There has been a lot of grumbling among Christians against the show Lucifer, now playing on Hulu. The premise of the show is that Lucifer “takes a break” from running the place below, and spends some time on earth with humans. The concern amongst Christians was either that the show would glorify Satan as someone “cool and fun”, or that it would humanize him so that his power would not be feared. So, a lot of people vilified the show – sight unseen – and made a fuss about not supporting such ideas by watching it.
I have a confession to make: Even though I am Christian, I have actually watched several episodes now. The lit major in me wanted to see how they handled it (myth? fantasy? Biblical story? Etc.) I also wanted to be able to give an answer if someone asked me why Christians were so against the show. And I don’t like to give answers without learning what I am taking about first. Perhaps some of my Christian friends won’t like what I am about to say: Lucifer isn’t evil. The show, I mean.
The show is basically a cop/sidekick show, with Lucifer treated as a mythological being brought into present. Very reminiscent of the way the show Sleepy Hollow began, but strangely not as dark. He is a night club owner, but gets caught up with a female cop. There is an angelic being set up as a foil, to keep a lid on things, and provide us insight. Because Lucifer has taken human form, his powers are lessened, but we still see what I feel is a decent portrayal of how the true Satan might work. He plays off of peoples fleshly desires, tempts people, uses their past mistakes against them, and very openly uses charisma to manipulate people. Trust me, there isn’t a whole lot of glorification of Satan in here, and the glimpses of humanism show that he is a flawed being blinded by his own motives. My husband said “They certainly didn’t set him up as a good guy, and it has reminded me how crafty Satan is and how he works.”
A few episodes in, we begin to learn more about Lucifer’s history, and the show includes accurate Biblical references. Yes, Bible verses actually get read accurately, and not misconstrued. (We’ll see if that continues.) This has the potential to put some Bible history out there in the heads of people who wouldn’t have had it before, or – gasp – make some people crack open a Bible or ask a pastor a question. (I know WE were looking up references after the episode we just watched.)
Do I think you SHOULD watch Lucifer? Only if you have some interests like mine, our have a friend or family who watches the show and might have questions. There are many other shows that glorify sinful nature or justify sinful behavior, normalizing something which should be unacceptable. Where is the outrage about them? Some obvious ones would be Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy. But sitcoms and softer shows can be just as bad, treating unwed parents and drunken debauchery as completely normal, natural behavior… Because in this culture they are. But never even acknowledging that there is a God, a devil, or even a Bible. (Except for the occasional “Oh God” at certain…um… Moments.)
We should ask not if a show is inherently evil, but what we gain from watching it. Even a show which is morally bankrupt can be a teachable moment for a parent with older children. A show about Satan come to earth is much more pertinent to Christians than one about vampires, for example. And if we aren’t able to correct its errors at the water cooler, who will? It may not be the right show for you, and that’s fine. But when Hollywood puts out a show that touches on Biblical topics, I think at least some Christians ought to watch it. And if some of the people watching it are not Christians, and they have questions, there will be someone to answer them.