That’s a question that philosophers and theologians have struggled with for centuries, and this week’s The Walking Dead episode brings the discussion to the table in a fascinating manner.
Even the title hints at the topic, as Shane reveals that he feels ‘pretty much dead already’, and his actions validate his sentiment. Shane seems to have lost what it means to be human as his attitude has decomposed from a ‘best friend’ role into a semi-raging maniac.
Rick, on the other hand, showed signs of regaining his human perspective by putting others ahead of himself, but also making the tough leadership decision at the end. His struggles are more like a knife slowly twisting in his soul, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the dilemma with the question of who the father of Lori’s baby turns out to be.
The most ironic element to me in this episode is Hershel. On the one hand, he keeps the walkers in the barn because of his relational connection and hope of finding a cure for them, yet on the other hand he is willing to kick the survivors off the farm and put them in peril! The writers have seemed to make a clear statement about Hershel being a Christian, which made the scene with Maggie and her Dad even more powerful.
At 17:15, Maggie and Hershel are discussing the idea of making the survivors leave the farm, the dialogue picks up with Hershel justifying his position:
Hershel: Carl doesn’t need anymore of my help.
Maggie: So that’s it?
Hershel: Rick was trying to make his case. It’ll be hard, they’ll have to be careful. But he was being dramatic. They’re a strong group, they’ve done well on their own. They’re just gonna have to go out and find their own farm. There’s plenty of them now to choose from.
Maggie: There aren’t. Every one of them is burned out or full of walkers.
Hershel: Walkers? So we just keep these people here forever? How are they my responsibility?
Maggie: A new command I give to you, love one another as I have loved you. That’s what you told me, right?
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. Do you believe the zombies have any humanity left? Why or why not?
2. How might Hershel’s faith be a part of his decision to keep walkers in the barn?
3. In what ways might Hershel be hypocritical as a believer in kicking the survivors off the farm?
4. What is Maggie’s point in quoting the words of Jesus?
Read the following passage from Scripture:
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
6. Why is Jesus calling this a ‘new commandment’?
7. Do you agree with Maggie that Hershel is breaking this command if he kicks out the survivors? Why or why not?
8. What is the difference between loving others and loving others the way Jesus loved us?
9. How does our love for each other ‘prove’ that we follow Jesus?
When Jesus added the qualification that we should love each other in the same way He did, He radically redefined what it means to follow Him. This week, think about what it would mean to lay down our lives for each other, and what impact that might have on our friends who don’t know Jesus.