Sometimes Evil Creeps, and Sometimes Evil Screams

Photo by Georgie Pauwels, Creative Commons

Photo by Georgie Pauwels, Creative Commons

Question: What R-rated movie holds the record for the biggest international opening of all time, at nearly $250 million dollars?

Answer: Fifty Shades of Grey

The book, and subsequently the movie, have sparked massive interest and even larger controversy. Tagged as "mommy porn," defenders claim it is merely fantasy, a harmless and enjoyable escape from the every day life. The writing isn't even that good, so how could it go so far as to be "dangerous" and "depraved" as some critics have claimed?!

In an interview, EL James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, makes clear that, "What I wanted to demonstrate is that I do not look at the world in terms of black and white--and I find people who do rather scary. I think it's all shades of grey."

That may sound innocent enough, for who are we to say that one person's choices are better or worse than another's? Without clearly defined standards of morality constricting us, we seem to be free to move within the fluid space of grey. Each of us can create relationships and life according to what we "feel about everything."

So we allow and even promote to teens and young women that the best romance is jealous, erotic love with ropes, torture and physical brutality.

Even while in our own nation and abroad, women daily experience this horrific reality in sex trafficking.

We applaud consensual bondage and domination as a way to reignite passion, while simultaneously outraged that woman are treated with anything less than equal respect and dignity outside of the bedroom.

Sometimes evil creeps and sometimes evil screams.

When it creeps, evil masks its poison in shades of grey and claims of freedom. The destruction is so slow and undetectable that we are nearly gutted before we realize we have been invaded.

Ask any woman who started reading erotica for fun only to find herself addicted, dissatisfied with life, and pursuing relationships and behaviors she would have never accepted before. Or the young teenage boy who stumbles upon a picture of a naked woman, only to watch pornography sabotage all his best efforts at healthy relationships and authentic intimacy for years to come.

Yet when evil screams, it demands to be noticed as nothing less.

While Fifty Shades was experiencing its blockbuster opening, another film was released, this one online, lasting only a few short minutes.

It featured 21 men in orange coveralls kneeling in the sand.

Behind them stood 21 men covered in black from head to toe, ISIS, with a message for "the people of the cross."

And right there you see those 21 men in black brutally behead those 21 Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits. Their blood mingles with the receding tide and the horror of it all punches the air out of you.

The problem with a life seen in shades of grey is that we are left helpless against behavior that makes us uncomfortable or worse, appalled. When we are confronted with evil in its most glaring form, we have no way to label, challenge, or destroy it.

How can you destroy something that does not exist?

Choosing to believe that right and wrong, good and evil are only harmful constructs of an oppressive, regressive society leaves us untethered, without any way to defend ourselves or elevate and applaud what is noble and true while punishing the opposite.

The danger is not in seeing the world as black and white but in failing to see that black and white very much do exist.

For while we may choose to embrace shades of grey, others will continue to push a very dark version of black. Some in their personal relationships, behind closed doors and in back alleys, others as an assault for the world to see.

Sometimes evil creeps and sometimes evil screams.