Horror and terror

How’s that title for an attention-getter?

Horror movies often strike me as ridiculous, and movies that are all about broad-scale terror don’t attract me all that much.  On the other hand, the dramas and suspense series I watch do involve short-lived, mostly-small-scale terrors fairly often, I’d have to say.  They say (I’m not sure who “they” are, really) that watching such things can give kids nightmares, and I worry about myself, too.  Will a diet of bad visual experiences get inside my soul?  I suppose I’ve almost assumed that watching any horrific things would make me think about horror more acutely and more often.  Now, I wonder if it’s had the opposite effect:  have the terror images almost anesthetized me, keeping me from proper wincing and fear?

Lately I’ve wondered what terror would be like if personally experienced.  What if?  And then it happened very near me.  Very recently, a small plane went down less than 10 miles from our house.  My wife brought me the news, both in the form of an image on her phone and in her eyes.  I could tell she felt it deeply, and her empathy moved me.  What was that horrific human experience like for the two who were killed?  (May God have granted that it was quick.)  One decedent was from a few hundred miles away, and one, from our little town.  People knew them and must themselves have experienced shockwaves of terror after the news broke.  The more I think about it, the more I am affected.

I’m not much on the “hellfire and brimstone” stuff that’s historically been associated with a few denominations and preaching styles.  I’m grateful never to have been subjected to regular preaching like that in the congregations with which I’ve worked.  I’ve never dug into the hell topic much but find myself leaning toward the view that God’s punishment will not be ongoing but will rather be a one-time event.  Whatever it turns out to be, it is obviously something to be avoided.  I believe it will be a terror in some sense, whether once or in perpetuity.  Otherwise, why would the inspired teachers throughout biblical history have described it in such horrific terms?

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9 thoughts on “Horror and terror

  1. godschildrenorg 07/25/2017 / 4:02 am

    Most people do not believe in Hell,
    or perhaps think of it as not applying to them.
    Thus, they do not realize what the sacrifice of Christ on the cross means for them personally….

    Is that why, at best, 20% of the congregation participate in, donate funds for the “work,” of the congregation?
    Is that why 80% attend “church” for social of familial\ reasons, but not because they love Jesus?
    Is that why 80% who actually have read the Bible do not pay attention to I Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to God’s glory.”
    ~~ Anne in Transylvania

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  2. godschildrenorg 07/25/2017 / 4:05 am

    I became an intentional follower of Jesus because I fell in love with Him, not out of fear of Hell. I want to spend eternity with God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They guide my life now. I have no desire to be separated from them for eternity.

    How many people who happily call themselves Christian even know what that means?
    They certainly have no fear of “Hell.”

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  3. godschildrenorg 07/25/2017 / 4:14 am

    In my opinion, watching horrific things often enough does anesthetize people to horrific things…
    Living in W. Europe, and now E. Europe, hearing of the horrific things the Nazis and Communists did to my friends…did not anesthetize me to horror.
    The Nazis and Communists, from what I have been told by those who were the victims…the cruel invaders were energized by doing or watching the horrors they committed.
    Some people get a “high” off of watching horrific things.

    Research says that young children do not realize that what they watch on TV, video is NOT real…and they are traumatized…many become numb to it.
    In my work as a Trauma Specialist, I know that many kids who got involved with Dungeons and Dragons “went over the edge.” ~~ Anne in Transylvania. (the end of my musings today.

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    • Brian Casey 07/25/2017 / 2:32 pm

      Anne, I should have consulted with you before I posted this! Your connection is on target between lack of personal belief in hell and a personal appreciation for the atoning work of Christ. (And, I might point out, the exact nature of that hell doesn’t matter here — one can believe in a single-occasion punishment or an endless, ongoing kind, and your point holds. Your expression about being separated from God for eternity is the crux.

      Your knowledge of the human psyche is something I could particularly have drawn from. My little post was incomplete at best, and you’ve emphasized the anesthetizing possibilities very well. Sometimes I feel awkward and alone about sheltering our 8-year-old from some visual things, but I probably shouldn’t feel awkward anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. godschildrenorg 07/25/2017 / 2:43 pm

    I appreciate your post because you gave us pause to reflect on these crucial matters. Praise God that you shelter your precious 8 year old from horror! You are protecting him from trauma that is unnecessary. Life is challenging for the best of us. He will have a better start because he does not have a bunch of TV violence stored in his brain! Love y’all…all y’all! ;-). (I love the totally unnecessary expression “all y’all!” It suits me!)

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  5. godschildrenorg 08/03/2017 / 4:49 pm

    You might find it interesting…Just read at vox.com — “A psychologist explains the limits of human compassion
    Why do we ignore mass atrocities? It has to do with something called “psychic numbing.”
    Updated by Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Jul 19, 2017, 10:10am EDT”
    ~~ Anne in Transylvania

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    • Brian Casey 08/03/2017 / 5:45 pm

      I can’t immediately find the article, but that quote is enough. It makes sad sense….

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    • godschildrenorg 08/04/2017 / 6:12 am

      The study demonstrates statistics that a message about 1 child, or 1 person gets a much better response than even an appeal for only 2 children! When there is a large mass of people…interest goes down. Perhaps it is because we believe we can help 1, but feel unable to change the trouble of a mass. ~~ Anne in Transylvania

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    • Brian Casey 08/04/2017 / 6:53 am

      I’m thinking (but what this is all conjecture in this area for me) that general mind-numbing would be a factor, and, yes, that it’s easier to think of one person as a cause for sympathy than a mass of people. It may also go to the matter of introversion vs. extroversion. I for one become overwhelmed by large things (large institutions, large groups, parties, theological mountains) and find it easier to deal with one smaller thing at a time. Just musing along with your observations….

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