Wednesday, October 1, 2014

REVISED: People Are Hungry for Truth

Over the past two decades (though mostly in the last half decade), I have watched a lot of television, movies, and have listened to a ton of music. I haven't been on this Earth terribly long, but I do want to say that the more I watch and the more I listen to, I see two things. 

First of all, I see just how much the Enemy likes to warp, twist, and destroy the things that God created and on top of that how much Satan enjoys leading us astray. The funny, and not "ha ha" funny but ironic funny, thing about this is, is that Satan already knows that he has lost the war. Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient for everyone, but (and Satan knows this all too well) it's only efficient for those who choose to follow Him, thus the reason why Satan is doing his best to drag down everyone he can to Hell with him before his time is up.

The second thing I see due to watching and listening to the things our world puts out there is that people are hungry for Truth. People are SO hungry for Truth that they can almost taste it, and our media lets them! This is going to be the topic that I really dive into today, so don't worry I'm going to expand on that thought, but just think about everything you've watched, think about everything you've listened to, think about everything your eyes, ears, and mind have been exposed to (some of you may rather not want to think of all of that, and I totally understand). Ultimately, what kind of questions do you ask due to it? What does it inspire or motivate or drive you to seek out? Who does it make you want to seek out? Does it make you want to learn more, read more, worship more about/towards the Lord? Or does it push you further away?

People say that music doesn't effect your mood or attitude during the day, believe it or not I've heard that countless times, but it certainly does! And even if it doesn't effect your mood or attitude, it certainly effects your heart, your soul, your spirit. I find that whenever I listen to "Amazing Grace", just about any version but the "My Chains Are Gone" version (not a fan), I find myself at peace. Peace within myself, with other believers, with other non-believers, with my friends, my family, and ultimately with God through trusting Him to make all things work for good (Romans 8:28). On the contrary, when I listen to something like "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, I find myself not just feeling guilty by listening to it, but tainted, in a state of uneasiness, and even possibly confusion. I think this is very different for different people, there are some believers who aren't bothered by that song and there are others who don't feel anything during "Amazing Grace" (they're probably listening to the "My Chains Are Gone" version...), so I think this isn't just something that automatically happens (you feeling a certain way about music on that level I mean), it's something that when you're in the Word, and in prayer, and in communion with Him that you begin to see much more clearly. I think of the Katy Perry song "E.T" when I think of "Highway to Hell" as well...

However, I don't want to talk as much about how the Enemy penetrates our hearts and souls through the media, I think we're warned enough about that (whether people choose to listen or not) as it is. Every week on iTunes, there is a new free single that they put up to get that song, band, or genre out there. Usually it works, "Pompeii" by Bastille was on there months before it became popular and I loved it back then. A few years ago, a song by Ashes Remain called "On My Own" was the single of the week, and I LOVED it. The lyrics felt so much like they were about me talking to the Lord that I just fell in love with the song, not thinking if it was a Christian song or not. As it turns out, Ashes Remain is a Christian rock band and many other people besides myself got and loved the song not knowing that. The song "Everything" by Lifehouse is this way for me as well, although I know Lifehouse is not a Christian band the lyrics of the song sing towards the Lord. "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence is another good example of this, though they are certainly not a Christian band by any means, though many people initially believed they were due to their spiritual themes.

Then there are many Christian artists that have broken through the "stereotypical Christian band/artist" into their own right, proclaiming Jesus' name to a larger audience, like Daughtry (their newest album is actually titled "Baptized"), Johnny Cash, Skillet, Stryper, and Switchfoot. Even think of Elvis' references to Scripture in some of his music, or The Rolling Stone's very own "Sympathy for the Devil". I think their popularity and the fact that many non-believers also love these bands and their music shows that people are hungry for a deeper spiritual connection, whether they know it's truly Jesus Christ they're searching for or not. People want to listen to things that point them to a Higher Power, even if it is just Boston's song entitled (you guessed it) "Higher Power".

Music is not the only thing I have seen this in though... I cannot tell you how prevalent the Bible is in film and television today, even if people don't recognize it. My two biggest examples of people yearning for a deeper connection with Christ without even proclaiming his name are through the television shows (both of which are still on) Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow...

