I love fairy stories. You, too?
My mother used to read all the well-known stories to us at bedtime: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White…
and some of the lesser known, but equally good: Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, The Snow Queen.
Each of these stories contains common themes:
- evil exists
- evil is distinct from good
- good must fight evil
- good eventually triumphs over evil
I’m not so sure that modern stories contain the same themes.
Take the movie, Maleficent. Here, the very name indicates the woman’s character. Maleficent is magnificently malevolent.
But the new movie paints her as misunderstood. Emotionally and physically wounded. No wonder she strikes out and hates. Ah, poor thing. Evil is just misunderstood. If we’d all be kinder, then evil wouldn’t be evil. Evil is just a result of unkindness and injustice!
My Bible concordance contains about 100 references to “evil.” The first mention of evil is in Genesis, where God instructs Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were to remain morally pure.
What unkindness and injustice did Adam and Eve encounter in the garden of Eden to sway them toward evil?
And after Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and to operate independently of God, “…sin entered the world through one man…” (Romans 5:12 NIV Bible)
My old-time fairy stories show the hero or heroine making conscious choices to do the right thing, and thus is evil vanquished.
But today, we see many so-called heroes, using the same methods as the bad characters. But, because we’ve invested in the main character’s vulnerabilities, we still root for him/her. In the end, the not-so-good main character wins. But I don’t usually end up walking out of the theater feeling that good has been necessarily vindicated.
It’s a dubious victory for “our” side. As in Maleficent, when the writers of the movie put us into her viewpoint, we look at the other side—the supposedly good people—as not so good. It’s all the way you look at evil. Maybe evil is simply another world-view. Not necessarily worse, just sitting on another hill across the valley from good.
This is a dangerous switch in our previous Judeo-Christian world view. It’s more like Yin and Yang. Opposite sides of a coin. As if evil balances good. As if evil is equal to good.
If we Christians cannot articulate why good is better than evil—or even if there is a difference between the two—then we’re in serious trouble.
I hope we watch these new movies, read these new books with a critical mind. Ask ourselves, “How does the theme of this book, or the main characters’ world view square with the truth of God’s word?”
We should not buy into any world view, or be influenced by it if it teaches:
- Wrong (evil) is okay as a means to an end
- Indeed, who has the right to tell me what I do is wrong (evil)?
- The God of the Bible isn’t real; God is an antiquated belief-system
- The God of the Bible is only one path; there are many ways
- Evil isn’t real; it’s just an antiquated viewpoint
- You are the ultimate master
Let’s encourage and support writers and film makers who create works that reflect truth.