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Wellington

Representations of Good and Evil in MM

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Hi

This topic may be a pendant of the topic dealing with the definition of evil. I would like to write here about angels and demons.

At many times in the series, we see Evil embodied as demons such as those we can admire on gothic medieval sculptures (same features, so I guess the symbolic of it is what really counts). However, it was not clear to me that these graphical and explicit representations were to be added to the episodes. The excellent one "legion" depicts some Evil named after a demon, but there was nothing more than a visionary man on a mission. After all, millennarist activists may say they are acting as antichrists or servants of Satan, but what perspires is more a kind of madness than supernatural acts. A later character like Lucy Butler, on the other hand, adds a great deal of fantastic into MM. For the spectator, there is no other choice than integrating the existence of forms of deities in that world. It could have been more subtle: for example, demons might have only been seen through the eyes of Frank, as his own acknowledgement of Evil through the acts of criminals. And nothing else. As it went on, we had to believe that demons were part of the existence, interfering with the matters of man. I think it was sad because I cannot see Frank as a believer or a worshiper, even when he was confronted to that.

Similarly, Good has been embodied by angels. However, I do not see clearly a lot of Good in those. Lara's only appeared to her when something bad was to happen. Not really the soothing sort... Another one was just an executionist (was he really an angel?) claiming the lives of those who had the chance to survive once. Not one I am eager to meet... Just too bad, as Frank had problems with demons, there are more coming from this angel trying to get to Jordan. Frank has nowhere to go since Good or Evil are both headaches!

So this is it: Good and Evil are from above and the grey zone is the realm of mortals, like a playing ground. I think this representation is quite simplistic, full of manicheism. It is also a trick: if you believe in the devil, then you must believe in god too, even if it is not for YOUR good. But in this case God's side does not seem like peace and happiness. It is as if we are living with Evil by our side and with Good out of reach for the moment.

It reminds me a lot of Rice's Memnoch, but the other way. If my memories are good, in Memnoch, the devil is but an angel working for the good of mankind but cast away because he dared to defy God by . And God is an omnipotent deity seemingly unaware of what men truly are and of how they evolved. The shape of this evil was imposed by God himself as a reminder of Memnoch's being a paria. Thus he may not count on anything's help. When I read this novel, I was surprised and pleased because I found this story very inspired and strong. It did not change my point of view about things, but it was a great reading. Good was a bit above its own affairs and Evil was not exactly Man's nemesis.

Now what about MillenniuM? The series was well fed with what was about the Group, its agenda, the serial killers and resurgence of violence. Each time a mystic aspect of the Group is tackled, it is dampened by the reality of events, by the business of the members. Lara and Frank are psychologists, they try to find answers in the very nature of a human being. Their jobs are not meant to include religious aspects other than what can be used as alibi, as make-up. Frank sees devils but never talks about them. That is why I think they were intended as Frank's symbolic interpretations. But he acknowledges an angel, thus making the devils come real.

I find all this very confusing. I guess the show could have done very well without devils and angels. For me it was all about men trying to better understand men, with all their hope, violence and despair. What are your thoughts about this?

Regards

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Guest Perennial
I think you summed up one of the problems of the series very well. I for one was initially quite happy about the show tending towards devils & angels and in particular the relationship between Good and Evil, I wondered that perhaps they might be able to squeeze something novel out of a topic that is really difficult to approach let alone understand. Even though the series was great even following this, I felt it got somehow confusing, and I at least had problems getting a grip or understanding the events that followed or what the big picture was. In my opinion it dangled around a very promising topic never really knowing what to do with it, diverging. The controversy in both Good and Evil being headaches for Frank is something I personally prefer, some sort of indifference and finding something omnipotent behind the poster suits me ... never liked one following the other definitions. The symbolic interpretation is the one I would go for no matter, that would depict MM as I like to see it. Just have to forget some parts of S3 let alone the xf crossover, which I've been trying to forget without success for a very long time. I suppose why I felt it was such a great series was because of its attempt to understand the fundamental reasons for our actions, so I liked implicit Good & Evil but not the explicit ones.

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Yes, that was very eloquently put. The representation of good and evil in MM is surely one of the most interesting aspects of the series. One of the things that initially got me more interested in MM than the X-Files.

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I think herein lies a mythological thread to the show that was never truly defined inconvtovertibly in a single, unitary fashion. That said, however, I shall continue my ruminations and share my research here as begun in the Angels Wear Black thread...

