Practical Evil: Part Two – The Hollywood devil.

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The most amazing thing that evil does is convince us that there really is no such thing as evil in the first place. We certainly don’t need to be on guard for something that isn’t even real. And there are a few ways that evil accomplishes this. One is to portray evil as doing things that simply don’t happen in everyday life. Dramatic things. Terrifying things. But in the end, things that we mostly don’t experience so it’s easy to pass it all off as Hollywood storytelling. And for the most part, it is.

Yes, exorcisms happen. But not in my daily life. So I discard it, to a certain extent. It’s real enough to cause me to sleep with the light on for a night, but eventually it fades out of my memory because I don’t see this drama every day. But that’s not where the genius us. The genius is that we don’t just discard the Hollywood portrayal of evil. We tend to toss out the whole concept of evil along with it.

Perhaps one of the all time most intense movies about evil is The Exorcist. Heads spinning. Words carved into stomach. Levitating. Evil voices. This is a scary movie. But unless you’ve actually seen anything like this happen in your life, all it really registers as in your brain is that it’s a movie without any sort of daily context to back it up with. By showing you a massive example of evil, knowing that it has no place in your day to day life, the entire concept of evil gets misfiled into the folder in your head labeled “fantasy” or “entertainment” as opposed to “exaggerated version of something that really does exist.”

Again… genius. Don’t hide the concept of evil at all. Instead, exaggerate it. Make movies out of it. And make them so extreme that true evil, which works in far more subtle and boring ways, is pushed aside.

There is another genius effect here. If you talk about evil, and tell people that you think it is real, it is easy to discredit you. People, having see “The Devil’s Advocate” and “End of Days” and “Poltergeist” and “The Exorcist” will assume that this dramatized version of evil is what you believe in. And it’s no wonder they write you off as a nut. All the while not realizing that we’re talking about a much quieter, much smarter, much more clever, much more boring, but much more powerful version of evil.

Hiding right there in plain sight, and using an exaggerated version of itself as camouflage. It really is quite genius.

Do you agree with what I’ve written here, or am I off a little? I’m looking forward to your comments!

We were built to be heroes. It’s about time we started acting like heroes.

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14 thoughts on “Practical Evil: Part Two – The Hollywood devil.

  1. Agree 100%! You are so right. It’s almost embarrassing today to admit one believes that Satan is real. There’s a cool scripture in the Book of Mormon that says,
    ” 22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.”
    (2 Nephi 28:22)
    I appreciate you telling it like it is. Gail

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  2. You are so right. The thing is that the “boring” more invisible aspect of evil is just as destructive as the Hollywood version. Gossip and lies have undone more families than demonic possession for sure and yet by and large society doesn’t give them more than a sideways glance.

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    • I heard a sermon, and I’ll have to find a link to it, but the pastor asks the question, “Do you think the enemy is going to charge the main gate? No! He will find that tiny breach in the wall and quietly sneak in there.” If we were to see some sort of demonic possession before our eyes we would drop to our knees and pray to God. But if evil were to just sneak in so that don’t even notice… That’s the key.

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  3. Jim – this is another topic I have come regard as an Elephant In The Room. We all pay lip service to it – then ignore it so “respectfully”.

    And why? My own thought is always that we have “bought” into God, so we must buy into these “difficult subjects” such as this one. Except we prefer to keep it conceptual; rather than real.

    Because it is easier to cosy up with a bit of love and forgiveness – to wax lyrical about God … and sort of sweep Evil under the carpet with a discrete brush. That silent knowingly nod – and talk about something else – quickly please!!.

    It has taken me years and years to get a grip and sense of God. So whether or not there is a definitive answer we should all agree here on Evil – to me (as with God) is not the value of this conversation. The real value is in a discussion of what is the by-product (Evil and The Devil) of this “package” we call God and faith?

    There has been the occasional post I have written as a result of (what I am coming to accept and embrace is) a “God Bump” inside me – when I am simply the typist and he dictates the content – all of it – every word. That gives my words no more legitimacy than anyone else’s. Other than to me. Because I know I would not have ever written those posts without His hefty God Bump.

    And – some posts “bomb” (as you have mentioned about this topic). And some don’t. Which is why the numbers are not a big deal to me (on all the stuff I write) – because he has the copyright not me.

    So please – thank you for these posts – let’s keep this elephant in the room for a while yet. Just so that we can all have a real good look at it!

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    • Thanks as always my friend. It’s odd. I’ve had some huge days on this blog, and I really thought this would “bring them in” and it simply isn’t. But I do feel compelled to keep the series going regardless. So here I am, 5AM on a Monday, with so many thoughts in my head I can barely scratch them down fast enough to have something to go back to later to write the posts. Someone asked me once how I come up with so much stuff that I can post just about every day. And I reminded them of the name of the blog. This is the stuff that I cannot contain. Coming up with material has never been the problem. Keeping up with what’s in my head is the problem. And I really appreciate your encouragement sir!

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