23 Sep 2019

“Black Mirror” and the Need for Jesus

Religious 28 Comments

I have been very impressed with the Black Mirror series. I am way behind (I only started watching them this year, I believe) but wanted to write a quick post concerning one of the episodes… (Note that there are major spoilers, in case you are only starting the series yourself.)

The episode starts showing a kid in his early 20s (?) who has signed up for the military. They are being sent out to a rural town where “roaches”–the derogatory term for the enemy–have stolen some food. They investigate, and the townsfolk point them to a strange guy who lives in the woods and might be harboring the “roaches.”

Well, it turns out that these “roaches” are in fact monsters in humanoid form. Imagine a human body with the head of a bat; that’s kind of what they look like. Later on, the viewer learns from some of the dialogue that there was apparently some kind of radiation or sickness that made a bunch of people turn into these “roaches,” and now the military has to wipe them out because it’s us vs. them.

Anyway, the kid (who is the protagonist in this episode) kills three roaches (I’ll stop using quotation marks) on this initial outing, and the other soldiers are impressed. However, while struggling in hand-to-hand combat with one of them, the kid encounters this odd, flashing device.

Part of the sci fi element of this episode is that the soldiers have an implant in their brains, which allows the captain to “show” them schematics of the building they are going to infiltrate, etc. In other words, they have an implant that allows someone else to send information directly into their visual cortex, so that they can “see” the battlefield in an enhanced way.

Now after the kid has this initial outing, we get signs that his implant is malfunctioning. He starts seeing weird things, that then disappear when he shakes his head, etc. He goes in to tell his superiors, they send him to get a diagnostic test done, and the psych guy asks him some questions about the event. It appears that the implant is working fine.

Later on, he and his partner are pinned down by a roach in a building, firing at them with a rifle. As he’s laying facedown on the ground, the kid starts smelling the grass. He exclaims to his partner that he can smell grass for the first time in ages. She of course yells at him to get his head back in the game, and to cover her as she tries to advance toward the building where the sniper is.

The kid enters the building and is sweeping it, room to room. He enters a room and finds a woman trembling in the corner, obviously afraid he’s going to hurt her. He assures her she is safe, and tells her to run out of the building. But as she steps out into the hallway, the other soldier blows her away. The kid is horrified, and the viewers at this point just assume the other soldier had an itchy trigger finger.

Well, then two soldiers then go into another room, and this one has three humans. The female soldier starts shooting all of them too. It was at this point that I personally (watching the episode) realized what was going on: There are no such things as “roaches,” and the military has been altering the visual information so that the soldiers think they are shooting actual monsters when in fact they are just human enemies of the State.

So the kid freaks out when he realizes what’s going on. I’m skipping ahead, to when the kid is back in custody and the psych guy is interrogating him. He explains to the kid that when he originally enlisted, he agreed to the implant, and he also agreed to having his memory wiped concerning this very agreement!

The guy proposes that they will fix the implant and wipe the kid’s memory, so he can go back to being a good soldier. Naturally, the kid refuses; now that he knows the truth, he can’t go back to his old life. In order to pressure him to change his mind, the guy starts playing the video (in the kid’s mind) of what really happened during that initial fight: The kid sees himself killing three humans in cold blood, who had been hiding in the house in the woods. The psych guy warns the kid that he will keep replaying that video over and over, unless the kid agrees to get his memory wiped.


This is actually related to my own view of what hell is. I think all of us have been duped by the devil into doing awful things. We know better, but we also don’t realize just how bad the things are, that we are doing. And so, when we meet our Maker, I think part of what happens is that all self-justifying nonsense falls away, and we see the unvarnished truth.

If, at that moment, all you have to rely on, is the record of your own deeds, you will be in intolerable agony. You will be like the kid in the Black Mirror episode, seeing the full reality of what he did.

However, if you have trained yourself into truly believing that your salvation rests not on your own deeds, but on the blood of Christ, and that His righteousness has been imputed to you, then you can watch the “movie” of your life and say, “OK, this is filling in the details, but I already understood that I was a sinner who deserved hell. However, I can forgive myself, because I know that God has already done so.”

And then, people like the evil psych guy have no power over you.

28 Responses to ““Black Mirror” and the Need for Jesus”

  1. Tel says:

    Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    – Voltaire (philosopher)

    I am talking about the slaughter, death, and starvation of 6 billion people this century – that’s what the science predicts.

