The other day this site got hacked.
I got a phone call from SiteLock and worked it all out, but while we were waiting for something to take effect the dude I was talking to asked me what my site was all about.
“Oh, I’m writing about how Geek and Faith come together,” I explained.
“Huh. That’s interesting.”
I know, I thought.
“Yeah,” he went on, “Cause geeks are usually atheists because they believe in science and stuff.”
“Oh, I’m not sure about that,” I said, happy to explain. “In fact, being a geek helps my faith. Curiosity, imagination, a willingness to stand up for what I believe are all really important. That kind of thing.”
“That’s really interesting,” he said, then finished up our business call. I think he probably poked around my site after our conversation.
But it got me thinking. Because I think Geeks make great Christ-followers. My question isn’t, “How can a Geek be a Christian?” My question is, “How could a Geek possibly be an atheist when they already have so much in common with the heart of Christian faith?”
Why Geeks make Great Christ followers: The Bible
The Bible may have been written two thousand years ago by shepherds and prophets, but it leaps to life in the hands of a geek. I mean, come on—dragons, angels, demons, super-powers, plagues, teleportation, witches, leviathan, behemoth, the nephalim, David’s mighty men, dead people rising, epic battles, love stories, armageddon, prophecies, fantastic beasts, dreams and visions, supernatural missions from God, Jesus being “the one,” … Shall I go on? The Bible is textbook Geek, people.
Why Geeks make Great Christ followers: Imagination
Geeks traffic in imagination. Well, guess what? That’s what prayer and faith and hope are all about—imagining possibilities and potential where only darkness reigns and daring to believe that light will triumph. Prayer, properly understood, is a form of time travel, envisioning what can occur in the future, asking God to do that, and then stepping back into the present moment. Faith thrives in the hands of a true geek because imagining comes naturally.
Why Geeks make Great Christ followers: Conviction
Geeks are willing to stand on the fringe of society for what they believe and how they choose to live. They’re used to eye-rolling, patronizing comments, misunderstanding—and standing firm in their geekdom anyways. As Emily Expo wrote in the recent Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo article, The Union Of Nerds, “We have refused to bow to the social standards of what apparently makes a person popular; we have stared into the faces of judgement but have remained proud of our love… we… have the ability to autonomously flaunt our idiosyncrasies and take pride in our devotion to all things creative, imaginative, and unique… we, my friends, have the power to tell the world that we will be ourselves—whether the world likes it or not.”
Hello, these are the precise qualities Jesus is looking for in his followers!
Why Geeks make Great Christ followers: Heroes
Geeks gravitate toward classic archetypes, especially heroes. Research shows that people who see their lives as part of an epic story tend to live more satisfied, fulfilling lives. Walking the throngs during comic-con here in Calgary a few weeks ago was awesome, not so much because of the exhibits or workshops, but because there were thousands of heroes walking around in costume. Geeks want to be heroes, want to stand up for what’s right and make a difference. They dare to believe that average people can be heroic. Which is fantastic. Again, this “hero will rise” calling is exactly what God has printed in his recruitment brochure.
Calling All Geeks
If you’re a Geek wondering how you fit with faith, please hear me: The church needs people just like you. My church needs people just like you. Some churches don’t quite know what to do with us, true, but maybe those churches aren’t particularly dialled in to what makes for an awesome Christ follower.
What do you think? Do you resonate with this post?
The tech support dude drew attention to the apparent conflict between Science and Faith, which your article does not address. This was apparently a sticking point for him. Certainly there may be other aspects of Geekhood that are easily compatible with Faith in general – and the Judeo-Christian Faith in particular – but the sticking point for many Atheists is not the imaginative aspect of Faith, but the freaky claim we make that our imagination actually matches reality. Myth became History.
Christians certainly need to be prepared to show how the Bible answers the deepest longings of our heart, soul and imagination, but we also need to help people understand why the Bible is rooted in reality; it is not merely creative fiction. Science and Faith cannot be contradictory, nor can they merely occupy two non-overlapping magisteria; they cover at least some of the same ground and insofar as they describe the same realty they must be complementary, else either Science or Faith has erred.
