Comin' right at ya!
As I enjoy these days of my vacation, I try and get some reading done - not just Scripture, theology and hagiography, but also some history and literature. One of the books in the case, the one I am reading at the moment is Max Brooks' World War Z. Yes, zombies! I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago and I was intrigued, so I bought the book and I must say it is very good - much better than the movie.
Well, it seems the great Fr Robert Barron shares my view - so if a zombie apocalypse should break out there are two priests who are ready for it. Drawing on the doctrine of original sin, Fr Barron sees the zombies as an image of that fault which is at the heart if our fallen human nature - a fault or weakness that is spread like a contagion. It is a very interesting thesis. He writes: "Do you see now why the zombie -- a human being so compromised by the effects of a contagion that he is really only a simulacrum of a human -- is such an apt symbol for a person under the influence of sin?" In the movie, as in the book, there are desperate attempts to escape the zombies. The Israelis, for example, build a massive wall around Jerusalem - but they cannot keep the zombies out, no physical construction can halt sin, and when it comes to original sin there is no escaping it. There is, however, healing, and that healing is found in Christ and in his Sacrament of Baptism.
Every generation has its ghoul - that supernatural creature that strikes fear into us. We had ghosts, vampire, werewolves, and now we have zombies. And who are zombies? Ultimately they are the ordinary people who surround us who have been infected by a mysterious contagion and then turn on us seeking to tear us to pieces or make us zombies too. What does this mean? I suppose one answer to that is that we are afraid of the other - we have become so individualised that the other is now a source of fear and a potential threat, even if that other is a close relative - no one can be trusted. And really when you get down to it, it is really a fear of ourselves - we are uncomfortable in our own skin, and such is the malaise of modern life. And why are we afraid of ourselves, of the other?
I would suggest it is because we have lost God. If our Creator has been abandoned, then our humanity will not be far behind. We have become what Sartre predicted we would be - lonely, lost, without hope, strangers to ourselves. Interestingly, as Fr Barron points out, the World War Z movie offers a corrective, a hope: love - love of family, love of friends and the determination to protect, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves. In other words what Jesus says: he who loses his life saves it.
Read Fr Barron's article - it is very good, particularly his reflection on how Brad Pitt's character is like Jesus. As a friend of mine always says at our monthly film club: This film is about redemption.
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