Returning to the notion of fallen angels, I'm not too sure about other religions but in Christianity it is acknowledged that there exists no systematic development of Satan beyond scant references, although these do point towards a sense of cohesion. The reason for this is given that the Bible is more concerned with God's word than the powers of darkness per se. One particular text, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, explains this fact thus:

"Hence, the malign and sinister figure of the Adversary is gradually outlined against the light of God's holiness as progressively revealed in the providential world-process which centers in Christ. It is a significant fact that the statements concerning Satan become numerous and definite only in the New Testament. The daylight of the Christian revelation was necessary in order to uncover the lurking foe, dimly disclosed but by no means fully known in the earlier revelation. The disclosure of Satan is, in form at least, historical, not dogmatic."

Furthermore, in the Old Testament Satan is not a fallen angel at all but performs a divine function, such that for example his assaults upon Job are divinely permitted. It is only in the New Testament that Satan is unveiled as a rebellious world power leading the aforementioned encyclopedia to venture the following:

"The progressive revelation of God's character and purpose, which more and more imperatively demands that the origin of moral evil, and consequently natural evil, must be traced to the created will in opposition to the divine will, leads to the ultimate declaration that Satan is a morally fallen being to whose conquest the Divine Power in history is pledged. There is, also, the distinct possibility that in the significant transition from the Satan of the Old Testament to that of the New Testament we have the outlines of a biography and an indication of the way by which the angels fell...

In the New Testament delineation of Satan, his limitations are clearly set forth. He is superhuman, but not in any sense divine. His activities are cosmic, but not universal or transcendent. He is a created being. His power is definitely circumscribed. He is doomed to final destruction as a world power. His entire career is that of a secondary and dependent being who is permitted a certain limited scope of power: a time-lease of activity."

The Book of Revelations Chapter 12 expounds thus in regards t the casting out of Satan:

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

As such, then, fallen angels have in fact been cast out from their order, Satan amongst them, so your precise question as to whether or not they would always act for Good or Evil seems open to interpretation and supposition, at least on this evidence. This is by no means a full treatment on the subject, however, and I'd more than welcome input from others on the subject myself...

Millennium's take on the subject seems to reflect the grey area that exists between good and evil. Here are not your traditional angels capable only of good, but creatures with a will of their own and, by all accounts, a hand in shaping their own destiny by their actions.

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In some traditions around the world (i.e. Tibetian Buddhism) the spiritual level of the viewer reflects what they perceive. One viewer may see nothing, while another may see a vision of the divine.

Perhaps the interpretations in the individual episodes have to be attributed to the character doing the viewing. Even with the interpretations of humanity by the demons in somehow Satan got behind me.

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Guest

"misguided angel" :

"....As such, then, fallen angels have in fact been cast out from their order, Satan amongst them, so your precise question as to whether or not they would always act for Good or Evil seems open to interpretation and suupposition, at least on this evidence."  -end quote

   ....i consider myself a christian though belong to no organized religion per say. it's interesting-(and i mean this in no arguementative way)-that you refer to these various texts as "evidence". i see it completely differently. i see most of the bible,especially the old testament as mainly parables written by divinely(?) inspired human beings. i do not subscribe to the theory that everything in the bible happened.....or that everything in the bible is even moraly right......more like moraly ambiguous. there is a very dark streak of prejudice and malice present throughout both testaments of the bible that are horrifying to me. some may say that i have no right calling myself a christian but that is thier opinion.  

........when mere "men",whether blessed or divinely inspired or not,"take down" a religious history it is always bound to reflect the times and crises of the period. i beleive in evil because i have felt it,and seen it-(in a sense). i beleive in a higher power which we call god/christ because even the soupy beginnings of the "big-bang" had to come from somewhwere. but angels and demons??????? i don't know as i've never had the pleasure,or displeasure,of seeing either. i would like to think that angels exists but that's a human wish and nothing else. it's always been my gut feeling that angels/devils/demons are simply representations of good and evil. i know millions of people,or more,find geat comfort in beleiveing that they have a personal angel watching over them and loved ones;it certainly is a comforting notion when going through life's many many crises.

........i could be mistaken but i think christ did not speak of orders of angels,etc. i think that notion came from....well......."us". that certianly does not mean i'm right however ??? .

