Archive for the I Corinthians Category

I Corinthians 9:22

Posted in I Corinthians on 09/30/2010 by Zombie Luther

To be a Quisling or not?

With the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I became everything to every man, that I might by all means save everyone.

I Cor 9:22

Here it is commonly understood that Paul is expressing the freedom he experiences in Christ, since he became a believer as a man under the Mosaic Covenant.  With the Gentiles he lives like a Gentile and with the Jews he lives like a Jew.  This, in short, is one of the clearest expressions of the aufhebung (‘sublation’) of the Torah.  It is not cancelled, but fulfilled, it is “retained through its very suspension.”*  What is less commonly understood is where the limit is to this freedom, if there is one at all.  Does one, for instance, imitate the person(s) who are oppressing or even actively terrorizing them?  Does this freedom of imitation allow for doing essentially anything for the sake of survival (as Kent Brockman in the face of the threat of space ants).

For the zombie enthusiast, the extreme behavior of quislings are the test-case.  As Max Brooks in World War Z clearly demonstrates, some people so identify with their zombie predators and imitate the behavior of the undead, flesh-eating and all (incidentally, the term “quisling” for these people is taken from the nazi puppet leader of Norway installed during World War II).  If one is surrounded by zombies, does one adopt their behavior for the sake of survival and even acceptance?  Is it even possible?  Whether their is such a thing as zombie culture is not known for sure.  The undead either eliminate the humans around them or are destroyed with little opportunity for prolonged study.  The little evidence provided in Land of the Dead suggests that, given time, zombies are not only able to adapt, but teach, learn, and communicate with each other in a rudimentary manner.  The Zombie Bible Commentary suggests that it cannot be ruled out that with enough study, one could exist among the undead while still being alive.  If it could be shown that the undead are, after all, capable of developing a zombie culture, then the words of Paul cannot be ignored as the mission of the New Testament includes each and every culture on the earth: “With the zombies I became as a zombie, that I might win the zombies.”  Perhaps the quislings are not as crazy as they seem.

*Slavoj Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (The MIT Press: Cambridge, 2003), 112.