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From the "I'm not sh*tting you" files

I think we have reached the peak of AmTaliban wingnuttery here at the Blend. This is about the most unhinged thing I’ve ever seen on AgapePress – a Christian analysis of George Romero’s new zombie flick Land of the Dead. Let’s sit for a spell with MovieMinistry.com’s film critic, Dr. Marc T. Newman, as he connects the dots in his essay “What Christians Have to Say About Zombie Movies.”

The first question that might arise from simply looking at the title of this article might be, “Why would Christians even watch zombie movies must less want to have anything to say about them?” In response I need to emphasize that MovieMinistry’s role is not that of the film critic, but of the cultural critic. We do not recommend or promote films, we explain them so that Christians can see inside the driving cultural forces underlying the stories movies are telling us to see if we can use them to explore the gospel. And, believe it or not, horror films are ripe with myths and analogies that can be used to our advantage.

And that is what drove me to the cinema at midnight on Thursday to view the latest installment of George Romero’s Living Dead franchise…Fear of death is not the sole province of the zombie film — death on the battlefield in war films frightens us as well. The fear of death is heightened in Romero’s films by the fear of decay. As zombies shamble about in Romero’s films, they have a hard time literally holding themselves together. It is disquieting to see the human body profaned.

In the Old Testament, Numbers 19:11-22, God explains to the children of Israel that dead bodies are a source of uncleanness. He commands ritual washing and purifying of anyone and anything that comes into contact with a dead body. Those who touch one are unclean for a minimum of an entire week.

Because death is unnatural, decay is as well. God did not intend for our bodies to perish — they were designed to last forever. The Bible tells us that Jesus’ body did not suffer decay (Ps. 16:10), and those in Christ are promised that their own corruptible bodies will put on incorruption (1 Cor. 15:53).

…Zombies are the living dead — animated decaying corpses that feed on human flesh. Their appetites are insatiable. The films warn that zombies will not stop until they run out of food — which means that by then, everyone will be dead.

Even though by this fourth film, Romero has his zombies evolve into beings with low-level thinking and organization, what they have not developed is a morality. They are walking hunger that cannot be sated. Zombies represent primal lust — and they will kill anything that stands in their way.

…The Bible speaks of the universality of sin (Rm. 3:23) and its lethal outcome — sin breeds death (James 1:15). The same people that might cheer zombies — because they recognize that the death is not real and the gore is created with special effects — are horrified by atrocities such as those we witnessed in Rwanda, where men, women, and children were hacked to death by machetes — some while seeking refuge in church. The problem of zombies is that they are everywhere and their desire to do evil cannot be quenched — a world remarkably like our own, without the special effects.

…Without Christ, all human beings are the living dead. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes how humans are dead in their sins, enslaved to their lusts, and (as a result) are objects of wrath. Like the humans in Romero’s films, we cannot create a trustworthy way of escape — the living death is always nipping at our heels and will eventually overcome us. It is interesting that there is a minor character in Land of the Dead who calls for the inhabitants of the human city to repent and turn to Jesus. In John’s gospel, Jesus says that those who believe in Him have eternal life and have “passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). If we are to escape the death promised by sin, we cannot hope in guns and vices; we need to turn to Christ.

This one is begging for comments, people.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding