Dexter and Theology

If you haven’t seen the Showtime series Dexter… do. It’s about a forensic blood spatter expert working for Miami PD’s Homicide division who moonlights as a serial killer that tracks down other murderers. It’s a fantastic dramatic series, and it really makes you love a truly bad guy.

The new season has some seriously religious overtones to it. Dexter, who has never given a moment’s thought to religion, is trying to get his son into a good pre-school, which just happens to be a Catholic school, and has to deal with figuring out why people believe all this stuff. There’s also a ‘big bad’ serial killer going around using Biblical language and symbolism in his killings, apparently as a means of trying to bring about the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation.

Anyway… Eventually, at his high school reunion, Dexter tracks down a football player who killed his wife and made it look like a suicide, and plays with him in the usual Dexter style. Upon seeing that the killer has a tattoo of Jesus on his chest, the conversation turns to faith.

Dexter: What would Jesus have done? Seriously now. How do you reconcile your belief in a higher power – in a god – with what you’ve done?

Victim: What difference does it make?

Dexter: I’m just curious.

Victim: So, what – I’m supposed to defend my beliefs to you?

Dexter: If you don’t mind.

Victim: Look… I mean… Everyone makes mistakes. They do things they shouldn’t do. And… they’re only human. But God forgives us.

Dexter: Really? It’s as simple as that? You kill someone, and God forgives you for it?

Victim: Yes!

Dexter: So I can kill you, and God will forgive me?

Victim: Well, no!

Dexter: But you just said he would!

Victim: You have to truly repent.

Dexter: Do you truly repent for killing [your wife]?

Victim: Yes! Definitely!

Dexter: Liar… (raises his knife)

Victim: No no no, you don’t want to do that!

Dexter: Why is that?

Victim: Because if you let me go, God will give you life everlasting, and… and whatever you want!

Dexter: Ehh, there’s really nothing I need.

Victim: You don’t wanna… you don’t wanna… you don’t wanna make God mad!

Dexter: Don’t you hear how foolish you sound?

Victim: He will smite you with… with swords and rocks and thunder!

Dexter: Ehh… thunder’s just the noise. It would be lightning.

Victim: You cannot kill me, for God is a mighty fortress!

Dexter: Oh, please, stop.

Victim: I have been washed in the blood of the lamb, and he will protect me!

And then… Dexter smashes him in the head with a hammer.

Funny how platitudes ring a little hollow when you’re using your last breaths to say them… I just hope this doesn’t turn into a ‘Dexter finds god’ thing. That’d be totally out of his character, not to mention sappy.


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