Whether its prime time or not, weekday or weekend, holidays, sweeps period, or any other time of the year, it doesn’t take long to see that cop shows and court shows are very popular these days. “CSI,” “Cold Case,” “Law & Order,” “In Justice,” even “Boston Legal” are examples of shows that offer the “payoff” in which the bad guy is caught, convicted, sentenced, disgraced or killed.
Charles Colson has reflected on this fact and said yesterday on his radio show that there may be a spiritual reason for it. “I’m convinced that the popularity of cop shows reflects our God-given desire for justice and moral clarity,” Colson said. “Our love of these dramas—and before them, Westerns—reflect our acute awareness of the difference between good and evil, guilt and innocence.”
It’s an interesting perspective, because, when you get down to it, how many people really long for more stabbings, killings, rapes, blood, gore, or violence of any kind in their day? Why endure it by choice? What is it that drives us to these shows?
“Police dramas presuppose a moral universe,” Colson says. “In fact, moral absolutes are essential to police dramas. Take them away, and the story falls apart. Why? Because if there is no such thing as real evil, there’s no such thing as a guilty party.”
Whatever your favorite is, the questions of morality and the nature of right and wrong—and the issue of who decides—cannot be separated from the authentic spiritual journey, if the journey is to have any relevance outside of our own feelings and moods. The search for inner help and spiritual strength must bring a sort of spiritual “law and order” to be ultimately fulfilling.