    – Roger Hallam (Extinction Rebellion)

    My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 16 years old. I come from Sweden. And I want you to panic. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. I have said those words before, and a lot of people have explained why that is a bad idea. A great number of politicians have told me that panic never leads to anything good, and I agree. To panic unless you have to, is a terrible idea. But when your house is on fire and you want to keep your house from burning to the ground, then that does require some level of panic.

    – Greta Thunberg (Antifa member)

    If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack, and we needed a massive build-up to counter the space alien threat, and inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months

    – Paul Krugman (“Nobel Prize” winning economist)

    This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history

    – Christiana Figueres (executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change)

    • Transformer says:

      Greta’s views on the optimal level of panic are certainly questionable.

      • Transformer says:

        But the ‘Greta Thunberg (Antifa member)’ appears to be just repeating some BS alt-right meme with no obvious basis in fact. Shame, I would have liked her better if she was really antifa.

        • Dan says:

          Is this like someone wearing a jersey but not being a part of the team?

        • Tel says:

          Obviously Antifa aren’t likely to publish their formal membership lists any time soon. While I would never believe that Greta is a black-hooded, rock-throwing street fighter … she does appear to have some connection to the organization. Both her parents and the child have posted photos of themselves wearing the logo. They have also been involved in fundraising for Extinction Rebellion which in turn has some common members with Antifa.


          My feeling is that if you want to support the organization, even offering publicity, then you should be willing to own that.

          Let’s consider in comparison the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlotsville where photos came out of people dressed as Klansmen, doing fascist style salutes, supposedly even swastikas were on display. Probably those people were mostly clowns in dress up … none of them are really going to start some revolution … but at any rate they were forced to own it. As I’ve said elsewhere, none of that has anything to do with the “right” in a political sense, all of those groups were leftwing groups and the organizer “Jason Kessler” apparently came right out of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

          Nevertheless, the media made them own it (and unfortunately used it to smear a lot of other people who weren’t even there on the day, and had no relation to it). If anyone wants to dress as a Klansman … they should be made to own it. If Greta wants to dress up in Antifa gear, then she can own that.

          Also, this comment (from above article) seems very dishonest to me:

          Greta Thunberg’s tweet is now erased, and so is the image of her wearing the left-wing supporting t-shirt, since neither she nor her mother said to have been aware of the extremist connections.

          How is it that certain groups always get away with that? Oh we had no idea … sure thing buddy! You going to also tell me those people with the pointy hats had no idea what the KKK stood for? The people making salutes had no idea it seemed a bit of a fascist thing to do?!?

          Name one time that pleading ignorance has placated an outrage mob when it’s going after what it sees as a conservative target.

          I don’t believe them for a moment. Antifaschistische Aktion has been a violent group from the start, when it was devised by of Ernst Thälmann who was an outright Stalinist. It’s very easy to look that up. Now both parents and the daughter are claiming they didn’t even bother to check what they were wearing on their shirts? Some little innocent accident? I doubt it.

          • Transformer says:

            OK, so Greta Thunberg was photographed wearing a T-shirt based on the Converse All Stars logo and containing the words ‘Anti Fascist All-Star’.

            Call me old-fashioned but isn’t being anti-fascist a good thing ? Certainly not remotely equivalent to being pro-KKK in my book.

            It does not surprise me given what she says publicly that she supports Extinction Rebellion and I’m sure you could dig up some dodgy characters associated with that organization – but I think the libertarian movement (which I support) could be found guilty by association as well.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Cantwell)

            • Harold says:

              ” isn’t being anti-fascist a good thing ?”

              You’d of thought so, wouldn’t you? But these are stange times.

              • Dan says:

                Literally nobody, outside actual Nazis, thinks being anti-fascist is a bad thing. You know this, I know this, everybody knows this. Why play these idiot games where you pretend not to know why people have a problem with antifa members, and we have to explain the obvious?

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Isn’t Making America Great a good thing?

              • Transformer says:


                We wouldn’t be having this discussion if people (some of whom comment on this blog) weren’t trying to blur the lines between anti-fascism and some mythical bad thing called ‘AntiFa’.

                Everyone knows that anyone who wears a MAGA hat is a KKK supporter at heart.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                but MAGA hat people are heartless…?

              • Harold says:

                “While I would never believe that Greta is a black-hooded, rock-throwing street fighter … she does appear to have some connection to the organization”

                Idiot games?

                “Nevertheless, the media made them own it (and unfortunately used it to smear a lot of other people who weren’t even there on the day, and had no relation to it)”

                Sound familiar? Maybe smear someone with associations with violent groups when they were not even there on the day, or any day?

