I have been my whole life, and proud of it—especially now, as geek-hood swells to maturity in our society. The fringe is rapidly becoming the core, and I love it. Geek, I realized the other day, is becoming the new jock. According to Wikipedia, “In a 2007 interview on The Colbert Report, Richard Clarke said the difference between nerds and geeks is “geeks get it done.”
The article goes on to say, “Persons have been labeled as or chosen to identify as physics geeks,mathematics geeks, engineering geeks, sci-fi geeks, computer geeks, various science geeks, movie and film geeks (cinephile), comic book geeks, theater geeks, history geeks, music geeks, sport geeks, art geeks, philosophy geeks, literature geeks, historical reenactment geeks, video game geeks, and roleplay geeks.” I’d add gadget geeks to that list.
The article includes a few definitions of geek, but these nail it for me:
- A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.
- A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest.
Building on that definition, here’s how being a geek helps my faith and can strengthen yours, too.
1. Being a geek helps my faith by spawning curiosity.
I love to explore, create, write, paint, you name it. And there’s something about sci-fi and fantasy that feeds my curiosity—a curiosity that bleeds into everything I do, including my faith. It’s that insatiable curiosity and focus that leads me to dig deep into the Bible to find ideas and connections other people marvel at.
2. Being a geek helps my faith by stirring my imagination.
My imagination, nurtured and expanded by sci-fi and fantasy, is one of the elements that makes my faith so strong. The essence of faith is seeing with the eyes of the heart, being able to visualize what’s possible. This energizes my prayers, kick-starts my creativity, and deepens my hope.
3. Being a geek helps my faith by anchoring my identity.
A strong sense of identity is foundational to my life of faith. The ability to stand up for something regardless of what others think, the decision to embrace the fringe and chart my own course is part of who I am. Sure, there are closet geeks, but these are also the people who wear Storm Trooper getups to Comic Cons. It’s been said that geeks are by nature not “evangelistic,” that they aren’t trying to convert anybody. I’m not sure that’s true, but I will say this: they do convert people, by the strength of their passion and visibility of their interests. Their identity is contagious. Which is exactly what a Christ-follower is aiming for too.
4. Being a geek helps my faith by infusing my life with epic themes.
My love for movies, adventures, and story infuse my life with purpose and excitement. I see parallels to biblical themes everywhere, from the Matrix to Kindergarten Cop to The Green Mile. Good stories inspire loyalty, help me reject temptation, point me in the right direction. Even soundtracks stir me. If I want to be a better husband or am facing a big problem, I’ve often listened to the soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans. Stories, you see, follow a predictable structure that mirrors the structure of life. True, some geeks use fantasy to escape; I use it to engage in life more fully.
So there you go, that’s how being a geek helps my faith. You may also want to check out my post, Why Geeks Make Great Christians.
What about you? Are you a geek? Does being a geek help your faith?