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Radical Orthodoxy meets South Park

Lee over at the Smithy has produced an awesome post on Radical Orthodoxy in which he likens it to what is probably my favorite cartoon and guilty pleasure, South Park.

Here’s a bit of what he said:

I don’t know if any of my gentle readers recall the early Southpark episode where Tweak is out of his mind due to his constant coffee drinking and thinks he sees little gnomes stealing his underpants. It turns out he was right all along, and that there was a gnome civilization living in the sewers (next to Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo I presume).

The other day I was reading some more Radical Orthodoxy. Milbank was faulting Scotus for arguing for the Immaculate Conception because it meant he could not appreciate fully the christmas carol “o felix culpa.” …

Reflecting upon these matters, I was struck by the similarity to the Underpants gnomes. When the children ask the gnomes why they steal people’s underpants, they respond in their cute high-pitched voices, “stage 1: steal underpants. Stage 2: ? Stage 3: Profit!!” Radical Orthodoxy’s method works very much the same way. Stage 1: Scotus says something that Aquinas does not. Stage 2: ? stage 3: Modernity! Holocaust of Nihilism! For the “?” one must imagine the little gnome shrugging his shoulders and making a questioning, wordless, utterance.

Lee, you can be assured that I remember that episode as I have watched them all religously and repeatedly.  However, I never thought of all the connections I could make between South Park and Radical Orthodoxy, and so for that, I thank you.  If nothing else, this great post has made me throw my inhibitions about discussing South Park in theological posts to the wind.  Y’all can look for that in the future.

One Comment

  1. Doug Hagler wrote:

    I really look forward to use of things like South Park in discussing theology. I think that, actually, South Park is one of the sources of popular theology and views of religion and God, or at least one of its expressions. They often deal with concrete theological or moral themes in a way that almost no other shows even attempt. Many episodes are semi-disguised morality plays where we learn about the terrible repercussions of doing evil and so on. I’d love to do something like an adult education series focusing on South Park. The problem is that many people have trouble getting over how overtly offensive it is.

    But, anyway, I just wanted to thoroughly encourage you to use South Park to discuss theology. Its loads of fun and I highly recommend it.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

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