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Lost to History

July 28, 2013

Book of Kells, Folio 292r, Incipit to John, In the begInning was the Word (“In principio verbum”), (PD-ArtlPD-old-100)

“No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies…” (Isaiah 59: 4).

During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church considered it a duty to protect Scripture against the destruction of barbarian conquest, and the chaos of societal collapse following the downfall of the Roman Empire.  Illuminated manuscripts like the richly illustrated Book of Kells were the result.  With the greatest of care, monks crafted visual treasures, preserving literacy (and arguably civilization), in the process.

We seem at such a juncture in history. Now the threat is not from barbarian hoards, but from ignorance, and a fascination with death and dark forces.  The paranormal has been legitimized; ignorance is disguised as quasi-scientific inquiry, passed off as history.

Television programs about extraterrestrials, alien abduction, monsters, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and psychic activity populate our airwaves. These have in the past few years included The Vampire Diaries, The Haunted, The Dead Files, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, My Ghost Story: Caught on Tape, Long Island Medium, Paranormal State, Paranormal Witness, and Psychic Kids.

“…We are as dead men in desolate places” (Isaiah 59: 10).

Presumably, this fare is intended, in the first instance, as entertainment. Science fiction has given us numerous imaginative and diverting plots. Star Trek, a low budget program in the ‘60s, has since become a cult classic, a source of multiple spin offs, and a merchandizing bonanza.

Many such programs, however, cross the line, representing themselves as documentaries. Mermaids: The New Evidence and Mermaids: The Body Found are good illustrations of this. In both programs, the film is intentionally grainy and out of focus in places to suggest amateur photography.  There is no statement anywhere that the programs are fiction.

The History Channel has joined the ranks profiting from the trend.  This has given us such gems as Aliens and Dinosaurs, Aliens and Bigfoot, Aliens and the Third Reich, and Aliens and the Undead.  Truth is being warped out of all recognition.

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…’” (John 14: 6).

There are entirely sincere individuals who believe scientific, historic and/or spiritual truth may be found in such programs. The blurring of fantasy and reality is especially dangerous to them from a spiritual perspective.

What are Christians to make of the trend, and how are we to respond? As always, we should take our lead from the Lord. Since He was compassionate, so should we be. At no time should we adopt a superior tone, when interacting with those whose beliefs about this programming may differ from our own. Instead, we should view the opportunity for discussion as an opportunity to witness.

Our Lord conquered death, itself, restoring the relationship between God and man.  For Christians, that fact supersedes all others. It gives the lie to vampires, ghosts, and the undead at a single stroke.  Absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5: 8).

We may be living in a time of turmoil.  But if aliens (or mermaids, for that matter) are ever proven to exist, they will come as no surprise to the Creator.


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