I watch horror films often. I’ve a love hate relationship with them. It is my favorite genre yet is mostly disappointing these days. Still, I watch them with some silly sense of false hope each time, that perhaps this director might get it right. One of the few who does at times is James Wan.
The low hanging fruit first: useless males.
If you are male and older than 23, using the word, ‘dude’ every other word, you should post haste grow your vocabulary. Don’t expect respect until you do. Never ‘uptalk,’ either. Declare, do not request with every sentence. Unless respect is something you could care less about. These males in these movies act as children; they’re panicky, indecisive and mostly useless. No wonder their onscreen wives detest them at heart, thus give them no respect.
But let’s get to the faithless ‘men of God’ in these films.
Let’s look at cops as comparison. You take a section of The Bronx, one of the toughest crime areas in the US. Imagine if the good cops began treating their authority like horror movie priests. If they cowed at Death on the street, not only would they die, many others would as well, as criminals look for weakness. Demonic entities look for the same. A cop faces mutilation, death, humiliation, loss of family and loss of life. But if he knows why he does his job, he accepts this. I’m certain cops feel terror at times yet cowering before such terror, they know, will get them killed. Their authority comes from the Law, and they must own that authority fully. It is as much a weapon as their firearm.
The priest is granted authority not by the ‘Holy See,’ the church, nor man at all, but through God Himself. Nowhere does Yeshua tell us to ask demons if they’ll obey. He tells us He, and by extension us through Him, has all authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. is there a risk still? Bet your life on that. The man of God faces the same as the cop, only from the spiritual realm. Demons know us better than we do, thus the man of God can fairly count on humiliation. The spirit will lie, cheat and taunt, weaving truth into the lies looking to shame faith into submission. These are part of the consequences for doing wrong when we know better. To have strong faith in the face of Hellspawn the man of God best own his sin, know his sin and be willing that anyone around hear about it when confronting Primary Evil. Otherwise he will fail.
He also better be willing to risk his life and the comfort of those he loves. If he cannot, he should stay in the sanctuary and preach and nothing else. And if he can’t grasp that the psychological does not trump the spiritual explanation but instead mirrors the conflict, he’s up a creek already, not even a shoe to work with, much less a paddle. Compartmentalization in this regard is for the faithless. If this escapes him, again, stick to being behind a comfy podium.
One reason I write supernatural fiction is to correct these things in my stories. Faith is not lacking in intestinal fortitude, otherwise, it is false hope, not faith. A servant of God cannot afford to be nice. Polite, genuine, patient and honest, yes, but when Evil pushes, he pushes back hard because his own Bible declares without question that this is what his faith is meant to create in him. For he is not given the spirit of fear but of power over evil.
Anything else is just going to fall flat with sometimes dangerous results.