Saturday, October 10, 2015

Violence, horror, fear, and goth. Where does it fit in the life of a Christian? And in what we teach our children?

Let’s start with fear. I must tell you I am a fan of fear well, at least one kind of fear.  The fear of God is a good kind of fear. We will start there.  In Exodus 1:21 the Hebrew midwives feared God and thus obeyed Him rather than the law of the land, so they spared the baby boys instead of putting them to death as was the law. Moses reminded them that fear (reverence) of God would help them remember all He had done, and remind them to be diligent to teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:1-14) and thus they would be obedient.  Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears(reverences) the LORD, she shall be praised.”  

  •  Fear of God – will cause us obey Him, will have us teach our children about Him, will keep us from forgetting Him, and will be more praiseworthy than beauty or charm.

  • Similarly, fear of punishment from earthly authorities can reduce behavior outside the rules. Parents, schools or societies that have no punishment for wrongdoing will give little motivation for rightdoing. We usually call that a “healthy fear”.

Where does “spooky fear” come in? Fear from ghosts, goblins, vampires, zombies, palm readers, gothic dress and behavior….

  • Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums…do not seek them out to be defiled by them I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:27 even indicates they should be put to death, and the “guilt” from that falls on them.

  • Deuteronomy 18:10 – 11 instructs His people to not imitate the “detestable things” of the people in the land. The list includes “divination, witchcraft, interpreting omens, sorcery, casting spells, medium, spiritist, or calls up the dead.” Consider verse 12 that follows this list “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD.”

  • Even King Saul fell victim to this. 1 Chronicles 10:13 “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the LORD.”

  • So did Manasseh, who “practiced witchcraft, used diviniation, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.” 2 Chronicles 33:3-6.

“Spooky fear” may seem harmless, just provoking a little adrenaline rush, but the danger is real. It is a bad fear, because it goes outside the limits God has set.  

Spooky fear also has an addictive quality that requires more and more to produce the desired rush. That is pretty easy to track from a generation that watched The Birds then Bewitched to the next generation watching Walking Dead…Once “addicted” to an adrenaline rush, the desensitization to simple fears requires a move to more fear, horror. Horror usually includes death, torture, and violence. With the prevalence of video games and movies that encourage killing, suffering, and gore, the addiction grows.  For some that even leads down a path confusing fantasy and reality.  

Gothic fiction began in the 1700’s and is characterized by “elements of fear, horror, darkness, death, and gloom...including vampires, monsters who brought suffering and death. Edgar Allan Poe is one of many gothic authors. Many a nightmare has been wrought from his pen. During the 1980’s a culture of goth music emerged focused on death, morbidity and horror.  The dark clothes, dark make-up and all things vampire and monster is now seen as mainstream and harmless. Does any of it serve to point to God? Does it point away from Him?

At a minimum these games and movies introduce disturbing thoughts. Christians, on the other hand, are to “guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, it there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:7-8. The verses before and after speak of not being anxious, and the peace of God - a sharp contrast to violence, gore, and horror. These are things that can pull you away from the peace of God and steal your sound thoughts replacing them with disturbing dreams, thoughts and fears.

Violence is linked to turning away from God. He pronounced judgment against the people “on account of the violence of all who live” in the land. Ezekiel 12:19. Their “violence has grown into a rod of wickedness.” Ezekiel 7:11. Even in Genesis when God “saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually….the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence…god said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come  before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them, and behold I am about to destroy them with the earth.” Genesis 6:5-13. Sounds familiar.

Violence, horror and fear (other than the fear/reverence of God) is a dangerous path we tread. If we desire our children to be introduced to God should we allow their little minds to be filled with Goosebumps, walking dead, and killing people for points? Should their diet include addictive violent games that can lead to more and more violence?

I grieve that even children’s entertainment has become saturated with ungodly and dangerous material. I pray that together, you and I will work toward filling ourselves with things of lovely and godly nature, and clean out the violence, horror, and chilling things that would distract us from the peace of God. I pray that this season of Halloween will not entice us to lace our minds with evil thoughts under disguise of “fun”. I pray we take on the mind of Christ and pursue those things good in His sight regardless of what the world says is OK and harmless. Please take a long hard look…and consider what might have sneaked into your home, your mind, the lives of your children and grandchildren…If it is time to clean house, please do.

Fear of God is good
  • it will cause us obey Him,
  • it will have us teach our children about Him,
  • it will keep us from forgetting Him, and
  • it will be more praiseworthy than beauty or charm.

Bad fear from spiritists, mediums, divinations, and gothic things causes fear that leads away from a mind filled with the peace of God and turn into a mind filled with evil. It is detestable to God and provokes His anger.

Horror/goth tends to be progressive. It may give a temporary adrenaline rush that can be addictive and dangerous when it points to things outside the boundaries God has set for us.

Violence is linked to wickedness and is often an outgrowth of disobedience to God.      

Father, we thank You for giving us peace – the kind that passes all human understanding. We know that in this violent and ungodly world it can only come from You. Help us to see past the enticement, titillation or thrill of things from occult and death, and see the true source – our enemy who wants to distract us from You.

Forgive us for not calling sin “sin, and listening to the world instead tell us it is harmless and fun. Help us to see clearly the sin before us, and clean it out. Help us to be lights in this world so filled with darkness. Show us how to be beacons of hope and truth as we mire through the trash whitewashed as “fun”. Let us ever be reflections of You rather than the world, so the world can see You and know You are LORD.

Want to learn more?
Romans 1(read here) about things people ignored about God and what they set their minds on. They did not submit their minds, hearts, actions to Him, and God gave them over to their depraved minds.
Romans 8(read here) about when our minds dwell on what our flesh likes and where that puts us our relationship with God.
Revelation 21:8, read here 22:15 read here where will sorcerers (includes magic and witchcraft) be for eternity?

Does it sound harmless to YOU? As always, please feel free to comment - 

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