Breaking the “fourth wall”

Please excuse this breaking of the fourth wall (or whatever the blogging equivalent is… poking through the screen?), but I was fielded a disappointing question over the weekend.  Regarding the Zombie Bible Commentary, I was asked “do you really believe in zombies?”  Apart from the many ways that question can be deconstructed, it says to me that only half of my objectives are being met at this point.  That is, I’ve succeeded in writing convincingly about zombies, but I’ve failed in my ability to write satire.  You see, one of my unspoken goals is to show the absurdity of trying to find anything and everything in the Bible.  Misguided Christians (and maybe Jews, I don’t know) will try to find evidence of all kinds of things in the Bible such as dinosaurs, proof that the writers knew the world is round, aliens, and texts that directly address our current issues such as homosexuality and abortion.  More often than not, the Bible just doesn’t – too bad, use your brain.  From what I can gather, these misguided types do this for one of two lines of reasons: 1) the Bible is true (including facts regarding science and history) –> we can find texts addressing any and every question.  2) the Bible is true (including facts regarding science and history) –> any discovery by another culture must also be in the Bible.  As a result to one or both of these, this kind of person will say, “Dinosaurs, you know Job refers to dinosaurs”, “Only ignorant people thought the world was flat, the Bible says it is round”, and all manner of weird claims.*  This exercise of reading an idea into the text is called eisegesis and is the opposite of what should be done: exegesis (exposition, explanation, etc.).  The Zombie Bible Commentary is an exercise in absurd eisegesis that is intended to poke fun at this strange and peculiarly modern way of reading the Bible as though it contained all answers to all questions.  Hey, did you hear there are kung-fu wizards in the Bible?**  Sigh.

Back to the question, “do you really believe in zombies?”  This immediately calls to mind the verse from Hebrews: “NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for, as it was the substance of things which have come to pass; and it is the evidence of things not seen” (11:1).  I don’t know that I “hope” for zombies as I find them quite terrifying, nor can I say that zombies have ever “come to pass.”  What I can say is that even though I am knowledgable about zombies, I have never “seen” one, so in that sense I could be described as a believer – though I prefer the term zombie enthusiast.  Now, let me ask you a question.  Do I really believe in zombies or do you need to reread the opening paragraph of this post?

*The Bible does not refer to dinosaurs, the texts in Job being referred to by dinosaur enthusiasts are describing a large crocodile and a “behemoth” (which comes from a Hebrew word that quite plainly just indicates a large land animal).  As to the world being round, just about every ancient culture that was on or near the coast knew the world was round – because it is visibly so!  As to more serious questions about society such as homosexuality, contrary to all the gay bashing done in the name of Christianity, such anti-gay positions are unbiblical.  Homosexuality as an idea/term only dates back to the nineteenth century, though clearly there were homosexuals in all periods of history – duh.  The texts being used to discriminate against homosexuals aren’t actually about homosexuality per se, but other things such as rape, treatment of conquered people, and sexual relationships between adult men and young boys (e.g. pedophelia).

**The kung-fu wizard line is a reference to the Axis of Awesome song “What Would Jesus Do?”

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2 Responses to “Breaking the “fourth wall””

  1. I would like to put to rest your concern that you are not writing satire well. On the contrary, it should be evident to the discerning reader that this commentary is completely satirical. Of course, understanding all the references to zombie films may require a bit more familiarity with the genre, in order to really get the “big picture.” Regardless, I think most of the satire comes out perfectly clearly, and makes clear your point about people’s tendency toward eisegesis (reading into the text). Let’s face it, there are probably people who could read Animal Farm, and say to themselves, “Well, that’s odd…everyone knows pigs can’t talk!” Satire is lost on the average American today…

  2. Zombie Bible Commentary Says:

    I appreciate your vote of confidence, Cory. I guess I shouldn’t believe that 100% of my readers will understand 100% of what I am doing 100% of the time, but it is still a nice goal. Yes, I suppose the films I refer to do require some familiarity, but I have stuck to the more successful and widely known stuff. Besides, and let’s be clear here, there is a lot of crap zombie lit out there. There’s no reason zombie enthusiasts can’t be discriminating in their tastes!

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