Thursday, June 08, 2006

Satan in Hollywood

I just gotta say that I really enjoy exorcism movies; I think that they're very entertaining, and very meshuga, and usually they ilicit some sort of running commentary by me, and other viewers tell me to shut up.

I just want to say how silly the media's portrayls of Satan in these movies are; it really makes you want to laugh.

First of all, why is he always so ANGRY? I mean, you see him crawling up walls, shouting, spitting, and contorting the face of his poor victim to grotesque shapes; what's the deal with that? Is this how Satan normally behaves, or just when he's putting on a show for the family of the possessed? What ever happened to the "Al Pacino" Satan in the movie "Devil's Advocate," where he takes the form of a well-dressed and very charismatic lawyer? In the end they add in some fire and brimstone imagery, but he's all-in-all a relatively sane Satan, admittedly with a bit of a daddy complex but not at all like the "Exorcism of Emily Rose" and "Exorcist" depictions, which make me think that while Satan is possessing people, he should take a week's hiatus and see a psychologist. All those years in Hell will do that to a demon; perhaps he should get out more. Actually, wait, no, stay where you are, hot shot.

Why would Satan assume the form of a body in the first place? If we go by the Scripture (Torah), we are informed that the role of Satan in the world is to act as the evil inclination, to tempt people to do things that they shouldn't, or to not do things that they should, and he's got a whole world of human beings to incline. The intent is that he's an angel, which is a spiritual being, and his bodilessness, like all spiritual beings, allows him freedom from the physical realm (and possibly time, but I don't claim knowledge). His incorporeality makes it possible for him to act as all humanity's evil inclination at the same time. Going into a body seems scary and evil, but if we think for a second, he can't do his bidding if he pinpoints himself in one place and time; how's he gonna tempt humanity from the body of poor Emily Rose? The media, making a highly exaggerated script out of Christianity's theology, turns Satan into a Divine "bad guy," the representation of evil, and while it might be fitting for the movies, it is definitely not fitting for a real theology. Disturbingly enough, the Satan of the movies is based on the Satan of Christianity, and while he is exaggerated to the nth degree, the basic directives are theologically true to Christianity; Satan DOES rebell against G-d, and in the script he is made to possess people by doing this. G-d is the good guy and Satan is the bad guy; we also see how he recoils from the cross in the movies - it's an assumption of the truth of Catholicism. However, and perhaps this only relates to Catholicism, but the movie insists that it is based on real events, and if it based on real events, then Satan actually possessed a human being and did all these strange things. Whether or not Satan ACTUALLY did that is a question, but the more practical question is that the people whom observed it, and the person who was supposedly possessed, certainly believed it (can we be sure about that?). Therefore, there is room in Catholic thought to believe in the veracity of possessions like this.

The Torah teaches that angels don't have free will, and if we look carefully at the verses in Genesis explaining the fall, we see that Satan himself was punished, but never expelled from the Garden of Eden. The punishments are given to him, Adam, and Eve, and then Adam and Eve are kicked out of the Garden and the Satan is no longer mentioned. We also see that Adam's and Eve expulsion was not a punishment, for their punishments were already specifically stated and given. Rather, G-d says that He is kicking them out so that they do not, now that they have free will, eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. In other words, it's a precaution. Satan is never mentioned in the expulsion, yet his expulsion from Heaven is the cornerstone of Christianity.

Satan, on the other hand, as an angel, already lives forever, he is already immortal and would not eat from the Tree of Life. Since G-d is not worried about his eating of that Tree, He leaves him in Heaven, the Garden. Also, he has no free will, which is how G-d made him, so He is not worried that he would eat of it. Furthermore, Satan is the tempting angel, he would tempt Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree if they had remained, but who would tempt Satan to eat of it? Is there another Satan that tempts Satan?

These movies are very interesting and entertaining to watch, but they are comical and unrealistic. That's all and well, they are just movies. What disturbs me though is that they are relatively accurate portrayals of true Christian belief. Satanic imagery is not very apparent in the Tanakh, which is the Jewish Scriptures, and only later is he portrayed as animalistic and what not. The Torah simply speaks of him as a "snake," or a "serpent." The Christian insistence that spiritual and divine beings have corporeality (bodily form) is also disturbing as it suggests a clinging to pagan and polytheistic ideals. We see that Jesus too has a body, the son of G-d, Whom is incorporeal to the nth degree, has a physical bodied son. This allows him to entreat and interact with humans and perhaps to get some "street cred" and to hug people, but it's a pagan idea. Further more, the split between G-d and Jesus suggests strongly, on the subconcsious level, that Jesus is a separate being, which if we put on our blasphemy lens for a moment, he is another god. The pagans also believed in dual gods that were somehow one; they were believed to have no fixed nature, unlike "the G-d of the Hebrews." They also believed in evil gods that fought against good gods, and Satan fits well into the mold of an evil god-type. Like in most polytheistic traditions, the good god (or goddess) gives birth to a son or daughter whom fights against the evil god, in the end winning, but sometimes dying (for the sake of humanity). Sometimes the offspring deity tries to kill the parent deity in a struggle for control.

A few months ago I had the impleasure of watching a play for a class. It was called "Coyolxhauqi Remembers," "Coyolxhauqi" being an Aztec goddess. The scene I just described is a scene from that play and from the Aztec religion's story of Creation. The mother goddess gives birth to a daughter and a son. The son is an evil god and the daughter is a good goddess, but goes a bit crazy and kills the mother. The mother, however, being eternal, only pretends to die, comes back, and has the evil god kill her daughter, and this explains the situation we live in today; the evil god is running amok in the world. I never understood why the mother goddess couldn't just kill him? I also don't understand why Jesus never steps in during these possessions and kicks the living crap out of Satan, but that would make too much sense - for the pagan mind.
Al-Zarqawi Dead --------------

Al-Zarqawi was an Al-Qaeda terrorism operator in Iraq, and he's just been killed.;_ylt=At35ofmxuOjf.bA59tQX3fVX6GMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
These pictures are worth at least fifty words. I made the first two and compiled the last one. Consider it my commentary on the movie, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." By the way, I like exorcism movies, I just don't understand why, considering that Satan filled his free time by possessing human bodies, why he must act in such a bizarre manner. "Devil's Advocate" also suffers from theological damage, but that sleek Satan is a bit less, um, grotesque and disturbed, but just enough to make a movie. Peace...