A guest post by Y. Bloch
Is Spock's resurrection on the Genesis Planet an affront to God? Is Gandalf the kind of sorcerer condemned in the Book of Exodus? How can Star Wars happen "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away" if the universe is less than 6,000 years old? Since Data was created by humans, how can he have a soul?
So while I never stopped being a fan of genre fiction, that seemed irrelevant to being a rabbi. At most, I might slip in a reference in a sermon (or, much more rarely, in writing), but that was the limit. Who could dare to mix the two?
That's what defines geeks: the endless analysis of the supernatural, obsession with canon, vigorous arguments about how to appreciate source materials, fiery indignation about the misinterpretation of beloved texts and tales, the voracious desire to ponder utopian and dystopian realms, the preoccupation with questions of morality, mortality and meaning. Hm, sounds like another group I proudly claim membership in...
However, Larry Alex Taunton's piece for The Atlantic, "Listening to Young Atheists," suggests an answer. When one actually talks to intelligent, educated people instead of at them, it becomes clear that overenthusiasm does not scare people away from religion; rather, it is the attempt to prune religion of all of its distinctive characteristics which turns the youth off. If you want to appeal to the next generation, you have to be serious about your faith. Don't be an aggressive proselytizer, but a passionate adherent. Not dour, not domineering, not dogmatic; instead, be enthusiastic, ecstatic, exultant. Your passion must match your commitment. Embrace fandom rather than fanaticism. In short, geek out about God.
So, thank you, Geek Fighters. In your "intelligent discussion of inane topics," you actually have some very profound things to say about the human experience. The overriding principle is this: never vote against your heart. Rava put it this way (Talmud, Sanhedrin 106b): "It is because the Holy One, blessed be He, requires the heart."
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