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'Walking Dead' photo (c) 2011, Robert Ziegler - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/So–Jesus & the Walking Dead?

The twain do not meet, right?

They may have more in common than you think. Let me explain.

The Walking Dead is a show about just that–the walking dead, corpses
reanimated, creatures of pure appetite. They exist only to consume.
They are all id–mindless animals. People, while not mindless, are
creatures of appetite, too. You could say that Jesus died to redeem us
from our appetites–our destructive appetites. This is what the Bible
calls “sin.” And in biblical terms, we are all the walking dead–until
Christ finds a home in our hearts.

Thing is, the struggle with our “dead” flesh doesn’t cease when we
accept Christ. No; rather, we become people of two natures: one
heavenly, one earthly. And the two are constantly in conflict with one
another. In addition to this internecine struggle, we live in a world at
war. Everyone else out there lives in conflict with themselves as well, held
under sway of the unholy three: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

This is what the Bible terms the “spiritual forces of wickedness in
the heavenly places.” The principalities and powers–the devil and his angels:
beings who hate us, oppose us, and seek–like zombies–to devour us (“be therefore on your
guard for your enemy, the devil, ROAMS around like a roaring lion
(shambling zombie) seeking whom he may devour”). Yes, God is
greater–and the ultimate victory has been won–but in the meantime we
live, like the characters of the Walking Dead, in enemy-occupied
territory. This is a world under siege.

The thing is, before, we went along as part of the world system–not
knowing we were dead. Then Christ came and gave us life. Now we are
aware of the conflict. And like Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes–who
symbolically died–we have been reborn into a world at war. Indeed
that is how the show begins: Rick takes a grievous wound, lapses into
a coma, and is for all intents and purposes rendered dead to the world.
When he awakes, it’s to the world of the dead. Like us, he’s reborn
into a world at war. And for a brief time, he becomes the “disciple”
of Morgan, who teaches him of the apocalypse, and how to dispatch the
enemy.

Like us, in addition to the threat of the “walkers” (zombies, demons),
he finds both enemies and allies. Yes, like our world, there are those
who, instead of uniting against a common enemy, would exploit this war
for their own ends. And they don’t much care who–living or
undead–they kill to stay alive.

All the while not knowing that they’re already dead themselves.

Yet Jesus says that he who seeks to save his life shall lose it, and
he who gives his life for my sake, and the Gospel’s, shall find it.

Rick Grimes, at least in season one of the series, represents this
voice of life, of hope, of humanity in a world gone mad.

He has come to proclaim liberty to the captives–held in shackles of fear, cowering in hiding
from the enemy.

And, really, to keep their sorry a**es alive.

Just like Jesus.

In writing this post, I’m looking at the popular T.V. show The Walking Dead through the lens of a Christian worldview. You may ask what does a Christian worldview has to do with a zombie show?
Fair question.

I’ve long held that fiction in general, and horror/supernatural fiction in particular, owes its popularity to the often unacknowledged longings of the heart. As Pascal said, “the heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.”

In this context, take that to mean that our hearts acknowledge, even long for, the supernatural despite our scientific reason decrying it. There is a reason that the novels of Stephen King have been perennially popular; aside from writing crackerjack stories, believable characters, and often white-knuckle plots, his stories are replete with the supernatural.

This resonates with our deep hearts. And horror stories in particular are often morality tales–a sort of What Would You Do? (ABC show with John Quinones) from hell. The point is that horror stories acknowledge the reality of an often supernatural evil.

In fact, I would venture to say that all of the stories we love have a villain we love to hate. Why is this? Because our story has a villain.

Which brings me to The Walking Dead. The shows creators/writers don’t necessarily intend to present things from a Christian worldview (probably quite the opposite–that the living are now in a hopeless situation); however, they live in the same world as you and I. As such, they can’t escape a fundamental fact of reality: we live in a world at war.

Like Rick Grimes in the pilot episode, we are all of us born into a world at war. And like him, we are often dazed, confused–comatose, even–until Christ bids us wake. The zombies in the show are, to me, a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality: demons are real (they also serve as adroit social commentary on unchecked consumerism, unrestrained id, the sin nature let loose).

But we don’t like to talk about that in this enlightened 21st century, do we?

Folks, all I’m saying is that there is a spiritual reality that we often poo-poo to our great detriment. And this reality is the truth behind the books, and shows, we love.

How about you? Do you read horror, or watch The Walking Dead?

Sound off in the comments.