Adam's Reviews > This Present Darkness

This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
54068
's review
Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: horror-fiction
Recommended for: No one
Read in August, 1993

Besides the bad writing and the clichéd, predictable storytelling, the message of this book is really ugly. Tall, handsome angels are associated with Protestantism, and foul demons are associated with, well, everything else (e.g., New Age spirituality, Eastern religions, and any philosophy that does not place Christ at its center). Personally I think New Age philosophies, astrology, and crystal power are all pretty silly, but deliberately associating them with Satan is not only ridiculously simplistic, it's really hateful. Furthermore, the idea that taking a college-level class on Eastern religions might imperil one's immortal soul deliberately attacks the very notion of ecumenicism, not to mention the values of love and understanding. It's really depressing that this book is so popular with evangelical Christians, and that so many of them mindlessly accept Peretti's ideas about secular society and non-Christian religions. Also, the very notion of a "Christian horror novel" is almost as idiotic as "Christian porn." Christians should be able to read a novel by Stephen King, recognize that it is a made-up story, and then go back to getting their information about good and evil directly from the Bible, instead of fearfully rejecting anything not labelled "Christian," yet revel in all the B-grade, watered-down versions of mainstream media that are labelled Christian. Speaking of which, I'm not even sure if This Present Darkness can technically be called "Christian," since in it, Peretti has created his own bizarre cosmology nearly from whole cloth--one that ignores the very real notion of personal responsibility, since good and evil in this novel are solely the province of unseen angels and demons--which is why I honestly can't recommend this novel to anyone, Christian or non-Christian.
49 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read This Present Darkness.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-47 of 47) (47 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Catherine Dyson Actually, Satan is the father of all lies and false religions. If you studied what the Bible says about spiritual warfare you might have a better understanding of what this book is.


message 2: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam Just so I can get a better idea of where you're coming from, which of the following major world religions are false, and were sired by Satan? (Just answer Y/N to each. If you'd like to provide a small explanation of how and when Satan fathered them, that's fine, too.)

Hinduism Y/N
Judaism Y/N
Zoroastrianism Y/N
Buddhism Y/N
Confucianism Y/N
Jainism Y/N
Taoism Y/N
Shinto Y/N
Christianity Y/N
Islam Y/N
Sikhism Y/N
Bahá'ísm Y/N
Mormonism Y/N

Thanks!


Catherine Dyson Ok, you got me. I am by no means a scholar in this field, however, I do believe that Satan does what he can to discredit the belief of God and Jesus (and incase you are wondering, I do believe they are the sam. Also I believe God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit makes up the Holy Trinity.) I am a Christian. I do not support any religion, even Christian religions. I go to a non-denominational church. I am not trying to insult you, nor am I trying to be rude. But I do believe Satan has had thousands of years of perfecting ways to bring men away from God. I have not even heard of many of the religions you mentioned above and I apologize if I gave you the impression I am a know it all.

Another thing I believe is spiritual warfare. If you would to know what I believe about that, i am more than happy to discuss it with you. It has everything to do with satan and my idea that he is the father of every non-Christian religion.

One more thing, I hate religion. I believe people end up putting so much in the ritualistic procedures involved in specific "religions" that it takes the focus of the one they are worshiping.

Feel free to email me personally at catdyson@gmail.com if you want to keep this going (which I really don't mind, but it is kinda public for me). If you don't mind me asking, and since i shared with you, what are your beliefs? - no judging, promise. :)

Cat


message 4: by Werner (last edited Jan 23, 2009 05:50AM) (new)

Werner Adam, your insightful comments in our Pulp Fiction group led me to suspect that you might have posted some equally insightful reviews, and I see I was right! I haven't read This Present Darkness (and based on your review, I probably won't!), but I liked your review because you dug below the surface to grapple with some important issues.

I'm an evangelical Christian, as Peretti is; but from that perspective, all people share in the "general revelation" of conscience and the Creator's creation, and naturally sense a duty to honor and serve God. Viewed in that light, non-Christian religions can't simply be dismissed as Satanic --though Satan certainly tries to beguile all of us, Christians included, with mixed-up religious ideas!

Have you ever read The Oath? That's a later Peretti work, which I don't think would have some of the specific flaws you noted in this novel. If you ever review that one, I'll be interested in seeing what you think of it!


Alice Actually you simply missed the entire point of the story.
You are missing that this story is FICTION or to put it in your own words a 'made up story'. Peretti himself has presented it as such. Not as a personal philosophy. With points exaggerated to help show the themes of the story.

Angels are associated with ALL Christianities as well as Judaism and though the book follows Christians the book places 'God' as the centre of Good rather than separating out 'Christ'.
The message of the story is about spiritual warfare, dangers of dabbling in the occult and powers you do not understand and ultimately the power of prayer.

