I’m having trouble trying to think of how to phrase this request, so bear with me. Most of you are familiar with the book of Revelations, right? The end of days is preceded by war, famine, the seas turning to blood and all sorts of other nasty events. Stories (in books or movies) that tackle these events tend to be written in a way that presents sinners and good people, which is understandable given the Bible is the source material. Even parodies like Good Omens do.
Are there stories that talk about the events of Revelations without getting into the good vs evil, and preachiness about how people should be good to be saved, aspects? Written in a way that shows what is happening without getting too deeply into the biblical whys or if certain people deserve what is happening to them, basically.
I don’t know if it’s possible to talk about demons and angels without instilling an assumption in readers/viewers that one side is good and the other bad, but maybe it is.
Well the whole point of the apocalypse depicted in Revelations is that God is finally serving that long, long overdue eviction notice. Maybe during the beginning and middle of the Tribulation you could have your average John/Jane Doe wondering why all this crap is going down, but by the end it’s supposed to be in-your-face obvious.
Such a story is unfolding on the show Supernatural this season. It started last season. It’s quite interesting, really. The story does not posit that people must be good to be saved. It seems to be more about demon hunters trying to save humanity as both angels and demons try to destroy humanity and each other. Nobody knows for sure where God is in all this at the moment.
Of course, it’s ultimately about whether the uberhotness of demon hunter Dean and angel Castiel can defeat the extreme tallness that is demon hunter/part-demon/potential vessel for Lucifer Sam.
Supernatural is what actually what made me think of this in the first place, because it’s less black and white than usual. But while the angels are decidedly ambigious, the demons are clearly bad on the show. So I’m wondering if there’s anything that goes even further away from the classic good vs evil depictions.
Malleus, Incus, Stapes!, come on, I even put it in bold!
I guess I’ve never seen or read anything that didn’t depict demons as evil, in general. If the story is from the human perspective that seems to be the way it is. In Angel and in Buffy, not all demons were evil. Some were good and some entire species were just neutral.
The other thing I found interesting about those two show is that, like supernatural, the evil supernatural forces are clearly bent on chaos while the good supernatural forces, from a human perspective, seem sort of unaffected, useless, or ambiguous about humanity’s plight in the fight against evil. Maybe their definition of “good” is not the same as a human’s definition of “good.” Maybe their interest in keeping a balance or looking out for the system doesn’t necessarily mean they think humanity tops the list of things that need saving. I think that’s an interesting theme.
For example, does the modern believer’s concept of what angels are like really jibe with how angels are described in the bible? Are angels fierce warriors or cuddly guardians who weep over humanity’s suffering?
Hmmm…have you seen that recent Nic Cage movie “Knowing”? I don’t think that’s exactly what you’re going for, but you might be interested.
And as far as looking non-traditional views of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, with an angel-and-demon but not end-of-the-world story, there’s a Spanish movie called “Don’t Tempt Me” with Penelope Cruz in it which I just re-watched recently and quite enjoyed.
The way I’ve seen this explained is that God gave Man free will, and thus won’t allow heavenly/angelic interference in human lives because that would negate the entire CONCEPT of free will, while demons and other minions of Hell interfere all they like because, being non-angelic/not of Heaven, they don’t follow the rules.
I think you need to re-read Good Omens, since it really is (more or less) what you are looking for. Angels don’t necessarily do good, demons try but fail to be more evil than people, and neither side understands God’s plan.
Where are all the Heinlein fans? Nobody else has mentioned Job: A Comedy of Justice yet. Without going into too much detail (lest I spoil it), the protagonist is a fundamentalist asshole, the Rapture does eventually happen, and all that stuff supposedly from the Bible that fundamentalists insist is literally true but which isn’t actually in the Bible at all turns out to be true, but none of it is at all how it’s “supposed” to be.
And it’s not clear that anybody knows what’s going on. Several times IIRC the whole thing is compared to an elaborate chess game where neither side cares about good or evil.
Haunted In the preface or foreword or whatever of my copy of The Screwtape Letters, Lewis says that biblical angels are terrifying and often start out by saying ‘Be not afraid’. He compares this with modern, cuddly angels and is clearly disgusted.