BOONE, N.C. (Christian Examiner) -- Seventeen million viewers chose to watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead -- a horror show in its fifth season -- with no fewer than 13.2 million having watched one of the weekly series' programs, according to the Neilsen ratings.
"That program is just one of numerous televisions programs that have garnered tremendous followings by fixating on gore and death," wrote Franklin Graham in the January issue of Decision magazine.
Graham is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and first-born son of the renowned senior evangelist whose name the organization carries. Decision is the flagship publication for BGEA, online at www.BillyGraham.org.
"At least half a dozen prime time shows are strangely enamored and captivated by it [gore and death]," Graham continued. "These shows, when combined with hugely popular video games like Mortal Kombat, demonstrate how obsessed with death our culture has become."
A continuing series of new Mortal Kombat mercilessly blood-drenched games that combine science fiction and fantasy have together sold more than 30 million copies, industry reports indicate.
▶ A continuing series of new Mortal Kombat mercilessly blood-drenched games that combine science fiction and fantasy have together sold more than 30 million copies, industry reports indicate.
"[D]espite our society's fascination and obsession with death, there is virtually no understanding of the eternal consequences that death brings," Graham wrote. "I think that's because we would prefer to portray death on a purely fictional level and avoid its stark reality.
"The Bible says that once a person dies, he will face the judgment of God. 'It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,'" Graham noted from Hebrews 9:27. "There is no reincarnation; there is no second chance."
Rather than being a fictional televisions series or popular gaming topic, death is the entryway into either eternal life or eternal death, said the Christian leader who also heads the Samaritan's Purse relief organization.
"The Scripture is clear that death is a consequence of sin. It came about as a result of mankind's rebellion against God in the Garden" of Eden, Graham wrote, referring to Adam and Eve's choice to disobey God.
"The glorious good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, has alone defeated the dread enemy of death. Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer and Savior, bore our sins on the cross, suffered the punishment of our sins -- death -- on our behalf, and offers full forgiveness for all who trust personally in Him."
Graham's thoughts turned to a not-commonly considered benefit of Christianity.
"Wherever Christianity flourishes, there is a vibrant culture of life, not death," he wrote. "I don't think there is any doubt that this rise in the culture of death in our own country coincides with the embrace of an immoral, sinful, goddess worldview that rejects Christ."
He noted the sacrificial living of doctors and nurses on mission overseas, and food and water ministries in the United States and throughout the world as examples of the benefit of Christianity to the people of the world.
"Christianity is constantly under siege from the halls of government and education, which seek to suppress any public expressions of faith," Graham continued. "Yet bold, biblical Christianity is the only antidote to the devilish, dark culture of sin and death that seeks to enslave and ultimately damn people for eternity."
Graham had a final caution for his Christian readers:
"We must never cease to preach, teach and live the truth of the Gospel," he wrote, and referred to John 14:6. "Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is 'the way, the truth, and the life.'"