For a long time, geek culture and Christianity have had a tumultuous relationship. From games, books, music, movies, from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings and from Dungeons and Dragons to Harry Potter, Christians have had a lot to say about it.
In the past, there has been a stigma toward geek culture in Christianity, but recently, geek culture has generally become more accepted among the current generation of Christians. A lot of Christian youth enjoy geek culture and it has become a strong part of some of them.
Master’s senior, Tyler Madlena, said, “They’re not really something that has to be distinguished as separate. It’s pretty much like anything else, where there are good parts of it and bad parts of it and as a Christian you just have to be discerning with what you interact with.”
This is exemplified in The Master’s University’s campus culture where a portion of the student body adores geek culture. People on campus have grown closer because of movie marathons, gaming tournaments or just friends talking about different franchises.
According to TMU sophomore Faith Pawley, “You have that same grounding of the Christian faith, but you can just geek out with friends. It can cultivate really good friendships on another basis besides your faith.”
Geek culture can be stigmatized in the church, however, those who do engage in it respond to them by saying they’re only focusing on surface level elements.
“You do have to be careful about what you put into your mind, but you also have to be careful about how you look at it,” said sophomore Mark Hanson. “If you look at [Harry Potter] from a story perspective… and just enjoy the fantasy, it is a wonderful experience that God was able to put in the imagination of somebody.”
The Master’s University offers several academic outlets for those enamored with geek culture. Classes like Science Fiction Writing, Fantasy Fiction Writing and Theology of Lord of the Rings show that there are some among the staff who love it to various extents.
Pawley says that “I think [geek culture] is becoming more prevalent because the other generations are starting to see that there’s inherently wrong with engaging with stuff like this.”
However, with the current generation of Christians getting into geek culture, an opportunity for ministry has opened up. While not all of Christianity’s contributions need to or should be pertaining to the gospel, it is now a valuable option if done correctly.
“If Christians can step into geek culture and create video games, movies, TV shows or even book series, it can start influencing it with Christian ideals, especially if it gets big enough,” said Hanson.
The most important thing about getting that right would be to understand why people love geek culture. Whether it be for escapism, for the imagination or even the shared human experience, there’s a lot of reasons why people enjoy it.
Madlena said, “I think people have an innate love of discovery… and things that are considered geeky offer them that.”