Christianity and the Zombies Apocalypse


A weird thought on a Biblical understanding of life and death. There are also zombies farther down. Unfortunately, the two parts are related, so its probably best not to skip the first part.

Part I: Death in the Bible

Firstly, the Bible defines all non-Christians as dead (see e.g. Romans 7:9-11, 5:12-14). Secondly, Christians are also defined as dead (Galatians 2:20). Thus, the only living person left seems to be Jesus (who doesn't really fit in either category). Admittedly, he was dead (pace Muslims), but he got over it. As far as I know, there have been no confirmed sightings of Him (excluding visions, etc. that are impossible to confirm or deny) for almost 2000 years, but He is supposed to be immortal, so I assume He is around there somewhere.

The rest of us (Christians and otherwise) are immortal too, despite being dead. I am not sure if there is a contradiction in there or not. We also occasionally become more dead, with the possible exception of Christians who, depending on how you define your terms, might be becoming less dead.

Part II: My Plans for the Zombie Apocalypse

I have occasionally been asked if I have a plan for the zombie apocalypse. My normal response is that I will be one of the zombies. Part of the reason for this is that making a plan seems hard, and the danger seems small. Another part is that everyone else wants to be the resistance, and if everyone does that, the whole thing will fall apart. But there is a third reason: I can't shake the suspicion that the zombies have the moral high ground.

In one room at the University, there was a poster that some student had made explaining some of the right and wrong ways to respond to zombies. One of them was that if you say a friend who appeared to have been zombified, you should shoot first and worry about it never. I think this is pretty standard advice. However, it seems wrong to me. If you see that friend was sick with some horrible disease, surely your first response should be to try to help them, not to turn on them. This is a clear case of love for others verses self-interest. It is not even guaranteed to turn out badly. For example, during the Roman Empire, the normal response to plague was to run as fast and far as you could. In contrast, many of the early Christians stayed to look after the sick (doubtless in part because they were less scared of death). They especially looked after the sick Christians, which meant that, overall, fewer Christians than pagans died from the plagues. Killing the infected seems a (morally) wrong way to respond to disease.

On the other side of the equation, we have the zombies, who lurch (or whatever zombies do now) around until they see an uncorrupted human, who they then attempt to zombify. This is exactly what zombies are supposed to do, both according their Platonic Form, and according the principle of nature that life should seek to reproduce itself. After all, the right and lawful prey of a zombie is humans. The zombies do what they should, in accordance with the purpose for which they were created (by the author of the story). And that is a pretty good definition of moral superiority.

Part III: The New Zombies

Recently, I realized something. Christians are dead. In theory at least, we are controlled, not by our own will, but by an outside entity (the Holy Spirit) that has taken control of our bodies. We wander around and occasionally spread the infection to those we meet. The Bible describes us as become New Men, in contrast to the Old Men that everyone starts as (see Colossians 3:9-10, Ephesians 4:22-24). The New Men (theoretically) adopt a new set of values, oriented to converting more Old Men into copies of themselves. I admit that the Bible never uses the word "zombie" (at least in any translation I know), but the word didn't even exist back when it was written. The concept, however, is pretty clear.

The zombie apocalypse began two thousand years ago. It is still going on today. And I... I am a zombie.

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