January 2, 2011

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY: “Christians Don’t Care About Planetary Apocalypse!”

Ever see the movie, I AM LEGEND?

I know it’s not the same as the novel (© 1954 by Richard Matheson) or the other three movies made from the same novel and credited with starting the zombie craze. In the book, which I read many years ago, the theme is the isolation experienced by the last human on Earth and how he has become a frightening legend to the members of the “new” humanity – the zombies whom we make to look like idiots staggering drunkenly about…

Neither in the book nor the movies – nor the songs by various bands, or the comic book – are there Christians.

Credited with inventing the concept of world-wide, decimating plague, I AM LEGEND nevertheless has its roots in a novel by FRANKENSTEIN’S creator, Mary Shelley who wrote THE LAST MAN in 1826. In it, the only Christians that show up are wak ones, intent on denying reality.

Hmmm. Sense a theme here?

While ancient history shows that the Christian Church stood by the victims of plague and disease ( Corroboration: from THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY: A SOCIOLOGIST RECONSIDERS HISTORY by Rodney Stark (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Rise-of-Christianity/Rodney-Stark/e/9780691027494) “a series of devastating plagues played an instrumental role in the seemingly miraculous growth of the early church. In AD 165, and again in AD 251, terrifying epidemics descended upon the Roman Empire, killing between a quarter to a third of the population…family members abandoned their loved ones at the first sign of disease, sometimes tossing them into the roads even before they had died.

“Christians, however, soon gained a reputation for their boldness in the face of death…For these Christians, the epidemic became ‘a time of unimaginable joy,’ a chance for believers to witness to their faith by offering themselves as martyrs”) and current history shows that the Christian Church has (finally) responded to the current global epidemic of AIDS, few others see Christians helping others in disaster.

In fact, I would venture to say that the American perception is that that’s what we have FEMA for and the American Red Cross/Red Crescent. While there are certainly Christians in these organizations, and the Salvation Army has some visibility during disaster, the vast majority of Christians are seen as uncaring, self-absorbed egotists.

They certainly don’t appear in the current spate of post-apocalyptic literature and entertainment. Why not? Who’s doing the writing?

Ah, now THAT’S a situation I can do something about! I can see it now: a post-apocalyptic Christian help group for alien virus infected zombies!

Any other takers?




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