Satan is a minor character in the Gospels, appearing only in the temptation stories, but lurking in the backward elsewhere in the narrative. The most important question about Satan in these films is his relationship to the Son of God. This is a question for which the Gospels have a ready answer: Satan is the cosmic foe whom God vanquishes through Jesus' death. In the movies, however, the answer is not nearly so clearcut. Filmmakers must decide whether to ignore Satan on the grounds that many members of their audience do not believe he exists, or whether to treat him realistically in keeping with the beliefs of the Gospel writers, early Christians, and some contemporary movie viewers as well. Should Satan be treated allegorically, as a stand-in for the evil in the world, or psychologically, as the externalization of anxious, fearful, or evil human thoughts and deeds?
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