The Gospel According to Geeks
By Jessica Place
It’s about time I publicly come out to everyone, right here on the Tablet: I am a geek. I’ve read The Silmarillion, I have incredibly strong feelings about which house I’d be sorted into at Hogwarts, and while I can’t remember my social security number, I will never forget the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. While less enlightened individuals might perceive my geeky pursuits as a waste of time, I can prove to you that as a life-long geek, my favorite imaginary people provided a strong foundation for my theological education. Without further ado, here are three important things the sages of nerdom have taught me about life, the universe, and everything:
- God loves us. I resisted watching Doctor Who for a long time because of my healthy distrust of the English, but when I finally got roped in I was in love. What’s not to like about an alien traveling through time and space with spunky lady sidekicks? But to my surprise, I found that the Doctor really reminded me of God–a heretical idea, as most good ideas are. The Doctor is infinitely smarter than any human he runs into, and has seen more of the universe than any of us can imagine. And yet he genuinely delights in humanity–in our slow but steady scientific discoveries, our art, the victories of our better natures, our brief but beautiful lives, even our company. I imagine God relates to us in much the same way. I grew up with an image of God as distant and wrathful, a God who sees humanity as depraved worms. As my knowledge of God has grown, I have come to believe that God loves us for our humanity, not in spite of it.
- Power doesn’t make you super. I hold many controversial opinions, but the most divisive may be my belief that Superman is the best superhero ever. I know Batman has a cool car and stuff, but for me Superman is #1 because he lives up to the highest standards of human morality, unwaveringly, despite the greatest temptation anyone could ever face: the availability of absolute power. Despite his alien and omnipotent nature, Superman is the most human of all superheroes, and there is nothing that makes him “super” that we can’t accomplish ourselves. We don’t need superhuman, fantastical levels of power; we only need the willingness to use what power we do have in service to those who are not as powerful as we are. There was some Jesus guy from olden times who said pretty much the same thing.
- All you need is love. If you’re a geek around my age, you have a special connection to Harry Potter. I read the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 11, and grew up along with Harry from there on out. When Dumbledore first told Harry that Voldemort couldn’t kill him because of love, I had the same thought Harry did: “Laaaame.” But in reading J.K. Rowling’s books, I learned that love really is the most important force in the world. That can sound trite when you don’t understand exactly what it means. Love isn’t something adorable and sweet, like the Care Bear Stare. Love is sacrifice. Love is making yourself vulnerable to pain. Love is being willing to lay down your own life to save someone else. While fundamentalists told us that reading Harry Potter would turn us into secret devil worshippers, I found that the books reflected one of my favorite scriptures: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I better stop there if I want to make time for Battlestar Gallactica tonight. If you have any questions about the Gospel According to Geeks, I’m always free to share the Good News of Joss Whedon with anyone who hasn’t discovered it yet. Just be ready for me to show up on your doorstep with all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. I hope your weekend’s free.