As Halloween approaches, perhaps it’s natural to take a step back and wonder whether the popularity of the living dead – which in its current form has been going strong for about a decade – has any kind of theological significance.
The Rev. Derik Hamby thinks it might have something to do with a faltering confidence in social progress, coupled with American society’s ever-growing unwillingness to confront what awaits us all:
Perhaps the zombie motif is a comment to our fear of death itself. Perhaps we fear the entire reality of our mortal fragile state and the idea of Uncle Ralph walking aimless around looking for brains is really our entire discomfort with admitting that one day we will cease to be alive?
This is actually kind of old hat by now: there’s a flourishing subgenre of zombie theology books out there, ranging from serious explorations of the religious implications of the George A. Romero zombie movies to books that see zombies as an ideal metaphor for what’s wrong with American Christianity.
My favorite, though – and one that prompts “why didn’t I think of that?” levels of woe – has to be The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook, a “blend of fact and fiction” that promises to help believers slay “the living dead within.”