This book never ignores the notion of personal responsibility, the complete opposite in fact it highlights the consequences of our actions and the responsibility we have in our choices. That Love and understanding should always be given because people are NOT Evil at heart.

Your attack on anything labelled 'Christian' is pathetic, they are not as you say a B-grade, watered-down version of mainstream media. Look at the successes of the Narnia and Lord of the Rings books.
The point of creating Christian ANYTHING is not to shelter Christians from the 'evils of the world' but as a form of worship. The idea that Christians "fearfully reject anything not labelled "Christian," is the stupidest thing I have ever heard and makes me think you have wilfully misinterpreted this book.


message 6: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam You have done what you accuse me of doing, which is to willfully misinterpret my review.

I never attacked everything labeled "Christian," and by lumping in fine works like those of C.S. Lewis with my bad review of a Frank Peretti novel you have turned me into a straw man.


Jonathan Peretti is trying to explain the Christian viewpoint of the supernatural. New Age ideas are supernatural in nature with some of their practices. What the Bible teaches are that there is one way to God - through Jesus. Hence anything else is therefore open to demonic influence. New Age philosophies may do nothing but they can often touch the spiritual and from the Christian perspective they don't reach God hence you open yourself to demonic influence which is what Peretti tries to show I believe.


Georgina Try writing one to top this...wanna see just how far will yours go ;)


message 9: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam Sorry, Georgina, but "I'd like to see you do better" is always a meaningless counterargument.


message 10: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam Jonathan, are you saying that resurrection, transubstantiation, and walking on water aren't supernatural?


message 11: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 26, 2012 05:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jonathan That's not what I'm saying I'm merely stating my view that what Peretti is trying to reveal is the two sides of the supernatural world.

You wrote that: "Tall, handsome angels are associated with Protestantism, and foul demons are associated with, well, everything else (e.g., New Age spirituality, Eastern religions, and any philosophy that does not place Christ at its center)."

I don't see that Peretti is creating some new cosmology. I do believe he could have featured some of the demons clothed in robes of light as after all the Bible does refer to Satan clothing himself like an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Bible makes mention of this fact again and again. Therefore when Peretti associates demons with non-Christ centered religions and philosophies he draws this from the Bible. He is not creating his own thought system. Rather he recognises the thought of:

Matthew 12:30
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

To sum up what I was stating is that in Peretti's defence his book is based on the ideas of the Bible and he has not made up his own cosmology.


message 12: by Ron (new) - added it

Ron Even though Peretti's book is *fiction* it is good fiction. And as far as your Y/N questionnaire is concerned, here's what the (Christian) Bible says:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Sound pretty exclusive to me, and leaves every other "religion" out, so-to-speak.

Here's some more from the gospel of John: (8:44-47)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."

Those that do not believe Jesus, are not of God. Again, pretty exclusive, I would suggest.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber." So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. (John 10:1, 7)

Most Christians understand what Jesus is saying when He says, "I am the door."

So, in conclusion, we have the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have the father of lies, Satan, the devil. It's white or black - no grey (or is that gray?).

Enjoy the book for what it is...one man's imagination put down on paper for others to read. I'm glad he did.


message 13: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam But Jonathan, while I think the Bible is pretty clear about Christ/God/salvation versus the absence of such, I don't think that associating one's enemies with an "anti-Christ" or with demons is something that plays a big role in the Bible, and was something that evolved later.

Have you ever read Elaine Pagels's "The Origin of Satan"? I thought it was pretty interesting.


Jonathan I haven't read that book maybe I should check it out.

Well I agree in part with your statement. The whole 'anti-Christ' thing is only mentioned in the Bible as the spirit of the anti-Christ. I do think that it seems clear to me anyway that while we are not to hate our enemies that at times demonic influence is behind some of the things that happen. I'm not saying everyone is demon possessed like in Peretti's book (I think that is a far fetched element) however I do think that demons still have an influence.

Look at Job. His torment was orchestrated by Satan.
Look at Daniel when the archangel made it through to him after battling The prince of Persia. Look at how Dagon's statue fell down before the ark.
And then there are all the cases of demon possessed people being healed by Jesus for instance. They meddled in things that allowed that to happen if you look at where many came from.

But perhaps I'm misunderstanding your statement?


Georgina Adam wrote: "Sorry, Georgina, but "I'd like to see you do better" is always a meaningless counterargument."

Just speechless, so that's the only thing I am capable to say...


Georgina Jonathan wrote: "I haven't read that book maybe I should check it out.

Well I agree in part with your statement. The whole 'anti-Christ' thing is only mentioned in the Bible as the spirit of the anti-Christ. I do ..."


