Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Changing Face of Evil--Or Has it Really Changed at All?

The news is currently all about the mass shooting in Las Vegas--over fifty people dead, over five hundred injured. The shooter, by all accounts, has nothing in his background to indicate he would even contemplate such a thing, let alone plan it so meticulously. Will we ever know why he did it?  Even if we do ever discover his motive, it's not going to make sense.

Terrorist attacks around the world...suicide bombers...serial killers...all faces of evil. The loving mother who suddenly murdered her small children...the son who plotted the murder of his own mother...the monster who encountered two young girls hiking in what should have been a safe area killed them after doing God only knows what to them. Again, the faces of real evil. There was a story in the news a while back about a cop--in New York, I believe--who fantasized about raping women, then eating them. If that's not pure evil, I don't know what is.

 
These acts of evil are becoming more common every day. There was a time they were only seen with any regularity in movies. I'm thinking of the Omen movies as an example.The first movie started with a stillborn baby who was later found to have been murdered so a priest under Satan's control could convince the dead child's father, an ambassador, to pass a baby he was told had been orphaned off as his own. The child's nanny took her own life in a horrific act to open the door for one of Satan's apostates to step in and serve as his protector. When another priest tried to warn the ambassador of what was to come, he died in a freak accident. The ambassador's wife was killed when she became pregnant again. A photographer who stumbled onto the truth was decapitated. 

In the second movie, an executive, a scientist and an elderly woman who controlled a large portion of the family fortune all died in "accidents." A cousin who discovered the truth suddenly collapsed--an aneurysm, according to the death certificate. By the third movie, the child was an adult beginning his rise to power. The US Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain), suddenly committed suicide in front of a group of reporters--after which Damien Thorn, aka the antichrist, was appointed as his replacement. A group of monks chosen to deal with him were killed, one by one. Anyone who got in his way was eliminated. When he was certain Christ was about to return, he ordered the elimination of all children born on March 24th. Among the executioners were a priest, a neonatal nurse and a pair of boy scouts. weird, huh? Ironically, the antichrist was stopped by the ultimate skeptic--a reporter.

Yes, these were movies. I'm not trivializing what happened in Las Vegas, just making a comparison. Killing without apparent reason. It raises a question that's been asked many times before: does true evil exist?

Many neuroscientists say no. They content that evil acts are the result of a glitch in the brain. Others, like blogger Richard Koch, are more open to the idea. I believe, without as doubt, that evil does exist, and that the potential for both exists in each of us. Which way we go is a choice we have to make. The problem is that too many don't believe evil exists, which makes them more vulnerable to it. Those of us who know it's there are on guard against it. Most of us, anyway. I've seen some, quite recently, who became so sure of themselves and their ability to deal with it, their arrogance inevitably led to their downfall.

Just think about it. That's all I ask.

 

20 comments:

  1. Evil is the absence of a capacity for empathy. That's how I define it.

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    1. I think that's how most people define it. I see it as something much more malevolent.

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  2. I never watch movies like that and really do not see the reason for them but then that is just me. We get desensitized to violence and evil. I think it is out there and l think people who are sociopath or psychopaths are evil because the absence of empathy.
    What a day.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I love those movies, but they tend to make me more aware of evil (I've always been backward, I guess).

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  3. I hate movies about evil because I can't see inventing more evil plots and giving evil people more ideas. That's just me and obviously whatever I think isn't going to squelch evil or change anything. I think it's interesting that the shooting happened the night OJ was released into the Vegas evening. Very weird. Evil does exist but I hope my prayers shield those I keep in my prayers. More prayers--more shielding.

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    1. How movies affect individuals depends upon their vulnerability to it. I've seen people I would never have believed would ever fall get sucked in. They didn't recognize it when it was right in front of them.

      I do believe you're right in that prayer is a shield against evil.

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  4. I enjoy scary movies. The Omen trilogy is very scary indeed. I agree that people who deny the existence of evil are more vulnerable to it. It's not surprising that neuroscience hasn't proved evil. I'm betting they can't prove good either.

    In any case, I pray to St. Michael more than I used to...

