As we know the Bible has influenced just about every aspect of modern day life, and especially popular culture today. Luckily our beloved show The Walking Dead is chock full of biblical allusions, satires and even directs quotes. The entire show is essentially based around an end times type scenario, whether all of the charactersa in the show or even the audience wants to admit it, the entire idea of an “end times” type event is drawn straight from the Bible. The idea of an “end times” scenario is further strengthened by a particular quote from the show that is made by Hershel which reads, “I can’t profess to understand God’s plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind.” This quote was the first thing I thought of instantly after thinking about biblical themes found in The Walking Dead, simply because the quote I believe gives two different aspects to the show, with those two being: firstly, that the show is representative of the “end times” scenario that is such a fad for people in this generation to really dwell upon. Secondly, the quote gives a direct reference to what is said in the Bible which is “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 15:42 If one simply reads this verse from the Bible and applies the context to something “physical” into what is actually intended which is “spiritual,” one could easily make the argument that the author of 1 Corinthians was actually alluding to zombie like creatures that are hard to kill, born like normal humans, have died, and are now imperishable, (Unless the brain is destroyed) which is portrayed in our beloved show The Walking Dead.
Like The Walking Dead, many other television shows in modern day pop culture have been influenced in one way or another by the greatest work of literature of all time, the Bible. Nip/Tuck while on the spectrum of provocative and risqué when it comes to television shows, it is still not completely absent of biblical allusions. Unlike The Walking Dead, Nip/Tuck is based around two very successful plastic surgeons who consistently find themselves in dramatic scenarios. The show isn’t based around an “end time” scenario but it does have multiple allusions, one of my favorite being from season 2 episode 8 which features a client that claims to be a stigmata for the Catholic church, but claims that she self-inflicted the wounds that look like what possibly the wounds of Jesus looked like when he was nailed to the cross. The entire episode is an allusion to the Bible in the character of the woman with the stigmata Agatha Ripp being a Christ like figure, but to me personally seems more of a Mary Magdalene type figure. Agatha has healing powers and also directly quotes scripture, while at the same time allows the other characters to experience the underlying issues in their life. While the main characters life and belief is compromised throughout the show a religious concept continually clings to the structure of the entire show. I think that the writers of this show really racked their brains in order to provide their audience with an idea that would get their point across, and what better than the Bible, the most known literary work in the world. The Bible provided the writers with concepts such as betrayal, lust, and dishonesty that make it easy for them to get across the subtle and major points that they need to in order to make it very understandable by most any audience.
Much like popular television, books have had a similar impact on popular culture throughout the ages. It seems as if this generation has taken a particular interest in the “end times,” which would account for all of the popular books that have been written on this particular subject. The book that I chose “This I know: Sarah’s Confession,” is a book based around the “end times” scenario. The book is full of direct quotes to the Bible, and also has many scenes that while the Bible isn’t directly mentioned, the author has drawn inspiration from the Bible in order to justify the situation taking place in the novel. In the book after the apocalyptic type events start to unfold the characters of the book are forced into a cave that has been set up by a “chosen one,” after being in the cave a short time the people demanded leaders and they all knew that a form of hierarchy had to be established for day to day life to be functional and have form. They ultimately choose the character Nathan who is well versed in biblical theology and was a preacher before the apocalyptic disaster. After different events unfold Nathan ends up not being the leader that the other characters of the book perceived him to be, which reminded me of the story of king Saul which we read last semester in the book of Samuel chapter 15 verse 11 which says, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the LORD all night.” The character Nathan is not following in the way that the people would’ve liked and they quickly became sorry that they had appointed him. Much like the story of King Saul in the book of Samuel, the character Nathan in the book is dispatched, not by murder, but by his own wrong deeds. Nathan is killed by a falling wrong from the cave after disobey the orders of what everyone is insisting, which again alludes to a similar way in which King Saul himself died which has when he fell upon his own sword. This work of literature is littered with biblical themes, direct quotes as well as allusions and I believe is a prime example of the way in which the Bible has influenced popular culture today.
Below is the trailer for the Novel, This I Know: Sarah's Confession
The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007
Weiss, Reba P. This I Know: Sarah's Confession. Charleston: Self-Published, 2012. Print
Link to Nip/Tuck:
Link to The Walking Dead Quotes:
Link to Hershel's Picture: