Actually, it’s a public relations stunt put on by our government to help us prepare for genuine disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency hosted an online seminar to aid planners in preparing their communities for disasters, asking them to imagine an attack of zombies and design response plans. Such strategies are supposed to help in the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like.
The Centers for Disease Control did the same thing last year, with a campaign that was so successful it crashed the agency’s servers. However, after the horrific face-eating attack in Miami last May, the agency assured us that the “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).” That’s good to know.
Here’s my question: what does it say about us that we need zombies to get us to prepare for a real disaster? The main thing is seldom the main thing in our culture. Yesterday, insurgents killed more in Iraq than at any time since the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December. Last month, more Americans gave up trying to find employment than at any time in 32 years. But if you live in Dallas, you’re hearing more about the Cowboys’ win over the Giants last week than anything in this morning’s news. Americans paid more attention to the start of the NFL season than to the official start of the presidential campaigns. Sensationalism and entertainment can be necessary and appropriate distractions, but does it seem to you that it takes more to impress us than ever before?
In a culture dulled by movie pyrotechnics and technological sophistication, what chance does the gospel have? Why would a story 20 centuries old get a hearing in a day of unprecedented innovation? Because it is true. More people are coming to Christ today than ever before in human history, precisely because human nature doesn’t change. A pastor friend of mine saw his church grow from 60 to 4,000 in 14 years. His explanation: “I know three things people want when they come to church: they want help, they want home, and they want hope.” The gospel alone provides all three.
Zombies won’t bother you today, but “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). What should you do when he attacks? “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:7-8).
Sensationalism gets our attention, but C. S. Lewis warned that self-reliance is our greater enemy: “To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?”