Archives For Cinematic Apologetics

The second half of Season Three of The Walking Dead is about to begin. I have been blogging  my way through The Walking Dead and Philosophy, an interesting book which uses the show to address some serious questions about life. The conclusions often leave much to be desired, but the book (and the show) provide a great opportunity to become part of the discussion.

Here is an excerpt from my final post based on the book:

The basic idea behind natural law is that unnatural actions will be self-destructive. Something is bad when it “isn’t functioning according to its general design plan, whereas an evil thing is, strictly speaking, something willful which chooses to act against what is natural or just.” Natural actions (that which participates in the good, as Aristotle would say) will be beneficial.

Elizabeth Rard (“Dead Ends”) notes the implications that follow from these contrasting ethical position: “Do these moral values exist objectively, or are they something invented by man? If they’re objective, the apocalypse… will not change the fact that doing X is wrong. If they’re invented… perhaps there really is no reason to be moral people at all.”

Tauriq Moosa (“Babes in Zombie Land”) forsees an apocaplypse in which our invented moral “X’s” will no longer necessarily be wrong: “We can’t assume that any action is by definition wrong. Our focus therefore is on an action that appears obviously good or beneficial: surviving. To be consistent, we must ask: if killing can be good and justified, perhaps surviving can be bad and unjustified?”

To explain his affirmative response to his own question, he examines the case of Maggie and Glenn’s desire to have a child. He writes: “It’s hard to conceive of anything worse for survivors to do than to make children suffer along with them…What reasons could there be for making another mouth to feed and another body to protect… [they] have a moral obligation not to have children.” Continue Reading…

For those of you interested in the intersection between religion and pop culture, I have been posting a series of worldview analysis based on The Walking Dead and Philosophy, a book that looks at the deeper questions in AMC’s wildly popular series.

From “How Do You Solve A Problem Like A Zombie?”

“Even before The Walking Dead and Jersey Shore became popular, the world had been introduced to the notion of philosophical zombies, theoretical creatures identical to human beings with one tiny distinction – they have no consciousness, qualia, or sentience. Imagine a twin who is identical to you in every possible material way but lacks any type of inner subjective experience.  Clearly something is different between the two of you, but how and why?”

From “Much Undead Ado About Nothing”:

“Daniel Dennett says that ‘…mechanistic theories of consciousness…do, in fact, explain everything about consciousness that needs explanation.’   We may think we are conscious people with subjective experiences of rationality, self-awareness, thoughts, ideas, and emotions, but we aren’t. If Dennett is correct, then at some level ‘machines,’ ‘conscious beings,’ and ‘humans’ must have at least compatible, if not interchangeable, natures.  But do we have compelling reason to believe that our subjective experiences can be reduced to emergent qualities of complex biological and chemical machinery?”

From “Leviathans and Zombies: Social Contracts and the Walking Dead”:

“Beneath this story line lurk several serious questions:  Do people have rights?  If so, where do we get them?  Are they innate or contrived? And even if they exist and are codified, how are they best enforced?”

From “Absurd Heroism: Camus and the Real Walking Dead”:

“If Camus and his disciples are correct, we have always lived in a post-apocalyptic world. Which is worse, I wonder – a world in which human are wiped out, or one in which human have always roamed an earth devoid of meaning, hope, morality and truth?”

From “Deconstructing Humans”:

“The subhuman zombies of AMC’s The Walking Dead have reanimated a hot philosophical topic: What does it mean to be human?  It’s one thing to identify deviations from the norm. Clarifying the standard from which we are deviating is a bit more difficult.”

God is a storyteller and we are his image bearers. If you enjoy movies (or stories of any kind), join us for a group discussion about what entertainment really means and how it can be redeemed. Continue Reading…

Zombies and Worldviews

Anthony Weber —  March 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

From a longer post on the worldviews found in “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Game of Thrones”:

  Here’s the problem:  none of them offer hope.  Sure, particular situations end well – occasionally.  But the pot at the end of the rainbow is not filled with gold.  The characters are forced to create their own meaning in a meaningless world; to find their own kind of hope when there is none; to rage agains the dying of the light while not actually believing there will be any end other than darkness.
   These movies and shows may all be good and noble. But without hope, the truth about reality is incomplete, so…it’s really not true.  And a partial truth is a lie. 
     I am starting to think “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” move me because I bring to them a hope and a belief in redemption that is not actually in the story.  If I  step outside of my Christian presupposition about the world – through Christ, all can be made well –  the shows strike me as mesmerizing nihilism. 
     If that is true, what does the popularity of these shows say about our culture?  Do they make us feel better?  I don’t think so.  Do they remind us of the really important things in life?  Well, yes, but to what purpose?   These shows have a lot of brilliantly packaged sound and fury –  without hope, do they also signify nothing?  Walter White is Macbeth, but there is nobody to clean up the kingdom when he’s gone.  Rick Grimes is as nobly doomed as Eddard Stark, except humanity’s winter has now arrived, and there will be no summer. 

Movie Review: The Road

Scott Smith —  December 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

There are bleak movies, and then there is The Road.

Let me start by saying that I enjoy dark movies. I would much prefer a view of the world that shows it for the painful, brutal place that it often is than a view that suggests that the guy always gets the girl and the good guy always wins. The Road is such a movie.  IMDB’s terse summary describes The Road as a “post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible.” This is brief, but accurate. The movie consists primarily of footage of man and son seeking refuge from a dying world, interspersed with flashbacks to a time before the end.

While this is not a Christian movie (in fact, there are passing references that God must not exist or must not care), several themes in the movie betray the truth.
Continue Reading…