Why is it that Hollywood believes more than I do?

Posted: July 29, 2013 by barberjo in Uncategorized


I am a good evangelical boy. I believe in the inspiration, authority, infallibility, and innerancy of Scripture. I believe in a God who is eternal and exists in three persons. I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and came to redeem his chosen ones. I believe in four out of five TULIP points. I believe in the Oxford comma.

And yet, sometimes I think that Hollywood believes more (or maybe better) than I do.

I had a fascinating conversation with someone after I saw THE CONJURING. I was talking to someone at work about the film and she told me that she heard a Christian radio caller say that Christians shouldn’t see movies like this because they somehow pierce our defenses and can let the darkness in. Notwithstanding the sketchy theology, this seems like a bunch of hooey to me. Why is it that we, as Bible-believing Christians, can say we believe in the existence of Satan and demons, but eschew any kind of pop-culture reference to them?

When I was a teenager, we all loved Frank Peretti’s books – This Present Darkness, piercing the Darkness, etc. We thought, “There’s this whole other world out there! Battles being fought… Angels and demons… It’s amazing!” So why is it that I’m ok with believing Peretti, but not James Wan?

Is THE CONJURING a great film? No. Is it very good? I think so. But beyond all of that, what I’m really interested in is why Christians refuse to support films like this – films which contain more biblical truth than twenty FIREPROOFs. 

Again, the theology is a little rough. My demonology prof would crack up at some of it. But, this is a movie that uses the word “demon” to talk about what’s going on. It’s a movie that talks at length about the role of the church in this issue. It’s a movie that gives as biblical of a depiction of demons as I have ever seen. And (SPOILER ALERT) God wins.

What say ye, hands? Should Christians be on board with demon movies?


  1. kelly says:

    I would say it’s THE EXORCIST’s fault – didn’t that start the notion that if you entertain any kind of demonish thoughts, you’ll allow them to enter you? Kinda like the whole saying “Bless you” to a sneeze thing?

    Personally, I think if you can believe in the water into wine and walking on water business, you should be game for it all. Maybe it’s a deeper fear of questioning faith that causes the rigid dismissal of anything evil. That they “protest too much” as a means to protect a fragile foundation of faith in the first place. But what do I know, i’m just a heathen.

    Also – YAY for Peretti getting mentioned two posts in a row; once by an atheist and then by a Christian. That’s an impressive feat for an author!

  2. Bo says:

    Man, now I want to see this. You just added another movie back onto the long list of summer films I want to see. I thought this looked like an easy cross-off – just another INSIDIOUS wannabe, but now that you put it this way…

  3. Myles says:

    First–you have a demonology prof?

    Second–Kiki and I had a conversation about this one, and I’ll look for at it at Redbox. I generally don’t like going to see these in the theater, as my scare-o-meter is a little more sensitive than yours and his.

    But to your question: yes–this is a question at least that people of faith should be thinking about, insofar as most of the time, everyone’s default is to evil as an explicable, materially-locatable entity. From the 17th c-late 20th century, most people’s thought on evil was ” this is structural, so if we can simply tinker with the system in the right way, then evil should be gone.” Or conversely, “evil is just a version of moral behavior, so stop behaving that way!” What movies like this provoke is something much older than either of these, that evil is ultimately beyond explanation. I just got done reading East of Eden again, and he displays this darkness masterfully; Steinbeck wouldn’t call himself a person of faith, but wrestled with the notion that there’s something dark around the corner that cannot be accounted for by either structures or admonitions to be good.

    • barberjo says:

      Yep. We have a class called Angelology, Demonology, and Hamartiology. To be truthful, I haven’t actually taken it yet, but I will in the next couple of semesters.

      Does this “anti-demon” philosophy somehow ring “anti-Catholic?”

  4. Myles says:

    Not necessarily–I think the move to locating evil in either structures or in a definable moral act are one place where Protestants and Catholics are mirrors, in that both are attempts to say evil can be captured in something.

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