Archives for category: Evil

bonhoeffer

I have written before about the Anarchy of The Walking Dead– how appealing it is to the viewing audience in a world of encroaching government power and limiting personal freedom.

I wrote about how time and time again it is the organization of the surviving humans into any form of hierarchy that leads to more problems than the Walkers that roam the land. We, as an audience have endured the evil leadership of the Governor in the prison, Gareth in Terminus, and Owen of the Wolves.  Their lust for power perpetrated acts of murder on the surviving humans. Perhaps CS Lewis is describing the kind of evil that lead to so much death in Alexandria.  It was Deanna’s kind tyranny that left its inhabitants vulnerable and unprotected in a dangerous world:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

 

In each instance the corruption of power leads to death and suffering.

I wrote about this in my book Blessed Are They That Hunger in my chapter “We Hunger For Leadership”.  Man’s inherent evil nature is compounded by the power of setting some in position to lead others.

This pattern began centuries ago and continues to this day as kings, and dictators and presidents throughout human history have led to the suffering, loss of freedom and death of those they lead.

As Season 6 of The Walking Dead comes to its finale, we meet a new, evil leader-Negan.  His evil tyranny is the most barbaric and primitive of all.  Even the murderous cannibals at Terminus tried to be humane in their slaughter, but Negan and his followers are prone to torture and murder their victims mercilessly.

We are subject to the brutal death of one of Rick’s team members in the final scene at the hand of Negan’s barbed-wire wrapped bat named “Lucille”. We hear the thud of broken bones and the splatter of blood but no clue of who is the victim.

Negan has a huge following and would be no match for them if they chose to rebel against his leadership. As I watched this horrific scene, my thought was to those who silently allowed it and watched.  The blood was on their hands as much as Negan’s.

It made me reflect on so many evil leaders throughout history who were allowed by the silent acquiescence of their followers to propagate their evil. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, were enabled by the masses they ruled to cause the slaughter and suffering of millions.

And now, we as Americans, are facing the prospect of  candidates for president  that want more power. They want power to discriminate against cultural groups, enforce social equality by suppressing economic freedom, power to invade our privacy, and power to enforce morality.

May we never be silent to Evil. May we always fight for justice for the victims of brutal oppression in the World.  May we always be our brother’s keeper.

Alexandria

Season 5 has been an interesting journey into the world of The Walking Dead on TV.  For the first time our rag-tag group of survivors have found a bit of utopia in the dystopic world they live in.  They have found Alexandria- a beautiful community of elegant homes in manicured landscaping with electricity and hot water and food, safely tucked behind an ominous wall.

But as the strange “man of God” Gabriel says in last week’s episode “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”.  There is an evil lurking in this shiny world.  The most dangerous form of evil is to deny its existence.   The people of Alexandria are under the mistaken impression that the only evil is the walkers outside the protective walls of their community.

They don’t believe that there could be any evil among the survivors so they do not allow anyone to be armed within the walls of the community.  They have rules and those that will not abide by the rules are exiled into the world of walkers outside the walls.

“The rules” do not allow for self-sacrifice or heroics to save and protect one another but there is a survival of the fittest creed that they appear to hold to.  Relationships among the Alexandrites seem to be shallow and forced and for the most part they isolate into their shiny granite-countered, stainless steel homes.

But they forget “the evil that men do.” I wrote in a previous blog how the anarchic world of The Walking Dead appeals to the mostly millennial and Gen-X audience who want a world without a controlling government.

As the series shows over and over the real evil is the evil perpetrated by the human beings not the living dead.  Anarchy cannot protect mankind from itself.  The selfish nature of the people of Alexandria is shown in the refusal to protect Francine from the Walkers on the constructions site and Nicholas’ every man for himself attitude on supply runs.  We are also privy to some physical abuse that is going on in Jessy and Dr. Pete’s home.  The greatest evil is, that Deanna the leader of Alexandria refuses to take action against Dr. Pete because his surgical skills are needed by the community.

Could it be that another more horrible evil is being perpetrated outside the walls by humans as well?  The naked woman tied to a tree to be fed on by walkers had to be the doings of the living not the walking dead.

It must be remembered that the Good Book says “No one is righteous—     not even one. 11 No one is truly wise;     no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away;     all have become useless. No one does good,     not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.     Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “They rush to commit murder. 16     Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18     “They have no fear of God at all.” Romans 3:10-18

This is true of mankind in the real world as much as the fictional world of “The Dead” even if Gabriel tears the pages out of the Bible.

                                          westboro Baptist church

The Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again.  This time their hate mongering is actually being used for good.  In their threat to picket the funeral of Robin Williams, they made another comedian really mad. The comedian parlayed his anger into a fundraising effort for St. Judes’s hospital and raised nearly $100,000 for the charity. Initially, he had offered to send the WBC to protest a real threat to Christianity-the group  ISIS .  When the State department discouraged this effort, he decided to host a crowd funding instead for the hospital.

I am amazed that the Westboro Baptist Church gets the funding it does to travel around the U. S. with their message of hate and repentance.  As a Christian, they have always been a source of embarrassment to me.  Embarrassment is too mild a term. They are revolting to me.  I am reluctant to even call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yesterday I read one of the verses that WBC and other churches who preach the gospel of hate use as fuel for their fire.  As I read it, it made me question the salvation of these groups.

