The Theology of “Breaking Bad”

“Breaking Bad” is a crime western that aired on the AMC network from 2008-2013, and full of drama, crime, mystery, and western style fights.  It is also full of theology.  The term “breaking bad” equates to saying “raising Hell” or being problematic.  Thee main character, Walter White, is a high school chemistry teacher that becomes a meth dealer in his New Mexico town, which later expands to all of the Southwest.  He does so, as the series suggests, because he is diagnosed with a terminal lung cancer.

Due to his condition, and the poor state of his family finances (his wife is a bookkeeper, he has a special needs son, and a newborn daughter) all while living on a teacher’s salary.  However, throughout the series, he is offered chances of redemption, but turns it down each time.  First, due to pride (one of the seven deadly sins), he refuses charity from a friend who is an affluent chemist in New Mexico to pay for all of his medical bills.  He refuses because he doesn’t like the idea of taking charity, and so he makes and sells meth instead.

Second, he goes into remission from his cancer.  He no longer needs the extra financial support, but he states he needs to have money for his family after he dies, and so stays in the illegal drug trade of meth.  Time and again, he refuses help, and becomes a villain in the process that kills other drug dealers, drug lords from Mexico, and etc.  In the end, he is shot and dies alone.

The moral of the story: if you are given a chance for redemption, take it.

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