Buffy and the Church
High school is hell. That was the initial premise for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A weekly horror show set in a school. A teenage girl facing all the problems of adolescence, as well as fighting vampires and other assorted demons and monsters. It’s a great show and a particular favourite of mine. And yes, Oz is my favourite character. Great dialogue and strong characters makes this a must watch show. But is it responsible for driving women away from Christianity?
A recent study in Britain has theorised that the reason thousands of women are leaving the Church in favour of pagan religions is because of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
While I don’t think Buffy is the cause of the departure, I think it is emblematic of a greater trend. The Wiccan faith is shown in a very positive light in Buffy. Willow, one of the lead characters, partakes in a spiritual journey over the seven years of the show. Shy, nerdy, Jewish girl is attracted by the power and self determination that comes from practicing magic. Not rabbit-in-the-hat magic tricks, but appealing-to-ancient-gods-for-the-power-to-shoot-lightning-from-your-fingers magic. By the time the show wrapped up, Willow was a confident, self-assured young women. That’s a powerful role model for young women. Why wouldn’t you turn towards paganism if that’s where you end up?
The Church has the perception of a men’s club. That males dominate the Church and force women to subject to them. That there is no place for strong, confident women in the Christian faith. This is not how Jesus sees women and it should not be how women are treated in the Church. Not that I believe that we should be ordaining women and putting them in Bishops positions. Women are equal to men. But they are different. Physically and mentally. And they have a different position in God’s plan for humanity. Women in the Church should be loved and cared for. They should be trained for God’s service. They should never be made to feel like they are inferior to a man because of their gender.
Women should never be put in a position where they feel following the lie of pagan worship is a “true” expression of their gender. Pagan worship may elevate the role of the female, but that doesn’t make it right. Following the wrong god or gods is still putting yourself in a position where you are denying the truth of creation. I may enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer but that doesn’t mean I buy into its message of self-determination through pagan worship.