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    1. As a matter of fact, I just bought a book written by two neuroscientists who say they've proven the difference between the brain and the soul.

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  5. Growing up, and w/o parents around, I watched the old b&w and later the Hammer films of Dracula and other "horror" works. When they began showing blood spraying in films like Halloween, and such, it became hard for me to go and watch them. A little blood, fine. I do not like gore, watching someone go after someone with a chainsaw isn't my cup of tea. I quit reading horror books a while back. When I write, I try to incorporate a bit of horror in it, but not for gore and blood sake.
    I find that real life has more horror in it, if I need a dose, I read the newspaper or watch the news.
    I'm certain evil does exist, and I like the way you put it that we have the potential for both. And other people who point out sociopaths/those w/o empathy are the ones who are behind most of the serial killings. In fact, I'm sure ISIS is basically chock filled with those types. They've got something missing in their make up so that not just terrible things don't bother them, they are the ones who torture animals and graduate to humans later on. They are the ones who are evil, and you don't know who they are because they look and can act like the rest of us. You can't know a person's mind.
    The Omen, is a very good example of a movie about evil. So would be The Shining, and a few others I can't come up with titles.
    I'm not religious. I simply feel that you can't blame one thing on "Satan" and all the good on "God". I'm just not able to swallow that.

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    1. I love those old Universal monster movies from the '30s! I don't like a lot of the gorier contemporary stuff. That's all about shock value. And it's just gross.

      I believe in God and all that goes with that belief. But I also think you're right in that you can't blame all the good and evil in the world on those two. We have free will. Which was we choose to go is up to us. However, when you open the door to evil, you open yourself to being used by those forces.

      As for ISIS and the like, I think they have something missing in their basic characters that make them susceptible to leaders who are possessed by evil. Satan's strength is in the fact that too many people don't believe he exists.

      The evening news is indeed a horror show.

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    2. Nuts! That was supposed to read "Which way we choose...."

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  6. My guy's grandmother, talking about a relative who'd done terrible things, said about the parents: "They were good people and raised all good kids but this one...he was a bad-un. And you know, some people are just born bad. Ain't nothing you can do."

    In some cases, that's true. When I see someone who's overcome all kinds of handicaps growing up with a srong sense of right and wrong, then seeing another who's had guidance and love but who's turned out bad...I think she was right.

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    1. You may be right. I've seen it, too.

      My parents raised twins, a boy and a girl. Their biological mother was one of my cousins. Mom and Dad did all they could for those kids, and they both turned out badly.

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  7. I never watch horror movies or violent movies of any kind Norma, they scare me and I start worrying about all the things that could happen to the people I love, I worry about them enough already 😶

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    1. I can understand that. I haven't been just a helicopter mom with Collin, I've practically smothered him. He's my only child, and we don't have a lot in the way of family left. I have one cousin I've been close to since childhood, but most of them re strangers to me. Now that I'm older, I worry about what will happen to Collin after I'm gone. When Dad died, I have Mom and Collin. When Mom died, I had Collin. When I'm gone, who does he have?

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    2. I know exactly what you mean Norma. My son is happily married with two children so I know that even though he'll miss me he'll be ok. Aimee hasn't found Mr Right yet and we do so much together, I think she would struggle a bit.

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  8. Real evil is out there. My kids used to ask if monsters really exist. I told them yes, and they are human.

    My youngest was just asking about "the mark of the beast" yesterday. After we read about it in the Book of Revelation, I told him about the scene from The Omen, when 666 was revealed on Damien's scalp. Creepy movie.

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    1. I absolutely agree, Maria! I used the Omen movies as an example because I see a lot of what was in those movies in today's news headlines. Remember the poem?

      From the Eternal Sea he rises,
      Creating armies on either shore,
      Turning man against his brother,
      Until man exists no more.

      Supposedly, the referenced Eternal Sea meant the world of politics. Not surprising that Satan's rise to power would come from the political arena.

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  9. I could never watch the really gory movies. I always felt like it dehumanizes people. I read the Screwtape Letters as a kid, and I've never since felt cavalier, like I'm immune to evil.

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    1. None of us is immune. I think that's the problem--some people think they are, so they're not on guard when it shows up at their door.

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