In the Disney movie, How to Train Your Dragon, one of the main characters is a dragon named Toothless. The movie revolves around a tribe of Vikings who spend their whole lives in fear of dragons and training to fight and kill them without realizing that dragons could be their friends. It’s a cute movie that explores the concepts of love, loyalty and overcoming misconceptions.
But the movie might have one unintended consequence: it takes the idea of dragons, which have been depicted for generations as fearful and dangerous creatures that breathe fire and destroy whole cities—it takes that idea and changes it. Dragons aren’t dangerous, they are our friends. Dragons aren’t evil, just misunderstood. Dragons don’t really want to hurt you, they want to help you.
Part of me—the cynical part, I guess—makes me wonder if maybe that isn’t an unintended consequence. Because I look at how our culture has taken what was formerly evil, dangerous and destructive and made it seem good, safe and helpful. And maybe the creators of the movie feel the same way about life. Maybe they think that the old ways of religion and right and wrong and wicked and evil are totally misguided and totally irrelevant to today’s modern world. We’ve moved beyond the stories of knights in shining armor defending the helpless or the stories where the hero was morally superior to the enemy he was facing. To use another example from popular culture: look at how Batman was portrayed about 50 years ago. Batman didn’t have any personal problems, he didn’t struggle with morality, he didn’t wonder if he was doing the right thing. Good and evil were pretty clear cut…but now? Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the bad guy is: the Joker or Batman?
Comic books and dragons aside here’s my point: the dragons are getting turned into heroes. Evil is being called good. And the devil is getting a makeover and it’s not good for us. Dragons need to be slayed and we need Jesus to show us how to slay them. In fact, Jesus shows us how he already did that. Check out Revelation 20:1-3.
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