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Four Views: Christians Participating in Horror Genres – Will you help?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2011 in personal | 17 comments

Four Views: Christians Participating in Horror Genres – Will you help?

As many of you know, my friend Dan (from “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine“) and I have been working on a joint project called “Zombie Theology” for the last six weeks or so. When we first started, I wrote a couple of posts here telling people what we were doing. However, for the most part, I’ve kept this blog separate from Zombie Theology.

Dan and I have been overwhelmed, to say the least, in the response to our venture, both from Christians and from non-Christians.

But, now, we need your help. Dan and I have been incorporate many, many guest authors at Zombie Theology. And, we want to publish a series of posts that will be similar to the “Four Views” books. I’m sure you’ve seen books like Four Views on the Book of Revelation or Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views.

Our series will cover the topic of Christians participating in horror genres. We’re not limiting the series to just one type of horror genre (such as zombies), but we’d like the posts to cover horror genres in general. We do not expect each of the authors to agree with what we are doing… otherwise, why would we want four views?

We’re defining “participating in horror genres” as reading/writing articles/stories/novels, watching shows/movies, viewing/creating websites, participating in forums, viewing/buying/creating art related to horror genres.

In discussing this, we think the following four “views” would be a good start:

  1. Christians are free to participate in horror genres.
  2. Christians can participate in horror genres with some limitations (defined by the author, but not evangelism as a limitation – see below).
  3. Christians can participate in horror genres only for the purpose of evangelism.
  4. Christians should never participate in horror genres.

Our goal is to publish essays by four different authors (one from each view) on this blog and at “Zombie Theology.” Furthermore, we hope to include “rebuttal” from each of the other three authors on each of the views. We ask that you limit your essay to 1500 words. And, we hope to get the four submissions sometime before July 15, 2011.

If you are interested in helping us with this project, please contact me at aknox@sebts.edu or at zombietheology@gmail.com.

By the way, during the month of July (when we plan to receive these submissions), we are running a contest. The person with the best submission to our site during July will win a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate.


17 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-29-2011

    I suppose “Heck yeah!” is too brief? ;-)

    I will definitely be working on a post.

  2. 6-29-2011

    This is a very interesting topic that I’m VERY opinionated about. I’m going to formulate some thoughts and then probably e-mail you with what I have in mind.

  3. 6-29-2011

    Scott and Dave,

    Thanks! I look forward to reading what you put together.

    Everyone,

    Although there are few comments here, I’ve had a very good response to this request. However, I still need someone to agree to write one of the parts.

    Specifically, we still need someone to write part #3: Christians can participate in horror genres only for the purpose of evangelism.

    Any “evangelists” out there willing to take this on? If so, please let me know.

    -Alan

  4. 6-29-2011

    This would be a weird one for someone doing it just for the sake of evangelizing. That’s the essay I’d want to read most.

  5. 6-29-2011

    I agree. I’d want to read it because I don’t think it’s possible to do and I’d be fascinated to read someone’s idea of how to pull that off.

  6. 6-29-2011

    Alan, even though this was my first exposure to your site, this post has actually prompted me to try and get some fellow Christain film geeks together and record a discussion about being a film geek and how that interacts with our faith across multiple genres. I don’t even have any idea where I’ll post it yet, but thanks for the inspiration sir!

  7. 6-29-2011

    Scott,

    Honestly, I thought that would be the part of the project that someone picked first.

    Dave,

    Please let me know when you post it. It sounds very interesting.

    -Alan

  8. 6-29-2011

    Alan,

    Horror genre! Why? Whose life can be bettered by it?

