Odd Thomas, Christian fiction and Devil Worshippers

I’m watching the movie version of Odd Thomas, directed by Stephen Sommers, based on the novel by Dean Koontz.

Pretty exciting. Ghosts and demons, psychics and seers, Bodachs… evil spirits drawn to death and mayhem.

But who are the mass-murdering evil-doers? Why, devil worshipers, of course.

They have a tattoo that reads “POD” – Prince of Darkness.

Neat. They kill lots and lots of people because they believe in Satan, and Satan is evil, and without God’s righteous moral compass there’s no reason NOT to massacre a bunch of people, so… it’s just plain natural that that’s what they do.

They don’t need real motivation. They’re nuts. There’s no reason, they’re Satanic.

The entire backstory, given at the ending, is: “They started a Satanic cult as teenagers. One night they killed a man and found they enjoyed it. They met some other Satanists and decided to infiltrate a small town and slowly kill it.”

Devil worshipers can be ANYONE. Even cops. They seem totally normal, functional and social. They’re even handsome and young and well-dressed. But secretly they are plotting mass murder.

Satanists are everybody’s worst fear. And they don’t exist.

When in human history have these so-called devil-worshipers EVER killed ANYONE?

Somebody show me the data and research if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s not ONE documented case of Satanic violence.

Lots of people kill people for religious reasons, because God told them so, because THEY believed they were “possessed” by the devil (something that only happens to believing Christians, not people who believe in and worship Satan).

Mass murderers often have some crazy, warped religious extremist world-views that are based in more orthodox religious ideological systems. They usually don’t think about or give a shit about Satan, but they might have a load of strong beliefs about righteousness and God and divine justice.

But those people who call themselves Satanists are usually atheists who don’t believe in any God, and only use Satan as a symbol for rebellion, freedom, active opposition, and because it seems contentious, cool and scary. They do it to piss off religious people. They don’t actually believe in Satan (only Christians do that).

Mass-murdering Satanists are a neat literary device used in fiction because we need bad guys so there can be good guys, and it’s really hard to make a bad guy realistic without making him also sympathetic. Most killers have reasons. They feel that this is something they must do.

Satanists are easy to use as villains because there aren’t really any of them – and the few that do exist aren’t really motivated to defend themselves against libel because nobody really understands them anyway. Writers can’t use Arab Terrorists anymore, because it’s racist. They can’t use German Nazis. They can’t use Russian spies, or Italian Mafia. Racial stereotypes are politically incorrect.

Even vampires and zombies aren’t good villains anymore; now they are becoming star-crossed Romeos and dark heroes. Satanists are MORE MYTHICAL than vampires or zombies. We’ve gotten too close to monsters; we’ve made them human. They suffer. We’ve accepted them. They can’t HELP what they are. They’re victims… but maybe they can change if we show them love and compassion.

Satanists, on the other hand, are incapable of being shown humanely. They are pure evil, without any morality whatsoever. Pure malice, unreasonable hatred and violence. An easy scapegoat and nobody seems to care if it’s all stereotypical bullshit with no basis in fact.

Small, religious, tight-knit communities will see any outsider, foreigner, or practitioner of another faith as Satanic. It allows them to justify their fear, and eventual violence to defend their “way of life” against evil influences.

Dean Koontz on Christian Writing

Of course if you’re religious, like Dean Koontz (Catholic), the facts don’t matter. Belief in Evil and the Devil is enough. Here’s a quote from an interview:

Evil walks among us. We don’t always see it. Each of us, in our daily lives, encounters evil; we are tempted to evil every day of our lives. If we don’t want to read about it or think about it, I don’t think that’s a truly Christian point of view. We have to acknowledge it, face it and defeat it. That’s what each of my books is about. Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/2013#ixzz2ZYc1zV9m

Evil exists because Christianity is True, so we need to acknowledge it and face it (and look for it, and see our clear-cut moral dichotomy in every human situation). Sure this strips Satanists of their humanity and makes them robots, but so what? Evil shouldn’t glorified, it should be stripped down:

My villains are pathetic. I never glorify a villain. I couldn’t write something like Hannibal because there’s something there that makes the villain the most glamorous person in the piece. I can’t write that. I don’t find evil glamorous. You’ll never find it that way in my books. Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/2013#ixzz2ZYcnpkJU

What’s the danger? We need fiction. We need villains. Why not make them transparent and flat? BECAUSE life isn’t really like that, it’s not that simple. Allowing a blank-check qualification of evil like “Satanist” gives us a place to put people we fear or don’t like. For some Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists are really “Satanists.” This makes them somehow subhuman – not part of Christ’s saving plan. Disposable. Leaving an undefended qualifier of “Satanic” is a big rock we can sweep our prejudices under.

It’s a way we can justify our hate.