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Super-Villains: Good Theology, Bad Solution

A series of contemporary superhero movies present super bad guys who at times demonstrate a biblical view of sin but the wrong cure for our sin. These super-villains understand that human beings are flawed sinners, but their solution is almost always the same: wipe out every human being without mercy and without lifting a finger to redeem a fallen human race.

For instance, in the original The Matrix movie, Agent Smith calls humanity "a virus." "Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet," he proclaims, "You're a plague, and we … are the cure." In the 2010 movie the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the super-villain Owlman wants to destroy the cancer called humanity (and all of existence and all living beings) by destroying Earth.

In the 2005 Batman Begins movie, the villain Ra's al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows, tells Batman: "Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries."

And later on when the two face each other once again, he says: "The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome. Loaded trade ships with plague rats. Burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence we return to restore the balance."

In The Dark Knight Rises, the bad guy Bane tells Batman that he has come to carry on the League of Shadows' mission in the wake of Ra's' death. Batman prevented their attempt in Batman Begins, but Bane has returned to finish the job by mercilessly wiping out Gotham.

Possible Preaching Angles: In popular culture, those who bring justice to the earth are without mercy or sorrow, and they do not offer redemption. How different is the God revealed to us in Scripture. He judges sin with perfect justice, but in his love and mercy he has also offered the way of salvation—through the life and death of his own beloved Son.

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