Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘evangelical Christianity

Protesters

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We had some religious-themed protesters near us, with some pretty intriguing materials. More pictures here, and a longer write-up here.

Fair enough.

Okay, that’s a little more hostile.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

Hmm.

Sports nuts?

Good people?

Written by gerrycanavan

January 20, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Sweet Zombie Jesus

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Inside Higher Ed has an interview with Kim Paffenroth, author of Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Visions of Hell on Earth.

Q: In the New Testament, Jesus dies, then comes back to life. His followers gather to eat his flesh and drink his blood. I am probably going to hell for this, but …. Is Christianity a zombie religion?

A: I think zombie movies want to portray the state of zombification as a monstrous perversion of the idea of Christian resurrection. Christians believe in a resurrection to a new, perfect state where there will be no pain or disease or violence. Zombies, on the other hand, are risen, but exist in a state where only the basest, most destructive human drive is left — the insatiable urge to consume, both as voracious gluttons of their fellow humans, and as mindless shoppers after petty, useless, meaningless objects. It’s both a profoundly cynical look at human nature, and a sobering indictment of modern, American consumer culture.

Q: The human beings in Romero’s world are living through an experience of “hell on earth.” as your subtitle says. There are nods towards some possible naturalistic explanation for the dead within the films (that a virus or “space radiation” somehow brought corpses back to life) but the cause is never very useful or important to any of the characters. And some characters do think mankind is finally being punished. Is the apocalyptic dimension just more or less inevitable in this kind of disaster, or is it deliberate? To what degree is Romero’s social satire consciously influenced by Christian themes? Or are those themes just inevitably built into the scenario and imagery?

A: I think “apocalyptic” has just come to mean “end of civilization,” so of course, any movie or book with that as its premise is, by definition, “apocalyptic.” And even if we throw in the interpretation “God’s mad at us — that big, mean God!” I still don’t think that’s very close to real, biblical apocalyptic.

Romero’s view is a lot closer to biblical apocalyptic or prophetic literature, for he seems to make it clear, over and over, that humanity deserves this horror, and the humans in the films go to great lengths to make the situation even worse than it is already — by their cruelty, greed, racism, and selfishness. Whether this is conscious or accidental, I really can’t address with certainty: I only note that his prophetic vision is compatible with a Christian worldview, not that it stems from that.

Thanks to Allen for the link.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 21, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Wednesday, Wednesday

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Obviously posting took a backseat to real-life nonsense today. But I did look at the Internets. Here’s what I looked at.

* The House Next Door and SF Signal try to figure out whether this season of Heroes is back on track.

* Gang of 100? Via Lenin’s Tomb, Columbia president Lee Bollinger receives a “statement of concern” from over 100 faculty members partly in response to his poor behavior during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit.

* Nicholas Guyatt reviews Chris Hedges’s American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America for London Review of Books. I linked to Hedges a bit on the old blog earlier in the year, when this book was getting a lot of hype—I’m curious why this review comes so late. I’m also surprised to see Guyatt take such a skeptical attitude towards Hedges’s thesis. I haven’t read American Fascists, but my impression has been that the book is about the (very real) dominionist movement within American evangelicism, not an assertion that all evangelicals are dominionists. And what to make of this:

It would be a mistake to imagine that the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century. Despite the present spate of books decrying a fundamentalist takeover of the Republican Party, there has been plenty for evangelicals to complain about even since the triumphs of Bush and Karl Rove. As Thomas Frank argued in 2004 in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, the striking thing about the Republican alliance with evangelicals has been the thinness of their legislative achievements: abortion is still legal, campaigners for gay rights have made real strides and the wall between church and state remains largely intact in American classrooms. Frank suggested that legislators had pulled off a confidence trick in their courting of evangelicals.

The truth is precisely this: the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century without actually getting any of the things they want. What happens when they finally realize they’ve been hoodwinked? Hedges has this right; the business wing of the Republican Party is locked into an alliance with powerful and dangerous forces it will not necessarily be able to control forever.

* NYU students would trade their right to vote for an iPod. Can you blame them? In a country so completely gerrymandered on both a macro (Electoral College) and micro (Congressional district) scale, voting is more or less a fraud across the board. The vote of someone living in New York City isn’t even worth an iPod; the vote of someone in Florida or Ohio, maybe, but only just.

* Train passengers face routine airline-style bag checks and body searches as part of a new counter-terror crackdown announced by Gordon Brown. Next up, strip searches. Freedom isn’t free.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 15, 2007 at 4:39 am