them by the time they are ready for university.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 10:59 AM  

The stakes, my good sir?

lol I'm sure we have each other at disadvantages since I'm somewhat familiar with JCW's household size but not of Nate's.

Hmmm... to make a "win all around" (and to keep it fair for us poor folk), how about something from Castalia house's catalog (since we're not at a bar to buy each other rounds). Anything $2.99 or less, the winner's pick?

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:00 AM  

"There is eventually a point where the involvement he consuls just will not be physically possible unless a person is blessed with comic-book level super-speed."

there is more than one way to skin a cat. I may have a bunch of kids that love to read... but I have been reading a long... long time.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:04 AM  

D.J.

We're probably not too far off of each other, but in discussions of censorship I tend to see erring on the side of ignorance being the norm. Then I tend to see greenhouse children that wilt as soon as they are put out in the sun.

But IMO any kind of rating system is unnecessary. Marketing is usually enough to get an idea of the content. Mortal Kombat's content is obvious from it's name, and even with it I'd more belittle it as a dumb game from premise to gameplay than worry about the violence. Clay Fighter isn't really much less dumb, it's only really better in being aware its satirizing itself (and having an Earthworm Jim cameo). Honestly I've found the line of questioning 'this is stupid, why are you interested in it?' to be more of a deterrent for my kids then just telling them not to have or play something.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 11:05 AM  

there is more than one way to skin a cat. I may have a bunch of kids that love to read... but I have been reading a long... long time.

A fair strategy, Nate, but as someone else pointed out up-thread, a bit of a problem when the lovable brats want read outside what you have.

Unless you're now confessing that you have read all the wereseal and other fantasy romances that have been put out... ;-)

Anonymous jamsco February 10, 2015 11:08 AM  

Vox -
Prologue = 28

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 11:08 AM  

@prariepolyguy
But IMO any kind of rating system is unnecessary. Marketing is usually enough to get an idea of the content.

It's not the obvious that needs defending against, but the insidious.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:08 AM  

Thomas,

As a philosophical point behind the scale (which I think is awesome), would it be good to point out that it is less a scale of "objectionable to a Christian" (which it is, to a point) than a scale of "Christian maturity necessary".

I think rephrasing it like this would be more accurate, or at least more palatable to me, for what little that's worth.

Anonymous jamsco February 10, 2015 11:09 AM  

Nate: "You have 8... I have 5."

Wuss.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 11:10 AM  

Thus perhaps one should clarify that the scale is not a "this is wicked" but rather "this requires more maturity to wrestle with its contents".

As anyone who has read my books knows, I do not believe in spelling things out for idiots. There is no need for any clarification of anything. The scale simply informs, it does not judge.

If polyqueer beta cuckold has no problem with his step-children reading about homeless men raping eight year olds because it's a beautiful portrayal of alternative sexuality, then he will obviously be fine with a higher number than a Christian mom who thinks faeries are a portrayal of demons.

I'm not going to clarify anything. It's going to simply say: the higher the number, the more of these elements it contains. Now you know. Do whatever you like with that information, or ignore it if you prefer.

AToB scored pretty high, and Vox says the next book will score even higher. That is because I actually hate our readers, and I asked him to write something even worse the next time. I mean, it's not the Evil Legion of Evil for nothing.

I think I can safely say that just the prologue will appall nearly everyone.

Blogger Sioux February 10, 2015 11:11 AM  

Both a single-number score plus a detailed grid would be helpful as a book buyer for children and teens - it would show how the score was derived using the items Vox has listed so the you can decide. Already I am devising the Excel spreadsheet in my head ;)

Anonymous Eric Ashley February 10, 2015 11:11 AM  

And another problem with Nate's fantasies...

I watched 'The Devil's Advocate', and heard a bunch of Christian guys complaining about the end. They did not understand the meaning of it as Satan comes back to tempt the hero more subtly.

Which is to say, its a good thing to get counsel from those who might be wiser than you, or have an understanding you don't have on a particular topic.

==============

Nate's goal seems to be to make fun of Christian parents who don't agree that letting five year olds read The Handmaid's Tale is a good idea. So I take his complaints about 'laziness' to be rhetoric, not meant to be taken seriously.
====================

As to the more important OP, some parents have Magic=Evil, and Aliens=Demons. Yes, there are parents who object to Chronicles of Narnia.

I'm not sure this scale is suited for their use.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:15 AM  

@Student in Blue

It's not the obvious that needs defending against, but the insidious.

