Saturday, March 28, 2009

24 and Evil

I haven't had a TV for years, but I've managed to see a couple of episodes of the show 24 with Kiefer Sutherland, and liked them very much. So I just checked out its sixth season from the city library.

Spoiler alert. After seeing the first four episodes, I have to say that I'm strongly put off by it, because of its attempt to realistically portray evil situations. One storyline really got to me: a family (husband, wife, son) have a Middle-Eastern neighbor, who is a friend of the son. Terrorist attacks start taking place, and some other neighbors decide to beat up the neighbor. The husband goes over and puts himself between the neighbor and his attackers, saying that if they want to get the neighbor, they'll have to go through him first. The attackers leave, and the husband insists that the neighbor stay with them for safety. Well, it turns out the neighbor actually is a terrorist, and takes the family hostage, forcing the husband -- who had gone out of his way and put himself at risk to do the right thing -- to drive all over town delivering "packages." The first ends up being money for an electronics component, but the guy insists he wants more before he'll hand it over. The husband calls the terrorist who says he'll kill his family if he doesn't get the component. So the man is forced to murder the man holding it in order to get it. The terrorist then demands that he deliver it to another location. When he gets there, he discovers it's the last part for a nuclear bomb. As cops descend upon the location, the terrorists set it off. So the husband's last two actions before his death are being forced to commit murder, and then (unwittingly) helping to assemble a nuclear bomb that kills tens of thousands of people. Again, this is a man who went out of his way to do the right thing. The terrorists used this man's love for his family to steal his soul. This is just horrifically evil.

Of course, it's just a TV show. It's fiction. It didn't really happen. But I can't help thinking of Philippians 4:8: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." This isn't an appeal to ignore evil, or to do your best to forget the fact that we live in an evil world. Rather, it's a plea to remember that Good is the foundation of reality and that it will win. So do I want to continue watching this show that so far has had one of the most evil concepts I've ever heard of? I think I'm willing to give DVD 2 a chance, but if anything like this starts to unfold again, I'm just returning it to the library and never watching 24 again.

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