The theology of zombies: the end of the world, resurrection and the nature of the human soul

From Toward a Zombie Theology by John Morehead:

The dominant theological understanding for anthropology in Christianity is still dualistic, a synthesis of the physical body and an immaterial spirit or soul, but in recent years those advocating a monistic view of human nature have arisen, articulating a perspective they call “nonreductive physicalism.”

This view, advocated by scholars like Fuller Seminary’s Nancey Murphy, recognizes the significance of the cognitive neurosciences that have cast doubt on philosophical and theological concepts of the soul, but argues for human significance and the divine as opposed to materialist interpretations in the field.

I find it fascinating that an aspect of popular culture, and a horror television program no less, includes aspects for reflection on human identity that is the focus for academic reflection among scientists, philosophers, and theologians alike.  Perhaps if more theologians become comfortable with engaging the texts of popular culture, including the fantastic genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, then we might discover examples of what Peter Berger called “signals of transcendence,” windows into the divine or the sacred in the mundane things of life.

And from the theological roots of zombies:

Our zombie fascination has a religious root.  Zombies are humans who have “lost track of their souls,” Murphy says.

“Our higher spirit prevents us from doing stupid and violent things like, say, eating a neighbor,” Murphy says.  “When we are devoid of such spiritual ‘guidance,’ we become little more than walking bags of flesh, acting out like soccer moms on a bender.”

. . . After all, zombie stories grapple with common religious themes: the end of the world, resurrection and the nature of the human soul.

Hmmm . . .

More on zombies and the Bible:

“Many men and women who had died came back to life again” — zombies in the Bible?

Real-life tale of Irish zombies: archaeologists discover 8th. century human skeletons with stones in their mouths

Michael Licona on Matthew 27:52-53, the ‘mini’ resurrection of the saints (or why they were NOT zombies!)

This week’s sermon: How to survive a zombie attack

How St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica might address a zombie uprising

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