I admire ur knowledge in the bible! I am a Christian but i hardly read it but as long as I don't go astray and stay true to my faith, I think that's ok...


Jonathan Just the way that my parents raised me. And also I don't know that much compared to some. I'm trying to learn more everyday and hoping that some great bible classes will be enjoyable this year.


Georgina Jonathan wrote: "Just the way that my parents raised me. And also I don't know that much compared to some. I'm trying to learn more everyday and hoping that some great bible classes will be enjoyable this year."

So, in that case I really recommend u to read this book. This book has a sequel actually. And I accidently read the sequel before reading the first, haha. But, it still is awesome! I'm still waiting for the 1st book to arrive at my doorstep! :)


Jonathan I've read it actually that's why I was debating sort of Adam's contention. I own both books in fact. old dog eared copies.


Georgina Really???? Lucky you!


Sarah I agree with Ron.


message 22: by Mookeypoop (new)

Mookeypoop Vo Dude christian beliefs that there is only 1 god so they assume the other gods are the devil in disguise or some other twisted idea


Daniel Georgina wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "I haven't read that book maybe I should check it out.

Well I agree in part with your statement. The whole 'anti-Christ' thing is only mentioned in the Bible as the spirit of the a..."


I would really encourage you to read the Bible everyday. I know it is hard to get into the habit but it is worth it.
I mean, I forget tons of stuff all the time about the Bible and I try to read it regularly. It is so hard to be wise in what to read, watch, and people I should talk to.
Imagine you are lost, and you have only a compass and some limited food to get to civilization. If you look at the compass once to make sure you are going North and then put it away and then walk for a long time without looking at it, weeks for example. What will happen when you look at the compass? Ten to one you are really far from where you want to go. And you have only a limited amount of food.
The Compass is the Bible, it points to True North, true reality, a true relationship with Jesus, and if you only look at it once in a great while you'll be just as bad off as you would be with the compass. We are all running out of time (food).
Please don't think I'm hinting that you are going off your rocker or something. But I just wanted to warn you how easy it is go astray, and hard it is to stay true to the Faith and serve Christ.
You think you'll be okay. Would you want to KNOW that you will be okay? Read the Bible, please, as one Christian to another.

Also, you said in your profile that you read fiction to get away from from this horrible world for a while, to find peace, happiness, and such.
I used to do that A LOT. But finally I had to run to Jesus and the Bible. He really can talk to you Georgina. You just have to spend time with Him. And soon, you'll find the unexplainable beauty and peace you caught glimpses of in those really good books is actually just a taste of what you can enjoy talking to Jesus.

I know I don't know you and this is kind of a random note but I read your comment and I couldn't help writing you. =D


Nathan you stated that the demons are all that is bad with the world.... can you show us where the angels of gods army have done anything bad??


message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda Thank you so much for such a well-written review. This book was just recommended to me, and I didn't get a good feeling about it, simply because I understand the spell, if you will, that many 'Christians' are under. If you're not walking/talking as they've been trained, then you're apparently not a Christian. By this alone, and my own continuing Biblical studies, I shun the Christian 'religion'.


message 26: by Adam (new) - rated it 1 star

Adam Thank you for your kind words, Linda.


message 27: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Nicely put. I agree with your review. I must say I really enjoyed these books 20+ years ago (thus 4 stars). I would not pick them up today for the reasons you state in your review


message 28: by Sandi (new) - added it

Sandi This book was amazing if you do not like it you have problems!


message 29: by Linda (new)

Linda Sandi wrote: "This book was amazing if you do not like it you have problems!"

@Sandi....I believe in the Crockers Rules...I seek information, and receive it even with offense. I'd like to know what problems the Reviewer, or anyone who doesn't like the book have? That's the issue with so-called Christians, or those who follow every thing man has to say, you stand and judge every one else for not being like you. I thank GOD I'm not like you! You could have very well left your review, or said nothing, but you wanted to come out and berate someone who was bold enough to share their thoughts. Be ashamed of yourself!


message 30: by Garin (new)

Garin @linda wow...
First off we are not trained or anything. It's a religion not a military. If you think we judge people because they do not believe in what we believe then ur "biblical studies" need to become more in depth. We teach love one another, do not scorn them, I hold no one higher than I and not I them. If I judged u I would b judged just as harshly as I would judge u. So what's the point in judging. We are all the same, yet we are different. Which is good.
Second I do not agree with what Sandi said but there is no reason to blow up on her. It is her opinion not factual.
Third there will always b people that give Christians a bad name as there is with every religion. Forgive them and hope they learn from their mistakes. It is not ur problem to deal with their faults, everyone has them so why not work on our own and leave others to theirs.

