Being on Alert for the Demonic in the Mundane

We have to examine carefully what we’re seeking to achieve through our entertainment.

Despite all of our modern pretensions to advancement, even though 1,500 years have passed since Augustine’s day, our so-called evolved society still has bloodlust and regularly lathers its hands in violence as a form of entertainment. Yes, our spectacle entertainments have slick advertising and shiny wrappers, but beneath this layer of respectability we find the demonic. 

 

When we read the gospel accounts of Christ’s ministry, one of the regular features we encounter is Christ’s interaction with demons. We read of demon possessed people, those oppressed by them, Jesus casting demons out of people, as well as Jesus speaking about them (see, e.g., Matt. 4:24, 7:22, 8:16, 12:27, 15:22, etc.). Yet, living in the modern world, I suspect that most Christians don’t encounter these types of demonic phenomena. Yet, does this mean that the demonic is nonexistent? The general answer to this question is, no.

Demons are real.

Demons are real, even if we don’t encounter them on a regular basis, or do we? One of the common assumptions is that demonic activity looks demonic. If we run into someone wearing a black cape on his way to his Church of Satan meeting where we find satanic symbols adorning the door, then we naturally assume that we’ve uncovered demonic activity. While such things do exist, we should realize that the demonic can take on a far more mundane form.

Saint Augustine once charged the politicians of Rome with corruption because they offered his countrymen the spectacle entertainments. In the ancient world, Rome’s spectacle entertainments featured in the Coliseum and amphitheaters scattered throughout the empire were a part of every facet of life. The spectacles included gladiator contests, hunting animals, and even mass executions.

The demonic can take on mundane forms.

Rome presented these spectacles for entertainment purposes, amusement, and pleasure—these spectacles touted the idea that life was cheap and death and violence were a form of entertainment.

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