Yes, but right now publishers see SJW themes ect as selling points, so they tend to market them if they exist. That and I don't see most of them as smart enough to be insidious anyway.

I dunno, perhaps I just haven't seen much that wasn't obvious too me. Do you have some examples of what you've encountered? It would be useful for me to know if there's any mainstream content that's actually subversive in a non-obvious way.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 11:17 AM  

That and I don't see most of them as smart enough to be insidious anyway.

It's not THEM that needs to be smart enough, but the Enemy who has had a lot longer to practice and is crafty.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 11:18 AM  

Updated to incorporate occult ratings:

Features fairies, unicorns, or creatures from classical mythology +2
Features the open use of magic by the characters +3
Contains openly occultic elements indicative of actual practices +5

Anonymous jamsco February 10, 2015 11:21 AM  

So ... Prologue = 36

And I'd change this to
Features fairies, unicorns, or creatures from classical mythology +1
Features the open use of magic by the characters +1

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:21 AM  

"A fair strategy, Nate, but as someone else pointed out up-thread, a bit of a problem when the lovable brats want read outside what you have."

They want all sorts of things.

OpenID cailcorishev February 10, 2015 11:21 AM  

but but... how will our poor dear christian parents who have no interest in history and just don't read that fast be able to find good Christian History books for their kids to read?

So, because Ned Flanders types exist, sensible people can't have a rating system that provides them with some useful guidance.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 11:23 AM  

His first manuscript actually was pansy-ass crap. There were at least TWO missed five-pointers. My editorial advice was "needs moar evil". I'm happy to hear it's up to our standards now.

Drink up, shoot in
Let the beatings begin
Distributor of pain
Your loss becomes my gain

Anger, misery
You'll suffer unto me

Harvester of sorrow
Language of the mad
Harvester of sorrow

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 11:24 AM  

Markku, if I write a novel about a Finnish zombie sniper who kills Russians will you publish it?

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:26 AM  

"Nate's goal seems to be to make fun of Christian parents who don't agree that letting five year olds read The Handmaid's Tale is a good idea. "

Well that's a fascinating assertion.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 11:26 AM  

@prariepolyguy
Do you have some examples of what you've encountered? It would be useful for me to know if there's any mainstream content that's actually subversive in a non-obvious way.

Take for example John Wright's experience with The Legend of Korra.
http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/12/the-perversion-of-a-legend/

He watched it and wasn't expecting any sort of asspulled homo relationship, and then got blindsided by it in the end. The Legend of Korra was not marketed as an epic tale of homosexual love, but as a children's tale.

It may be "obvious" to you, but it was not for Mr. Wright.

Nate Winchester's comment applies as well.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:28 AM  

"So, because Ned Flanders types exist, sensible people can't have a rating system that provides them with some useful guidance."

No.

You're conflating two different points.

The problem with the rating system is that it does you no good anyway because the number doesn't tell you anything. What you think is bad and what someone else thinks is bad are totally different.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:29 AM  

"He watched it and wasn't expecting any sort of asspulled homo relationship, and then got blindsided by it in the end. The Legend of Korra was not marketed as an epic tale of homosexual love, but as a children's tale."

I never watched Korra nor let the kids watch it... but I agree with Wright that it created a new paradigm.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:29 AM  

Vox really gets his back up when the fact that his scale isn't really functional for anything is pointed out. He's really emotionally attached to it. Ah well, let him only let his kids read a version of David and Goliath where David luls Goliath to sleep with his harp any everyone is friends at the end so it doesn't score points on his scale. Apparently there can be no in-between what scripture has as it's content and the random literary trash out there today.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 11:30 AM  

I'd probably put in appearances by human-like aliens as a +1. Appearances by something beyond unicorns/satyrs/etc., like vampires, werewolves, or exceedingly alien alien races (like the Vorlons and Shadows), as well as angels/demons as a +3 or greater (depending on context)

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 11:30 AM  

Well, OBVIOUSLY it would have a breakdown for where the points came from. A high score would be the initial red flag that there is something that you might POTENTIALLY want to not give to your kid yet. Then you'd take a look at what it is. If it's something where you think your kid is already strong in, you'd give the book anyway.

But the number would be your first hint to take a closer look.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 11:31 AM  

As an aside, I think it'd be rather more useful if parents can put in their own values for the subjects that you've listed.

