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A lot of Christians seem to think that it's wrong to watch horror movies. Others say that it's just another form of entertainment.

I don't know for sure which position is right.

Though whenever I watch the Exorcist it usually makes me pray for days on end. So for me it's good.

Anyway, what are the common objections against it?

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The most common objection I am aware of is Psalm 101:3, "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me." Now, if we were to actually apply that to our lives, it wouldn't stop with "horror movies" ... :p –  Jas 3.1 Jul 25 '12 at 18:23
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@Jas3.1: There's also Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." –  El'endia Starman Jul 25 '12 at 18:35
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Two good catch-all universal-prohibition verses there. I call something I don't like 'worthless', and then because the Bible bans worthless things, the thing I don't like must be banned too. –  DJClayworth Jul 25 '12 at 19:07
    
    
I and my bf are fans of horror movies I dont hold them before god and am able to distinguish right from wrong. Some who listen to certain music or watch things take it tooo seriously and go and act them out, they have their own internal stuggles. Dont blame this genre because of a few bad apples. They are not real and theres no real killing going on. Watch the news, they depict real killing. –  user2085 Aug 30 '12 at 13:14
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closed as not constructive by wax eagle May 13 '13 at 19:35

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4 Answers

In 1 Corinthians Paul writes

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Cor 6:12 ESV)

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. (1 Cor 10:23 ESV)

There is no law against watching horror films, however is it going to be helpful to build you up in Christ?

Also, you need to remember who you are seeing the movie with.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Romans 14:13 ESV)

While something may be lawful for you to do, out of love you should give up that freedom if it causes others to "stumble"

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We should distinguish between whether you should not watch horror movies in general, and whether you should not watch some particular horror movie. Almost anything that is morally neutral or even a positive good in general might be bad in one particular. Like, I certainly do not think it is bad for my children to have friends, but I might object to one particular friend as a bad influence.

That said, I'm hard pressed to think of a scriptural basis for condemning horror movies.

Should Christians not think about ugly things like torture and murder? But the Bible includes many pretty ugly stories. If God didn't want us to think about ugly things, why did he include them in his own book. Like if someone made a movie of Judges 19:22-29, with rape, torture, murder, and mutilation of a corpse, it could be a pretty gruesome horror movie. I suppose you could say that horror movies are presented for thrills while the stories in the Bible are there to make a moral point. But that gets back to the issue of general versus particulars. What is the moral content of any given movie?

I think many horror movies compare favorably in moral content and world-view to other genres. They often have a reasonably Christian view of morality: good and evil are stark opposites, not muddy concepts that are challenging to define, with the only real good being "tolerance". I don't recall a horror movie where the axe murderer is presented as someone practicing an alternative life style and society is ridiculed for failing to show proper tolerance. Rather, the villain is a villain who must be fought and stopped.

Horror movies often present the supernatural as real, the minister or priest or monk as a source of wisdom, and faith as a tool to fight evil. Sure, their conception of the supernatural is often far from what the Bible describes as reality. But you could say that of any movie: as a professional computer geek, I routinely find that Hollywood's idea of computers is far from reality. Police in TV shows work far differently from police in real life. Etc. That's the nature of fiction. What is the dividing line between "fiction" and "lies"?

I've heard Christians object to horror movies that use some pagan myth as a basis for the story. Personally I don't have a problem with this, any more than I have a problem with movies that use made-up people as characters or that are set in make-believe places. Again, that's the nature of fiction.

Of course there are horror movies that appear to glorify violence rather than present the horror of it. One could certainly critique the sexual content of many horror movies, but you could say the same and more for the sexual content of romance movies, adventure movies, and detective movies.

I don't see any Biblical basis to condemn horror movies as a class. Any given horror movie, maybe so.

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I am not going to give you a deep,y theological answer I am doing what I rarely do, provide a pastoral answer.

I do not like Horror movies since becoming a Christian, but I do not think we should bother making general rules about something like this.  Personally I would find the assertion for or against watching 'horror movies' as unbiblical. Of course there is some point where 'enjoying' the watching of evil actions would be sin, but watching evil things is not necessarily enjoying them.

For example, I do like watching cop shows, where people are often doing evil things. I like the idea of justice catching up with the villain. I love to hate the villains.  In the same way I can imagine someone liking the good overcoming the evil, even in a horror movie, but the point is 'what is going on in our hearts.' Are we enjoying evil or not? Only you can answer your own conscience.

What I would advise is that one should maintain a hatred for evil and a love for good, no matter what movie one watches. I find that sometimes the most wholesome TV shows offend me more than a horror movie would, because self-righteousness is asserted. At least a horror movie seems to support the doctrine of original sin.

The truth is almost every single movie and TV show promotes the view of the world and is a filthy portrayed of life.  I am not saying throw your TV in the garbage, I am just saying the world is evil and so is all of its entertainment.

Having said this I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. As evil as these things are they are not as evil as my encountered with sinners in the world, and God has not called us out of this world.  Even my non Christian parents who I love have filthier minds than what I often see portrayed in movies. What God wants us to do, therefore, is separate ourselves in our hearts.  

So I return to the same point. Do we sense God's presence when we watch a movie and hate what is evil and love what is good, or as soon as we turn on the TV do we live a double life and never once think of God as we allow the worlds garbage into our hearts? So when watching a thriller, action, movie, or even possibly a horror movie, do it unto God in worship, hating all that is evil and loving all that is good. Trust me, if you do this you will know what movies make it difficult for you to do this and what movies do not. Do you finish a good movie rejoicing in Christ or craving more sinful things and disliking the idea of entering into worship?

Finally, I have found that some movies are temptations to some people, and do not bother others at all.  For example, if you are prone to depression than you should watch more cheerful movies. If your are prone to fear you should avoid scary movies. If you are prone to lust, you should avoid movies that have scantly clad good looking models, etc.  You decide and ' if you eye offends you pluck it out' - even things not bad in themselves might be a temptation for you personally.

Having said all this I must confess I sometimes tune God out when watching a movie and this is sin. Then again I tune God out when at work, and even sometimes at Church.  Living holy is not easy but at least trying to is better than most. So getting back up after sin and running to God rejoicing in love after sinning is better than pretending we never fall and making a lists of external rules that makes us feel faithful, when our hearts are far from God.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (NIV Romans 12:9-10)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV 1 Corinthians 10:31)

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For me the answer is simple. The horror genre glorifies evil. Any film or medium that focuses on evil should be avoided purely due to the fact that it's an affront to God's rule.

Evil is not a part of God's original plan for creation, nor has it any part in God's redemptive future. Jesus, God himself, came and died to tackle evil.

Finally, it's a Christian's responsibility to tackle anything that is an affront to God's kingdom, this includes not watching horror films.

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in that case, almost all movies should be avoided because they all glorify some aspect of evil –  warren May 13 '13 at 18:34
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