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A new infatuation with death

People have always been somewhat interested in the topic of death; specifically how to either avoid it, delay it, overcome it or even be resurrected from it.

WB's long running TV series dealing with the paranormal
WB's long running TV series dealing with the paranormalPhoto by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Over the past ten years however, there has been an almost insurmountable wave of infatuation with the “here after”, death or what many refer to as “the un dead”.

Books, graphic novels, movies and television series abound with the topic of vampires, werewolves, and zombies; not to mention the positive run of the CSI & NCIS programs which also emphasize (although to a lesser degree) death.

The nation and the world have gone wild over movies and programs like Supernatural, Resident Evil, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, The Twilight Saga, World War Z and of course the ever popular The Walking Dead.

The topic of death or life after death has become not just popular and entertaining but an actual “fad”.

In fact, the show "The Walking Dead" is so popular among young actors and celebrities, there is a proverbial waiting line just to appear on the program following the “Walking Dead” called the “Talking Dead” where the show is discussed in great detail almost like it is real.

Of course death by its very nature as the apparent finality to physical life has always intrigued humanity.

The ancient Sumerians, Egyptians and Mayans all believed so strongly in the eternal aspects of the afterlife, that death and sacrifice were often seen as simple necessary attributes on the way to attaining the eternal continuation of life; it made little difference if it was physical, spiritual or even something else.

The Egyptians actually had a book they called the “Book of the Dead”.

Even the Bible is immersed with thoughts, stories and guidelines about death; everything from “not conjuring up the dead” to how to dispose of the dead and of course the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

In the past, humanity has tried to explain death and the life here after as a means of satisfying the age old question Job (from the Biblical book of the same name) asked nearly four thousand years ago, “If a man dies, will he live again?”

The concern today by many theologians, pastors and mental health counselors is the current trend of what appears to be an almost insatiable desire by the masses (especially teens and young adults) to be “entertained by death”.

It’s not enough for just movies, books, graphic novels and television programs; there are also video games, television and internet advertisements and many reality shows all dedicated to what has become a national past time involved with this “death infatuation”.

Books dedicated to death, the un-dead and life after death have been around for centuries such as Braham Stocker’s Dracula, Shelly’s Frankenstein and even Dante’s Inferno.

Books of those days however were usually written as analogy and with a moral beyond the simple entertainment.

Many television viewers have noted (with some disappointment) over the past five years that the ScyFy channel on cable has almost completely changed its genre from programs about the future and positive aspects of life, to programs dealing with the dead, death, the undead and a very negative apocalyptic future.

Any pastor or mental health counselor will tell their clients and patients of the need to focus on the living, the now and the future; not the past and not death.

Death and the past are two things we can do very little about; the past is gone and death hasn’t happened yet but will eventually touch everyone.

Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow because we couldn’t even add one minute to our life. He also said, “Eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow (or eventually) we die".

In essence, we need to move our children, teens and young adults away from so much emphasis on death and lead them to re-invest in life.

Jesus said He was life and later went on to say that he came so that humanity could have life and have it to the maximum; not death.

As a result, let’s put more emphasis on the focus of life and less on the current trend of the infatuation with death.

©Copyright 2014 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III