Joss Whedon's #Avengers and Religion #Whedony

The New Avengers (comics)


You know, I have been really stoked about this movie. And it didn’t disappoint. His Marky Markness,

Joel (linked here) wrote about some of the eschatology of Joss Whedon, similar to his views on CABIN IN THE WOODS. Well, as a theologian, when I watch movies, my religious ideas just do not go away as I put them up in a box somewhere. But neither do I try to find a Christ figure in every narrative. Just can’t do that. Jesus is more than a story, he’s a body, with flesh and bones.

Joss Whedon may or may not be familiar with the current debate surrounding the popularity of Calvinism in Baptist circles. Calvinism, for those unfamiliar, is a theology that insists that there is no free will, that all of our lives have been pre-determined from the beginning. Just when? Well, that’s a debate among Calvies themselves, ask them. Whedon’s philosophy is a useful ally to free will theologians, particularly, Liberationist and Open Theists. Open theists believe in free will, (many affirm) that God knows all possibilities and allows us to choose our destinies, since God is love. Love needs freedom, and that freedom is then used for free service before God, and never compulsion. Joss Whedon does know that in human history, there will always be a group of people who want to limit our freedom, in the name of “peace and unity”; people who believe that starting chaos for the sake of order will bring about harmony. This describes the way Calvinism works in baptist churches. There’ll be 1 or 2 run of the mill Calvinists in a congregation, and they hear a sermon by John Piper or Mark Driscoll, and they get inspired to lead a prosecution against a pastor if she does not affirm predestination and all that nonsense. Churches split up, feelings are hurt, and cynics are birthed.

And there is something to say for race and the Hulk, is there not?

More to come, I’m sure.

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5 thoughts on “Joss Whedon's #Avengers and Religion #Whedony

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  2. Charles

    “Calvinism, for those unfamiliar, is a theology that insists that there is no free will, that all of our lives have been pre-determined from the beginning.”

    Let’s not overstate the case, Rod. I lean toward the arminian side of this debate myself, but there is a big difference between claiming salvation to be all about the sovereignty of God, and utter determinism. I spent six years working at an overwhelmingly-calvinist college, and not one of the scholars there were determinists as you describe, in fact, the calvinist whose office was next door to mine is known for his defense of free will as a viable psychological concept. I don’t put up with calvinists who claim that arminians are just a bunch of pelagians worshiping an impotent God, and I’d rather not see my side guilty of the same overstatements. You might think that calvinism equals determinism, but most calvinists don’t.

    1. RodtRDH Post author


      I myself am a former calvinist and that’s how I saw things, and I think in the end, no matter how much nuance Calvinists add, it boils down to determinism.

      Oh, yes, and there are distinctions between Calvinists, I know that, Dutch vs Neo-Calvinist vs NeoReformed vs Reformed, etc. I used to be in the circle, I mean the Circle of The Black Thorn…wooopps

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