Should Christians Watch Horror Movies? (repost)
I visited a Christian blog recently where the author shared a list of her favorite scary movies to watch on Halloween. And they were some of the worst of the worst. Violent, demonic, evil. And she said that she's happy her kids are old enough to watch them now so that they can watch the movies together. (I'm not sure how old her kids are, but she is not an old, grandma-aged mom.)
I was horrified. And I told her in the comment section that I was shocked that a Christian website would encourage those kinds of movies. I told her that I didn't think it's right to encourage things that are clearly contrary to God. (For the record, I used to love scary movies ... until I found myself home alone, remembering the terrifying images of these movies.)
In response, she told me that she knows Christians like me who believe in staying away from movies like that ... but that's just not who she is. (But she did edit out the horror movies from her list, leaving the more "family-friendly" ones. Although I do take issue with some of those choices, too, especially the ones that celebrate witchcraft. If they are teaching witchcraft or making it look appealing, how can that be acceptable for Christians? Encouraging the spread of witchcraft through entertainment!?!)
But this got me thinking about writing this post.
Should Christians watch horror movies?
While some people might think they're fun and harmless, I have very strong feelings about how to answer this ...
In no way do I think it's appropriate for Christians to watch movies about demons terrorizing people, or people hunting down and murdering other people, or people casting spells and making witchcraft look appealing, etc.
(We read about horrible murders in the news, but then we go and laugh about it at the movies. We know that God is strongly opposed to witchcraft - an activity that leads to hell - but then we support the movies that glorify witchcraft and "teach" it to our kids. What's wrong with us!?!)
The author of that blog excuses it by saying it's "just not who she is" and by saying that those movies are really just commentaries on society and social issues.
Whatever helps you sleep at night!
Why not then watch movies with explicit, gratuitous sex scenes? After all, isn't that something that happens in society, too?
And since when does "it's just not who I am" or "it is just who I am" become our basis for what's appropriate for Christians?
Isn't what's appropriate based on who God is? On what glorifies Him? On what He wants us to do or not do?
You know, I used to love scary movies, even years after I became a Christian. My rationale was "They won't affect me. I'm a strong Christian." (Umm, shouldn't being a "strong Christian" be the very reason we don't watch those movies?)
I wasn't really into the "horror" movies (other than the Nightmare on Elm Street ones), but I was more into the mentally-terrifying ones, the creepy ones, the "it's all about the psychology of the disturbed mind" ones.
In fact, the last scary movie I planned on watching was American Psycho. (And I was anxious to see The Shining, too. Just so I could be in on all the references we hear all the time.) But one day I was home alone showering while my husband was out. And I began wondering if I locked the front door. And as I was growing concerned that I left it unlocked, the towel slipped off the towel rack, and the corner of the towel "sliced" passed the shower curtain, looking like someone was reaching into the shower.
Freaked me out!
And I suddenly realized that watching all those horror movies wasn't so harmless anymore. Not when I couldn't even take a shower without scaring myself. Not when we read news stories everyday of real-like psychos, violence, and murders.
And I decided, in that shower, that I was done with the scary movies.
And I never watched another one again.
But ... it was a different "event" - years later - that opened my eyes to what's really at stake with movies like these and that solidified my conviction that these movies are not just wrong for me, but wrong for all Christians. (You can make up your own mind for you, but I'm just telling you what I think.)
It was a five-month stretch of demonic harassment brought on by something I watched (see this post) that showed me how active the spirit world is and how what we do affects it. It made me realize the impact of everything we do as it pertains to God, His glory, our witness, our faith, the spirit world, etc.
Suddenly, my decisions weren't about me anymore. They were about God.
I went from "How does it affect me?" to "How does it affect God?"
I went from "How do I see it?" to "How does God see it?"
My decisions weren't about whether I wanted to do it or not anymore. It was about whether God wanted me to do it or not.
My life wasn't about what felt right to me; it was about what a Christian should and shouldn't be doing when trying to live for God and His glory.
Also, I was terrified during that time of demonic harassment, and I was pleading with God to protect me from evil.
That's when I realized how ironic it was that we (that I) would watch things that didn't glorify God (any kind of unglorifying thing, not just scary movies) while at the same time asking Him to protect us from evil. We invite evil into our minds and homes and lives through things we watch and listen to and engage in, while asking Him to protect us and keep us safe.
Ironic! Unacceptable! And counter-productive!
If we willingly open the door to evil - if we give Satan a foothold, an in-road to our hearts and minds - then we give evil a "legal right" to harass us, to affect us. We remove ourselves from God's protection when we willingly stray outside the boundaries He has set.
The Bible tells us to set our minds on good things, on godly things. To glorify God in all we do. To be careful of our witness to other people, to not lead others away from the Lord. To not have anything to do with darkness or the occult. To submit ourselves to God, to resist the devil, to guard our hearts and minds.
And yet here we are ... watching, enjoying, supporting, and encouraging movies that glorify things God is opposed to. Violence, sex, murder, witchcraft. Movies that fill our heads with disgusting, degrading images. That open the door to evil and darkness and debauchery in our hearts and minds.