........i guess i don't see the bible as "strict" history book of evidence but rather,for me, a divinely inspired-(especially the new testament)-tool for helping me get through this life as best i can and to help me to,hopefully,help me get to a better place when i am gone from this earth. i beleive i have felt a divine presence in my life more than once,but whether it was what we call "god" or christ,or an angelic presence i have no idea. i know this post probably seems very unorganized and i guess it's because it's very hard to put into words what i feel about all my personal beliefs as they change or evolve the older i get and the more i experience my life.  i DO know that i beleive in christ,i beleive in a higher power-(or god)-and i beleive in an afterlife after we die. i never gave angels,let alone "orders" of angels much consideration until MM aired,to be honest,and it made me re-examine the whole concept. this thread has brought that up again and in way i'm grateful for it because it is something that,for me,is worth contemplating. and that's why i do not beleive in,or miss,organized religion,because you are essentially locked into a set of beliefs that we are told CANNOT be deviated from. i think that stunts spiritual growth in many key ways that are negative for many people........well,myself at least. it took me many years to,and i hate using this term but it fits for me,"un-brainwash-myself" from the rigidity of structure from the catholic church,but it has been infinately worth it for me as it has allowed me to "question" and "explore" and "broaden" my spritual horizens to my extreme benefit.-(and also somtimes to my extreme confusion/frustration :cry: ).  but at this point i would not have it any other way and feel,for the most part,closer to what we call god than i felt growing up in an institution full of hypocrosy,prejudice and greed. and now this thread has caused me to once again ponder the topic,or roles,of angels in christianity.

........again,this post is not meant to be argumentative what so ever. -(hundreds of millions,or more,find great comfort in the rigidity or structure of an organized religion and they do much good in this world)-i guess i wanted to "attempt" to explain my.....er........"osophy"....to try and explain why i feel the way i do about this topic and the bible being used as evidence,or a "word-by-word-accurate" religious history book-(not that you said that of course). the other reason was to thank you for giving me yet something more to ponder in my spiritual life. to me,a person's religious beleifs are a very personal thing but what is this forum for if not to explore themes pertaining to MM. and whether some fans care to admit it or not faith and religion are a very large part of this show.       ......sorry for being "all over the place" here but i thought this topic very much worth commenting on to the posters and readers whether he/she are religious or not.

                            ~happy new year! : :D

                                                se7en :ouro:

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Hi

Thanks Misguided Angel for your reply. I do love reading this.

Se7enan1, I think I can appreciate your feelings about all that. And maybe I will prove arrogant by writing this, but I think that MM writers could have intended to shake some ground for people whose knowledge of the Scriptures goes farther than Schwarzy's The End of Days. After all, for some time it was very convenient to get the religious organisation and perhaps most of all, its rigidity. I would take for example the Quebecer society, where owning a Bible was sort of prevented, thus avoiding questioning or unguided interpretation. The MM we saw was through the eyes of Frank and he told us what demons or angels were, without explicit signs of what is and what is not. Idem for someone realy familiar with the Scriptures: he has his own code for recognition. I then agree totally with Edwin: we have Frank's point of view and it does not forbid us to make our own judgement. The entity trying to take Jordan's life may not be on God's side for everyone of us, and MM taught us a lot about not having faith on appearance nor even on facts. Perhaps the interpretation we make of MM episodes finds its echo in the interpretation we make of spiritual matters.

Regards

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i consider myself a christian though belong to no organized religion per say. it's interesting-(and i mean this in no arguementative way)-that you refer to these various texts as "evidence". i see it completely differently. i see most of the bible,especially the old testament as mainly parables written by divinely(?) inspired human beings. i do not subscribe to the theory that everything in the bible happened.....or that everything in the bible is even moraly right......more like moraly ambiguous.

I merely refer to the Bible and other such texts hereto as a source for the mythology. I may (and frequently do) get a little carried away, but I'm not claiming for a second that this is all incontrovertible evidence for the existence of angels, I'm merely speculating as to the source of some of the representations we see in the show. I also received a Christian upbringing, but have a host of problems with organised religion (malice and prejudice amongst them)... that I'll spare you from here!

Furthermore, this mythology is certainly not taken from the teachings of Christ per se according to my understanding, rather it is a conglomeration of Old and New Testament scriptures, although there is some development between the two as noted. I know what you mean about personal beliefs too, as my own are ever-changing. Still, it's a subject matter that interests me in no lesser way whether or not angels or demons exist in any vestige, in the mythology itself.

Happy New Year! :ouro:

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