For an example, some parents may want to put down squishy Disney morality as +0 (because they're dumb), and some may want to put it down as +2, and whatever site maintaining it would update the scores for that visitor.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 11:32 AM  

Vox really gets his back up when the fact that his scale isn't really functional for anything is pointed out. He's really emotionally attached to it. Ah well, let him only let his kids read a version of David and Goliath where David luls Goliath to sleep with his harp any everyone is friends at the end so it doesn't score points on his scale. Apparently there can be no in-between what scripture has as it's content and the random literary trash out there today.

Have you actually read the post and the entire thread? Because that's the only charitable way to read your comment.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 11:32 AM  

By human-like aliens, almost everything in Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon 5 would qualify.

Borg would rate like vampires and werewolves, Q would be slotted in where presentations of angels and demons are.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:33 AM  

Student in Blue

Take for example John Wright's experience with The Legend of Korra.
http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/12/the-perversion-of-a-legend/

He watched it and wasn't expecting any sort of asspulled homo relationship, and then got blindsided by it in the end. The Legend of Korra was not marketed as an epic tale of homosexual love, but as a children's tale.

It may be "obvious" to you, but it was not for Mr. Wright.


This is the disconnect then. Everything about avatar screams SJW themes right from the psudo-eastern religious overtones to me. I wouldn't have been surprised if a homosexual relationship in the mainline show showed up. The very title sets you up to expect that kind of thing IMO.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:36 AM  

Josh,

I've read his reaction to the idea that things in scripture are fine. I see the premise put forward that we should gradually lead kids up, but in practice it appears to be 'ooo scary violence think of the childrunz' mentality that wins in the end.

Blogger bob k. mando February 10, 2015 11:37 AM  

Roundtine February 10, 2015 8:43 AM
The Bible is a 4? The major character dies and then comes back.



uh, ( almost ) everyone on the planet dies. TWICE.

the Bible scores in the *B*illions, just on that alone.

then you've got things like stabbing two adulterers with a spear in the act, false rape accusations against Joseph, the theft of birthrights, Job's incest, the martydom of Stephen, Sodom, demonic impregnation of women, etc, etc, etc.

pretty much any criteria you want to use, the Bible is going to max it out.

Blogger Nate Winchester February 10, 2015 11:39 AM  

Job's incest

I've read that book more than once and I have NEVER seen anything in there about Job committing incest.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:40 AM  

"This is the disconnect then. Everything about avatar screams SJW themes right from the psudo-eastern religious overtones to me. "

meh. The Last Air Bender was fine.

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 11:40 AM  

"The problem with the rating system is that it does you no good anyway because the number doesn't tell you anything"

However, I think it can be indicative. A 10/10 rating in the sexual content/nudity category for Game of Thrones at least gives me a vague idea that I will want to, at the very least, investigate further - or I can just dismiss it all together for that reason.

Because of my particular preferences and what I read in the descriptions that warranted a 10/10 rating in this category for this particular series, I will not be screening (i.e. viewing) it for my sake and the sake of my kids. (I use the Parent;'s Guide for movies for me as much as for the rest of my family).

At the very least a rating system can raise a red flag that is helpful in proceeding according to individual tastes and values. As VD has said, a rating is no substitute for a review or a description. A person's IQ does not tell me anything about the character or personality of a person, but it indicates certain information.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 11:40 AM  

Maybe it WOULD be good to know that if you give your seven year old the Bible and tell her to read this nice book, you might want to prepare answer for "daddy, what's rape?" in advance.

Anonymous Donn February 10, 2015 11:41 AM  

@Giuseppe Surely no one writes saintly Indians (feather OR dot)?!?

You really are not American are you? I figured European culture would have as many 'numinous Indians' etc as American culture. Numinous Indians (dot and feather) are all over the place. Start with 'Dances with Wolves' and 'Little Buddha' and surf around from there. That should give you a start.

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 11:43 AM  

I think he meant lot's incest, not job's

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:43 AM  

"However, I think it can be indicative. A 10/10 rating in the sexual content/nudity category for Game of Thrones at least gives me a vague idea that I will want to, at the very least, investigate further - or I can just dismiss it all together for that reason. "

Ok.. but honestly did you need a rating to know that about Game of Thrones? or 50 Shades of Grey?

Look I get that there is a lot of content out there and there are evil types looking to hide their insidious message. Thankfully... there are millions of pages of OLD stuff where that's not an issue.

give them the old... the classics.. until they are ready to handle the trials of the new.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 11:44 AM  

And I'd change this to
Features fairies, unicorns, or creatures from classical mythology +1
Features the open use of magic by the characters +1


Good idea. I will do so.

