The Zombification Of America by @TheAmericnJesus

Margaret —  November 16, 2012 — 17 Comments

Let me introduce you to my friend, Zack Hunt. Zack recently wrote this post on zombies and what zombies have to do with America and the church. We thought it was both hilarious and brilliant and think you will, too. Be sure to check out his blog, here

Throughout this year, I want to introduce you to some of my friends. People whose voices I know, respect, and appreciate. Their words often challenge me in my thinking and faith. I hope they'll challenge you, too. Enjoy!

zombies

 

The other day I got what is definitely one of my favorite emails of all time.

It was an offer to teach me how to prepare my garage and/or barn for the impending zombie apocalypse.

According to the sender, I would appreciate their article on zombie-proofing since I write so much about zombies. I’ve definitely never written about zombies on here before (that I’m aware of), but I have had this particular post in mind for a while, so I figured why not go ahead and write it.

As I was watching Zombieland for at least the tenth time the other day, I realized something.

Zombies really have taken over America!

They’ve even invaded the church!

American culture has become obsessed with zombies lately. We’ve got zombie movies, a hit TV show about zombies, and hacking into digital traffic signs to warn of an impending zombie apocalypse has become a popular prank across the country.

But why?

What’s so appealing about zombies?

For me, the answer to that question can be seen pretty clearly in a movie like Zombieland. Zombies are mindless, soulless monsters. They may look human, but it’s obvious to everyone they’re just a walking pile of useless flesh. Which means they can be shot, decapitated, blown up, or have a piano dropped on top of them and it doesn’t matter because they’re not really human anyway.

After all, you can’t have them getting too close, otherwise they’ll eat your brains.

If you ask me, that sounds a lot like political and theological discourse in America. Even that part about your brains getting eaten.

Treating the other side of the aisle or the people in the next pew with dignity and respect can be really hard to do when we fundamentally disagree with them. Especially when we refuse to actually listen to them for fear they might eat our brains or worse, the brains of our children. Our brains may not get literally panfried, but we’re terrified of our children getting “indoctrinated” by other people’s ideas or, worse, we’re afraid we might have to confront the fact that we might be wrong about something.

So, rather than going through all the hard, messy work of loving our enemies or hearing what they have to say, we zombify them.

They’re no longer people anymore in our eyes, they’re “democrats,” “republicans,” “Calvinists,” or “Arminians.” Because of this zombifcation they not longer have to be treated with respect and dignity because we’ve stripped them of their humanity, reducing them to nothing more than a charicatured, soulless enemy ripe from destruction.

We did what we had to do. We killed the zombie and held off the apocalypse.

The sad reality of both our country and our church is that far too many of us refuse to treat people we disagree with as if they truly are human beings created in the image of God. Instead, we’d rather treat them like zombies, lop off their heads, and be done with it.

Zombie hunting may be great for the movies, but it’s terrible for real life.

Particularly if you claim the name “Christian.”

When Jesus came across people who’s ideology of lifestyle he didn’t agree with, he didn’t zombify them. He listened to them. He talked to them. He ate with them. He defended them. And then he died for them.

If Christian is who we are going to be, then this is the path we must follow because zombifying our enemies isn’t just problematic for dialogue and debates.

It’s the very definition of being anti-Christ.

If being a disciple of Jesus is something we are going to take seriously, more seriously than just posting a cheesy status on Facebook, then that doesn’t mean we have to stop having an opinion, nor does it mean we have to stop arguing that opinion vigorously.

But what it does mean is we have to start treating our political and theological opponents with dignity and respect. It means we have to stop denying them their identity as a person created in the image of God. It means we have to treat them as equals.

To do otherwise means we’re not just being zombie hunters, we’re being anti-Christ.

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt
Don't forget to check out Zack's blog, here
Find Zack on FaceBook, here
Follow @TheAmericnJesus on Twitter, here

 

*Photo courtesy of here

 

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17 responses to The Zombification Of America by @TheAmericnJesus

  1. I think the real reason why zombies are so popular now is because in these post-9/11 post-Katrina times, we’re all kinda waiting for the next disaster to happen. At least I am!

    But you do bring up a good point, Zack. In the Church we have a habit of vilifying “the other,” whether it’s some one of a different political opinion, different sexual orientation, or a different theology. When we vilifying “the other,” we make them less-than human. Your Republican neighbor is no longer Jim; he’s a symbol for everything that’s wrong with American politics. (If you are a Republican, you can use the word Democrat as a substituted and it would still mean the same thing.)

    And I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else!

    • Travis, we’re probably all been guilty of this at one time or another!

    • Travis, I’m guilty of it too. I try hard not to, but inevitably I default to zombifying people sometimes, because, honestly, it’s easy. Which is why I try to go out of my way to make friends or at least talk to people I disagree with as often as possible. I may still end up disagreeing with them about various things, but it’s a lot harder to “zombify” somebody when you try befriending or at least listening to them instead.

  2. P.S. My coworker Toby is obsessed with zombies, so I’m definitely sending this article to him!

  3. I think it’s really interesting to see almost a paradigm shift in scary movies because in the 90′s there was a lot of fascination with ghosts, which of course is all soul and no body–now it’s the opposite. I hate to overthink things, but it can make for interesting social commentary!

    • Natalie, fascinating! I hadn’t noticed that before, but you’re right–I hope someone does do some social commentary on it…and soon!

  4. Loved this. Thanks for sharing Zac’s work. I wil look for more from him. Totally agree with his sentiments. The villification of the ‘other side’ (whatever that might mean to you) is essential if we are to move forward. It’s even more essential if you think of a collaborative eschatology, of bringing God’s kingdom to earth.

  5. This is great! I never thought of it as a way to make them the “Other.” I just wrote last week about something similar, but applied our obsession with zombies as a morbid obsession, expanding on a discussion by Derrida: http://jbyas.com/2012/11/01/on-political-rants-zombies/

    But thanks for the post, I love anything that connects critical thinking to pop culture!

  6. This really nailed our issues with dehumanizing people. I had a really disturbing conversation once with someone who fought in the first Iraq war, and he essentially spoke about the Iraqis as animals. It was a sobering moment for me.

    On a lighter note, it sounds like Zack has invested all of his time into thinking about theology and very little time into preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. Perhaps a follow up post is in order about what you’re stocking up on, your weapon of choice, etc.

    • ed, one of the girls in our office saw a huge jeep-like car a couple weeks ago with the words “ZOMBIE RESPONSE TEAM” stamped on the side. I bet they’re prepared

    • Twinkies. Lots and lots of twinkies. They may not be a weapon, but if Zombieland taught me anything, it’s that twinkies will be in short supply during the zombie apocalypse. Gotta prepare now.

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