My senior paper in undergrad was on the psychological effects of a belief in a personified evil (Satan and Demons) compared to seeing evil as a non-personalized force. That was 6 years ago, and I’m sure by my own standards now it was pretty terrible.
But I’m always interested in the discussion, so imagine my delight when this very concept made it into a deleted scene from the oh-so-insulting-Kevin-Smith-movie Dogma (found via videosift). Check it out.
For those of you that find Dogma too offensive, remember that art reflects on the artist, and Smith said that it was a parallel to his own faith struggles…so for that alone, it is worth watching.
Nevertheless, here’s an edited transcript of the concept as portrayed in Dogma.
Azrael: Did you know that hell was once nothing more than the absence of God. And if you’ve ever been in his presence, then you’d realize that is punishment enough. But then your kind came along, and made it so much worse…
Evil is an abstract. It is a human construct…Why?
Because it is beyond your abilities to simply make personal recompense for the sins you commit. No. You choose rather to create a psychodrama and dwell in a foundless belief that God cannot forgive your grievous offenses.
So you bring your guilt and your inner decay with you to hell, where the horrid imaginations of so many gluttons for punishment gave birth to this sickness…and in doing so, they transformed the cold and solitude to pain and misery.
So let’s talk about this “evil is an abstract” concept. What do you think?
- Have you had experiences with a personified evil?
- Or is Evil, to you, a less personal force which nonetheless involves persons?