I wanted to take a minute to talk about the trend in fiction, and the seeming movement towards glorifying death and darkness as forces of good. Oddly enough, while what I’m about to talk about factored in heavily with why I began writing the “Stories of the Seven” series in the first place; this post is a result of a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Recently I went with my wife and my cousins because we happened to be in town and were looking for things to do. We had a great time but as we crossed from one section into another, something struck me.
We walked into the Harry Potter village in the Islands of Adventure park. In the span of about 30 feet everything was transformed into the scenes from the movie. There appeared to be snow on all of the rooftops (even though it felt like it was about 414 degrees outside) and there were street vendors selling everything from butter beer to magic wands.
But the magic shops were what really stuck out to me.
Now, before I go any further, I want to be very clear. I’m not a pretender, I grew up watching horror movies and being a big fan of all types of fiction. I’ve seen Bram Stokers “Dracula”, read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, I’ve seen each of the “Underworld” movies (a few times); and yes, I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies and the first two in the Twilight series. Besides that, there’s been many, Many other movies that I don’t even care to list here, but the ones listed pertain more to this blog than others. I don’t give that list to earn any type of credibility, but only so that everyone knows that I actually enjoy fantasy fiction…I mean, c’mon, I’m writing a series with more fantastic and supernatural creatures than most anything else I’ve seen. But, being in the theme park and seeing the children’s obsession for buying books with spells, magic wands that were “fit only for them”, and the Harry Potter mantra that the non-wizard humans or “Muggles” were the sort of lower class is what began to bother me.
When I was a kid, the only wizard I can even remember was Merlin…and even then, it wasn’t ever about him, it was always about King Arthur. I don’t remember ever wanting to learn spells or strive to be in a certain wizards group. The more I thought about it, the more it really stood out, especially standing in the middle of this make-believe village.
Magic and sorcery was always something bad. And no, I’m not talking about the good witch from the Wizard of Oz or the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella, this is a much darker representation of magic than we had growing up. This magic has seemed to sort of “sneak up” on the culture. And while I don’t want to get away from the subject at hand, it’s not just this darker, more attractive, magic that has infiltrated our kids; it’s the obsession with all types of characters that represent darkness or death in itself…more specifically, characters like the Vampires and Werewolves from “Twilight”.
Now, succumbing to my ADD and jumping to the twilight series, my first question about Vampires and Werewolves is: Since when were vampires and werewolves turned into teen sex symbols? Yeah, I know, most vampire movies or stories usually included a vampire seducing someone with that long, googly eye stare…but it was usually to kill them. Suddenly, we see two symbols that were written to be, and always have been about, death suddenly be switched into a heroes role. Now, don’t forget, I said I’ve seen the “Underworld” movies…and I liked them; but those icon’s were still about death, not something to aspire to become or fall in love with (Even though Kate Beckinsale makes it easy for anyone to fall in love with a Vampire…I’m just saying)
So why have some of the biggest heroes of today’s youth been shifted to glorify the very characters who have always represented darkness?
Truthfully, I don’t know.
What I do know is that we weren’t created to seek out darkness. We were meant to live in the light. And yet, so many parents and young people look at the attraction to death and darkness as harmless or something fun.
You know, there’s a verse in the Bible (thats actually a prophetic verse) that I think applies. While I believe the passage is literally talking about the return of Jesus, I also believe it goes so much further than future expectations. 1 Thessalonians says:
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. – 1 Thes. 5:2 (KJV)
While the context of this verse is definitely talking about prophetic events, it’s the following verses that often get’s overlooked for a myriad of reasons. Verse four starts by saying:
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. – 1 Thes. 5:4,5 (KJV)
So what does being a child of the light even look like? Truth be told, this whole blog is speaking more to me than anyone…and why I wanted to create a different example for my nephews. Like I said earlier, I grew up on all those movies too…but it wasn’t until much later that these “darker” trends started to catch on with the youth of today.
Unfortunately for the context of this blog, the Bible doesn’t say much about Vampires and Werewolves…I’m guessing that’s because neither actually exist, but that’s just a hunch. What the Bible does speak a lot about, and what I think a lot of people would be shocked to realize, is magic and sorcery. And while most stories that have some sort of evil witch/wizard in opposition to good or “White” magic, that theme doesn’t resonate in scripture. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Leviticus 20:6 says:
And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. – Lev 20:6 (KJV)
Now, not to dwell too much on the whole “whoring after them” part (*Cough* *Cough* *Twilight* *Cough* *Cough*) there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of wiggle-room when it comes to wizards. Even more so, verse 27 of the same chapter continues on and is even harsher.
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. – Lev 20:27 (KJV)
Once again, that doesn’t seem to support the Harry Potter cause, or the lines and lines of kids who want to become wizards or buy magic wands and books of these oddly written phrases that are supposedly spells and incantations in other languages. According to scripture, Magic is a serious, SERIOUS thing. More-so, it definitely isn’t something that comes from God.