Supernatural was created in 2005 by Eric Kripke which originally aired on the WB until it merged with the UPN to become the CW. The show is about two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) who have grown up hunting monsters and demons due to their mother being killed by a Yellow-Eyed Demon. The first 5 seasons of the show follow a specific mythology created by Kripke which was heavily influenced by biblical (and extra-biblical) texts, mostly the Book of Revelation. Throughout the series, they've met Michael the Archangel, the Anti-Christ, Azazel, Lilith, two demons named Alistair and Crowley, prophets of the Lord, an evil version of Eve, Cain, Abaddon, and ultimately Lucifer aka the Devil himself. The show is certainly not afraid to show you pure evil in it's truest form and shows Satan for who he really is, a snake who constantly lies and makes it so that you never know if he's telling the truth or if he even can. Supernatural has a HUGE fanbase and ginormous fan-following that spreads across continents and nations. In fact, the series is actually about to start it's 10th season (hopefully it's final season...) next week.

There are a few things that truly bother me about Supernatural, and maybe I'll write a blog post on that some day seeing as how much the series ties into biblical prophecy and text, that I just can't get past. For one, I think there are only about three times on the whole show where they mention our Lord Jesus Christ by name, though they read His Word multiple times and recognize biblical events as fact. Not to mention they meet the Anti-Christ himself in Season 5, so it's not like they couldn't easily talk about Jesus, they just choose not to... It's odd, because although Sam and Dean throughout the show have seen and witnessed and been apart of so many supernatural events, including the Apocalypse itself, they still refuse to put their faith and trust in God, in Christ, because they want to do what they want to do. It saddens me a ton, and what saddens me more is that in the context of the show, they make that seem like it's the right thing to do.

Here's the thing about the show though, is it does get people to be more interested in biblical text and prophecy to the point where I know I, as well as many friends of mine who have watched the show, have searched the Scriptures to learn more about these prophecies talked about in the show. I'm not saying the show is amazing or "all-that" or is even 100% biblically accurate (I'd say it's more like 50 or 75%), but it's certainly getting people to think.

Then there's Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow started on FOX last fall and just recently returned with it's second season. This show re-invents "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (including characters like Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and others) into a modern day context that is both entertaining and exciting while adding a twist... Once again, like Supernatural's original five seasons, Sleepy Hollow is about the Two Witnesses (Crane and Lt. Abbie Mills of Sleepy Hollow, NY on the show, though most believe it's either Enoch and Elijah or Moses and Elijah) who fight the forces of evil for a 7 year Tribulation period to stop the Apocalypse as foretold in the, you guessed it, Book of Revelation. Their enemies include the demon god Moloch (mentioned in Old Testament Scripture by the way, he's a false-god), the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, War, Conquest, and Famine), and other supernatural creatures like the Sandman, witches, the Gollem, and other demons, with Moloch's base in Purgatory. Crane is married to a "good" witch named Katrina and the Headless Horseman is actually the Horseman of Death of the Four Horsemen. I will admit, like Supernatural, I commend them for reciting Scripture and getting it out there (I believe they have even said Jesus' name a few times of this show), but they continue to focus on evil being the main focus of the supernatural, even making some evil in "good" (like witches and the Free Masons, of which both Crane and George Washington himself are a part of).

I have to stop here for a second. I'm not telling you all of this so that you get frustrated like I do that they're "getting it wrong", they'll have to answer for that some day, not us, but in fact I tell you this as an encouragement! People are hungry for the supernatural, they want to know about the unexplained, and once people begin to search for it, they'll hopefully find Christ! I know that while watching both Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow I have heard them reference a passage of Scripture (usually referring to prophecies of the End Times) and I dive right for my Bible and dig into it to see if the way they're using it is correct and to see if that's what it says. If I am doing that as someone who is saved, imagine what those who are not saved may be searching for when looking at the text for themselves! It may start as curiosity, but it could quickly turn into something greater.

I have to admit that the Lord has used a show like Sleepy Hollow to really re-ignite my passion for learning about and reading the Book of Revelation. I know for a fact that He wouldn't 100% approve of the show, I don't even myself, but he uses the prophecies talked about in the show and the characters like the Two Witnesses and the Four Horsemen to give me a desire to go do the research myself, and I really enjoy it!

The television show Dominion (based off of that TERRIBLE movie Legion about Michael rebelling against Heaven to stop Gabriel from destroying humanity... Blah!) is also heavily saturated with angels and demons, and although doesn't reference Scripture nearly as much as Supernatural or Sleepy Hollow might at times, it still includes biblical characters that the audience may look up for themselves, hopefully pointing back to Christ. This is the one show I've mentioned that I refuse to watch based on it's extremely blatant neglect for Scripture as well as it's creation of a new "savior" figure in the form of the main character. I watched the first episode and immediately regretted it.

