Is Katniss Christlike?

This “Catholic meme” perfectly encapsulates pervasive misunderstandings about the Hunger Games on the part of the Christian community, which I wrote about at length hereBelow is a photograph of St. Maximillian Kolbe, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. He is being compared to Katniss in the Hunger Games. This is obviously a reference to the scene where Katniss volunteers to go to the “games” in place of her sister. Many Christians call Katniss a Christ-like figure because this was an act of self-sacrifice.

"Catholic meme" with St. Maximillian Kolbe

“Catholic meme” with St. Maximillian Kolbe

There is one very important difference between Katniss and St. Maximillian Kolbe: St. Maximillian Kolbe was a nonviolent individual who never, as far as I know, killed anyone. Katniss is a killer, no matter which way you slice it. Many people would surely say that the difference between them is so obvious it does not even need to be pointed out, but to borrow a line from Neko Case, the difference between these two tributes/martyrs/heroes is “so clear it is almost invisible.” And there are those who wish to make that difference invisible, so as to be better able to propagate untruths and half truths, so as to serve their own dark ends.

There is a difference between offering to suffer in place of another and offering to kill in place of another. There is also a difference between person A being willing to sacrifice his own life so that person B can live, and person A being willing to kill person C (and maybe persons D, E and F) so that person B can live, even if person A is risking his own life in the process. In a certain light, both can be seen as acts of self-sacrifice, but only the first one is Christ-like. The second is not.

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