But these verses don’t just talk about wizardry or sorcery (as so many other examples can be given), these verses have a weird phrase that I think should also be addressed. The phrase “Familiar Spirit” is one that is a little bit odd, but one that we see represented in so many different applications. For instance, in the Harry Potter movies they talk about their “Patronus”, which is sort of a modern day animal spirit guide, but is, according to the Harry Potter books, a reflection of your character. While we see that idea in all sorts of new age and modern religions, there’s also some SERIOUS warnings against that in scripture as well.
In the book of Samuel, King Saul was frustrated because he felt God wasn’t answering him. So, even though it was against the law, he sought out a witch to try and conjure the spirit of Samuel the prophet. But when Saul sent his servant to find the woman, he uses an interesting phrase, “…Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit…” (1 Sam 28:7 KJV). What is more, when he went to the woman, “…he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.” (1 Sam, 28:8) What Saul didn’t realize, nor did the woman, is that God wasn’t playing around when he gave that order. As the account goes, Saul asked the woman to bring forth the spirit if Samuel. The only problem was that the spirit of Samuel actually appeared…much to the woman’s surprise. In fact, the woman was terrified and became really upset with Saul.
Why, you ask?
Because she knew the difference. She was one who dealt with darkness and spoke with her “Familiar Spirit”. She was used to conjuring images and dark things, but she was not used to God intervening and sending the actual spirit of the prophet Samuel. But that’s also not the end of the story. The message that Samuel gives is what’s truly terrifying. Because Saul has disobeyed the commands of the Lord and went to see this woman with the “Familiar Spirit”, he was to be stripped of everything, including his life (see 1 Chron. 10:13).
So, what does all this have to do with the book series. Well, it’s simple. As I stated in just a few of MANY examples, the Bible speaks very clearly about magic and sorcery. But it also ties them to this idea of a familiar spirit, which is something that should be taken note of. Saul is the perfect case study on dealing with this idea of spirits. Not only did he go to this woman who supposedly had a relationship with one, he was also tormented by an evil spirit. We see the same type of thing in the New Testament when
…he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
- Mark 5:2-9 (KJV)
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to link these evil spirits, (Or “Familiar” spirits) with darkness, magic, and sorcery. But what are these spirits? Where do they even come from?
The truth of the matter is that, while we technically can’t prove in scripture that a demon is a fallen angel, most theologians would agree that’s exactly what they are. So, when the Bible talks about Lucifer (Satan) rebelling and taking 1/3 of the angels with him, most scholars would look at those fallen angels as demons. And these beings, whatever they are, are apparently able to possess all sorts of power and supernatural ability. They also seem to share the same traits that their leader, Satan, does. They not only hate God, and everything the He stands for, but they seek to be worshiped as gods. They seek to influence
Angels, on the other hand, have quite a different character. They do not seek glory for themselves, or the destruction of what God has created. In fact, they don’t allow worship of any type, and instead turn the focus of worship to God and not them (See Rev. 22:8-9). Angels (and by angels I mean only those who did not rebel against God) are powerful beings of light, but they aim only to remain faithful to the will of God. Sometimes they act as messengers, and most of the time they act as warriors in defense of God’s will.
Angels are no push overs. They fight. They fly. They have weapons and even bizarre vehicles. They appear in the strangest ways and at the strangest times. They can be captured/detained by opposing evil forces (Daniel 10:13), and they themselves can detain evil (Rev 20:2,3). Angels are the instruments of war against the battle with evil, a battle that focuses on the fate of Human-kind.
Angels are very real and they are all around us. Scripture says that we even may even meet or interact with angels without even knowing it (Hebrews 13:2). But if the thought of these incredibly powerful beings protecting us is something that comforts us…and it should; then we should be just as weary as the accessibility to the darkness that their fallen counterparts. We should do all we can to avoid the power that these beings offer, be it subtly or openly with in magic and other types of sorcery.
As adults, we tend to think we can handle just about anything we see…at least I do. But what we don’t usually stop to realize is the shift in culture and what is being shown to the generations that are coming up after us. Although we can read the warnings in scripture, we can not even imagine the depths of darkness that are against us.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Eph 6:12 (KJV)
If we are serious about what we believe, we have to set ourselves and our love for entertainment aside and focus on the messages that are being fed to our youth. Messages that encourage this longing to learn witchcraft or wizardry. Messages that glorify and sexualize beings that represent death and darkness. There are things in this world that we do not understand, and that we should not strive to understand. And we have an enemy that is, literally, hell bent on trying in whatever way he can to capture as much of humanity as he can. Fortunately for us, those who are standing in opposition are not only greater in numbers, but also in strength. The best part is that they’ve already been dispatched. They prepare themselves constantly to protect the will of the Lord. And there is no greater love or comfort in knowing that…
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Tim 2:3,4 (NKJV)