Louis Berkhof

1. Negative:
Novels do not, as a rule, contain a sound, healthy view of life, a view that corresponds with reality, and as a result raise expectations that are doomed to bitter disappointment.

The reading of novels, like the use of liquor, produces unnatural excitement, after which a reaction follows, resulting in general lassitude. Many a person was thereby brought to the verge of despair.

Novel-reading robs a person of a great deal of time that might be spent to much better advantage. It often makes him unfit for the serious tasks of life.

Many novels foster a spirit that is inimical to Christianity. They are all the more dangerous because they often do this in a very subtle way.

2. Affirmative:
We must discriminate between different kinds of novels. Many of them picture life as it really is, others represent it ideally and thereby lead us up to a higher view of life.

The reading of a good novel affords healthy relaxation to the mind. For students it is as refreshing as a bath. Instead of making them unfit for work, it renews their strength.

Many novels give us an insight into the life of past ages that could not be conveyed in any other way. They enable us to realize conditions and customs of the distant past.

In many cases too the religious and moral views of life which they contain are truly uplifting.