I’ve noticed something interesting about myself. The times when I feel angry rarely come as the result of outside influences. I can usually deal with stress, rudeness, and even injustice without losing my temper. No, I tend to get angry when I am not doing my best to keep the commandments. When I’m failing to be right with God, I’m on a sandy foundation, and I become angry when even the smallest thing jostles my precious ego.
I wonder if other people are like me. If that’s the case, then the reason there is a great deal of hatred in the world is because so many commandments are being broken, and many of us feel angry at the storms of life that threaten to push us off our weak foundation. Sexual immorality, covetousness, dishonesty, and blasphemy are all commonplace. Even if we try to justify our sins to ourselves, we can’t escape the knowledge that they are wrong.
If we would humble ourselves before God and plead with Him for forgiveness, we would see tensions fall, nations heal, and peace achieved. There wouldn’t be furious street fights, violent riots, and other acts of lawlessness burning and destroying cities. Unity alone isn’t the solution to our problem. Uniting on Christlike principles, such as repentance and forgiveness, is what we truly need to do.
I recently realized both the problem we are facing and its solution when I pondered on Ghostbusters II. That’s right, the secret to curing our world’s biggest ills is found in the sequel to a classic ‘80s sci-fi comedy. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Freedom vs. Liberty
At the heart of Ghostbusters II is a message about the difference between freedom and liberty. One is an opportunity for action and the other is a possible effect of the actions we take. You see, we have the freedom to make choices, but some choices lead to liberty and others lead to bondage.
From the opening scene of the movie, we see New Yorkers treating each other horribly and losing their tempers over the tiniest trifles. Later, three of the Ghostbusters go for an impromptu swim in a giant underground river of slime representing all of the bad feelings of the people of New York City. When they try to confront the mayor about it, he comes down hard on the freedom side of the debate with these words:
“Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God-given right.”
He’s absolutely right. We have all been endowed with the freedom to choose misery and death or liberty and eternal life. The mayor has been so jaded by the evil side of humanity that he views the default position of his fellow citizens as entirely self-centered and awful. They only use their freedom in negative ways. He scoffs at the idea of telling people to be nice to each other because he doesn’t think anyone would take such a notion seriously. Notice any parallels to our own time?
An Inspiring Symbol
Despite some initial setbacks, the Ghostbusters come to believe that there is enough goodwill in their fellow citizens to help them overcome their cynicism and narcissism. They just need to find an uncorrupted symbol everyone can get behind. There have been many such symbols used to rally people to righteous causes in the past. Examples? The Ark of the Covenant for the Hebrews. The cross for Christians. Old Glory for Americans. The Alamo for Texans.
When the Ghostbusters come to the source of the slime where an evil entity is holed up in a seemingly impenetrable shell, they realize their trusty proton packs aren’t enough to break through. They need an incredible amount of positive energy to counteract the negative slime. What do the Ghostbusters come up with to rally New Yorkers to regain their spirit of liberty? Why, the Statue of Liberty!
I love that it’s Ray Stantz who inspires his companions to have hope after the scientific-minded Egon Spengler has just concluded that there’s no logical reason to believe they can succeed. Ray is the most childlike of the bunch, so it makes sense he would look for the best in everyone and have faith that there’s an unconventional solution to their challenge. Thankfully, Egon is willing to listen, and it’s he who identifies the exact thing that can inspire the positivity they need.
The Hero of Ghostbusters II
During the final battle with Vigo the Carpathian, it’s not the Ghostbusters who ultimately win the day. Yes, they came up with the idea to use the Statue of Liberty as a source of hope, but it’s all of the New Yorkers on the street responding to that call with joyful singing who make the difference. Their positivity neutralizes the evil influence of the negative slime, freeing the Ghostbusters at the moment when it looks like all hope is lost.
Louis Tully embodies this spirit of goodness and decency. It’s treated like a joke, but Louis is the real hero when he suits up, travels across town, and finally uses his proton pack on the building just as the Ghostbusters inside finish off Vigo. His determination against great odds makes him a true hero. His faith in himself and his tools is rewarded when he watches the shell of evil slime get obliterated by the slightest touch of the beam from his proton pack.
The Choice Is Clear
In Ghostbusters II, the choice is clear: liberty or death. The river of slime is literally leading to a brutal dictator who plans to enslave anyone who falls under his control. The Ghostbusters have no desire to rule or harm anyone. Their only goal is to defeat the evil by inspiring others to choose life, liberty, and happiness.
Baby Oscar represents the uncorrupted rising generation currently being raised in this world of ours. Vigo wishes to possess that innocent child and imbue all of his evil desires into him. Thankfully, Oscar’s mother fights against Vigo’s evil influence and seeks to protect her baby at all costs. Are we willing to fight for our own children, fight the influence of evil in our daily lives, treat others as we would want to be treated, and seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ to the best of our ability? I hope so.
Basically, what I’m saying is that when there’s something wrong in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Not the Ghostbusters. Not He-Man. I hope our first thought will be to call upon God for forgiveness, patience, Christlike love, and every other good gift to combat evil. When we’re ready to believe that that is the answer to our seemingly insurmountable problems, then we’ll see actual miracles take place.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.