Hershel’s Christianity on The Walking Dead

Matthew Paul Turner

and my comment on the piece

Hershel is one of my favorite characters in this show and I agree it is an outstanding program.

Overall I think religion is one of the aspects that the series has fallen down on. The author of the graphic novel noted his reason for the work: “With the Walking Dead I want to explore how people deal with extreme situations and how these situations CHANGE them.” If you know anything about people under stress you know that the area of religion is one of the chief ways people change under stress. People abandon their religion, double down on it, change it, nuance it, etc. The show is actually TOO secular in my opinion. It would be an excellent place to explore religion.

I think the reason it doesn’t, and the reason a number of commentators here ask about how specifically Christian Hershel is (Mormon, JW, Baptist, Calvinist, not RC apparently…) a few comments and the repeated Bible citing with him. Also not much processing of religion with his daughters. The American media mass market wants to steer clear of specifics. The Bible seems safe to touch upon if we keep things loose enough but I’d like to see fully religious characters here as they process the calamity they live within.

This also gives a window into what the writers imagine a non-offensive Christian is and therefore its not only a barometer of cultural acceptance but also a groomer of cultural sensitivities.

If the writers want to get serious about the religious aspect of people and communities they’re going to have to take more risks. They already have numerous good and bad overly secular characters. You should have really religious people who are hypocritical jerks across the religious spectrum while also having some gems like Hershel. This is how we are.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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