Ok, so not all horror movies have great theological themes to it. But have you ever wondered about those movies that do have religious references to it?
In this case, “” has the typical religious and supernatural references about the spirit world that you would find in movies featuring paranormal activity: witchcraft, demons, and possession to name some of the main ones. 4
Granted, when I saw the movie, I didn’t feel enlightened. I was out for a good spook. I went with friends, and we all have a good laugh at each other’s lack of tolerance for fright.
But I started thinking about a homily I heard at a Sunday Mass a few weeks ago. The priest said that in some areas of the Gospels, Jesus tries to emphasize the harsher reality of the kingdom of heaven….it’s not “easy” to get in.
I can talk about this subject of salvation and what theologians call “soteriology” (the theology of salvation) for a whole month…and I may only get a decent chunk of it blogged about, but not the entire explanation.
Yet, there are some things to consider, and worthy of dialog and feedback.
In “PN 4,” and from what I remember of the other movies in this franchise, the strongest theme is about demon possession. The demon basically haunts a family, and the deeper story is that it’s trying to achieve the goal of possession so to do whatever its other goals are. The audience is aware of the demons’ motives as much as the characters are….basically every one is in the dark.(pun intended)
In Christianity, there is a story of possession as well. But we don’t call it that when it deals with Jesus and a person’s relationship to him. We call it the path of salvation. Jesus has offered the possibility of salvation, and on a very basic theological level, the person needs to at the very, very least, have faith, hope, and love in Jesus. A complete surrender to him. Like a possession. But we don’t call it that because Jesus continues to give the person “free will” until death, which then the soul transitions from the physical realm to the spirit realm, where all sorts of stuff happens.
So, if I’m a follower of Christ, and I know what he’s asking of me, it would seem so simple to just follow along, right?
Well, maybe for someone like Mary, Mother of Jesus, yes, but even the strongest in faith, like St. Paul, struggled. So if he struggled, you bet most of us disciples are far from getting this discipleship right.
But here’s the scary part: it’s not a game. It’s for keeps. God is guiding His disciples to an eternal promise, but needs us to do enough surrendering so that we do inherit such a promise. The opposite path doesn’t lead to God, but to a total loss. We are either God’s because we choose to keep ourselves as holy as we can and offer it up to God, or we are on the path to become Godless, and therefore lifeless.
“PN 4” does have some spooky moments. I know I would absolutely hate to be caught dealing with a demon! Yikes!! But the reality is, we all deal with demons, who are playing for keeps. And they don’t need to be eerie. They dress up as whatever our desires are. And tempt us. A spooky thing would be to view our life in a movie theater, and ask, “Wow, how close was I to letting myself be possessed by disordered desires?” Or even get to the parts where we hopefully say, “Dang, I’m sorry for letting myself give in!”
May we humbly ask God for forgiveness, and the foresight to see and avoid the demons of temptation around us, all the time.