Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Godmen don't eat quiche (revised 10:50pm)

I'm sure it's very, very bad to revise blog posts after publishing to the web. I don't see why foolish mistakes should be sacrosanct, especially my own.

* * *

Blame this post on Atheist in a Mini-van." And more specifically, Jesus Toys.

An exchange of suggestions for witty mottoes for the various Biblical action figures developed in the comments to this post. Thinking of slogans, mottoes, epigrams is like catnip for me. Once I start, it's difficult to stop until I find just the right clever, compact, and witty embodiment of irony and sarcasm, preferably in 10 words or less. My best so far, of course a Fightin' Jesus action figure, and his motto: "He's back and it's time to do unto others."

Just in case you didn't know, take a look at this. And an article in the mainstream press is available here.

It all strikes me as profoundly weird and perverse. Perverse because it strikes me as quasi-atheist. What is most notable about this sort of thing is the loss of the belief that it is what happens in the world to come that matters. The value of life in this world on this earth is at best a proving ground for one's faith. Traditionally, the value of action, pleasure and goods in this world pales in comparison to eternal life in the next.

If events of this world indicate what is to come in the next, then the theological statements appear to be subject to empirical investigation. Obviously I don't mean tests but rather using believers as a window and mirror into the world to come. Believers would then be the manifestation of God and and of His kingdom. Believers would be God's representatives in this world. What believers say about themselves and their God becomes the prima facie evidence of who and what God is. For the scripturally-way: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Given the general contempt Evangelicals show for any attempts at rationality and fairness in doctrinal matters, what can be the basis for appeals for conversion? Not appeals to the whore of reason, and not balanced argumentation, either. Ultimately, it's fear and appetites. Fear of hell, and well, maybe just fear. Fear of death, fear of hell, fear of despair, fear of uncertainty (=fear of deciding for oneself), and so on ad nauseum.

[The question for Evangelicals is which comes first: the fear or faith? Is faith in Jesus just a means of escaping from fear? Just whistling in the dark? Fear without an identifiable object and cause? And then the "discovery" that this object-less fear is really the fear induced by sin and caused by ignorance of God's saving grace. But then if the fear is first, isn't it possible that one's "faith" is really about using God? about subjecting God the whims of your own egotistical creature needs?]

Anyway... I digress. The Godmen. Manly Christians. Biblical Action Figures. A Jesus who kicks serious butt. Given the general lack of self-reflection for which Christians are well-known, slogans like "GodMen, When Faith Gets Dangerous" will almost certainly result in the creation of fear in non-Godmen being taken as proof positive of a Godman's faith and closeness to God and Jesus. Given America's long history of anti-intellectualism, Godmen won't have time for any pansy talk about the meaning of life, or debating whether Scripture is true. "These Christians are Real Men! And Real Men, I mean Godmen don't eat quiche."

To sum up. Godmen won't end well. If us non-Godmen are lucky, it will fizzle out with homosexual outings, scandals, and all sorts of gender-bending gymnastics. Men being men, if something is presented as beautiful, a not insignificant percentage will want to have sex with it.

If that last paragraph seems a little unfair, consider this: what sort of person will almost certainly be drawn to such a movement? A happy well-adjusted family man with a healthy social life? Or, someone who is unsure of just how masculine he really is because of troubling feelings, and is looking to resolve doubts about himself? I'd put my money on the latter.


  1. I read this post once, and then I read it again. I tried to understand how you get from the subject of religious toys to this: "What is most notable about this sort of thing is the loss of the belief that is what happens in the world to come that matters." Not sure what you mean, but sounds good.

  2. First things first. I thought I had the comments set up not to allow anonymous posts. I allowed this one because it was my mistake.

    Second I made a typo. I do that. I'll fix it.

    Third. The thought behind what you quote. Imagine telling one of these Godmen that they will get their reward for their sufferings in the world to come.

    Do Godmen really think they deserve a better time of it than what Jesus had? Is the Crucifixion an embarrassment to them?

  3. OK, that's fair. It's your blog, so you set the rules.

    Let me try to rephrase my question. How did a possiblity of procuring religious toys at Walmart - how ridiculous, by the way - lead you to think about the likes of "Godmen"?

  4. I posted a reply to D.W. that disappeared into the ether.

    It was a good explanation of the association of Godmen with Biblical Action figures.

    Action figures have a homoerotic element. They have hyper-masculine features and personalities.

    And Biblical action figures are presumably cast in the same mold. And would of course be for parents who oblivious to this sort thing.

    But as I so love to repeat, Christians are not well known for critical self-reflection.

  5. You may like what The Onion wrote about this in it's American Voices section: http://www.theonion.com/content/amvo/wal_mart_stocks_christian_toys


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