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Zombies and Why Christians are Sometimes Like Them

September 22, 2014

It has been a while now that I have been waiting for the cultural fascination with zombies to fade; or at least to fade a little.  But no, it seems to still go on.  I’ve been pondering why this is so for a long time.  I’m not sure exactly when it will end.

Sure, we’ve also been fascinated with vampires but that is somehow different.  Just look at the books and movies about the two groups.  Vampires are almost always portrayed as the good guys.  At least some of them are.  There are usually bad vampires around too but they are almost invariably defeated by good-guy vampires.  There are no good-guy zombies however.  Yet they keep being the focus of movies, TV series’, books and even online discussion groups.

The essence of the zombie fascination seems to be focused on our need to fight them.  Zombie hunters and the like are almost always the heroes.  Even in stories where the zombies are winning there is always a heroic band of beleaguered zombie fighters.

Christians don’t seem immune to this trend.  Indeed you can find books like The Amish vs The Zombies on Amazon.  In fact, one of the discussion groups I mentioned above has a serious ongoing thread speculating on whether the Amish would survive in zombie America.  Could it be that we Christians find zombies just as creepily fascinating at the secular world?

I can’t help but think that this zombie fascination is rooted in the dread that our individualism is at risk.  We fear that our personality, all the things that make us unique, can somehow be destroyed by sinister outside forces leaving us dull, stupid and dead; unable to make choices and driven only by some insatiable drive that is exactly the same as every other zombie.

A lot of the people reading this blog are thoughtful and caring Christians.  Many of them however feel a bit at odds with elements of their own faith, just as I sometimes do.  We feel a steady pressure to look a certain way, act a certain way, hold certain beliefs (many of which are hard to extract from the Bible) and in general conform to an image.  In short, to become like to zombies.  We are to like the same things, oppose the same things, read or watch the same things, not read or watch the same other things, eat the same brains, etc. Perhaps reading my posts, however pitiful they may be, is something of a relief in seeing they are not alone.

So are we like zombies?  Rather than give an answer, I’d like to invite you to Google the phrase “Christian zombies.”  A lot of people seem to think we are.

I’m not sure I have what it takes to be, or even want to be, a zombie fighter, let alone a fighter of Christian zombies.  But I do have this innate desire to not conform to an image, particularly one that seems to be subtly imposed by the church at large.

I’ve always been fascinated by the story in Mark 9 about the transfiguration of Jesus.  Peter sees the transfigured Jesus in clothes so brilliant that “no one on earth could bleach them” them so and he is terrified.  Then he sees Moses and Elijah with him and instantly recognizes them.  He has never seen them but he knows them.  He knows who they are.  I can’t help but think that it is because being Christ-like is exactly the opposite of being a zombie.  We aren’t Christ-like when we are all the same; when we conform to some pre-determined image.  We are like Christ when our love for Him is so strong that the uniqueness of how we have been created shines unmistakably and people see Him in us.  And that is never going to happen when we are all the same.

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From → Christianity

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