Paranormal Activity 3: What Say You, Christian?

What should Christians make of a movie that may be the highest grossing horror film of all time? Partake and engage, or turn tail and run?

There are some serious reservations any biblically minded Christian should have when approaching a spiritual “horror” film. We know our flesh and blood is not the only reality of this world (Eph 6:18). Satan, demons, and spiritual darkness are real and are nothing to trifle with or take lightly.

For those who would be more given to feelings of terror and overwhelming fear during and after such a film, abstinence should be the wisest choice. Yet we must also gird ourselves with truth: there really is nothing to fear in Christ our eternal Protector. Those with faith in Christ have no cause for fear when approaching fabricated evil or even hell itself, for there is no torment in perfect love (1 John 4:8).

You’ve probably heard the secular definition of “Puritanism”, you know: “That sneaking suspicion someone, somewhere is having fun.” Christians don’t run campaigns against fun, they embark on missions for freedom in Christ. All sort of trite interpretations of “fun” could leave a person in bondage of biblical proportions. It is a mark of spiritual maturity to acknowledge that some forms of media avert our eyes from King Jesus and His liberty from every form of darkness.

But I do believe there is some subversive truth that can be dug out of exploding box office sales of this spiritual thriller. Movies like “Paranormal Activity” presuppose real “evil” in the world, even “spiritual evil.” People, even unbelieving ones, have physiological and emotional responses to many such films. You don’t scream, sweat and shake from watching a twisted Fairy Tale; you respond in those ways only if you truly believe what you are watching has some ground in reality.

To be honest, I’m still a bit freaked out by the slobbering trolls in that all time classic horror movie “Ernest Scared Stupid”. I’m pretty sure I spent much of that movie with my head in the chair and my butt in the air. My mom should have known that such a movie was not eight-year old friendly.

Some scars never heal.

But Paranormal Activity (and Ernest Scared Stupid), in a strange way affirms the biblical stance of spiritual darkness. Relativism, postmodernism, and secular humanism have very few coherent explanations for our inherent fascination and fear of the ethereal.

Films like Paranormal Activity 3 can bring up some provocative questions, and someone needs to be there to answer them with gospel truth.

Now certainly, Hollywood horror flicks leave the biblical worldview half undone. In these films, the gospel of Jesus Christ is never offered as the only blazing light to pierce the disturbing demonic darkness. But I wouldn’t expect Hollywood to be in the business of evangelism or spiritual warfare in the first place. That’s where we should come in. The gaping void left by insufficient worldly wisdom must be filled with the other-wordly supremely sufficient gospel (1Cor 15:1-4).

I’ll forgo the opportunity to partake in the Paranormalmania. I haven’t watched (much of) the previous two. My wife and I tried to watch the sequel after it came out on Redbox, but after the first 15 minutes we both felt weirded out enough to shut it down.  This is a personal conviction, not a sweeping mandate I would put on anyone else. If I want to come face to face with disturbing levels of evil, I need to look no further than my own heart and motives. My selfishness, self-righteousness, and general bent towards hypocrisy are much more scarier than a trumped up faux story line with average effects and below average acting.

The evil on the screen is Hollywood. The evil within is real. Praise God the victory over my evil is equally real and realized in the cross of Christ (Colossians 2).

I doubt a new law can be constructed here for the Christian. Some should certainly forgo the opportunity to sow into a horror film that will gross enough to put a sizable dent in the Ethiopian hunger crisis. All who watch it need to honestly ask themselves as ambassadors of the kingdom of light: Is the best way to pierce the eternal darkness by investing our time and money into commercialized darkness?

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

18 thoughts on “Paranormal Activity 3: What Say You, Christian?”

  1. A touchy subject…some grace should be afforded–but more so common sense. The pointlessly mind numbing violence, language, sex, and the scars left behind–even in adults–are, in my humble and fallible opinion, contrary to Scriptural teaching. Christ has not given us a spirit of fear, to return to fear. Therefore, we ought not celebrate fear, or death.

  2. Do what the Bible says. I am a follower of God not His leader. I have no advice greater than our King Jesus. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Depart from evil. Be simple where evil is concerned. Do not partake in evil. Do not use your liberty as a cloak for VICE! You should question your own heart on this issue and test it with the word of God to see whether you are just indulging in the anarchy of the evil one or there to represent Jesus and be sincere in doing so. If Christ is not in you, you will only be getting deeper into the lake of fire, the eternal dungeon for Satan and his followers. Are you following Jesus to the showing of this film or Satan and your own lust. Jesus went into the city streets and dealt with these malignant spirits face to face, not on the silver screen. To turn tail and run is good advice except for this in doing so you will have no shame before God. What are you going to do excorsise the silver screen? Jesus will do these things, save people for His glory to reveal His merciful character, the kind and compassionate nature of His own soul. You cant be used in saving a pre-recorded bunch of hypocrites acting for their own gain in darkened ignorance, so what is the point of being there? God would have you in their face if He so wished. There maybe arguements for being at this show even from Christians but unless God has specifically required a friend of His to be there their argument will be as sound as a sand castle facing the incoming tide. The word says “their are many princes for the transgressions of the land”. I would take heed of the plain and simple command, Depart from evil. You will also be giving your money to support further adventures into this darkness. You would be better to save your pennys incase a REAL LIFE enemy steps into your personal space then the money you saved obeying the Lord may afford him a cup of tea and a bite to eat and you may even win him over to the Lords favour!

