One more thought about True/False and Enemies of the People

I met with David Wilson yesterday. He’s the co-founder/director of the True/False Film Festival, as well as the co-director of Ragtag theater here in Columbia. We met to kind of debrief about the recent T/F festival, since The Crossing was/is a major partner with it (i.e., How did it go in our view, Were we happy with our sponsorship, Any feedback we might have overall, etc.). All my feedback was positive, of course. I really like David Wilson the more I get to know him. He’s a good listener and, even though we don’t agree on everything, he’s proven trustworthy to accentuate and build upon our common ground of what we do agree on. Like I’ve said before in previous blogs, as a Columbian I’m proud of David Wilson and I believe he is one of the good guys in our community.

I appreciate the film he slated for The Crossing to sponsor as the True Life film, Enemies of the People. It had so many of the important elements we wanted in the film we sponsored. It showed evil as something real rather than merely a socially-constructed morality. We saw a plaguing guilt on the part of the killers. There is an ingrained sense that murder is a guilt before a higher authority than mere humanity and society. They wanted to be honest and confess what they had done. But we saw more than that. We saw a searching for forgiveness on a much deeper level in the soul rather than merely a desire to be forgiven and accepted by society in spite of what they had done. Though not expressed in our terms, we saw a quest for their soul’s redemption. And the scene of the offering at the Buddhist temple seemed to be such an empty means of finding it. Buddhism does not offer the redemption that their soul was so desperate to find. But their soul was indeed still trying to find redemption. Why? We would say it’s because true redemption is real and can be found by their Creator only through Jesus Christ. And if redemption from real moral guilt is indeed something that can be found in this universe, then that’s why their soul instinctively is trying to find it.

It’s kind of like that famous quote by C.S. Lewis—

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud” (Mere Christianity, Book III, Chapter 10, par 5).

To slightly adapt Lewis’ point to what we see in Enemies of the People, the innate plaguing of guilt for their murders exists because true guilt exists—their guilt is something real rather than merely socially constructed. And we see that they sensed that their guilt was before someone higher than themselves or society. We hear the concept of “hell” fearfully expressed by the Cambodian killer in the film. And we see his innate desire for his forgiveness and redemption by someone higher than society precisely because true forgiveness by someone higher than society is needed and indeed exists. The innate desire for redemption is there because redemption is needed and indeed exists. But again, we see the emptiness of Buddhism in providing either.

So while not intending to do so, Enemies of the People points us to the reality of the gospel. To the reality of both a humanity and an evil in all of us. To the reality of real guilt in all of us before someone greater than mere society. To the reality of our soul’s need for forgiveness and redemption by someone greater than ourselves or society. Our soul knows that society’s forgiveness is worthless when we are aware of real moral guilt in our lives. And that our own forgiveness is worthless.

It points to the realities about which we read in John 3:16-21—

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. All those who do evil hate the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But those who live by the truth come into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (TNIV)

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