The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead - Season 3 - Poster Art - Frank Ockenfels/AMC

A while back, the AMC hit show “The Walking Dead” was finally moved to a TV-MA rating due to the extreme violence and gore, which is its primary attraction.  I personally have only seen the show a few times, but the things I have seen on the show include a man being stabbed in the eye with a piece of glass, a severed zombie torso resiliently crawling, and a man pulling a bone out of a zombie’s limb to use as a weapon.  What worries me even more is that nobody seems to be bothered by this.  On the contrary, people celebrate it.  On each occasion that the show strives to outdo itself, you don’t hear statements like “That was awful!” or “That’s disgusting!”  Instead, what you hear are statements like “That was awesome!” or “That’s got to be my favorite kill this season.”

“So our culture is violent.  What’s the big deal?”  I’ll tell what the big deal is.    Fifty years ago, this kind of media was virtually if not completely nonexistent.  Let’s think about violence in reality.  Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook have all happened within the last fifteen years.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming those incidents on the entertainment.  The violence of the entertainment industry is one of the many symptoms, it is not the disease.  Here’s what I’m getting at: what did we think was gonna happen when we started embracing violence?  Violence is now embraced and glamourized.  The dream of being cool is no longer typified only by athletes and artists.  After all, Rambo, Jason Bourne, and Django are so much better.  Who wouldn’t want to be able to kill dozens of people in such a short time?  I believe that one reviewer got it right when he said this while reviewing the recent film “The Hunger Games”: “This is what happens when a culture embraces violence.”  Specifically in relation to the film, it means violent games that involve teenagers slaughtering each other mercilessly while being cheered on by the masses.  A little dramatic?  Maybe.  But the point is valid.

Ultimately, the result is this: the value of human life is dropping at a shocking rate.  The glamorization of violence, the acceptance of abortion, and the fantasizing of bloodshed are making us as people next to worthless.  By this point, I hope you are seeing the gravity of this issue.  The result is two-fold: first, we need to trash some of our media.  As you’re reading this, you’re probably realizing there are some changes you need to make.  When I realized how big of a deal this was, I stopped playing first-person shooter games.  I was more wary of the movies I saw.  I deleted some songs from my music library.  I did these things because I don’t want to be part of the society that embraces violence.  Secondly, we need to speak out about this sort of thing.  By that I don’t necessarily mean you need to take part in a protest or sign a petition, although I do believe those things can be helpful.  What I do believe we need to be doing is talking with those closest to us.  We need to be talking to our friends and our family about why this is such a big deal and why we have chosen to not take part in these things anymore.  I firmly believe that our culture is not beyond saving; but if it is to be saved, it will take a lot of effort and lot of courage.  Just know this: if we see the dangers and still refuse to speak up, the blood of future generations will be on our hands.

Logan Judy
Logan Judy is a Christian blogger and science fiction author with a Batman complex. At Cross Culture, Logan writes about film, comics, cultural analysis, and whatever else strikes his fancy. In addition to his work at Cross Culture, Logan also blogs and podcasts at A Clear Lens. You can find him tweeting about Batman, apologetics, and why llamas will one day rule the world, @loganrjudy.
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5 thoughts on “The Walking Dead

  1. I sympathize with your concerns. The dehumanization of people by all areas of entertainment is a pretty sad thing to witness. I do draw a distinction personally though in the sci-fi realm. When gruesome violence is glorified or otherwise displayed in a light-hearted tone on other people, then I think you have some grounds for concern on it’s effect on the populace and becoming numb to it. When you’re talking about violence upon zombies, vampires… other fictional “monsters” then I think an important line is drawn that these are not people, they are not created in God’s image, they are not real, etc.

    I do love The Walking Dead so I’m naturally a little defensive of it :) I think one of the key elements in that show has been the examination and portrayal of how mankind deals with one another in times of crisis. The exploitation, the deception… There was a moment in season two when decisions on what to do (kill or release) with another live person were discussed. I thought the show made a considerable effort to flesh out the morals of the situation and really painted the ONE GUY defending the prisoners right to live in a good light. Then of course a zombie ripped open his stomach… :/

    Good thoughts. Never a bad idea to re-examine the effect what we consider entertainment has on us and on others.

  2. Thank you thank you thank you for standing up for Christian ethics and against our “need” to defend what we choose to watch!!! I have searched the web for some sound moral views on this show and have found NONE, I don’t understand why Fellow Christians continue to defend this show. Perhaps bc of a desire to watch it over shadows what God would want us to do. I am tempted to watch things I shouldn’t sometimes but my husband and I keep each other in ck. please let’s do that more often, brothers and sisters. It makes me really saddened to see how many teens r embracing this type of obscene tv.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I also don’t understand why Christians are so prone to defend the show. I will say that it does sometimes explore issues of humanity,but that’s not its primary purpose. It exists to promote violence without hope, which is about as far from a Christian worldview as you can get.

  3. I have watched some of the later seasons, and the show has become progressively less story driven and more celebratory of gore. With that said, my husband recently convinced me to watch the first couple of seasons, and while I hate the gore(I mean truly hate it, and he’s not fond of it either), I appreciate the character development and the wonderful acting. Seeing the difference in what they were at the first and what they are now is phenomenal storytelling. I think it would be great without the zombies…better even. Just some catastrophy that shows the measure of a man. I deeply disapprove of it’s use of real churches in two scenes at least, and some of the views they’ve expressed toward God. I think this would be a better show if it showcased at least a few people who have genuine faith and keep it…not Hershel with his horrid comment in the last episode of season 2…..or Carol’s brittle belief system. What this show needs is a dose of real hope. I know they portray it as people doing the best they can in a world gone to crap, but it needs some people who genuinely hold to their faith. It is not a moral show, nor does it proclaim to be…but it is a show that questions what it means to be human, and what humans will do when the rules of society don’t apply anymore. In that view, it is uncannily accurate. Yet there are people who live through horrors just as bad from real dangers in Liberia and the Sierra Lionne…and keep their Christianity till the end. The show portrays the living as just as much of a danger as the dead…..and I wholeheartedly agree. The real monsters are human and demon, as they always have been. This show is a lot to stomach, and not for children. But it is interesting, particularly from a psychological standpoint.

    • Were the show to have, as you pointed out, something resembling genuine hope, I think I would probably watch it. But as is, even with the interesting character development, it’s really more a celebration of gore than anything else, and the idea of watching something that exists mostly to celebrate gore deeply troubles me.

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