I was in the seventh grade the first time I read The Shining by Stephen King.
I read the entire book in a day. No sleep. Just read the thing, cover to cover, couldn’t put it down. Of course, I don’t think I slept without a light for a week. Not long after, I read my mother’s copy of The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Let’s just say it’s not wise for a spiritually sensitive person to read that book.
And thus began my foray into the horror genre.
Over the next twenty or so years I became a junkie, not only reading every book Stephen King wrote, but John Saul, Clive Barker, and many others.
As an 18 year old, I began watching movies such as Friday the Thirteenth, A Nightmare on Elm Street, andHalloween to add fuel to the fire. If it was filled with frightening images or lots of scary violence I watched it.
In college, I had a group of friends who also loved “slasher” and/or scary movies. We formed what we called “The Gore Corp”. We’d go to the theater together, rate the movies based on their scare factor, watch movies on VHS in the listening lab.
I spent years feeding my spooky and occult interests by choosing reading and viewing material which capitalized on the desire to delve into the supernatural.
In the past four years since renouncing my involvement with the occult, I’ve come to realize that indulging in these fright fests (particularly those which deal with the paranormal) does me no favors. I don’t believe it’s spiritually healthy for others either. In fact, what these films, television programs, and books do is encourage an unhealthy interest in ghosts, mediums, psychics, ghost hunting, etc. They also reinforce the world’s teaching on spiritual things as opposed to scripture.
Since 2009, a series of films has been produced which are widely (and inexplicably) popular—Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, and now the prequelParanormal Activity 3. Each year the question is posed to me: ”Should Christians watch the Paranormal Activity movies?
The truth is I cannot answer that question for you. I can tell you after watching the first two, so I could review and offer an honest opinion, I won’t be watching the third film. Every Christian needs to examine their own heart and mind. Are you mature enough to watch or read this material, keeping hold of what the Bible teaches about the spiritual world around us? Are you prone to worry or fear? Have you bothered to ask God for HIS opinion on the matter?
As a former “horror junkie”, there is a part of me which always sits up and takes notice when a scary movie or book crosses my path. However, I’m discovering the more I avoid the genre, the less appealing it seems.There is a spiritual realm. We have an enemy who will use whatever means necessary to trip up a Christian’s faith walk. Here is the question I ask when faced with the question of “should I watch this movie” or “should I read this book”:
Am I giving the enemy ammunition to use against me?
Fear. Beliefs about the afterlife which are not consistent with the Bible. Ideas which challenge my understanding of God’s nature.
These are things I’ve realized must be taken into consideration even when making a simple decision—like choosing a movie.