Cultural Arts Review

Posted on April 4, 2013 by

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 The Walking Dead is one of today’s most popular television series. It is an action packed, suspenseful, dramatic, and extremely addicting show about a zombie apocalypse. Despite its popularity, it brings to life many controversial topics. The most controversial being the subject of death. This show brings up the question, “Who is considered dead?” For years, death has been considered a physical thing, but now people are starting to consider it a mental thing too. The question creates a medical, political, ethical, and religious debate.

            In The Walking Dead, the survivors of the apocalypse are at a constant debate on whether the zombies and their victims are considered dead or alive. This debate leads to the question whether or not they should kill the infected or allow them to die naturally. In one of the debates from an episode Rick says, “It’s better this way. No pain, an end to sorrow, grief, regret, everything. You know what’s out there. A short, brutal life and an agonizing death. There is no hope.” He is referring to killing a victim of the zombie attack. He claims that the victim will be dangerous as she continues to grow. In response Rick’s partner says “Paranoid schizophrenia is dangerous too. We don’t shoot sick people.” This is simply one example of the debates in the show.

            The religious aspect of this topic is clear. By killing the zombies, they will be taken out of their misery, but is this going against God’s plan? Some may think yes, while others disagree. The ethical next comes into play, of whether to let the zombie suffer and die naturally or kill them and end the pain. People can debate on both sides. One could say that when God wants this zombie to die, he will end the life. But on the other hand one could say that God would not want this zombie to suffer. It is a very touchy subject. This does not only relate to zombies, Terri Schiavo is another example of this controversial topic. This topic does not exemplify some aspect of a specific religious tradition. However, I think that it relates to many different religions. In relation to Christianity, one would be disrupting the plan of God by ending another person’s life too early. In Buddhism, killing one would affect your karma which would change that person’s afterlife.

            I think that this television show is somewhat difficult to relate directly to religion because the issue is presented as more of an ethical issue in the story line. Although religious and ethical issues are often lumped together in the same category, they are very different things. I think that if I knew more about different religions worldwide, I could find more relationships between the show and religion.

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