Spiritual Insights in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Crusoe’s Spiritual Insights

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is considered to be the first novel of incident. Before I read the novel I knew something about poor Robinson Crusoe--shipwrecked on a desert island, lived on the island for a lot of years, and acquired a friend by the name of Friday. As I began to read, I had the preconceived notion that Robinson Crusoe was just an adventure book. However, I read no more than a few pages before my mind was greatly enlightened. Robinson Crusoe does not suffer just one shipwreck, but two of them. He is captured by Moorish pirates, escapes, and goes to Brazil to become a planter. After his second shipwreck, Crusoe gives details about his techniques for survival. Also, the ending of the novel is quite surprising with a setting that is quite a contrast to the desert island. Arguably, one of the funniest scenes in all of literature is recorded in the final chapters.

If the book is not holding the reader's attention because of the suspense, then it is held by the profound spiritual insight that Defoe includes within the pages of his work. This was the biggest surprise to me of all. For example, in chapter 12, Robinson Crusoe states: "From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it is possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken solitary condition, that it was probable I should ever have been in any other particular state in the world, and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place." Crusoe was convinced that the reason for all of his calamities was the result of his disobeying the counsel of his father. The theological discussions with Friday are wonderful. Indeed, every Christian can relate to Crusoe's wrestling with faith and fear. I finished the book with the conclusion that this book should be standard reading for every Christian, particularly preachers. Preachers will find a wealth of sermon illustrations in Robinson Crusoe.

So, why is Robinson Crusoe so sadly neglected among Christians when it is obvious that the book is a Christian classic? No doubt, abridged versions of the novel removes the incentive for readers to read the actual work. Many people have read a children's version of the novel or worst yet, they "have seen the movie.

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