Christian… Horror?

April 6th, 2011

My husband thinks I’m a bit weird. I suppose he could be right, but then the feeling is mutual. You see, I enjoy watching ghost stories and reading about things that go bump in the night. I used to be a huge Stephen King fan until I figured out the increase in the number of nightmares I was having was directly related to his books. Go figure. My husband, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with “that stuff,” so his reaction to my latest discovery wasn’t surprising at all.

There is such a thing as Christian Horror.

Now, before anyone leaps to the comments section to say I’m out of my mind, please keep reading. Mike Duran, a writer in this genre, has some excellent things to say in The Argument Against “Christian Horror” (a Response) by Mike Duran, which was featured on Sarah Sawyer’s blog. The following is an excerpt from that post:

The Argument Against “Christian Horror” (a Response) by Mike Duran

March 2011 Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour

Is the horror genre incompatible with the Christian faith? Many would say so. But a closer inspection of the arguments reveals flaws.

What are those arguments? Perhaps the most common is the one that centers around this verse:

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

The argument goes like this: Stories that involve ghosts, demons, gore, and occultism draw our minds away from the things we should be dwelling upon. The Christian who spends too much time contemplating evil will be corrupted by it. We are commanded to focus upon “good” things, which is why Christian fiction has no business flirting with “horror.”

At first glance, this argument sounds reasonable. There should be a qualitative difference between what Christians write and the mindless splatter and occultism that defines much of today’s horror. Furthermore, Christians who “dwell” upon what is untrue, dishonorable, and impure are indeed setting themselves up for problems. But does this verse actually say what the “Christian horror” objectors intend? Does Philippians 4:8 teach that believers should “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”? I don’t think so. Let me offer two responses.

Read the rest of the post here.

So, now, what do you think? Is there a place for the thrills and chills of horror in Christian fiction?