Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Biblical Action Figures (Again)

One of the rationales given for Biblical Action Figures is that many parents would prefer that their children not play with Spiderman figures.

Given that Christians are not particularly prone to critical self-reflection, this desire for toys of their own indicates an odd sense of inferiority vis a vis popular culture and a resentment that they should be in that inferior position.

Witold Gombrowicz, a Polish emigre writer of the 1940's through the 1960's, satirized a similar attitude widespread among Poles. A prevalent theme in Polish Culture and Letters was to show how the Poles belonged to Western Europe. The highlights of Poles to the West were lauded and praised. Poles seemed absolutely determined to show that they were at least as good as West Europeans. Theories were developed to argue that Poland "protected" the West from The (evil) East (= Russia) throughout history. Etc.

Gombrowicz satirized this attitude of institutionalized inferiority in plays, novels, stories, and in his diaries. He is often credited with being the father of contemporary Polish identity, a curious mixture of irony, seriousness, megalomania, inferiority, and honor.

It's just that once I got "it." It became easy to see this parasitic, sterile, vacuous attitude when it presented itself. This desire to be as good as some dominant group is always doomed to failure: the inferiority, in this case, the Evangelical Christians is never addressed. The spirituality that generated Biblical Action Figures would rather see the destruction of popular culture than create something of its own.

What this means is that Christians, Evangelicals in particular, need to see themselves as already oppressed so that they can act against their oppressors. Revenge drives much of their thinking, feeling, and social interactions. It's not that they wish for our destruction, they merely wish that we would be different than what we are: non-Christian.

An Afterthought (Added 2:40pm CST)

Creationist "science" can also be construed according to this model: it is "our science," meaning science by Christians, for Christians. A science which does not make Christians self-conscious, feel awkward and defensive about their beliefs. In other words, "science" that is not as good as the real thing but no less deserving of preeminence of place.

It is hardly any wonder that Christians find no evidence of this resentment and impotent hatred in their spiritual lives. Their beliefs strongly discourage a careful reckoning of motivations, let alone any sort of unbiased self-critique that does not end with finding inspiration by the Holy Ghost.

Over on Atheist Revolution there's nice example of exactly what I'm talking about: Darwin Fish Exposes Christian Privilege.

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