I thoroughly enjoy watching and attempting to see the shadows and echoes of our society's, our culture's concerns, fears, and beliefs in our fictions – because they are truth.
If we look at the small band of survivors as the whole of society or civilization we can see two conflicting leaders.
Shane (the cop's partner), whose underlying agenda seems to be survival (not living), and potentially and more accurately, self-survival, embodying little more than an animalistic nature.
But it is within the leadership of Rick Grimes (main character) that we see the dichotomy set up.
A willingness (nay, a need) to help a potentially threatening and dangerous stranger (Merle Dixon). He is told by numerous people that Merle doesn't deserve it, to which he answers, it isn't for Merle, it's for me.
He doesn't necessarily embody the survival of the group, but survival of the very sense of morality itself. He juxtaposes to Shane's animalistic nature.
What I find so interesting about The Walking Dead is that it really is not a story about zombies, or survival or post-apocalypse world. Neither is it a reflection or commentary of consumerism like the entire George Romero's zombie-genre has been.
This story could be told as a Western with cowboys as the main characters; the zombies being replaced by the obstacles and threat of Indians and wild animals.
Ironically, The Walking Dead, really isn't about zombies at all. (And on a side note, I don't believe the title is referring to the zombies, but rather to the survivors).
It poses the question of the moral state of our society. It questions the moral fiber of our society. Are we innately altruistic and good? Or are we nothing more than savage animals in need of being kept in check?
...or maybe it's making the statement that there needs to be some sort of balance betwixt the two...
Christianity has attempted repeatedly, in times past and present, to question the moral fiber of our society and has most often times failed – or at worst been ignored. (Often taking a finger-pointing and accusational tone).
I think that may very well be the defining difference between Spiritual Growth and Religious Growth.
When we question the moral fiber of our society we are really inviting spiritual growth. However, I don't believe this is what Christianity has attempted. Religious growth questions the world around us and is an attempt to change that world into what we are. Spiritual growth questions ourselves.
...and if we are only interested in Religious growth (proselytizing) and not at all with spiritual growth, we become dead on the inside. How funny – how ironic – that the lifeless and walking dead – zombies – have succeeded where God's chosen people have failed...