Deliver Us From Evil
When I was a kid, Darth Vader scared me silly. He wore his frightening black mask and had that freaky breathing. This was the baddest dude I'd seen. After all, he killed people with his fingers! I thought Vader was the complete definition of evil. He was so bad that it was weird to see him as a cute kid in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. How does a sweet kid named Anakin Skywalker turn into such a depiction of evil? Episode III: Revenge of the Sith showed how. Truth is, he didn't simply just decide to be evil one day. In fact, he never wanted to be evil. Anakin wanted to be a good person, but he made a series of bad choices that led him down a dark path. Anakin's journey got me thinking about how evil happens in real life. It also got me thinking about how many movies I've seen hint at important biblical truths about evil. Here are three:
TRUTH NO. 1: EVIL IS REAL
College freshman Emily Rose wakes up with a weird feeling. She hears noises and voices. But she sees nothing. All of a sudden, something invisible pounces on top of her. It pins her down and wrestles her to the floor.
Based on a true story from the '70s, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is about a young woman and her priest who believe she was attacked and then later possessed by a demon. It controls her like a puppet—speaks through her, contorts her body and doesn't let her eat. (It's a lot like the scene we see inMark 9:14-29.)
In the random moments when she's herself, Emily says she wants to use her pain to show people that demons and the Devil are real. She believes what the Bible says: There is an invisible supernatural world where evil forces battle good. In Constantine, Keanu Reeves' character explains it this way: "Heaven and hell are right here, behind every wall, every window, the world behind the world. And we're smack in the middle."
Many people simply can't accept this idea of an unseen, organized evil in the universe. In Emily Rose, Father Moore is tried in court because authorities believe Emily's problem is medical, not demonic. And, really, who can blame them? It's hard to believe what we can't see. But I also think that Satan wants it to be hard to believe. One of my favorite movie quotes is this line from The Usual Suspects: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
Why would the Devil want us to believe he doesn't exist? Because this invisible spiritual battle is all about us and where our souls will end up. Evil is an organized attack from Satan, a fallen angel trying to lure us away from God. (Read 1 Peter 5:8-9.) Satan wants us to think he's not real so we don't expect the attack. But the battle is real. The Bible explains it this way: "We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world" (Ephesians 6:12, CEV).