Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thoughts on Christian Horror: The Wages of Sin

Is there such a thing as Christian horror? Can Christians write horror stories, or is horror always a bad thing? In this series, I am exploring those questions.

Horror can be useful as a way to tell cautionary tales. Don’t commit sins, or they may consume you--literally. Don’t abuse the environment that God gave us, or it might abuse us in return. Don’t ignore or lack discernment about the evils of the world, or they will rip your pretty little whitewashed world to shreds and destroy you.

The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. That is a sobering reality. Every sin, no matter how small, would ultimately lead to death and eternal damnation in hell if God did not intervene. And every sin, whether or not the person sees the consequences on this earth, causes harm. The fact that sin exists at all has twisted the world and filled it with evil things, many of which bring death.

Horror gives Christian authors the opportunity to explore this frightening fact in light of the truth that is revealed in the Bible. Some specific possibilities are:

- A man who commits adultery can discover that his mistress is a vampire who is sucking the life out of his flesh just as his sin is sucking the life out of his spirit.

- A businessman on a camping trip can be hunted by a ravenous mutant creature he unintentionally created by pushing his company to illegally dump toxic waste into a lake.

- A man could sell his soul to the devil to become president, but then see the country collapse under his diabolical policies, with him being killed by a mob of demon-possessed citizens.

- Neglectful parents could send their children to a school where the principle runs it like a cult and begins taking over their children’s minds.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

While simply showing the wages of sin is sometimes enough to make a story effective, in general it’s best to explore the Bible’s joyful conclusion: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Don’t just focus on the perils of evil. Also show redemption.

To continue with the examples I gave before, a man can break free of adultery before it kills him and become a good husband. A businessman can be changed by his experiences with the consequences of his reckless behavior and be environmentally responsible. An unscrupulous vice president can learn to have unshakable principles based on the Bible. Parents who neglect their children can be forced to nearly give their lives for their children and learn to protect them as God intended.

All of us make mistakes, and all of us need God’s help to survive, change, and do better. Christian horror can warn us of sinful mistakes and their consequences, while also showing us that Jesus and the salvation He brings will help us overcome the dark things of this world. Do you agree?

The next article in the Thoughts on Christian Horror series: The Villains of Horror

The previous article in the Thoughts on Christian Horror series: Five Ways to Use Fear


  1. "Do you agree?"

    I'm agreeing with everything I've read so far in this whole series of posts. :) This, and all the others, have been really good. Thanks, Jonathan!

  2. I really like this post. I'm enjoying the whole series so far, Jonathan. :)

    1. I'm glad, Grace. :) Thank you for commenting!