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Is it okay for a Christian to watch horror / scary movies?

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As the horror movie genre expands, it seems the blood and gore, violence and shock increases in intensity. The more we become desensitized to depravity, the more it takes to shock a seared conscience and provide "entertainment." Most horror movies are intended to activate a fear response and give the audience a rush. Many such movies possess supernatural elements including demonic possession, spiritual activity, and evil incarnate. Let us consider that type of horror film.

Christians know that our true enemy is a spiritual one and that the enemy's goal is to "steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The evil depicted in many horror movies is real. We are told that our enemy is not of this world, but spiritual in nature. "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). When the enemy's actions are depicted in a movie for entertainment, they are taken much too lightly. We are not intended to exult in his actions, but to stand firm against him by the power of Christ (Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Peter 5:8–9).

Our standards of what entertainment we enjoy should reflect our growing, closer relationship with Jesus. What would offend Him and the Holy Spirit who resides within us (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 13:5), should offend us. We should, therefore, avoid such things. As we grow in our relationship with God, we should make additional and growing efforts to avoid sin, evil, and the depiction of evil. Paul told the Thessalonians, "we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Ephesians 5:11–17 says, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. … Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

Our aim should be to do to everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we consider viewing a movie, we should ask ourselves if it glorifies Jesus. There are some Christian movie producers who intend to show the spiritual battle, the evil of this age, and the need for Jesus. But most horror movies are interested in just frightening the audience. We should ask, what is our motivation in seeing such movies? Second Corinthians 10:5 says we are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ."

To decide to live for God or for the things of the world is the central question of our daily lives. Consider this passage from 1 John 2:15–17: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

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What is the key to knowing the will of God?

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