              • Dan says:

                See, like I said, we all know why people have issues with antifa that have nothing to do with them saying they are anti-fascist. We don’t need to play those stupid games.

                But if you insist on pretending they didn’t know about antifa and were just innocently wearing a shirt that they thought just opposed fascism, so be it. I’m not buying it though.

              • Transformer says:

                re: ‘but MAGA hat people are heartless…?’

                I get that ‘anti fascist’ is a loaded term for rightists just as ‘Make America Great Again’ is for leftists.

                And it would be just as unfair to suggest anybody wearing a MAGA hat is a KKK supporter as it is to suggest that Greta is some sort of rock-throwing terrorist (or whatever AntiFa is supposed to be) just for wearing an ‘anti-fascist all-start’ shirt..

              • Bob Murphy says:

                right Transformer, I am just trolling at this point.

              • Transformer says:

                In which case I revise my reply to “It would be better if they were hatless”.

              • Harold says:


              • Dan says:


                “or whatever AntiFa is supposed to be”

                This is who they are. It’s not just that they hit people with bike locks and use other forms of heinous violence. It’s also that they are just straight up insane. It’s a bunch of cosplaying losers, sometimes fighting other cosplay losers, but mostly just harassing people because they are out of their mind.

              • Harold says:

                From wikipedia, but challenge the scource if you like.

                “The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism maintains Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States, a database containing over 1,800 profiles of individuals radicalized by ideologies since 1948.[14] The database shows that from 1948 through 2016, 40.0% of identified extremists were far-right, 24.5% were Islamist and 17.4% were far-left, while 18.2% were “single issue” individuals”

                That goes back a while, but recent trends are similar.

                Between 2008 and 2016, right wing terrorists caused 79 deaths and left wing (including eco) 7 deaths (in the USA).

                Right wing terrorism is far more a threat than left wing terrirism.

                So worry about antifa, but it would have more consistency and justification if you worried more about the right.

              • Dan says:

                I don’t worry about either group of nutbags. I pity them. I just acknowledge these fools fighting in the street are all insane, and don’t pretend that any of them represent me in any way. I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a shirt or hat that might make people think I’m one of these weirdos.

                That said, I wouldn’t go throw a milkshake at them or try to hit them with a bike lock, either. I’m not a violent piece of trash like a lot of these people on both sides are.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Dan wrote: “I pity them. I just acknowledge these fools…”

                I don’t trust Harold to do what is legally required in this situation, namely to link here.

              • Harold says:


              • Dan says:


          • Harold says:

            ” It’s very easy to look that up.”

            It is also easy to look up that Antifa today has no organisational connection to the Antifa of the Weimar republic before WWII.

            • Tel says:


              After the war, Antifas varied in size and composition across the former Reich, now divided into four zones of occupation, and developed in interaction with the local occupying power. Emerging seemingly overnight in dozens of cities, most formed immediately after Allied forces arrived, while some such as the group in Wuppertal “liberated” themselves in street battles with Hitler loyalists before the Allies could.

              Pivotally, these circles were not spontaneous instances of solidarization between traumatized war survivors, but the product of Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Communist Party (KPD) veterans reactivating prewar networks. Albrecht Lein reports that the core of the Braunschweig Antifa was made up of KPD and SPD members in their forties and fifties who had avoided the front, though Catholic workers’ organizations and other forces were also involved.

              There was continuity of membership, purpose, and tactics.

  2. Harold says:

    “all self-justifying nonsense falls away, and we see the unvarnished truth.”
    Back to the post, and just bouncing ideas around. There are lots of people alive who do not see that they are at fault. You say that in the next life, this self justification will fall away. However, this self justification is a central and essential part of who they are. If we lose this, we will be very different in the next life. I sort of imagined that people view the next life as more or less a continution of this one – what we think of as the essential “us” carries on. My suggestion is that this view of the essential “us” is very different from the one we generally think of. The new “us” will be a very different thing, with totally different desires and reactions.

    Those that believe in reincarnation believe that some essential part of us carries on the the next life, although the person will be totally different. That is almost the point. There will be no recollection (generally) of the past life, yet this does not invalidate their beief that some essential part of has has continued. Christians, I think, assume memories and suchlike will be retained, but just how different to Christians think they will be in the next life? It is always described as a mystery, so maybe we can just say there is no way of knowing, but there must be some ideas.

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