Zombie TV shows
Zombie walks – Vancouver hosted their 10th annual Zombie Walk this year. Each year thousands of the undead arrive at the Art Gallery to walk, limp, and drag their corpse to English Bay. I witnessed this bizarre display of zombie fascination firsthand this year. With cameras rolling, my intern and I hit the streets of Vancouver to interview Vancouver Zombie Walkers for a new series I am doing called Zombie Culture.
These days you don’t need to look far to see our cultural obsession with zombies.
Why is that?
The ideas that we have been flirting with in academia for years are filtering their way out in our media. We are participating in a media thought experiment playing out all around us. In fact, zombies have been a common part of the philosophical vocabulary for years. In philosophy, zombies have been a useful thought experiment to help answer the grand daddy of all questions – what is a person? There is nothing we know more intimately than ourselves, but paradoxically there is nothing more complex to explain.
When you can’t define what something is, you seek to describe what it is not. Zombies have provided our brains with much to ponder as we consider what we are not in an attempt for our mind to wrestle with what we are. Through these hypotheticals we have clambered to gain a vantage point from which to view ourselves.
And what did we see?
Intuitively, we see that we’re a person, but are we wrong? Friedrich Nietzsche, an atheist philosopher from the 19th century, understood that the death of God in our culture would have catastrophic effects, which he summarized as Nihilism – a worldview void of meaning, purpose, and value. We are just now beginning to see the full fallout of that funeral in our society. We live in a culture that has moved from questioning God’s existence to questioning our own existence. Welcome to a new era: the death of humanity.
Can’t see it yet?
The death of God was based on the belief that all that exists is the physical world and nothing more – physicalism. This is the reigning worldview in secular universities today and why physics is now considered to be the queen of the sciences, having dethroned theology and every other field for that matter. The implication of this view of the world is that everything is physical and as such ruled by the laws of physics – including people.
Consider the universe as a cosmic billiard table and the Big Bang was the cue ball. All the particles have been set into motion and “human life” is just part of that explosion. People ultimately become just clumps of particles moving in the trajectory of physical laws. Imagine then, if you could completely understand physics, like a billiard game, you could predict perfectly where each ball or particle was heading. The implications of this worldview are profound.
Ultimately, personhood becomes an illusion. All we become is particles moving in a determined path set by our trajectory – the walking dead – a zombie. The eulogy at God’s funeral can be summed up us as follows: the universe came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing; it took a while but people began to realize, that being the case, we in fact are nothing. For this reason, I define Zombie Culture as any worldview that leads to the dehumanization of people.
Interestingly, some atheists are speaking out against the implications of their own beliefs: Thomas Nagel (author of Mind and the Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False) and Raymond Tallis (author of Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity). Yet they have no alternatives to offer—they just know the implications of their belief are intuitively wrong. We all know we’re more than physics – I’m a person. Join me on Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at Northview Community Church for an Apologetics Canada Boot Camp where I will be using pop culture to discuss where our culture is at, how we got here, and a biblical way forward. Space is limited, so register today!