And we excuse it with "It's harmless, just for fun" ... "It's just who I am" ... "It's just a comment on social issues" ... "I'm strong enough, so it won't affect me."
Since when is watching, supporting, and encouraging anti-God things harmless and fun? Since when is "it's just entertainment" and "I'm strong enough" acceptable excuses for doing wrong?
When God's glory is at stake, there are no excuses.
"Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:7-8)
When righteousness and holiness are being pushed aside for "fun," there are no excuses. When evil is "celebrated," there are no excuses.
And when we pollute innocent minds with ungodly trash and lead others down an ungodly path, there are no excuses!
This story makes me livid: I remember a family member telling me once about how they encouraged their 18-year-old daughter to watch a violent, sickening scene of someone killing other people with a baseball bat ... because they wanted her to grow up a little.
They were watching the show on TV, and they made her sit with them. They said she wouldn't look at the screen, but she could hear it. And she squirmed a lot and seemed very uncomfortable and disturbed by what she was hearing - the drawn-out sounds of someone bashing other people to death with a spiked baseball bat.
But they wanted her to see it because "it's time she was exposed to more mature stuff so that she could grow up a little."
She was 18-years-old ... and mentally-retarded. She is a mentally-disabled teenager who has, and will always have, the mind of a child.
I WAS LIVID!
To think that these adults forced this innocent, child-minded girl to sit through something horrible like that because they wanted her to grow up made me furious! She has the sweetest, most-innocent mind ... and they were filling it with sickening sounds and images ... knowing that it distressed her ... oh, don't even get me started or I'm going to throw up at the thought of it!
When you put something in your mind, you can't take it out again. It's always there! This is what I teach my kids, to be very careful about what they put in their minds because it will always be there. And horror scenes will come back to haunt you later.
I think parents who share these horror movies with their kids ought to be very ashamed of the fact that they are polluting innocent minds. Instead of protecting their children's minds and hearts, they are filling them with terrifying garbage that might come back to haunt the child later. Instead of teaching kids to set their minds on good and godly things, to honor God with their minds and to glorify God in everything they do, they are teaching them that it's okay to watch evil, violent, occultic things. They are teaching them to enjoy and delight in the demonic and the disgusting and the disturbing.
Why would parents who want to raise godly children open a forbidden door like this for our kids? Why would we set our kids on a path like that? Why would we encourage them by our example to live this way?
I wouldn't have had so much of a problem with this Christian lady's "best horror movies" post if she hadn't added it to a page of Christian-blog link-ups, if she hadn't included it in a page of "encouraging posts for Christians." It's one thing to live this way in your own life, but it's another to encourage it as "perfectly acceptable" among other Christians, to lead other Christians down the bad path she's chosen to walk.
This is why I felt I had to comment, to be a voice that says "This isn't right" when another believer is making bad, ungodly choices sound good!
When we are entertained by the very things that entertain Satan, it's wrong! When we delight in the things that delight Satan, it's wrong! When we feast on the things that Satan creates, it's wrong!
There's really no other way to put it. And there are no acceptable excuses.
We will each have to stand before God and give an account for the things we watched, supported, and encouraged. We will all pay an eternal price for the level of righteousness, holiness, and God-glorifying-ness we sought in this life (or failed to seek). And we parents will all have to answer for how we raised the children God gave us, for what we taught them about how to live, how to glorify God, how to make wise decisions, etc.
(And eventually, we will see the results of our choices in the lives of our children. Plant seeds wisely. Plant godly seeds. Because those seeds will put down deep roots and grow into strong plants in our children's heart, minds, and lives, and it will impact their faith and their relationship with God. Sow seeds wisely!)
Pray and ask God to open your eyes to the Truth, as He sees it. Ask Him if these movies are unglorifying to Him. Ask Him to reveal to you the spiritual connection and results of what you are watching and supporting, the damage it might do to your faith, your child's heart, His glory, your witness, society. Ask Him if there are any spiritual consequences for watching those kinds of movies. Ask Him to unveil the spiritual forces behind those movies or the entertainment you're engaging in.
And then be ready for Him to pull back the curtain on the influence of evil in this world, in your life, through things like those movies. (And remember this phrase if you are ever awakened in the middle of the night feeling paralyzed, like there is a demon sitting on your chest and sealing your mouth shut and jolting you with electricity: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave!" Say it out loud. I'm just warning you!)
And if you are hesitant to ask Him these things - if you are afraid that He might actually answer you - it's a good sign that you know it's wrong!
(And quite honestly, I think all true believers know it's wrong. We just keep coming up with excuses to justify what we want to do! But will these excuses hold up when we stand before our holy God and give an account for how we lived? When we say "it's just who I am" or "it's just for fun" or "it's just a commentary on social issues," will God go "Oh, okay, that's fine then"?)
How about a slightly campy, but truth-filled song from Carman:
(Apparently, he knows the power of saying "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave," too.)