Vox really gets his back up when the fact that his scale isn't really functional for anything is pointed out. He's really emotionally attached to it.

Gamma projection. I see you really didn't like that dismissal of your deviant sexual practices.

Well, go watch your wife getting banged by her other husband again, I'm sure that will make you feel all better. And it doesn't escape anyone what your weird interest in advocating the early exposure of other people's children to sexual matters tends to signify, Prairiepedoguy.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:46 AM  

bob k. mando

Bang on that's right.

But the bible is reality, it's what kids need to know about from the get go and be well rounded in. Now everything we have is super soft-peddled unless it's explicitly sold to be super violoent or super sexual.

For the most part these generations are coddled by Disney, not warned by Grimm or enlightened by Hans.

Kids don't explode when presented with the difficulties and dangers that exist in the world. Nowdays even Christians would consider reading the bible to a child child abuse.

Anonymous Donn February 10, 2015 11:48 AM  

Where would Tolkien's elves fit into the system? Not the pointy eared ones from the movies but the ones that Tolkien wrote about that normal humans could be mistaken for. Elves have round ears in Tolkien's world, Hobbits have pointed ears!

Blogger Josh February 10, 2015 11:48 AM  

Ok.. but honestly did you need a rating to know that about Game of Thrones? or 50 Shades of Grey?

Do we really need to watch backdoor sluts 1-8 to know what to expect in backdoor sluts 9?

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:49 AM  

'Maybe it WOULD be good to know that if you give your seven year old the Bible and tell her to read this nice book, you might want to prepare answer for "daddy, what's rape?" in advance."

Ok ... there is nothing wrong with having another tool in the box. I admit I am bias against this sort of thing because I know that people will use it for a lot than kids.

That's the real problem guys like Josh and I have with this stuff. its the people who tell ya you shouldn't read X because its not Christian because cursing... or violence... or sex.

That's not actually what's going on here.. and I doubt any of you would do such a thing.

Besides Jamsco.

Blogger Vox February 10, 2015 11:49 AM  

Kids don't explode when presented with the difficulties and dangers that exist in the world. Nowdays even Christians would consider reading the bible to a child child abuse.

Yeah, that's what Sam Delany says. And you're completely full of shit. I have never, ever met a Christian anywhere, on three continents, who would consider reading the Bible to a child to be child abuse.

Blogger Student in Blue February 10, 2015 11:50 AM  

@prariepolyguy
This is the disconnect then. Everything about avatar screams SJW themes right from the psudo-eastern religious overtones to me. I wouldn't have been surprised if a homosexual relationship in the mainline show showed up. The very title sets you up to expect that kind of thing IMO.

The first one didn't have it. It had the dumb Disney morality but no heroes deciding that close friendship actually means you're gay IIRC.

So can you blame him if the first one was (relatively) fine?

Also, in the post not directed at me, the "scary violence think of the childrunz" mentality is you reading the situation incorrectly.

It's "think of the children" when you wish to force others to comply with your mode of thought for the good of the children. It's not that situation when there is no wish to force compliance. When someone suggests a tool, that is optional. There is nothing forcing you to use it.

It's like saying the person who designed child car seats is being censorious and is doing it "for the children!", but in actuality it's the people who *forced* everyone to use the child car seats who are acting in that way, not the tool maker.

Blogger dw February 10, 2015 11:51 AM  

My folks watched all mine and my siblings entertainment as kids, and im the eldest of three. Swat Kats, DBZ, Goosebumps, Star Wars, Hey Arnold, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, everything. It was just the thing to do and there were movirs and books we werent allowed to watch or read because they knew what was in them. My dad worked full time and my mom part time and they found a way to know this stuff. I dont get how this is hard to do.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:53 AM  

"Maybe it WOULD be good to know that if you give your seven year old the Bible and tell her to read this nice book, you might want to prepare answer for "daddy, what's rape?" in advance."

I don't give my kids unfettered access to the Bible. As Mr Wright said.. its not for them.

I have no desire to explain to my 6 year old what sodomy is.

Blogger Krul February 10, 2015 11:53 AM  

Nate - Ok.. but honestly did you need a rating to know that about Game of Thrones? or 50 Shades of Grey?

No, but those are famous. The number would be useful for obscure stuff you don't already know about.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 11:54 AM  

I don't give my kids unfettered access to the Bible. As Mr Wright said.. its not for them.

