Monday, November 02, 2015

Walking Dead and Aikido

I generally blame my wife for the fact that I know a little bit about The Walking Dead. It is an intriguing series that raises serious philosophical questions about life and death, about what it means to be alive and about the meaning of life. The characters live in a liminal zone between life and death, neither being truly alive or fully dead. Every moment of their existence begs the existential question--what do I have to live for?

Last night's episode (November 1, 2015) provided a single character back story, a brilliant piece of background to a character who was in earlier seasons of the series and then reintroduced recently. He has changed since we last saw him, and this episode explains why.

As with so many of the characters, Morgan would be a highly noble person in the normal world. However, his principles in this liminal zone make him a potential liability. Following the philosophy of Aikido, Morgan refuses to take a life. He will end the undead. He will fight in self-defense. But he will not kill another human being.

I am not a pacifist, but I found something very Christian about Morgan's morals. I always find it sad when non-Christian systems come off more Christ-like than some Christian ideologies. Morgan has come to treat every life as sacred. He not only insists on burying humans who die. He buries zombies he terminates too. At one point, he puts the names of the dead zombies on crosses if he can ascertain them.

Every life is sacred. Every human life is worthwhile, no matter how far astray he or she has gone. It is always sorrowful to have to take a life. I'm reinvigorated in my affirmation of these Christian values because of a zombie show last night. Every human is created in the image of God.

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