On Guard

In the HBO Max series The Last of Us (created by Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, 2023), a fungal infection sweeps through the world, causing most people to die or become zombies. In the desolation that remains, a rough character named Joel guides the teenage Ellie on a journey to try to save humanity. The eighth episode introduces viewers to David. At first, he seems like a good guy. He is a devout believer and a religious leader in a tight-knit community of survivors. But though he preaches sermons, teaches Bible studies, and disciples the faithful in his flock, we quickly learn that David is not a genuine believer but a religious hypocrite (season 1, episode 8, “When We Are in Need,” aired March 5, 2023, on HBO Max). Now, if you know anything about Hollywood, then this story arc won’t surprise you. But Hollywood believably portrays religion and Christianity in a negative light in part because the church is so often guilty of hypocrisy. Christians must be on constant guard against hypocrisy. This involves honest self-evaluation and courageous self-critique. It requires humility and reform.