So how is the Bible then a counter-example for the number, when that's exactly what the number says about it?

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 10, 2015 11:56 AM  

I got a 15 for That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. Probably higher, but I haven't read it in a while.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 11:57 AM  

Vox

Gamma projection.

Observation, but if you want to !Disqualify go play with your rabbit freinds, you fit in with them more than you'd like to admit.


I see you really didn't like that dismissal of your deviant sexual practices. Well, go watch your wife getting banged by her other husband again,

Nah, it's amusing to me that you'd try characterize me as the effective opposite of what I do though. A guy that collects only virgins and has only his own kids gets characterized as a cuckold. My women don't touch anyone but each other, and that for my amusement. You really do run straight away from content when you can't address a point huh? Play with rabbits to long and you become one I guess. That brings us here:

And it doesn't escape anyone what your weird interest in advocating the early exposure of other people's children to sexual matters tends to signify, Prairiepedoguy.

My advocation always had the qualifier of on the level that scripture has. Scripture has a damn lot of brutality, but it is reality and the word of God. It doesn't escape me that when you come up against reality you have to retreat into your imaginings of your opponents character to make yourself feel better.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 11:57 AM  

" I dont get how this is hard to do."


Shhh... keep this up and they'll call you names.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 12:00 PM  

"So how is the Bible then a counter-example for the number, when that's exactly what the number says about it?"

Because while I don't give them unfettered access... they are exposed to it often. So its an example of why the number is useless.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 12:01 PM  

" The number would be useful for obscure stuff you don't already know about. "

Why does your kid need to read obscure stuff?

Blogger Rabbi B February 10, 2015 12:02 PM  

"Ok.. but honestly did you need a rating to know that about Game of Thrones? or 50 Shades of Grey?"

Game of Thrones - Admittedly, until I read the descriptions, I had no idea as to content. I just wasn't going to watch it first to determine acceptability - that's true of a lot of stuff out there. The rating coupled with brief summaries made the decision easy enough. The same was true of 50 Shades of Grey. Just a couple of random examples to make a point.

I am certainly more in your camp philosophically, but I don't see that a rating system is completely meritless for judging unfamiliar material.

The Little House series probably rates a +2, but my kids will not be reading it, just for the simple fact that the author insisted on using her maiden name on the cover, among other things, nor will they watch the television series for similar reasons. Different strokes for different folks.


Blogger Nate February 10, 2015 12:04 PM  

"
I am certainly more in your camp philosophically, but I don't see that a rating system is completely meritless for judging unfamiliar material. "

I dunno.. maybe its growing up in the 80s that makes us loathe ratings. Tipper Gore can eat my whole ass.

Blogger D.J. February 10, 2015 12:04 PM  

Here's my list for That Hideous Strength. Note: some of the ones say 'feature' rather than 'contains', so I don't know if it should properly qualify.

exhibits unconventional Christian theology +1
an animal or major character dies +1
features strong independent female +1

contains direct descriptions of physical violence +2
features aggressively "pro-science" themes +2
features fairies, unicorns, or creatures from classical mythology +2

contains openly atheist characters +3
advocates left-liberal political or ideological positions +3
contains light and occasional swearing +3
Features emotionally devastating scene +3
Features the open use of magic by the characters or demonic aliens +3

Most of the following is the bad guys doing it, but still, it's there:
mocks Christianity +5
sadistic horror and physical violence +5
features homosexual and other sexually deviant characters +5
contains openly occultic elements indicative of actual practices +5

But this is a whopping 44 on the scale

Blogger Markku February 10, 2015 12:05 PM  

So its an example of why the number is useless.

Only because you already know what's objectionable in it, and therefore don't expose your children to those parts too early. But the number says the accurate thing about it. You simply wouldn't read the review because you know the book already. And the review wouldn't get made, because so does pretty much everybody else too.

But the number wouldn't say anything inaccurate about the Bible. Only something redundant, here in Christendom.

OpenID prariepolyguy February 10, 2015 12:06 PM  

Student in Blue

Didn't have what? It had strong SJW themes that let you know clearly that agenda could be pushed at any time.

Then an agenda was pushed. That to me is unsurprising. But again, that is where the disconnect is. I tend to see this stuff as useless because to me it reveals a lot less than what the marketing screams at me. How high would Avatar even score on this scale?

You have a strong point about car-seat manufacturers. But I still see this as being less than useless. Apparently I assume too much is plain about entertainment products though, and like I say, this is the disconnect.

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