  9. 6-29-2011

    Aussiejohn, that’s what makes this discussion interesting as far as I’m concerned. If you want an honest answer, I see horror films as a unique way to explor different sides of humanity. Like sci-fi, a good horror film puts people in an extreme situation and explores how they’d react. Night of the Living Dead is an anaology for racism. Land of the Dead is an overt look at class discrimination. As far as looking at humanity from a Christian perspective, the [REC] films from Spain are a great allegory for what happens when man tries to do fight spiritual evil without God. The Saw films actually can make for a fascinating look at how far man can go in seeking justice without the grace of God by putting a man (Jigsaw) through extreme circumstances that make him so jaded he feels the need to extract justice from those he sees as corrupt. I’m not saying people need to watch the Saw films, but there is something there if you want to look for it. I see this a being a fascinating discussion and am looking forward to reading the various opinions.

  10. 6-29-2011

    Aussie John,

    It sounds like you would fall under category #2, with the limitation being that it should be beneficial to either the people involved or others.

    Dave,

    That’s a very interesting commentary. It’s obvious that you’ve thought alot about this subject. Your discussion should be very interesting.

    -Alan

  11. 6-29-2011

    Being a Christian and a film critic as a hobby has made me look at every genre this way. It’s an interesting excercise in focusing on one genre. I’m already having quite a bit of fun with it :)

  12. 6-29-2011

    Alan,

    I don’t think I fit any of the four categories.

    Dave, I’m glad we can agree to disagree. I think the Scriptures are quite sufficient “to explor different sides of humanity”. If we need any more understanding,history and the news media eminently supplies that.

    I’m afraid, in my lifetime, I have seen enough, and learned enough about the ugly (sinful) side of humanity, in reality, without resorting to imaginary sources.

  13. 6-29-2011

    Aussiejohn, I’m more than happy to agree to disagree. I am not about to argue that Christians need a little more horror in their lives. Because I fancy myself a student of the artform known as film, I feel it’s my responsibility to have at least a functional knowledge of every genre outside of adult films. Because I have studied horror (both secular and Christian to some extent), this topic interests me and it gives me an opportunity to fully explore where I stand on this issue. I think I have an idea, but I’m just writing what I truly think and feel and see where I end up at the end. It’s the most honest thing I can do.

    Speaking of which, Alan, I think there’s a chance I’m headed down the path that nobody has taken. I’m not looking at it as a purely evangelical tool, but at the bare minimum giving a bit of truth in the project’s message, and I’ll be concentrating obviously on film.

  14. 6-30-2011

    Alan, with all due respect, the world of horror is the world of terror and fear, also known as the demonic realm — and the opposite of the faith realm. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”. Here’s something else God said through Paul concerning what to set your mind upon:

    “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.” Phil 4:8

    “Horror films are unsettling movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, disgust and horror from viewers. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres. Horrors also frequently overlap with the thriller genre.[citation needed]
    Horror films deal with the viewer’s nightmares, hidden worst fears, revulsions and terror of the unknown. Although a good deal of it is about the supernatural, if some films contain a plot about morbidity, serial killers, a disease/virus outbreak and surrealism, they may be termed “horror.”[1]. ” WIKIPEDIA. 6/29/11

  15. 6-30-2011

    Dave,

    Are you saying you’d like to write the essay on Part 3?

    Aussie John,

    I really appreciate the interaction here. You always bring much wisdom to the conversation.

    Lisa,

    Thanks for the comment. It sounds like you’d fall in the category that Christians shouldn’t take part in horror genres at all.

    -Alan

  16. 7-25-2011

    I don’t watch horror movies because I just don’t like being scared, and my wife even less.

    I think there may be a confusion in the question. Many people may be relating the obviously immoral elements of some horror movies and super-imposing them on the genre. But we no more think of a comedy as being equal to nudity, although the genre of comedy would certainly have its share of 18A & R ratings.

    But speaking of horror, lest we have any double speak about the genre- Left Behind or any movie, writing, or book depicting the return of Christ and the resultant terribleness of the unbelieving world and the judgment, is employing horror as a genre. It is obviously employed for the purposes of evangelism. No horror movie could compare to the horror of being left behind at the return of Christ.

  17. 7-26-2011

    Brandon,

    Thanks for the comment. I hope you’ll come back and comment on the individual articles for each “view” as well.

    -Alan