Many people today consider story, metaphor, and allegory (from here on defined by the word fiction) as a waste of time, preferring instead to read self help books, expository teaching, or powerful biographies. All works of writing have their purpose and within each category you can find books that benefit you and that you enjoy, but I believe fiction is often overlooked because it isn't a true story, meaning the events and characters are largely created by the author. I want to argue that fiction can be just as important in affecting your daily life as non-fiction. Here's why:
1- Fiction lightens our mood and releases stress.
Stories are entertaining, mixing adventure, romance, and comedy into a new wonder that brings warming emotions.
2- Fiction directly challenges our normal.
Stories move us into a new world of possibilities, showing what life or the world could be like.They force us to consider the What ifs? in life.
3- Fiction promotes the arts.
Writing (and telling) stories is an art form. It must be digested, contemplated, and interpreted. This art is one of the fundamental features of what it means to be human.
4- Fiction increases our creativity.
Stories show us new ways of thinking and new ways to imagine the world. They stir up new dreams and potential in us.
5- Fiction invites us to join in.
Not only do stories bring us into a totally new world, but they also inspire us to re-imagine what we do as a form of art.
6- Fiction inspires application.
Stories speak on a totally different level than non-fiction. Sometimes, we miss out on the truth that is presented so pragmatically. We need an allegory that allows us to bypass our preconceived judgments and really get the message we need to hear into our hearts.
7- Jesus used fiction as His main teaching method.
More than sharing historical stories, moral teachings, or theological doctrine, Jesus used stories, metaphors, and allegories in the form of parables to convey His message. The New Testament says Jesus didn't say anything to the people without using a parable (Matthew 13:34).
If you read the gospels, they are full of fiction that draw us into a new world with real life applications. The parable of the lost son, the parable of the good shepherd, and the parable of the good Samaritan are some more well-known examples.
More than that, Jesus consistently used varying metaphors of water, wind, light, mountains, seeds, vines, bread, blood, sheep, goats, wolves, baskets, lamps, sleep, and even the cross to draw us into a double meaning with real life applications. If you add them all up, you can see how all of His teachings are spoken or interpreted through parables.
If fiction is your art form, then rejoice that you can also be like Jesus and use parables to impart truth through stories with real life applications. Of course there is a lot of unhealthy fiction published, but good healthy fiction based on a heavenly reality can still have great affects on us today. Writing based on truth that pushes us into real life applications should be the goal of our work if we want to be like Jesus.
Finally, I want to encourage you not to overlook the power of fiction. It can greatly benefit your life and inspire you in ways non-fiction cannot. And most importantly, Jesus decided to use this art form as His main means of teaching.
Buy a fiction novel today and dive into a new world!