Question: "Should a Christian watch scary movies/horror movies?"
Answer: Movies are a powerful medium, and they have a profound impact on culture. And the sad truth is that many movies these days, including those outside the scary “horror” genre, are either completely antithetical to Christian values or at the very least are at odds with God’s divine standard of holiness. As for most horror movies, their “entertainment” value often lies in their ability to titillate our youthful desire to be scared witless. The gruesome means by which moviemakers attempt to shock our consciences usually involves an abundance of carnage and bloodshed. The problem is, however, that it takes more and more to shock seared consciences these days, which means the level of depravity is continually on the rise to accommodate our increasing desensitization to hard-core gore and evil. All things considered, true Christians would likely find it difficult to enjoy the majority of today’s horror movies.
Let’s consider the horror movies that delve into the supernatural realm with a particular focus on demonic activity. Scripture makes it clear that our earthly struggle is “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Christians are keenly aware of the evil reality of demons and how every moment of their very real existence is spent trying to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10) or to otherwise separate us from our Savior. As such, this is a subject that should hardly be taken lightly; neither should it be considered a form of “entertainment.” If something would offend Jesus Christ, it should offend His children in whom His Holy Spirit resides.
As we mature in our Christian walk, sin and evil should bother us more and more all the time. We are to be beacons of light in an ever-darkening world, striving to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12). Scripture tells us to be moral and pure, abhorring what is evil and to have our minds focused on things which are noble and pure, lovely and admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), and that “whatever [we] do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). These verses should guide us daily in everything we do, including the movies we choose to see. How can it be possible to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) when we are at a horror movie laden with murder and mayhem and, essentially, being entertained by the very sins that Jesus Christ died for?
Now, notwithstanding the above, it should be noted that there are some Christian moviemakers who actually produce horror movies, albeit not the bloodlettings referred to above. Realizing that evil is a very real part of our existence on earth, they feel it is not only possible but responsible to make a horror movie that accurately depicts the reality of the dark forces of evil with which Christians’ constantly struggle. Certainly if such a movie could help the audience appreciate the depth of our worldly struggle between good and evil, then such a movie could indeed be congruent with a Christian paradigm. Better yet, how beneficial would it be if such a movie could even point to our need for a Savior?
In deciding what movies to watch, perhaps it would be wise to heed the words of the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians: “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 emphasis added). As Christians, we of course know that the Spirit of Christ resides in our hearts (Romans 8:9). He is with us wherever we go. What if, however, rather than occupying a place in our heart, Jesus Christ walked beside us so that we could literally see Him every moment of the day? What effect would this have on our behavior? What if when we went to the movies, for example, we saw Jesus Christ sitting beside us – watching the movie that we took Him to? Knowing the divine character of our holy and sinless Savior, and knowing the sanctity He places on the very life He died to give us, what sort of movie would we feel comfortable taking Him to?
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