“Do demons exist?” my daughter asks. “Relax, sweetheart. It’s only a movie.”

June 13, 2016

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The eyes of the demon, The Conjuring 2

Last Saturday night, I served as the “adult aged person” allowing my 8th grade daughter and her BF to see The Conjuring 2. Truth be told they served as my ticket to see this horror film as well. I have loved horror films ever since I began sneaking into them at various grind houses in Chicago when I was in the 8th grade. That one of my daughters finds them intriguing as well is a bonus I hadn’t counted on. Having an ally in this dark pursuit is irresistible. When she asks, “Dad, will you take me to see The Conjuring 2?” we both know the answer.

For the record, The Conjuring 2, is a beautifully produced, at times ridiculous, but also legitimately scary horror movie about demonic possession. That it’s “based on true events” make it even more compelling.

And then this. On the car ride home my daughter asks me if demons and the devil really exist. Rather than abruptly saying “Don’t be silly, sweetheart it’s only a movie” I truly ponder her question. I take it seriously. “Well,” I reply, “if you believe in the Christian God then you have to be open-minded that evil exists in this world and that it has a face.”

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If one exists does the other?

Save for the radio, the remainder of the car ride is silent, perhaps the gravity of my answer weighing it down. Was that too heavy a statement, especially for two young girls to bear? I don’t know.

Later that evening, after the girls are in bed (not sleeping, their lights on) I go into my office and turn on the computer. There, I quickly learn about the mass shooting in Florida – the worst ever in US history. A lone gunman entered a gay nightclub firing a barrage of bullets into the dancing throngs, killing scores of innocent people enjoying their Saturday night. The next day his identity and photograph would be posted everywhere. Soon after, the terrorist group, ISIS, would take credit for his gruesome and deadly act.

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The eyes of a demon? Omar Mateen, mass murderer.

Again, I think about what I told my daughter “that evil exists in the world and that it has a face.” I stand by my answer. Demons exist. It’s not only a movie.

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