I'm sry if this comes off insulting but I just disagree when people make assumptions about all one religion when it was simply one's own mistakes. Have a good day and b well.


message 31: by Chris (new)

Chris Th amount of sheer stupidiy by Christ Tards in this review is staggering. Adam, thank you for a well written and insightful review, and my sincere apologies for having to deal with the religious plebes polluting your comment section.


message 32: by Linda (last edited Mar 18, 2014 11:56AM) (new)

Linda Garin wrote: "@linda wow...
First off we are not trained or anything. It's a religion not a military. If you think we judge people because they do not believe in what we believe then ur "biblical studies" need ..."


Lloyd the Bartender wrote: "Th amount of sheer stupidiy by Christ Tards in this review is staggering. Adam, thank you for a well written and insightful review, and my sincere apologies for having to deal with the religious pl..."

I couldn't bring myself to get past the 'wow'. Good day...


message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda Because a thing has been taught for thousands of years, doesn't make it true. I don't judge another man's "servant", but I shudder at the amount of people who would judge those of us who travel a path different than their own. It is incredulous because someone does not agree that they have to be wrong/troubled or otherwise lost. I, for one, am bold enough to question what is being taught to me, especially when there is no evidence. If your faith doesn't allow you to do that, then it's more questionable than you imagined. The Bible has been instrumental in promoting many of the ills of this world, including war, famine, racial and human abuse; yet, I am to believe there is some loving God that is handpicking certain ones as 'chosen'? Spare me the rhetoric.


Angela I really like the book. It is an entertaining work of fiction. I enjoyed his point of view of "unseen forces" and maybe a master plan. We can all debate religion, Jesus, right and wrong. Nobody knows what is truly "out there". I say to each their own, and stop degrading other people for their opinions and beliefs.


message 35: by Alan (new)

Alan Robinson Eloquence without wisdom. Pretty sad.


Lucas D Edwards Adam, if you don't want Christian ethics in a book you are reading, don't read Christian books.


message 37: by Arthur (new) - added it

Arthur Baltierra I'm a christian and I honestly respect this type of point of view. It's real, its your true opinion and I respect that. to all my brethren please refrain from arguing scripture and who is right and who is wrong. It just promotes greater hate, Trust i want to stand up and defend God down right to the bone but your words will fall on deaf ears to those who don't want to hear. Its like casting your pearls to swine (not calling anyone a swine, just a metaphor to throwing out your words of wisdom when you should keep them back) So just chill out, I found it a good book others will not and thats ok if they don't, we were all made with free will and have the right to make our own decisions and make up our own minds. Promote God's love above all and just chill. God's two greatest commandment to Love God first and the second is to love your neighbor.


Deborah Ryer Adam, so appropriate for ah... Did he blame, Eve ? I have found most of the demons in my life and many others were tall dark and handsome or beautiful vixons. Don't be deceived , God will not mocked. The devil comes in many forms both looking good and evil. For the at least 75% of America who are visual learners the depiction of evil portrayed in this book are very legitimate renderings of how evil, deadly evil, wraps us in a malicious web and few ever see the Angels on side line waiting patiently to called into the fight. God is a patient God. So, Adam don't knock the visuals the pits of life are dark, dangerous and deadly. I am thankful that you have not found them to be so. But for many of us it was great !
In Christ,
Deb


Deborah Ryer Adam, so appropriate for ah... Did he blame, Eve ? I have found most of the demons in my life and many others were tall dark and handsome or beautiful vixons. Don't be deceived , God will not mocked. The devil comes in many forms both looking good and evil. For the at least 75% of America who are visual learners the depiction of evil portrayed in this book are very legitimate renderings of how evil, deadly evil, wraps us in a malicious web and few ever see the Angels on side line waiting patiently to called into the fight. God is a patient God. So, Adam don't knock the visuals the pits of life are dark, dangerous and deadly. I am thankful that you have not found them to be so. But for many of us it was great !
In Christ,
Deb


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


Deborah Ryer I also have a book out. "Holy Ghost Stories" by Deborah Ryer. I would be interested to know your perspective and any others on it. Please feel free to read it. After all a Christian horror story is no more different than an atheist horror story except that Christians know the ending and where our final home is after the horrors have passed. Find it on:
deborahryer.tateauthor.com


message 46: by Werner (new)

Werner Deborah, you've accidentally posted one of your comments here twice, and the other one six times. I guessed that you'd probably want to know that, so you can delete the extras!


Kingsley Layton 1. I agree with Garin.
2. @linda "I thank God I'm not like you." Keep studying the Bible, Linda, as this precise phrase and what you will need to do personally about it will come up (though only if you are reading with eyes of faith and not as a critic.)


back to top