the Afterlife in Popular Imagination

2015_08_books_leadJohn Gray at The New Statesman:

The afterlife appears in mass media in many guises. Garrett covers depictions of heaven, hell, purgatory and a range of in-between states, including the one occupied by the undead. In zombie movies all of humankind is threatened with death of a peculiarly horrible kind. Ghost stories rely on the possibility that something of human intelligence persists after the dissolution of the body, while tales of vampires intimate that intelligent life can last for ever for those who subsist on human blood. In Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later, death means the opposite of intelligent life: “Whatever we were before, our souls, our memories, those things that make us human, vanish – but our bodies, our disgusting, dead, decaying bodies, will go on consuming long after our souls have departed them.” It might be objected that these stories of zombies aren’t about the afterlife. What zombie stories depict is not another world but an apocalyptic transformation of life on earth.

In that respect, however, these stories hark back to the original teachings of Jesus. As Garrett observes, “There is almost nothing in the Bible about going to heaven and still less about hell.”

more here.