Why is evil attractive to so many?
A few months ago, I was visiting my sister at her home on Vancouver Island and spent some time with her two boys who are in their late teens.
Apart from TV and soccer, they were especially absorbed by myriad video games, which they played for many hours, sometimes late into the evening.
We would have meals together but they would immediately disappear to play still another game.
I became intrigued with their choice of entertainment - I knew little of the games -and although I was aware of their popularity, I wanted to see for myself what made them so attractive.
One evening I found that one of my nephews had left his computer on: I discovered that I could easily access an assortment of video games using icons on his desktop.
One, in particular, Grand Theft Auto, located in Vice City, caught my attention; it turned out to be a disturbing portrait of an imaginary Florida city devoid of any morals or values.
A simulated tourist guide issued to users - presumably young males - caught my eye; it was included in the package of software issued with the game (which I did not view at the time).
In fact, Vice City was overtly a portrayal of evil. There was absolutely nothing wholesome, pure or selfless about the inhabitants of the imaginary community.
The economy, according to the guide, includes revenue from the black market. Politics is portrayed as toxic with a congressman subject to gossip regarding his affection for alcohol and young female interns.
The guide characterizes religion as money and refers to a TV preacher who promises heavenly rewards to supporters who fund his "ministry" with the right donation.
Tourists visiting Vice City are recommended to carry fake identification and a firearm at all times. Police are not to be trusted and, "even a minor infringement can escalate into a full-blown showdown."
Amoral, violent and abusive of women, the depiction of Vice City is entertainment at its darkest.
Unfortunately, much of what passes today as commercial amusement seems to dwell almost exclusively on evil. Lust, greed, pride, envy, gluttony, even extreme wrath (in the form of violence), are at the core of many movies and TV programs, for example. But why? Why do we appear to have an insatiable appetite for evil?
I believe such an attraction is found in our hearts - it may be stimulated through a video game, film, DVD or by some other means, but it is at the core of our being.
Parents and teachers don't have to be reminded that, in general, children and young people must be taught to embrace altruistic behaviour. The Bible speaks about this when it says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Sin - all the bad things we have done - separates us from God and his perfection.
You might have a sense of this in your own life - a covert temptation that you know is wrong and others might say is evil.
The Bible also emphasizes the power of evil: "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed; then, after desire is conceived, it give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death."
But there is hope. This familiar Bible verse should encourage you: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Christ, who was perfect, accepted death on a cross for you personally. And he rose from the grave.
Why not make your decision for God today?