Screens of Satan
Images on screens are causing history to run backwards toward paganism.
In January of 2003, when TAC was young and I was not yet old, this magazine published my warning about computers and all their ilk, “Rage Against the Machine.” Now I want to go further and preach a new Crusade.
Its goal would neither be to take Jerusalem, where the Israelis are happy to welcome Christian pilgrims, nor to expel the Turk from Europe, where he has crept in the back door and does need to be shown the way out. Rather, the target of the new Crusade would be the video screen, and victory would mean shunning it, if not in our work then in our homes and family lives.
My earlier warnings, written from an explicitly Christian perspective, have stood the test of time. They began by arguing that all virtual realities come from Hell. If there can be more than one realitv, there can be more than one God. If there can be more than one reality, reason and logic may not hold in some of them. Academic feminists already denounce logical thought as “white and male.” Yes, girls, and we white males are right to be proud of it.
In 2003, I pointed to another threat to Christian faith arising from video screens: the replacement of the word with the image. It took us 3,000 years to replace the image with the word. But on video screens, the image is more powerful than words, just as the screen is more enticing than books, including the core of Christian faith, the Bible. Images on screens are causing history to run backwards, resurrecting paganism both against and within the church (there can be no such thing as a Christian priestess).
Twenty years on, the horizon has only grown darker . Video screens are ubiquitous. Virtual reality headsets offer total absorption in the false. The inventors of Artificial Intelligence (Al) warn us their machines may decide to eliminate us carbon-based units. Seeing is no longer believing, and Al can create a new “you” that to most people will be more real than the real you.
We may see the situation more clearly if we look at it from the enemy’s perspective. About 2,000 years ago, Satan had a run of bad luck. Christ’s death on the cross broke his hold on mankind. In the Harrowing of Hell, Jesus went down into Hades and brought the people there out. In His Resurrection and Ascension, He opened the gates of Heaven to all men. Satan knows Christ will return and reclaim the world and its people as His own. He rages against the day, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Now, thanks to video screens, His wormship’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better. Hell’s workshops have given him a weapon against which humans appear defenseless, not because it is so horrible but because it offers so much fun. The number one use of the internet is for pornography. Dancing images of every description are only a click away. How can God’s reality compete against Satan’s infinitely tailorable virtual realities?
Thanks to video screens, Satan sees a strategic opportunity to nullify all those defeats 2,000 years ago and render Christ’s Second Coming meaningless. He can psychologically condition the whole world’s humanity to the point where they lose free will, just as in Brave New World. Are humans bereft of free will still human? No. So Christ will return to a world where there are no people for Him to redeem, save those lucky few who died before the video screen was invented.
This strategy takes advantage of one of video screens’ inherent characteristics: Its images move. If a person stops to think, he will miss something. The world of video screens is one in which there is an intense present but no past and no future. The now is everything, a now subject to infinite and ever more real-seeming manipulation.
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Since man appeared on earth, every people, culture, and faith have known life has a meta-level, a level not normally accessible through the five senses, into which we pass through death. Satan has long sought to take away man’s knowledge of the meta-level because if he thinks this life is all there is, everything is permissible. In the past, he hit an insurmountable roadblock: death. People who think frequently about the fact that they will die want to live in this world so as to live again in another. But artificial realities created through video screens are so absorbing that people forget even death. Such is the power of the electronic now.
So it’s time for a Crusade, a Crusade to put fire and sword to video screens. In the world as it is, many of us have to use video screens in our work. Churches themselves must turn to the internet to recruit new members. But there is a peculiarly conservative way of thinking about video screens that can put them in their place and keep them there. We should regard them as we regard serfs who work on estates: Let them labor for us in the fields but do not invite them into the manor house.
In our homes and private lives, it is time to play Savonarola with video screens of every type and function. We can do that, or we can wait, endlessly entertained, for the one screen to rule them all and in its brightness blind them.