  3. May I say again I am only a follower and understand that God is Sovereign and His commands are absolute. He may use His kingdom at one of these shows but that is His decision and not ours. And I am sure that only a genuine Christian would be there with a genuine reason and outcome. BUT if anyone of you thinks he hears the Lords voice telling them to visit the cinema and watch a film such as this. Sit and read His word and pray first I expect you will find that your friend will satisfie you and take away the desire your facing.

  4. Or He will protect you for the reason while your there. I could only say that He may want you to witness to the audience but I doubt it. The witness in my own spirit is this, I am satisfied without it. Praise the Lord. Depart from evil. Satan loves attention and to gain the attention of the Kingdom of God is his greatest kick. Moses said a thousand years is as one day, how much time and attention are you giving to Satan in duration of the film? Thankyou. Kind regards.

  5. Another thing to take into consideration is this Jesus did not want to face the cross. The sun pleaded with the Father to take the hour from Him. If we go and willingly sit in front of a screen then we must allow God to search our hearts and see what we are actually enjoying. we mat not like what we are shown but one the disease is identified then it can be dealt with. Are we plumbing for the hero to save the damsel, are we wishing for the righteous to gain victory over the wicked king or are we enjoying the blood and gore even revelling in the vain power of fear and death. All these issue come to mind with most films let alone the paranormal. Solomon said I will set no wicked thing before my eyes do you think this could mean the fruit of the modern cinema as well? He also said there is nothing new under the sun and there is not. Only a new generation experiencing the same old stuff. some that technology is new such as the internet and the like. No it is not. the web is an old, old desire of man to know everything and that my friends was the desire of eve herself, knowledge and wisdom. Again we see the lust for knowledge and power and i see Satan here. The desire to overthrow nations and eventually heaven to become all knowing and set himself up as God. Is it not that same desire that pays that dollar to see the paranormal?

  6. Some may laugh but when you go home after the film if your reading this and have seen it. I will tell you how you may feel. You have the edge. You have the edge over you own family friends neighbours work colleagues and so on and you feel just a little more powerfull than you did before hand. LUST.

  7. I would say that the majority of the audience will feel like this. Some may not. Jesus said in the last days wickedness will abound so much so that the hearts of many will grow cold. Satan and man will use the media for this very purpose. And tech is a quickening of this prophecy. The silver screen can encapsulate a whole audience with an occurance that happened elsewhere and thus would not normally have been heard of or witnessed and so the devil can capture the minds of another town apart from where the actual incident took place. He can then infuse there age old selves and propagate the lust that drives people to rebellion in all areas of life. He will fan your flames for you if you want. But God wants none to perish but that all should come to repentance and turn from there wicked ways. Jeremiah through the holy spirit told us that the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things, let God guide through Jesus when you listen to it where ever you maybe.

  8. Remember Saul and how desperate he became when he sank to a sorry depth and sought a medium to find out what God was doing, he angered the Lord. God in His sovereignty over ruled the demon spirit and made the medium shriek with terror. Saul was rebuked. Look at the prodigal when he came to his final humiliation of eating from the troff of a pig, bad news for a Jew especially. What you are going to feed on is worse. Kind regards.

  9. Remember Jesus when He told Satan to get behind Him…yeah…well we all know what we leave behind for the flies to feed on dont we.

    1. You see Kieth to me you sound flippant. The typical humour that dispells wisdom and gains for himself the limelight the very kind of attitude we are warned about in proverbs. You sound irreverent and to be frank a bit simple really. Paranormal activity is another glossy, sugary title for spiritsm and spiritism is an abomination (Deaut 18 KJV) which means a seriuosly detestable, disgusting, foul and perverted practice! Hated with an righteous unquenchable wrath that no living flesh can stand against. Follow your heart Kieth and then see what God says bra, if you havent heard Him already! He may have the care to correct you then again he may just throw you into Hell.

      1. Stephen I appreciate your fervor for the truth, but I know Keith personally, and he is neither “flippant”, “irreverent” or “simple”. He is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and just because he may or may not agree to your every point doesn’t mean he’s anathema.

        Such charges are completely unbased and outside the realm of Christian charity.

        You can’t glean a person’s eternal spiritual standing with a TWO sentence comment on a blog post (as you have), unless you are saying you have some supernatural revelation on par with the prophetic gifts of apostle Paul or Peter. I like your insight, please just tone down the personal nature of your points, especially when it is dealing with a person you know nothing about. Peace.

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