October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween: Jesus Was a Zombie

zombie Jesus

Here in the bible belt, we hear quite a bit about the evils of Halloween. If the coverage in our local paper is any indication, most Southern Baptists (the dominant Christian denomination here) want nothing to do with Halloween and may even take their kids to church instead of letting them experience Halloween. Several pastors have been quoted in the paper saying that Halloween is evil and that all good Christians should turn their backs on it.

I can understand parents not wanting their children to trick-or-treat in high crime areas or having other concerns about safety (even though the whole razor blades in apples thing appears to be an urban legend). What I have more difficulty understanding is this conviction among many fundamentalist Christians that demons actually prowl the earth on Halloween. I realize that their religion must create threats to maintain itself, but there are so many real threats to safety (e.g., international conflict, poverty, crime, climate change, etc.) that could be addressed instead. Worrying about demons seems downright silly, although I recognize that it has unfortunately serious consequences.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I am a huge horror fan, and October is a great month for horror films. It is also the month when the summer heat typically fades into temperate autumn weather. This time of year has never been about evil for me, but I suppose it is a good time to acknowledge the duality of human nature (i.e., that we carry impulses within us which will be described as evil by some). But most of all, Halloween is just fun. Perhaps this is the real reason so many fundamentalist Christians oppose it.

While I am not convinced that a historical Jesus existed or that having an answer to the question of whether he did is terribly interesting, I certainly do not believe that he came back from the dead if he existed. I find it quite puzzling that modern Christians base their religion on this ancient zombie tale. Yes, if their account is to be believed, Jesus was a zombie. They accuse we horror fans of having a shaky grasp on reality, but at least most of us know our zombie films are fictional!