Galatians 5:19-21New Living Translation (NLT)

 

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that about half of the sins listed apply to WBC.

Maybe they don’t know Jesus the way that they say that they do.

Maybe they are some of the false prophets that Jesus warned about.

Matthew 7:15-23New International Version (NIV)

 

True and False Prophets

 

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The Apostle Paul goes on to describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit of a true follower of Jesus Christ after delineating the fruits of sin.

Galatians 5:22-26New International Version (NIV)

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The result of living a life void of the fruits of the Spirit is an eternity separated from God.

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Maybe WBC will take their own advice and repent and become true followers of the one true God and live a life full of the fruits of the Spirit.  Then, maybe, they will truly be able to lead others to know Him as well.

two-new-maleficent-posters-released

 

 

One of my favorite fairy tales just had a liberal Hollywood redo.  I suspected as much as I saw the previews for the film.

I have always loved Disney because its stories were great analogies of true good and evil that exist in our world.  As the lines get blurred (yes, I’m talking to you Robin Thicke) in our society, so are the new remakes of these stories.

Morality is no longer black and white but “50 Shades of Grey” and with it good and evil.

There is confusion over who really is to blame for the murderous group Isis , or the immigration crisis  , and good Christians are maligned over standing up for Christian Values  in our “One Nation Under God”.

And so in the remake of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent, we find out that the wicked fairy Maleficent is not really so evil and her evil was justified by a traumatic assault that she received at the hand of the man she loved.  She is not only less evil than her depiction in the original story, she actually has become the heroine in the retelling. (Spoiler alert) It is her love that brings Princess Aurora back to life.

Why does this make me sick?  It makes me sick because true evil makes me sick. Sin makes me sick.  The Bible says –

James 1:15New Living Translation (NLT)

15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Sin and evil destroy.

You don’t have to look very far to see the results of declining morals in America today. One in ten  Americans are taking anti-depressants, and the suicide rate has increased 30% from 1999 to 2010 with more Americans now dying from suicide than auto accidents.

If we gloss over sin and evil in this world and white-wash it away we will be destroyed by it.

The Bible warns us that-  I Cor. 11:14 Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Don’t be fooled by the false light of evil.

John 1:8-10New Living Translation (NLT)

8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Let us seek the true Light-and find peace in a world of chaos.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

fargo

I watched the season finale of Fargo last night.  I saw nearly all of the episodes.  Once again I find myself compelled to analyze a piece of popular culture.  I realize that “Game of Thrones” is the TV show that dominated television with its season finale on Sunday.  The themes in Game of Thrones, however, are more than I can stomach. When it comes to popular culture, I do draw the line at a certain point.

Fargo the TV show, like Fargo the 1996 Coen Brother’s movie, juxtaposes the innocent, nearly simpleminded residents of North Dakota with the bumbling criminals and their associations with true evildoers.

The mood and cinematography of the show is similar to that of the movie. It is dark and brooding, set against the pure winter white of the Dakotan landscape. The violence is unforgiving, and another strange dichotomy, set against the simple bucolic life of the North Dakotan town folk.  The graphic nature of the show’s violence further confirms my premise in my blog (Is Violence The New Porn?).  In the finale we got the privilege of watching Billy Bob Thornton’s character Lorne Malvo set his own broken leg with a large enough wound that we see the bone.

Lorne Malvo comes to his demise at the hand of Gus one of the innocent, good characters in the story. Lorne Malvo is bad- “muey mal” as they say in Spanish.  He embodies the guiltless, sociopath.

What struck me was that the truly good characters were untouched by their exposure to the evil in the story.

Writer Noah Hawley tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “And I think what people like is this romantic idea that you go off and you face evil and you come back and your reward is to lead a simple life. And you don’t have to go on this dark journey where you’re some demon-hunter who is haunted.”

It reminded me of many admonitions to Christians in the Bible about being “in the world and not of it” and being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. These describe how evil can be all around you, and yet, leave your soul, your character, and your essence untouched.

This wasn’t true of all of the characters.  Lester, the bumbling criminal turns from causing a second degree homicide to a first degree murderer from his first wife’s death to that of his second wife’s.

What is the difference between these characters that some would be unscathed, while others would be enticed and destroyed by evil?  In Fargo, and I think in reality, it is your support system-your friends, family and those who spend the most time with you.  Gus and Molly have each other and the wise, goodness of their mentor-Molly’s father Lou.

Lou describes evil to Malvo- somehow sensing it.

I saw something that year I ain’t ever seen, before or since.

I’d call it animal. Except animals only kill for food.

This was… Sioux Falls. Ever been?

The Bible concurs with this:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Eccl.4:9-10

Lester on the other hand, a loner, is drawn like a magnet to Malvo.  He is the only person in the story that has a true relationship with him.  The Bible has something to say regarding this as well.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

And so, Lester’s corruption leads ultimately to his death.

In the end, we see Molly and Gus watching ” Deal or No Deal” on TV with Gus’s daughter Greta, as they await the birth of their new child.  Although Gus has murdered Malvo, he is untouched by the act, and redeemed by the fact that it was done to protect his family.

It was an interesting journey into the darkness of evil.  I- for one- will be haunted by it and remember its lessons.

Wonder what season 2’s journey will be?