As early as 1912 in Das Heilige, the profound thinker Rudolf Otto used the newly developed cinematic genre of the Horror Film to speak about the mysterium tremendum et fascinans which is evoked by encounter with the Holy. Scary films are fraught with the sense of the supernatural and often trigger responses that remind the viewer of his/her creaturliness (absolute vulnerability) in the face of forces beyond human control. Often at stake is the sense of our finitude in the face of infinity. Infinity of anything is an overwhelming and potentially terrifying prospect. It is perhaps ironic to think in this regard that although ecstasy may be a glimpse of eternity, horror is the actual experience of it. Here are some interesting questions to ponder: Does terror lead to Holiness (in other words; can someone literally get the "Hell" scared out of them? What do you think the religious roots of Horror may be? What are its lessons? What are some truly horrifying experiences you can think of either in life, or literature and film? Did you feel a sense of the sacred when you experienced it?
What About the Seemingly Trivial? What about, say, Dr. Suess stories? Dr. Seuss writes children's literature with the idea of educating and entertaining them. Hmm.both education and entertainment are part of the legacy and invention of homo religiosus, our archaic creators of culture. Education in particular was taken up by such traditions as Christianity to be not only for the elite but the masses, including the children of the poor. Jesus is quite adamant in his concern for children, "for such is the kingdom of Heaven." How about comic books? Did you know that Superman was modeled in part on Moses? If there is a hero or character of particular importance in the story, such as "the Cat in the Hat", or a figure of exceedingly evil bent, such as say the Grinch who stole Christmas (is that not some sort of religious holiday?), or if it is written in verse of any kind, or simply tries to make meaning out of any aspect of life, or provide any kind of escape, then it owes a debt to the religious origins of all those categories.