How can we explain America’s growing fascination with death?
Prime time TV shows are strangely enamored and captivated by it. Popular video games like Mortal Kombat, Dead Space and Assassin’s Creed all glorify violence and gore. Death has even become a popular theme in the fashion world where zombies, corpses and dehumanization are glamorized in photoshoots for magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
It could be that while we weren’t looking, the Fourth Horseman of Revelation was loosed, and now he is preparing a welcoming party to greet the end of time. The Bible tells us he rides throughout the earth, bringing with him Hades, violence and plague—in short, a culture of death.
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Rev. 6:8
Just partake in current popular culture to see how we trivialize dying and give it a lighthearted twist. Besides, death sells in the marketplace, with zombie toys, restaurants touting death by chocolate, songs by rock groups like the Grateful Dead and death beckoning in movie titles and video games.
However, Franklin Graham, in an article for Decision Magazine, emphasized that death is not a picnic or a topic to be exploited, but serious, eternal business.
“Despite our society’s fascination and obsession with death, there is virtually no understanding of the eternal consequences that death brings,” he stressed. “Amazingly, as much as the entertainment industry cranks out movies and programs that are preoccupied with death scenes and motifs, death is not a subject often candidly discussed.
“I think that’s because we would prefer to portray death on a purely fictional level and avoid its stark reality.”
What, really, does death have to do with a frivolous topic like fashion? We’ve all seen teens in T-shirts that feature skulls, crossbones and skeletons, but now Hollywood and big-name designers are invading the fashion industry with “corpse chic,” capitalizing on a jaded public’s obsession with dissolution and death.
VigilantCitizen.com featured an article from Scan Magazine, analyzing the “disturbing culture” of death in the fashion world entitled “To Die For: Skull Style and corpse Chic in Fashion Design, Imagery and Branding.”
The author, Jacque Lynn Foltyn, noted that death has become a star in the fashion world. “It is the darling of not only the fashion set but also of the masses – and their dogs, who wear skull bedecked cardigans and collars,” she reported.
“In mainstream fashion and lifestyle magazines, models, actors, stylists, and socialites not only model skull style, they model ‘death’ itself, in gruesome pantomimes of murder, suicide, and eco-disaster.”
While many of these fashion layouts are inspired by literature, music, cinema, and true-crime television, Foltyn pointed out that some served as the basis for photo shoots in the reality TV program “America’s Top Model.”
Fashion mavens well might ask themselves what effect glamorizing death would have on naïve young girls who are apt to see pale models in corpse paint and filmy gowns reclining in caskets as romantic figures. Do they need to be told that romanticizing dying influences young people, making them vulnerable to a quasi-cult of suicide idealization?
As the breakdown of families and the rise of secularism and materialism spread across the continent, it’s not surprising to see that the incidence of teenage suicide is growing. Those most likely to succumb may be sensitive teens who have little impulse control to deal with problems at school like bullying, loss of friends or breakup of a dating relationship.
Teens may turn to what they call “dark music”--punk, grunge or experimental rock--as a balm to assuage wounded hearts, only to find that songs with names like Dachau Blues, Prison of Mirrors and Black Houses just stoke their emotional pain, prompting thoughts of death rather than healing,
But fans of dark music tend to laud the artists as heroes, particularly when their idols commit suicide. On a post in the comment section of Reddit, one teen shared how he was drawn to a song called “All of Closer” by Joy Division, even though he found it “unnerving and foreboding.”
“Curtis (a band member), committed suicide only a few weeks after recording it,” he posted.
Rolling Stone Magazine called that dark collection “one of the most chilling albums ever made,” citing the droning guitars, bass lines and vocals. “And that's not even considering the lyrics about singer Ian Curtis,” the writer added.
“When Curtis hanged himself at age 23 on May 18th, 1980, Closer officially became the stuff of rock legend.”
While music rhapsodizing death and suicide lure today’s teens, psychologists note that Americans traditionally have had a problem with the thought of dying. They point out that in times past death has been considered this country’s leading source of uneasiness, discomfort, and apprehension. “
Already a topic few people like to talk about, death is especially alien to a generation priding themselves on thinking and acting young regardless of their age,” Dr.Lawrence R. Samuel wrote. Another writer noted that we are moving away from a time when death and dying were viewed as profoundly “un-American” experiences.
But as life-killing practices like abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide have made inroads in Europe and are overtaking America, Franklin Graham sees Americans becoming more comfortable with the idea of death, especially for the elderly, the unborn, and the infirm.
“The euthanasia movement—disguised now as ‘death with dignity’—is gaining ground in a number of states,” he noted, “and for every 1,000 live births in the United States, 219 pregnancies end with a murdered child, through abortion.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this rise in the culture of death in our own country coincides with the embrace of an immoral, sinful, godless worldview that rejects Christ. Christianity is constantly under siege from the halls of government and education, which seek to suppress any public expressions of faith.”
Franklin called “bold, biblical Christianity” the only antidote to the dark culture of sin and death seeking to enslave and ultimately damn people for eternity. He warned that we must never cease to preach, teach and live the truth of the Gospel.
“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.” There Is no reincarnation. There is no second chance.
“But the glorious good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, has alone defeated the dread enemy of death.”
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Rev. 1:17, 18
The views expressed by story contributors to All News Pipeline are their own and do not always align completely with those of ANP.