Recently, I walked into a Half-Price Books and went directly to the clearance section. Normally they have really good titles for extremely ridiculously cheap prices, so I thought I’d take a look for hidden gems. While looking, I noticed the 2000 film Bedazzled starring the then extremely popular Brendan Frasier and supermodel Elizabeth Hurley.
This threw me back to childhood for a moment. I recalled the film was about an unpopular guy selling his soul to the extremely attractive and seducing female devil in exchange for a few wishes of his deepest desires. His wishful thinking backfired because every wish ended up being totally horrible with a huge error! I remember laughing at the film when I was 10 years old. Truthfully, my mother shouldn’t have allowed me to see such a film due to its inappropriate content and suggestive language, but now that I’m wiser I looked at the film entirely different.
From a purely Christian lense, this film really touched on a larger reoccurring message that Hollywood conveys about the devil. Primarily that popular culture displays him as an extremely attractive, powerful, wealthy, or benevolent wish granter that everyone admires. To me, it seems like the entertainment industry misrepresents the nature of the devil completely and feeds the public a counter-image from Sacred Scripture that is palatable for a culture that desperately needs a direction.
Think of a popular show like Lucifer. The show depicts the handsome British accented man who is a playboy hotshot. He has women, they think he’s charming and owns flashy material possessions. The show portrays him as a normally enjoyable playboy bachelor. With a description like that, what possible harm could the devil actually pose?
I find that to be troubling. The entertainment industry is desensitizing the public about who the devil really is. If we can’t properly identify our enemy then he’s more likely to run amok. In addition, we won’t take the enemy serious if it can’t be located. With so many social issues over the last half-century becoming more prevalent such as divorce, sexual promiscuity, and the current gender-identity hype, Hollywood certainly has a way of making evil look glamorous. However, no matter how much make-up, likability, or attempts to get the public to laugh about certain types of unlawful moral activity, evil is still evil.
When we start to compromise on exactly what is actually evil, we open Pandora’s box of moral relativism. Issues like same-sex marriage aren’t a threat to natural law, because the public sees an amazingly friendly and humourous same-sex couple on t.v. that makes them laugh on Wednesday evening. Subsequently, we potentially open the mind to varying degrees of what’s right and wrong while in the process make the topic of marriage redefinition completely based on personal opinion.
This progressive attempt at lowering God’s moral law reminds me of Genesis with the deceitful serpent. In chapter three, we see the serpent as the author of confusion and a seeker of pulling those away from fellowship with God. He appeals to Adam and Eve by 1) getting them to doubt God’s truth 2) distorting God’s truth 3) appealing to their senses of being truly awakened by departing from God. This reminds me of so many Christians that provide counterclaims such as, ” God possibly couldn’t want a poor single mother to keep her child if He knows the hardships it will bring.” Instead of us upholding the 5th Commandment from God on life, we bend the morality of an act to merely situational context.
The serpent progressively demonstrated how God’s moral law can be dismissed when we chose to obey the “father of lies (John 8:44).” Instead of submitting to God, the devil preferred to reject God and his reign (CCC, 392). Why did he do so? Because of pride. A prideful heart can’t submit to the guidance of God. Pride says “My way..not God’s way” which is ultimately what’s endorsed when we follow the devil’s model rather than the author and perfector of our faith. The devil wants us to elevate the sins of the flesh as a supreme virtue. Didn’t Mary say at Fatima, “More souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” Why then would we gravitate to lifestyles portrayed by a deceitful jealous created being? This is why we must always be vigilant against spiritual attacks from all fronts, especially from the entertainment industry.
A line from the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer says, “thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.” With sweeping moral decay in various institutions, no one should underestimate the very real battle of spiritual warfare. It’s imperative as Christians that we never neglect the reality of the devil. In fact, our Savior realized this when he told Peter that Satan demanded to sift him, but thankfully Christ, just like all the great mediators prior to him, would be there to intercede for him when he fell away (Luke 22:31).
Friends, for every lie perpetrated by the entertainment industry glamorizing the lifestyle of the devil, maybe there’s one person who is deceived by it. On the contrary, for every one sinner who repents, angels rejoice. Friends, let us not engage in spiritual warfare without a named enemy but instead, let us put on the full armor to defeat the schemes of evil floating around in our world.
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Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.