reclaiming the language of evil
September 19, 2008
Interesting how themes tend to pop up at different places during the day. On my way to TGIF this morning I was listening the Lord of the Rings soundtract. I love the Lord of the Rings movies and books. I was first introduced to the books in 2000 by my science teacher, at first didn’t like the movies very much, and then learned to appreciate it for being different than the books, and now I try to watch the trilogy once a year. Lord of the Rings has provided me with a narrative that somehow give hope in a creative way. It’s like the Lord of the Rings narrative is so real to me, that I can escape into this narrative and find a place of comfort when the world become too much. Lately I started forgetting about this, since I haven’t watched the movie for a long time.
When listening to the soundtrack I started thinking about this, started wondering why this was so. What is it about the Lord of the Rings story that give hope? Lord of the Rings doesn’t argue the reality of evil away, but it’s portraying the fight between good and evil in the most graphic way possible, and then finds hope in some very unexpected places. Before hitting Brooklyn Mall I decided to blog about reclaiming the language of evil.
Then I hit a pastors meeting later this morning where Kobus Jonker spoke. He is South Africa’s satanic expert, previous head of the occult devision of the South African police. I once saw a presentation by him, and little has changes. It’s still extremely graphic (this morning even more so since we were just a group of pastors and no kids), with photo’s and stories of the most grusome crimes commited in the name of satanism. But I wanted to run out of the meeting at some points! There is a word in philosophy for an argument that relies on sheer volume of data to be convincing, and this is what I felt. No critical discussion, no one asking what should be think about the fact that the same crimes are happening within and without Satanism, just the endless list of examples of the bad things satanists did. I’ll leave Jonker be for now.
We need to reclaim the language of evil. In South Africa with the extreme violence happening, with the political unrests, with AIDS and people dying of poverty, with the total lack of respect for human dignity shown in the extreme cases (both in numbers and methods) of rape! In this context we need to reclaim language about evil. The church need to develop a responsible way of using the language of evil, and using the language of fighting against evil.
Habermas (contrary to his earlier ideas) has been pointing the the important role religion must play in moral development of society and addressing societal problems, because we have the language of sin, and this is neccesary according to him. We need to learn a responsible way of talking about evil, not only in textbooks and theological classrooms, but among Christians everywhere… how do we talk about this.