By Greg Garrett
These days references to the afterlife-angels strumming harps, demons brandishing pitchforks, God enthroned on heavenly clouds-are extra frequently encountered in New Yorker cartoons than in critical Christian theological mirrored image. hypothesis approximately loss of life and its sequel turns out to embarrass many theologians; even if, as Greg Garrett indicates in enjoyable Judgment, pop culture within the U.S. has came upon wealthy flooring for inventive expression within the look for solutions to the query: What lies in shop for us once we die? The lyrics of Madonna, Los Lonely Boys, and Sean Combs; the plotlines of TV's misplaced, South Park, and The strolling useless; the implied theology in motion pictures reminiscent of The darkish Knight, Ghost, and box of goals; the heavenly half-light of Thomas Kinkade's renowned work; the ghosts, colors, and after-life way-stations in Harry Potter; and the characters, events, and destinations within the starvation video games saga all converse to our hopes and fears approximately what comes subsequent. In a wealthy survey of literature and renowned media, Garrett compares cultural debts of loss of life and the afterlife with these present in scripture. Denizens of the imagined afterlife, no matter if in heaven, hell, in the world, or in purgatory, communicate to what awaits us, without delay shaping and reflecting our deeply held-if usually a little bit nebulous-beliefs. They exhibit us what rewards and punishments we'd count on, provide us divine guidance, or even diabolically assault us. finally, we're attracted to those tales of heaven, hell, and purgatory--and to tales approximately demise and the undead--not merely simply because they entertain us, yet simply because they assist us to create that means and to profit approximately ourselves, our international, and, possibly, the following international. Garrett's deft research sheds new gentle on what pop culture can let us know in regards to the startlingly sharp divide among what sleek humans profess to think and what they really wish and anticipate finding after death--and how they use these tales to aid them comprehend this existence.
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59 For Father Callaghan, the priest in the novel Salem’s Lot, it is a battle against evil when he takes on the vampiric forces enslaving his town, a holy quest, and if his faith is not up to the task at last, the good he represents has real power. At the house where the chief vampire has taken residence, Father Callahan is filled with a feeling of excitement, is impelled by something stronger than himself, in fact, to strike a blow for good. Invoking the name of God the Father, he raises his crucifix and commands the evil powers filling that vampire house to depart.
4 Donnie’s mother-in-law—like most of us—wants her belief system affirmed empirically, and clearly she is not above nudging her way to that outcome. She just wants to hear something about what comes next. A few words from the other side are enough—hence our fascination with mediums and spiritualists, and the popularity of Mitch Albom’s novel The First Phone Call from Heaven, in which the dead call the living to let them know that they are okay, not to cry, that heaven is even more amazing than anyone could imagine.
PIPPIN What, Gandalf? See what? A far green country under a swift sunrise. . PIPPIN (quiet) Well, that isn’t so bad. 9 It is a poetic and comforting vision of death to be certain—but still one from the point of view of one who knows that far country, since he had been there and returned. Just as this vision soothes Pippin, it also comforts us as we await our own journey into the unknown, and this is a great gift offered us by J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson. Other artists have given us fictional equivalents of Colton Burpo’s trip to heaven.