Batman the Dark Night received some praise from many critics; however, I noticed that several Christian theologians keep speaking of it as a Gen-X, Post-Modern attempt to make a comic book character into something hideous and evil.
To be honest I don't get it. I loved the movie. It totally resonated with me...especially in light of our times...
We are fighting an enemy that wants to die for their cause. We are fighting an enemy that wants to cause destruction, chaos, violence. Our enemy wants to kill women and children for the notoriety. The worse and more evil it seems, the "better" the terror plot.
Moreover, the movie did an excellent job of asking the seemingly simple question, "How do we solve this?" Letting the Joker kill and maim at whim is unacceptable, but as he states, "There's only one way to stop me." Do we kill it? What happens if we stoop to the level of the killer? As we have found out, war hasn't solved the Terrorism problem...but it has kept the terrorism off our shores. Our attacks in the Middle East has only increased anti-American and anti-West feelings, yet we know that al-Queda (proper) is weaker than it has ever been.
At what point does the white night turn dark? What does it mean to be a Superpower? Is it being loved? Feared? Hated? All of the above?
Many have raised the question, "Should we negotiate with Terrorists?" Perhaps another question we should ask is, "Will they negotiate with us?"
As Alfred told a story we should all perk up a little (afterall he is the personification of wisdom within the story), "There was a bandit who kept stealing treasure from the nobles. After several princes' treasures were stolen, they decided to hunt the bandit. But, they could not find him. Alfred and his men searched and searched the jungles. They found nothing. Yet one day in a village, Alfred saw a boy playing with a ruby the size of an orange...He asked the boy, "Where did you get that?" The boy said, "It was just laying on the ground with a bunch of other stuff."
The bandit wasn't playing for money or power or wealth or even superiority. The bandit was stealing for the thrill of doing it. Later in the film, Batman finds himself confronted with the fact that he might have to kill the Joker to end the meyhem. He asks Alfred if he ever caught the bandit..."yes." "how?" "We burnt the jungle down."
The modern Tar-Baby is Terrorism, and the challenge of our day is to find creative answers to the struggle we face. Fighting the violence with violence only reinforces the convictions of the Terrorists...and worse it brings new recruits in. Doing nothing is just as bad as it reinforces the belief that we are amoral and capricious, afraid to risk our lives to save innocents.
So, now to the real point: What is our response as Christians to all of this? We are not government, but we should have a response to all of this? What do we say? "Turn the other cheek?" "Eye for an eye?" "If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off?"
It's so hard to back away from being an American. To back away from our party affiliations. To back away from our own personal feelings and personalities...to truly hear what God is calling us to do...to be.
May God cause this violence to end. May God bring peace...and may it begin in our hearts.