The old Legion of Decency list had listings for movie ratings from “A” (no objectionable content) through “B” (Older kids and grownups), and “C” (Some objectionable content. Not recommended) and “D” (Condemned. Not suitable for any audicence). Families who had this list in place carefully consulted it before seeing any movie.
Even today, although the Legion is no more, little messages pop up on videos and television to remind us that what we are about to see is not fit for children and other sensitive individuals. Movies are sorted according to violence, language, and sexual content in order to protect children from the obvious evil that these things contain. (Moot questions follow: Why should we have to warn people against evil in a movie? Why do we have movies that contain evil in the first place? If movies are for entertainment, why put blood, evil, and ugliness in them? And, if there wasn’t an itch for evil in humans, why are some of today’s movies so AWFUL??)
We are taught what is illustrated so clearly in the Bible and other religious writings: Human beings are born with an itch towards evil. Even primitive cultures understand this, and have strict moral laws that carry heavy penalties if broken. Without proper care, teaching, and molding, we grow up to be amoral and perverse. Religious training teaches us that this itch can be mastered with diligence, but that it must be caught at an early age. Starry-eyed liberals and their followers, however, continually maintain that human nature is already “good” and perfectible without spiritual guidance, and it is only circumstances or bad influences that make these “good” people do bad things.
Consider the ghastly spectacles of children killing younger children for sport. The young killers don’t really understand that their victims will not get up again to “appear in the next movie,” they understand their actions well enough to finish the job. Just because juvenile murderers don’t really comprehend the meaning and ramifications of the evil acts they do doesn’t mean the acts themselves are not evil.
Or, if evil is what people want, how about aborting babies and selling their little corpses off piecemeal to the highest bidders, for “scientific research?” And the abortionists do realize they are killing children (“It’s another boy!”), but choose to ignore the utter evil of the deed, and focus on the money.
In some states, parents are forbidden by law to discipline their children in ways meaningful enough to the child to train them away from potentially evil behavior, a classic example of childless do-gooders meddling in something about which they know absolutely nothing. In the same school, perhaps, a jaded teacher is showing sex techniques to second graders and encouraging them to experiment on each other. And, a parent whose hands are tied is not going to be effective in keeping his child from the destructive and evil behaviors that lurk in the minds of every human being. Even wild animals, understanding the importance of obedience, punish their young with painful discipline, but American parents are forbidden to do so.
Witness, too, the recent mandate from Washington that all Catholic and Christian institutions provide insurance that offers free abortion and contraception to patients and employees. Somehow, the bureaucrats got the idea they could just ignore the sanctity of life, as well as sexuality. I choose to call this move “evil.”
If, as many believe, there is no absolute good or bad, where does evil come from? Where does good come from? Why are we so easily tempted to evil and why is good so hard to achieve? As one who is a firm believer in the Absolute Good, I know exactly how easily we can be tempted to evil. Evil isn’t just about bad movies, or pornography, or child abuse. It is a streak in all of us that must be suppressed in a civil society.
We have learned, with varying degrees of success through the centuries, to deal with evil as best we know how, and the only successes we can count are those that rely on Judeo-Christian moral principles, well-taught. Hearts are fertile for love and hate, and as civilized humans on this earth, we must reach out for the civilizing love and eschew the itch for evil that lurks so shallowly under the surface of each of our hearts.
I fear to contemplate what humans would be like without God, without the REAL Grace that He provides to us for the taking, and the Love that is stronger than death.