More Christian horror movies are coming out as I predicted they would. As the Christian entertainment empire grows it will diversify into genres, horror one of the best in addressing sin, demons, the afterlife, etc. So now we have Spirits Among Us which looks like a cross between the low budget success story Paranormal Activity and the classic Poltergeist. Only the spirits in question aren’t the dead, they’re demons–I guarantee it even as I have not seen the film.
What is happening then is that DGW Media Productions, the makers of Spirits Among Us, is jumping on the ghost hunting trends of The Sy Fy Channel and The Travel Channel and finding a way to sell their version of it, the one with the gospel message. While I like fictional ghosts, to Christians this is not fiction and to ghost hunters this is not fiction. The characters may be scripted, but the situations are considered real. These film producers are promoting more superstition when the more responsible thing to do would be to debunk the spirits and then sell the gospel. Instead they’re tapping into unfounded fears of perceived ghosts–which they will say are demons out to get you.
The one Christian author I still admire for his book Crash Go the Chariots is Clifford Wilson who exposed the superstitious nonsense of Erich Von Daniken. Sure, his conclusions still resulted in God and other books he’s written I find contention with but he dispensed with the obvious alien paranoia bunk by using some sound judgment and research. I also remember in my youth group being shown a video about a Christian magician (I no longer know the name) who exposed a con artist who claimed to have psychic abilites by moving objects seemingly without touching them. Instead of attributing his eerie gift to demons, this Christian magician figured out how the trick was done (in this case it was by breath control, or puffing on objects without spectators noticing).
I guess what I’m saying is, even in the midst of promoting “the gospel” it seems to me that Christians can also expose basic superstitious nonsense. My Dad always did and he’s a creationist and he taught me even as a Christian to be skeptical. Moving chairs, noises in the night, photographs with ghostly blurs–Christians don’t have to buy into this. But I know with the Christian horror genre these sorts of things will be exploited, possibly to their detriment. I don’t know how many times I’ve run into professing Christians who believe in ghosts or psychic phenomena and have no clue as the traditional Biblical stance. In fact, by not debunking the nonsense, Christians may be promoting a genre that undermines the Bible. If you say it is demons that moved the chair and later on we get proof it was human fraud, that makes you part of the problem. Is this what Christian filmmakers want to promote?
A good horror film is a good horror film though. Don’t misread me in that I’m not against using the supernatural in horror, I just think this approach is the wrong direction, Christians building upon nonChristian superstition. Or maybe at the very least I would encourage another Christian filmmaker to go in the opposite direction–expose the fraud/debunk the ghosts and then get into the theology of salvation.
Of course if Christians want to make fools of themselves I guess they’re free to, but I can’t discuss much with a superstitious Christian versus one who is attempting to be rational. It’s the same issue Christians have had to come to grips with in dealing with such medical issues as epileptic fits–is it demon possession or a misfiring of the brain? When someone tells you that they’re seeing dead children, hearing voices, and has a fear of demons, maybe it’s time to get them to a psychiatrist instead of their pastor or priest.