Desensitized to Evil
When I was a kid, we had horror movies, of course. There’s Freddy, Jason, Chuckie, and don’t forget Poltergeist. Not wholesome by any stretch of the imagination, but surprisingly tame by today’s standards of what “horror entertainment” looks like.
And yet there are enough examples of horror movies from my day that could be categorized as outright frightening and evil. Still, not many could match today’s blatantly demonic media. Even The Exorcist, as terrifying as it was, had a subject and a plot that told an actual story. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were labeled as merely suspense or drama by today’s standards.
In fact, what you can watch on network television today is more graphically evil than many of the horror movies from not long ago. Not to mention the increasingly evil celebration that we call Halloween, further enhanced by the entertainment industry.
Would you agree that we have been desensitized to graphic displays of violence and evil?
It’s like the line that represents shock factor is constantly being crossed and re-drawn. The entertainment industry, and horror movies in particular, seem to be an effective way to cross that line.
You don’t have to go far to find that shock factor, either. I’m amazed at the visual trauma presented just on the television commercials for some movies!
This week alone, I’ve seen 3 ads that are, in my opinion, the definition of what I’m going to call spiritually dangerous media.
Not So Imaginary Friends
The first ad is a television show that has children communicating with “imaginary friends” who turn out to be not so imaginary. These “friends” turn out to be a manipulative enemy whose goal is to destroy humanity. A suspenseful story and probably very entertaining to some people, but spiritually dangerous nonetheless.
The Bible calls this divination and God forbids His people from messing with it in any way. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14, God sternly warns Israel against falling in step with those who practice these things.
In Acts 16:16, Luke writes that he, Silas, and Paul encountered a slave girl who had a spirit of divination. She used fortune telling to make money for her masters, but this spirit recognized Paul and his group as followers of Jesus and harassed them for days. Paul eventually “became grieved” that the evil spirit was controlling the girl.
So he cast it out of her:
“Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Acts 16:18
Fortune telling, consulting stars, tea leaves, horoscopes, or anything else is spiritually destructive and we have been warned against it.
More Than a Ghost Story
Another movie ad shows the remaking of a high school play that a student died in 20 years earlier. In an attempt to honor that death, present day high school students resurrect more than a badly written play. In this one, the alleged ghost of the dead student returns to go on a horrific murder spree.
Yeah, you would be able to discern that much just from a commercial.
Hey, ghost stories are thrilling, I loved them as a kid. As an adult however, I understand that ghosts, like the one in this movie, are not the wandering souls of the departed. Rather, they’re demonic forces playing the part. It’s not out of the question for a demonic agent to replicate something, or someone from the past.
The Bible explains that while we are in our earthly bodies we are physically away from the Lord. It’s at death, when we depart from our flesh, that we’re in the presence of God (2 Corinthians 5:7-8). Even more to the point, Hebrews tells us that every person is appointed one death followed by a judgement.
Not a second chance, and certainly not an aimless wandering.
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27
Ghosts and hauntings can make for wildly entertaining stories, no doubt about it. Yet they are most certainly not an accurate representation of our existence following death. Plus, they ultimately lead people to believe in something else other than the reality of an impending appointment with our Creator.
Hope Beyond the Grave
There’s one more television show that triggered my red flag. It’s a series based on a wealthy man who is dying that offers a surgeon a ton of money to explore what comes after death.
This surgeon apparently probes cases of hauntings, near-death experiences, and reincarnation. That, of course, is the Eastern mystical belief that we get do-overs and multiple chances to “get life right” and to ultimately “find God.”
Or perhaps even become one.
Unfortunately, the new age beliefs that this series represents are more common among American Christians than you might think.
Mankind has always searched for some evidence of hope that death is not final. I’m afraid that this show falls entirely short in finding that hope. Sadly, many viewers will be left with less hope and more questions than before.
Jesus taught many times during his earthly ministry about hope beyond death and the grave. You’ll find one of his most direct conversations in John’s Gospel.
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
Horror movies are entertaining, so why not?
My aim isn’t to ruin people’s fun and simply bag on horror movies or anyone who watches them. If you like them, that’s your call. I am, however, questioning those who confess Christ as their savior yet find joy and entertainment in a genre of media that is openly demonic.
If you’re a Christian, you have to guard against things that are spiritually dangerous. For the Christian, I’m looking to 1 Thessalonians 5:22 which tells us,
“Abstain from every form of evil.”
I’m also concerned about the minds and souls of people who don’t know Christ. People are being deceived by an unholy assault of media that, as horrific as it has become, pales in comparison to the actual spirit world that is at war around us, completely unseen.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12