There are any number of dangers of a steady pop culture diet. To catch our attention Hollywood must increase the tension. The struggle must get more and more dramatic, the stakes must increase. We don’t merely hope the good guys catch the bank robber. Now they are chasing down a serial killer. It is no longer the cavalry taking on a rogue band of Indians. Now cowboys do battle with aliens intent on world conquest. In order for our heroes to be more heroic than the last hero he must face a nemesis more evil, more deadly, more grasping than the old nemesis.
Some fear that as we watch these increasingly global battles that we are increasingly desensitized to mayhem. A constant stream of explosions and stabbings and gun battles, some say, will make us blind to the horror of violence. They may be right.
My fear, however, is rather different. I’m afraid all our celluloid enemies will cause us to miss the genuine evil in our midst. I’m afraid that the monsters that are all too real miss how monstrous they are, because they so little resemble the monsters on TV. Universe colonizing aliens are not real. Serial killers are exceedingly rare. If we looked at the world through the lens of the Bible we would know how to spot real monsters- they are men who leave their wives and children. Real heroes put their pants on one leg at a time. Real villains take their pants off one leg at a time.