"I think I was in heaven": Joss Whedon's Atheist Faith David Lavery "I think I was in heaven": Joss Whedon's Atheist Faith “After Life” ( BtVS 6.3) "I think I was in heaven": Joss Whedon's Atheist Faith Theology in Popular Culture "I think I was in heaven": Joss Whedon's Atheist Faith
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“After Life” (BtVS 6.3)
Thomas J. J.
“So our coming of age forces us to a true recognition of our situation vis-à-vis God. God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us (Mark 15:34). The God who makes us live in this world without using him as a working hypothesis is the God before whom we are ever standing. Before God and with him we live without God. God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us.”--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letter of July 16, 1944
“God is absent in the towns, in the fields, in the mountains and in the plains. He is absent in law, in science, in education and in morals. He is even absent in the lives of the religious for they, who still want to be his friends, have no need for His presence. God is absent as never before. . . . To be absent has become one of the qualities of God.”
Leon Bloy (1846-1917)
(Supernatural, “The Dark Side of the Moon”)
Dean and Sam Winchester with Joshua, god’s BFF.
God and the 20th Century
(Supernatural, “Free to Be You and Me”)
Death: You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you. . . . Think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and tried to get smart. This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that's barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean, very old. So I invite you to contemplate what if any significance I find in you. Eat!
Dean: I got to ask, how old are you?
Death: As old as God--maybe older. Neither of us can remember any more. Life, death, chicken, egg, regardless, at the end I'll reap him too.
Dean: God? You will reap God?
Death: Oh yes. God will die too, Dean.
Dean: This is way above my pay-grade.
Theology in Popular Culture
Thomas Disch (1940-2008)
L. Ron Hubbard
Philip K. Dick
Joss Whedon (1964- ), in a cameo appearance on Veronica Mars
Joss Whedon and His Mentor, Jeanine Basinger
Joss and His Wife, Kai
Tuna Erdem (with the flowers)
Buffy Hereafter--Istanbul, Turkey, October 2007
“Can of kraut, pound of pastrami, bagels, bring home”--the sacred text in A Canticle for Leibowitz
“It's about the show, and I feel the same way about it. I get the same way. It's not like being a rock star. It doesn't feel like they're reacting to me. It's really sweet when people react like that, and I love the praise, but to me, what they're getting emotional about is the show. And that's the best feeling in the world. There's nothing creepy about it. I feel like there's a religion in narrative, and I feel the same way they do. I feel like we're both paying homage to something else; they're not paying homage to me.”--Joss Whedon, Onion AV Club Interview (2001; my italics)
Question: “Do you believe in God?”
Joss: “Not a jot.”
--“Joss Whedon answers 100 Questions”
“I’m a very hard-line, angry atheist. . . . Yet I am fascinated by the concept of devotion.”
--Joss Whedon (Felicity Nussbaum, “Must See Metaphysics”)
“It's hard to believe. I've been avoiding this place for so many years, and it's nothing. It's nice! It's got the pretty windows, the pillars . . . lots of folks to eat. Where's the thing I was so afraid of? You know, the Lord? He was supposed to be here. He gave us this address.”
“Who Are You?” (BtVS 4.16)
“Conversations with Dead People,” BtVS 7.7
HOLDEN: Oh my god.
BUFFY: Oh your god what?
HOLDEN: Well, not MY god, 'cause I defy him and all his works -- does he exist, by the way? Is there word on that?
BUFFY: Nothing solid.
--from “Conversations with Dead People”
Mal Reynolds (left) and Shepherd Book
Mal: Well, what about you, Shepherd? How come you're flyin' with us brigands? I mean, shouldn't you be off bringing religiosity to the fuzzy-wuzzies or some such?
Book: Oh, I got heathens aplenty right here.
Mal: If I'm your mission, Shepherd, best give it up. You're welcome on my boat—God ain't.
“After Life” (BtVS 6.3)
SPIKE: Buffy, if you're in-- if you're in pain. Or if you need anything... If I can help you...
BUFFY: You can't.
SPIKE: Well, I haven't been to a Hell dimension just of late, but I know a thing or two about torment
BUFFY: I was happy.
SPIKE: I don't ...
BUFFY: Wherever I ... was ... I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn't mean anything, nothing had form... but I was still me, you know? And I was warm and I wasloved... and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about dimensions or theology or any of ... but I think I was in heaven.
Spike stares, takes it in. She looks at him.
BUFFY: And now I'm not.
BUFFY: I was torn out of there. My friendspulled me out. And everything here is bright and hard and violent. . . . Everything I feel, everything I touch...this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that ... knowing what I've lost ...
She's said too much. He's speechless as she rises, starts out of the alley. She pauses, not even looking back.
BUFFY: They can never know. Never.
“Once More with Feeling,” BtVS 6.7
There was no pain
No fear, no doubt
‘Til they pulled me out of heaven
So that’s my refrain
I live in hell
‘Cause I was expelled from Heaven
I think I was in Heaven.
--Buffy in “Once More with Feeling”
“That's what I was raised with. As much as I learned Greek myths and as much as I read Marvel Comics and watched The Prisoner, I grew up around Christianity and Judaism and those are the prevalent myths and mythic structures of my brain.”
--Joss Whedon (Miller, “The Man Behind the Slayer”)
Faith in: Empowered Women
Faith in: thing like me, a thing like you. . . . Think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and tried to get smart. This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that's barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean, very old. So I invite you to contemplate what if any significance I find in you. Eat!
Empowered Potentials in “Chosen” (BtVS 7.22)
“I am the fan that gets to have the most fun. I get to walk the set every day. I totally get to be there when the story's broken. I get to do all of the fun bits. Every day is fan day for me. That's who I am. I'm the fan that got the closest.”
The Power of Story and Imagination
“There’s a religion in narrative.”
The Power of Story and Imagination
Joss: A Creative Portrait of the Maker of the Whedonverses
I. B. Tauris/St. Martin’s (2011)
“I've had more luck than any 10 guys I know. I've been able to tell my story more than a few times, and that's the greatest gift. If I'm never given that gift again, I still will have had it, and I'm grateful for that. My gratitude has finally exceeded my rage by a good, long margin, and when I wake up in the morning with my work and my family, gratitude is the thing that guides me, not rage.”
Amor fati: “Love your fate”--Nietzsche
Thanks to Hillary Robson