More Thoughts on the Supernatural


The most recent author to join the Realms family and a most-interesting fellow, Mike Duran, has written a very thought-provoking post on why supernatural fiction is so under-represented in the Christian marketplace. My suggestion: read his post and leave a comment with your own thoughts.

In his post Mike does an excellent job of making the argument that the Bible is full of supernatural accounts.  No one has a problem with that. We read those stories and are awed by them, inspired, encouraged. We read them again and again and tell our children about them. But when it comes to fiction, the fare of choice is something much less gritty and much more “safe and sanitized.” So why is that?

Is it because the world we live in is scary enough and Christians feel they don’t need or want to be reminded of that in their fiction?

Is it because too many are afraid to face their fears and would rather ignore them or avoid them and find solace in some place predictable and safe?

Is it because many would rather ignore the supernatural and paranormal and leave it in the Bible where it is thousands of years removed than recognize that it does indeed exist?

Or am I totally off and it’s simply a matter of taste and preference? And the tastes and preferences of Christians really is that lopsided that sweet romance far outweighs stories that deal with the supernatural? (Hey, if I’m wrong correct me).

But if that’s the case, I wonder if those same people avoid the paranormal stories in the Bible, the stories that evoke fear and suspense. I know, I know, the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God and that gives it a slight advantage (or maybe more than slight), as it should (it better!) but no one who takes the Bible seriously doubts the possibility that that stuff could really happen. Of course it could . . . it did!

I hear sometimes that my stories are far-fetched, readers saying, “Yeah, right, that could never happen.” Really? Are you sure? If I wrote about a man with superhuman strength or fire raining down from heaven or locust-like beasts with scorpion tails  would you write it off as far-fetched? When I write a story I deal in the realm of possibility, not probability. Is it possible? And when you read the Bible you quickly understand that when dealing with the supernatural or paranormal, just about anything is possible, whether it comes from the hand of God or the hand of the Evil One.

Here’s my last thought: Could it be that reading stories of the supernatural and paranormal will actually deepen your faith? I know it has for some, they tell me so. It deepens it because it challenges it, pushes it to the edge of reason and forces you to answer a question: Which do believe is more powerful, the forces of darkness at play in this world or the forces of light (the Light)?

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on May 26, 2010, in Life in General, Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Just two cents from me, Mike. No matter the genre, if the story reveals a spiritual truth realistically in the lives of the characters then the story means something to me. The only time I get really uncomfortable is when folks get totally away from what the Bible teaches in the truths that their story represents.

    Mike, your stories are filled with truth. The genre itself I think gets a bad wrap because for the most part it is associated with evil and darkness. Most people who read Christian fiction do so – not to read sanitized stories – but to avoid the filth (language, violence, s*xual content ect..) that drips from the pages of most stories. Everyone gets an abundant supply of that from every other source surrounding their hearts and minds. I know I like to find take-away value in the stories I read – something that encourages me or challenges my faith to strengthen me in some way. Your stories contain that for me.

    I don’t particularly like to be scared witless. While your stories are scary, they don’t disturb me to the point I can’t fall asleep soundly. You have the perfect blend of thrill, suspense, spiritual truth and challenging character situations. That’s why I read your books.

    A suggestion…look at John Aubrey Anderson’s stories. They deal very much with the supernatural, but the spiritual truths are profound. I think folks need to be reminded that there are forces at work all around us. We don’t need to live in fear and chase “spirits” from behind every bush, but to be aware of their existence and know that we belong to an already victorious Savior takes away that unnatural fear. The battle between demons/God is already handled. He Who lives in me is greater than he who lives in the world.

    I’d encourage everyone to read your books and be encouraged. Be challenged. Be changed. That is the definition of good Christian fiction to me.

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    • Great words of insight, Kim. Thanks for your input. I wish more readers had your philosophy that the message is key and the story it’s housed in is, well, the story it’s housed in, whether horror, southern fiction, or Amish. I’m with you. I want the fiction I read to move me in some way. I’m not in it just for the entertainment, I can get that in a variety of places, I want to be challenged or convicted or encouraged by the fiction I read.

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  2. Could it be that reading stories of the supernatural and paranormal will actually deepen your faith?

    Reading about the supernatural realm is different (to me) than reading about the paranormal. The latter is a demonic, witchcraft, vampire, e.s.p. type of story, while the supernatural is based on Scriptural truths, of which I love to learn more about to deepen my faith. In my opinion, paranormal does not bring me closer to God, where as the supernatural does. Maybe it’s semantics, but paranormal is the world’s view of God, and doesn’t bring truth.

    An example– using a psychic to help find something or someone vs. praying for direction to God for the same result. One uses demonic powers, the other uses God’s power. We are not supposed to use demonic powers to lead our lives.

    I read one series of books where the answers came to a woman in trance-like episodes where she got sick afterwards. (I don’t read that type anymore.) The word of knowledge doesn’t come in a trance. It’s truth the Lord has given you. To me, the first is demonic (as in psychic) and the second is supernatural, which I have no problem with.

