Dr Taylor Marshall writes on the shooting last night at the Century Movie Theater in Aurora, Denver, Colorado, where a gunman walked into a the premier of Batman movie, and opened fire on the moviegoers. What he writes is poignant:
Our prayers and condolences extend to all who were murdered, injured, or who lost loved ones and friends last night in the Colorado massacre during the screening of the latest Batman movie.
I’m sure that many editorials will spill out about the levels of violence in the media. There will also be articles crying for gun control. I’d like to talk instead about the purpose of art. Film makers claim to be making art. This also allows us to examine film from the point of view of philosophy.
Three years ago, I wrote a post entitled: Is it fun to watch people die? or “On Being an Inglorious Bastard”. The post examined whether films like Inglorious Badards with their gratuitous violence and sadism were good shows to watch. I still haven’t seen the movie (I’ve never seen a Quentin Tarantino film).
That post three years ago asked the question: Why is America so obsessed with death? We’ll pay money to watch two hours of slaughter. And the Batman movies are even darker than ever. Clowns shooting each other in the head? The Joker mutilating people? This isn’t good for us! This is not good art. It is ugly. It mutilates the soul so that we cannot think rightly. Do you want to think rightly and clearly – then remove the distorted input. Bad art effects how see other human persons. We should live by the words of Saint Irenaeus about glory:
Gloria Dei vivens homo.
“Man fully alive is the glory of God.”
Good art is about man most fully alive in God.
Art produces images in the soul. Your soul is capable of being an art gallery. What kind of art do you hang there in your private gallery. The art gallery of your soul can be beautiful or it can be gruesome and pornographic.
Take a moment and examine the art gallery of your soul: Is it pure? Is it beautiful? Is it redemptive? Does it draw you close to Christ? Would others find it beautiful and inspiring.
If can choose, do not let evil images enter your soul. It’s dangerous. And please don’t let your children see them. There was a six year old and a nine year old at the midnight showing of Dark Knight in which those people were murdered, for crying out loud! What were children doing there in such a violent and gruesome movie?
The man who killed so many in the movie theatre during the Batman movie was allegedly dressed like the bad guy in the movie. This young man’s mind was, no doubt, filled with evil images. He even dressed himself up as an evil image. His soul was a gallery of terror. That is how he saw the world and he eventually transformed that fantasy world into reality.
You don’t have a to be a Philosophy major to realize that the watching the violent deaths of people (even if it is cinematic) is not good for the human soul.
So fill your soul with something beautiful. Watch a sunset. Hold a baby. Enjoy a nice meal with your family. Listen to some Gregorian chant. Decorate the art gallery of your soul with a beautiful collection. As Saint Paul commanded us:
“For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, D-R)
If you decorate your soul with such art, it will inspire you and others to great things.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Bishop James Conley of the Archdiocese have released a joint statement on the shooting which can be read here.
The alleged shooter is James Eagan Holmes, a 24 year old PhD student in Neuroscience.