This Is Why We Read

Open Book







A quote I read recently in Eric Metaxas’s biography Bonhoeffer helped remind me of one of the reasons why I think books are so awesome. But first, a little background information is in order:

During the reign of the Third Reich in Germany, a pro-Nazi religious sect called the German Christians tried several ways to force their ideology on the German church. One of their methods for remaking the church in their image was to de-emphasize the importance of the Bible. They pointed out the fact that Jesus Christ, while He was on earth, never wrote any books as if that meant that Jesus did not trust books and neither should Christians. They then issued this warning to the faithful: “A demon always resides in the written word.”*

Now, every now and then, tyrants and power-grabbers get a little clumsy. They say more than they meant to and, in the process, let us know a little more about how their minds work. That is the case with this quote. Here, the Nazis make it perfectly clear that their problem was not with “immorality” in literature or even with anti-German propaganda, it was with books themselves. Why? Because books can start a revolution—out in the world or in people’s hearts—faster than anything. Because books contain ideas and unlike men, ideas can’t be forced to conform. They can’t be shot, they can’t be tortured into submission, and they can’t be worked to death in a prison camp. Once they are out there, there is no stopping them.

Ideas are the best, most beautiful, and most dangerous things in the world. Everything in the world, everything that matters, started with an idea. That’s why we read books, and that’s why no one is going to stop us.


*Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print. Pg. 173.

Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures.Net

3 thoughts on “This Is Why We Read

  1. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just
    sum it up what I had written and say, I’m
    thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog
    writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations
    for beginner blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.


    1. First of all, thank you for the compliment. 🙂 I always love getting feedback on my writing.

      Recommendations? :-/ I’m still pretty new to blogging myself so I’m not really sure what to tell you except to repeat the advice I’ve heard from other bloggers: write only about things you love, don’t expect a ton of followers or a ton of comments all at once, and “this above all, to thine own self be true.” Never post anything you don’t believe in for the sake of getting/keeping readers. Also, if you want to gain a following for your blog, it helps to comment on other people’s blogs. Just say whatever you want to say, but make sure that when people click on your name, it goes back to your site.

      Hope that helps. 🙂


  2. Hi! I realize this is kind oof off-topic however I had to ask.
    Doess managing a well-established bloog like yourrs require
    a massive amount work? I’m completely new to operating a blog however I
    do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog sso I will
    be able to share my personal experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog
    owners. Thankyou!


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