My review of ‘The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within’.

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22/06/2012 by Shalim

When I was younger, I loved playing Resident Evil 3 on Playstation. I loved the shivers I’d get when I played it. Truth be told, I mostly watched while my eldest sister was shooting down the zombies because she was better than me. Even younger than that, I remember writing this novel in year 3, which was also about zombies. There was something that gripped me. Being smarter than I was back then and able to make a better reason for liking them, I like zombies because once you’re surrounded there’s no escaping them. They show how helpless we can really be. So how on earth do I relate that to my Christian faith? No need to fret, it’s already been done!

The writer, Jeff Kinley, explores a new way to explain the Christian Gospel referred in this book as ‘the Old Way’. Using the zombie-fad in mainstream culture from video games like Resident Evil and popular shows like the Walking Dead, the writer shows that we ourselves, whether religious or irreligious, can behave like zombies. Exploring human characteristics like hate, envy, selfishness, deception, and the like, we are given the reasons for our zombie-like behaviour from a Christian perspective. What makes the book unique is that all humans know they have a ‘dark-side’ but don’t quite know its full potential. He calls this the archaic ‘S’ word: ‘sin’. Going beyond the average street preacher boldly proclaiming his message past busy shoppers in a local high-street whose message can be missed, the writer demonstrably shows the relevance of the basic and fundamental Christian message, namely we need rescuing from ourselves.

One chapter of the book is the novel, exploring the life of the main character, Ben Forman, his family, girlfriend,  co-workers – and the zombies lurking around their surroundings. The other chapter tries to use themes from the novel to discuss essential Christian doctrines like human sin, the redemption found in Christ, etc. The one major drawback for me at least was that I did not find this method greatly helpful. Being attached to the storyline, I found myself skipping the chapter at times to find out what happened next. Personally, it would have been more beneficial if this was a stand-alone novel and came with a separate `study-guide’ from the book.

But let me make this clear, this is not a cheesy book. The title sounds a little off-putting, but the gist of the novel is certainly not so. The writer must be commended for his downright honest (and may I say biblical) portrayal of human nature. Too many books that come under the umbrella of ‘Christianity’ are either unbiblical or extremely cheesy like cheesy puffs! I like the way he has engaged culture by using a popular fad that glorifies `death’ to explain the age-old Christian idea about humans being `dead in their sins’ before receiving the redemption through Christ. I found myself gripped especially at the end. I will leave you to find out why yourself!

Non-believers or those interested in faith will welcome this book, and one that Christians will appreciate. Given some of the themes in the study guide, I’d say the book is aimed primarily for teenagers, but can be read by all age groups.

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