    Can you tell me

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    • Thanks for the comment, Linda. Yes, I do believe reading stories of supernatural/paranormal nature can deepen ones faith . . . if said story is handled properly. And yes, the difference of supernatural and paranormal can come down to semantics. The dictionary definition of paranormal is simply something that can’t be explained by science. Same as supernatural. I think paranormal gets a bad rap because of the way it’s been used in the past by seculars (ie. witch craft, occult stuff, etc.). For many there is a fear of it now, but it is fear by association.

      Any time a Christian author uses supernatural or paranormal events he/she has to handle it very carefully so as not to cross that line. I take it very seriously and make sure to point the events back to God.

      Good comments, though, and certainly food for thought. Thanks!

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  3. I think the biggest reason is Satan doesn’t want us reading these type of books because they do remind us that he is at work today just like he was in the Bible. Satan’s greatest achievement isn’t getting us to believe he doesn’t exist but getting us to believe he has very little power or at least acting like he doesn’t.

    I get so tired of Christian friends who say they don’t believe Christian books should include murder, mayhem of the demonic. I have even had a few try to tell me I am wrong to read such books, yet they read these Christian romance books and then lament about how their husbands are nothing like the men in the books. When I read a book I lament how I am nothing like God wants me to be. So really I believe that is the biggest issue, thr romance make us look at other while the other genres have us looking within just as the Bible has us looking whithin.

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    • Thanks, Reenie. Good points made. It’s sad that Christians would judge one another’s spiritual well-being based on their reading preferences. Unfortunate.

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  4. “But if that’s the case, I wonder if those same people avoid the paranormal stories in the Bible, the stories that evoke fear and suspense. I know, I know, the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God and that gives it a slight advantage (or maybe more than slight), as it should (it better!) but no one who takes the Bible seriously doubts the possibility that that stuff could really happen. Of course it could . . . it did!”

    I haven’t read the other comments, Mike, because I’d get distracted by other points. The quote above depicts the problem for many CBA readers: the past tense of your final two words. For them: it DID. Not DOES. The instruction in the Word admonishes us over and over again to be diligent in recognizing, addressing, containing, fleeing, and watching for the enemy who prowls around seeking whom he may devour. Well, quite frankly, he devours a lot of Christians because they don’t want to face him, address his interferences in their lives, take authority over him, and all the other possibilities Jesus gave as examples as to how to deal with him. He’s not “there”. He’s “here”. Everywhere the minions of evil exist. But, as I said sometime ago, some people are fragile. Some people are fearful and forget fear is not of God. Fearful or not, it’s too difficult for some readers to address their fears in novels.

    I don’t think the problem is gaining certain readers from genres which will never translate to what we as authors write. The real problem is finding those who enjoy whatever it is we write. Your publisher believes in your writing. Your fan base is growing. Those who’ve yet to know about what you write hopefully will be reached by these kinds of discussions.

    What I find ironic in this whole subject is that some who’ll read thrillers or a little “horror” are disgusted by those authors who deal realistically which the sexual challenges in our stories. We receive the same criticisms that the writers of so-called horror receive for dealing honestly with a so-called taboo subject for a Christian. Um, isn’t a certain honesty about these subjects all we’re really seeking?

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    • Yes, Nicole. Yes! You hit it right on the noggin. We’ll never get romance and Amish readers to “cross over to the dark side” and read suspense/horror, but how do we reach those who enjoy the works of King and Koontz and Little and such and get them to try our brand of horror? There has to be Christians out there who read the general market stuff because they’ve been burned one too many times by the Christian stuff in the past (the cheese factor playing a large role in that). I know they’re out there because I was one of them. They put up with the negatives (cursing, gore, etc.) for a good read but would love a cleaner alternative.

      That’s the crowd we need to draw in.

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  5. “They put up with the negatives (cursing, gore, etc.) for a good read but would love a cleaner alternative.”

    I don’t care about a cleaner alternative. I don’t even want an alternative. Don’t ever relegate good Christian writing to simply an alternative to the worldly genre. It isn’t. It should be art in and of itself that speaks truth. That’s my rant for today. Oh, and, yes, I’ll admit that I don’t really like the smut in worldly books. But smut isn’t art, is it?

    Sometimes, I wistfully wish that good books from a Christian perspective were housed with general fiction so that it didn’t have to be a this or that scenario.
    I guess I don’t like to see Christian fiction relegated to cheap, watery knock-offs, as happened in the early days of Christian rock.

    By the way, I don’t think your books are cheap, watery knock-offs. You tell great stories. You don’t get overly preachy. Therefore, you are an excellent writer in your own right, not simply a cleaner alternative.

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    • Hey, Jill, you’re allowed a rant whenever you want one. I appreciate your rants! We all need to be reminded that there’s nothing second-best about Christian fiction. Thanks for the encouragement.

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