Leviathon is cool, no question, but does that make the Bible a work of really cool “Geek-friendly” fiction, or is it even cooler because Leviathon actually walked the earth? Is Jesus’ resurrection a highly symbolic myth, or the most shocking fact of world history?
Geeks tend to be Atheists not because the Bible isn’t cool enough, but because Christians have this bizarre tendency to treat the Bible as fact, not fiction. It’s that leap from cool-but-fiction to cool-and-fact that Atheists have a tough time making.
Thanks for stopping by, Paul.
I agree. We geeks may be drawn to the Bible by the wow factor, but the reality check arrives when we must face the facts, embrace the Truth, and walk with him.
That said, I believe the church hasn’t, on the whole, been very good at building bridges with people nestled in whatever culture we find them in.
Conservative churches begin by highlighting what isn’t compatible in our beliefs instead of building on what is, and nobody is interested. They’re wrong, we’re right. This is the “Blow up the bridge” approach. Let ’em swim across, we’re not budging.
Liberal churches build a big shiny bridge. They begin with what’s compatible and never get past that to highlight how faith in Christ is more and different—and nobody gets saved. This is the “let’s meet in the middle of the bridge and enjoy the view” approach.
It seems to me the purpose of the meeting in the middle ought to be, “Hey, this has been fun, but there’s much more. If you’ve got some time, let’s walk over to my side so you can see for yourself.”
“I believe the church hasn’t, on the whole, been very good at building bridges with people nestled in whatever culture we find them in.”
Step 1: Identify the problem.
I believe that one of the more compelling voices I have heard in Christian Apologetics would be a gentleman born in India, by the name of Ravi Zacharias. If you would like to research him directly, you can find his site at http://www.rzim.org/
He comes across in a humble, but direct manner. He is compelling without any trace of belligerence. His program is called “Let my people think” and presents the case for Christianity in a very logical way. His stated goal is “Helping the thinker, believe. Helping the believer, think”
He enjoys going to colleges to talk directly to Atheists about Christianity. I would highly recommend hearing out his views, if even just to satisfy a small curiosity that you may have.
*I am thankful that there are other Geeky Christians out there like me. It is a good group.
I checked out your name link and saw that you are with an organization for Christian Apologists. One of the links listed, was to Mr. Zachariah’s site. How ironic my response was.
I had at first thought that I may have been dealing with someone who was possibly an Atheist, but obviously that was not the case.
I do think that our God is the logical answer and outreach to the type of people you are referencing can and should be a goal. I have not (yet) read his book, but I have heard good things about Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” which has evidently been recently updated.
Blessings to both Paul and Brad. Keep doing what you are doing, and winning more for the Kingdom.
I like fantasy novels that admit they are fantasy novels.
If you switch the query around it isn’t true. I don’t think many Christ-followers, or traditional Protestant evangelicals for one subsection, make great geeks. The reason is because in Western Christendom the faith has become more about rationality and less about imagination and mystery. Despite having Tolkien and Lewis in our imaginative heritage, we tend to devalue the imagination. Just look at the number of artists, filmmakers, and fiction writers there are in the church…if you can find them.
Hmmmm, I agree. Thanks for pointing that out. In my circles, we’re just now beginning to re-engage the artists among us. Me being one helps, I guess. 🙂
There is one major problem with your post. When I read a fantasy novel I don’t think the characters in the book are real. They are fictional characters. I will agree that the bible can be a great read. It has that great villain in it that flooded the entire world, turned all those people in that one city to salt. I did kind of find it upsetting that the villain won in the end and destroyed the world though.
Hey, thanks for stopping by. I agree, there’s a difference between fantasy and reality. I think fantasy mirrors reality in many ways, by articulating many of the things we believe, long for, or fear deep down.