I have become a huge fan of Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN. Huge. Read his blog, listen to his sermons, this guy is real. Yesterday he wrote about watching Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.
It’s a raw look into the demonic barbarism of one particular culture at one particular place and time. As such, the movie is a reminder that the barbarism we see in our world today is hardly anything new.
The day before we watched this movie, more than 500 people were slaughtered in four explosions in Iraq. One of these explosions involved a water truck. The driver drove into a town and waited till all the thirsty villagers had gathered around to get their ration of water. (It was 110 degrees. The driver was assured a good turnout). When all the thirsty folks had gathered around – women and children included – the driver blew himself and the truck up, taking hundreds of innocent lives with him.
Of course, some of the surviving relatives of those destroyed in this explosion have pledged to avenge their loved one’s death by returning the favor on the wives and children of the group that carried out this explosion, ensuring that this tit-for-tat game will go on for ages to come.
I think the greatest proof that this world is held hostage to Satan and other fallen powers is not that humans are capable of this level of hatred and violence; it’s that, despite our intelligence in most other areas, we seem to never be able to see how completely futile this retaliatory way of thinking is. The sheer level of hatred and violence is perhaps hard to explain without appealing to Satan, but the complete blindness to the obvious insanity of this bloody merry-go-round is utterly impossible to explain without appealing to Satan.
I share Greg’s take. We ignore the reality of Satan at our own spiritual peril.
It isn’t cool to believe in Satan. Talking about him in real terms tends to cause eye rolls and sighs. But he is real and we don’t have to look very far for proof of that reality.
Whatever evil an enemy may inflict on us and our loved ones, the greater evil is allowing oneself to sink to this demonic level by wanting to return the favor.