Friday, October 17, 2008

Television: Angel

When Joss Whedon spun the character Angel off into his own series set in L.A., vampires took a back seat to monsters and demons who seemed to be everywhere in spite of the fact that people were largely unaware of them. However, the real monsters and evil in the new series was… humanity. The show does a great job of exploring the fallen nature of people. In a second season story arc, Angel is obsessed with doing battle against an evil law firm. After much effort he is able to defeat a demonic “senior partner” of the firm use its ring to gain access to hell in an effort to defeat the evil powers that reside there. He boards an elevator for the “one way” trip to hell, but when he arrives he realizes he is right back where he started. Evil, he learns, has its source and dwells in humanity.
Ironically, this epiphany serves to spur Angel on in the fight against evil.
“If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.”
The response to the statement by the other character in the scene is:
“I believe… I don’t know what I believe, but I… have… faith. I think maybe were not alone in this.”
She goes on to point out something that happened earlier that could not have happened. A miracle? Evidence of God?
This is the frustrating side of postmodern atheists like Whedon. They see good and evil in the world. They know there is a right and a wrong. And yet they choose to believe that these categories are simply arbitrary and human and that there is nothing bigger than us out there… probably. At least they aren’t promoting the logical yet indefensible conclusion of atheism; that everyone should do whatever they want as evil does not exist.
Note: Angel is a show intended for mature audiences involving violence, sex, and all kinds of “adult” themes and this entry is not to be seen as a recommendation for the show.


  1. So ? Existentialism has been around for a long time...nothing new under the sun.

  2. True, but until recently you didn't expect to see it in something like a TV show. As postmodernism makes its way deeper and deeper into pop-culture, you see more and more of these issues addressed. Hopefully, Christians will remain a part of this dialogue and not retreat further into the ghetto we have created for ourselves. The whole world seems to be thinking about and discussing serious life questions and much of the church is content to only watch "Christian" movies, read "Christian" books and listen to "Christian" music. How can we contribute to what the world believes when we have no idea what they are talking about?


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