Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: God on the Streets of Gotham - Paul Asay

Batman and God?
Being a Christian, a comic book reader and 1960's Batman fan, I really looked forward to reading this book. There are some positive and negative thoughts I have concerning this book.

Before reading this review, please do not take any negative statements I make as a cut against Paul Asay. He is a very good writer and I am sure a good Christian. Many of the negative things in this review are "tongue-in-cheek." I did enjoy reading it and know many others will also.

First the positive:

Paul Asay digs into the Batman universe as a true fan. He has much knowledge concerning the movies, TV show, and comics. You can tell he really knows his stuff. True Batman fans will enjoy the book.

Some reasons I was a little disappointed:

*While the premise of the book is very interesting, Batman and the Bible tend to be somewhat of a stretch. I thought this book would be in the same vein as the "Popular Culture and Philosophy" book series that have become so "popular" — pun intended — (The Avengers and Philosophy, Game of Thrones and Philosophy, etc.). I figured the difference would be a focus on Christian Theology. Instead, it reminds me more of the "Andy Griffith Bible Study" - It is fun to watch but what is the point?

*The other reason I was a little disappointed was there was no biblical exegesis. If I am going to relate Batman to God, I need to define both. Very little scripture is used. Even though the book is called God on the Streets of Gotham, he compares Batman more to the believer than to God.

I love books on popular culture and Christianity. I also love Biblical commentaries. But putting the two together in this fashion does not quite work. It is taking the Batman franchise and trying to force a biblical worldview that  it's creators did not intend.

It sounds like a Candy bar commercial:

"Hey you got Batman in my theology."
"You got Theology in my Batman"
"Two great tastes that taste great together."

Most of the book relates to problems and suffering we go through as a Christian and how Batman went through the same thing as a superhero. When we go through problems, we should all think - WWBD.

All kidding aside, we can take almost anything and use it as a Biblical illustration. Jesus did the same thing. But I feel the Biblical parts of this book were added in as an after thought. I believe the subject would have been better served if the book was just about a Biblical view of Batman or a book of Christian living. But not the two mixed.

I still recommend this book, but with this disclaimer: read it casually and do not look for deep theological truths.

* This book was provided free from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of an honest review.

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