Even the 2003 film Van Helsing hints to the title character being the angel Gabriel who was sent to the Catholic church to kill the son of the Devil himself, Count Dracula, therefore bringing people to another biblical connection (clearly people want to see this kind of stuff), though by making Gabriel a man they kind of contradict and neglect Scripture, so I'm not terribly fond of that.

I don't want this essay to go on TOO long, but I want to talk about another show that I believe really shows us how much people want a connection to God, and that is Battlestar Galactica. This is one of the best rated sci-fi shows ever re-imagined and the fanbase for this series is still going strong over half a decade after it's cancellation. I don't necessarily recommend it because there's a lot of sex and a fair amount of language in the series, which is not entertaining to me at all, though the story of the series itself is very interesting and the characters are very good. Certainly one of the more well-written shows of the past decade and a half. One of the big themes of BSG was that a character named Gaius Baltar and his "mission" from "god" to save both the human and Cylon races. They talk about ancient "scriptures" and their "Bible" (the Book of Kobol I believe it's called) and the mythical world of "Earth"; there are even three characters who by the end of the series you find out are angels sent to help the human and Cylon survivors to find Earth and preserve their respected races. The reason I spell BSG's god with a lower-case "g" is because it's clearly not the God of the Bible and is certainly not Jesus Christ, in the final episode two of his "angels" even state that he doesn't like being called "god" at all. Regardless of which "god" the show talks about, there's a deeper spiritual aspect to their science-fiction series that people cannot ignore and has made many fans wonder about the existence of God in our every day lives. Not to mention, if secular writers, producers, actors, and directors are getting into this stuff and inverting it into Hollywood and our modern culture/media, then why aren't Christians as well?

Battlestar Galactica even went so far as to re-create the image of "the Last Supper" as their promotional image for the series' fourth and final season because of it's deeper spiritual meaning and connection...


Now you all know that I am in no way promoting the "Cylon god" from Battlestar Galactica, but I think it's interesting how big of a story point it was on the show and just how well received the concept of god was. It continually makes me wonder if people aren't just waiting for one show, one song, one movie to truly show them who Jesus Christ is in our every day lives in the 21st century so that they may follow Him as well.

PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY FOR THE TRUTH!!! Just look at Hollywood's latest biblical endeavors like Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings... There's a lot more I could talk about and certainly would, but I think this has gone on long enough for now, who knows, I may write another one of these articles, a Part 2 if you will, at some point.

My big take-away with this article that I want everyone to get and understand is this: non-believers are not only making these things in Hollywood and succeeding with them, but viewers who are also non-believers LOVE them! I mean, how many Supernatural fangirls or Battlestar fanboys do you see running around on the Internet? TONS!!! If Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica can get away with having prophets and prophecies on their shows, if Sleepy Hollow and Supernatural can get away with showing demons, angels, the Anti-Christ, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, if Dominion can get away with using Scripture as a basis for it's universe and then warp everything around to create their own story, then why can't Christians, why can't believers, also do these things in our culture today, create these shows, films, write this kind of music that talks about Scripture and praises Jesus, why can't we engage culture in this way as well? Better yet, why aren't we trying? I know that for me, a personal goal of mine is that I want to break into the film/television industry and make films and shows that are biblically accurate and honoring and pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ, yet while still being accessible and entertaining to believers AND non-believers alike! I'm currently going to film school at a secular university for that reason, because that's my passion, stories, writing, directing, etc. That's what I believe I've been called and prepared to do by the Lord and until I'm told differently that's what my plan is.

Now I know that not everyone is called to be in the entertainment business, in fact I believe few believers probably are just because of how easily and ferociously Satan has corrupted and warped it to his own liking. But, but, there are certainly those of us out there who are. I know my friend Jeremy is in the entertainment industry, he's a writer, and he's also a believer. That's what he has been called to do and I know that he honors and pleases the Lord with his work. Even if you're not called into the film business, even if you're not going to be a singer or songwriter, even if you're not going to be involved with speaking to people in a larger setting or context where thousands, millions, billions will be watching you, you can still absolutely share the Gospel with others. Whether if it's through your attitude, actions, work ethic, kindness, love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, self-control, honor, whatever, you can still make an impact on someone's life without being like Supernatural or any of the other shows or films and only referencing Scripture without believing it. And you do that be LIVING it. Anyway, thank you all for reading and please be discerning in what you read, listen to, watch, and what you hear, because the Enemy will do everything he can to keep you away from the Lord and out of His Will. His good, pleasing and perfect will. Peace be with you all and have a great week!

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