Of A Christianity That Requires Faith In Dust Bunnies
Posted by Job on February 20, 2009
I have spoken of how being the parent of small children often comes with watching children’s entertainment. For years, I tried to uphold my antipathy, forged in my days as a neoconservative, against liberal government funded PBS. Finally, however, I wound up adhering to the counsel of my wife, who argued for PBS based on the educational merit of its content. Where PBS shows actually attempt to teach children to read, count etc. the “educational” content of its competitors like Nickelodeon and Disney seem more preoccupied with using the theories of psychologists, sociologists, etc. to shape children’s values and worldviews. That and the “free market” cartoons push far more violence, subversive behavior, sexuality (including homosexuality far more strongly implied than Tinky Winky’s carrying a purse or Buster’s visiting a lesbian couple in Vermont) and elements of the occult and paganism than PBS chooses to depict in its children’s shows. So, I acquired the attitude “if my kids are going to watch children’s TV, it is going to be something that is more likely to help them learn to read their Bibles and less likely to emulate homosexual sponges and starfish or find new ways to rebel against their parents and teachers.” Winner: PBS by a country mile. (And also what was the position of my wife from the very beginning.)
Now one of these PBS offerings is “Big Comfy Couch.” The wife hates it, and Ipersonally find little merit in it. But the kids love it, there is nothing truly objectionable about the program, and it is sandwiched between programs that are quite educational, there is little excuse for failing to abide it. As it happens, the show is set in “Clown Town”, is centered on Loonette the clown and her childlike “living doll” Molly, and much of the first half of a typical show shows the doll and owner (who relates to Molly as a mother would a child) interacting while sitting on a couch.
It is in these interactions where one of the things that makes the show mildly engaging (for me) occurs: a running gag concerning the possibility of the existence of dust bunnies living under the couch. Molly, the child doll, believes in the dust bunnies. She sees evidence of the dust bunnies around her, and attributes events – such as the disappearance of household items – to their existence.
Molly also regularly attempts to convince Loonette of their existence, but to no avail. Loonette rejects all of the obvious evidence of the existence of dust bunnies as a the product of childish imaginations and stories that must be abandoned as one matures. As a matter of fact, Molly’s adherence to belief in dust bunnies frustrates and agitates Loonette. What generally closes one of these scenes is Loonette’s singing to Molly the “I Don’t Believe In Dust Bunnies” song. The point of this song is not so much to prove that dust bunnies do not exist, but to explain why believing in them is inappropriate. The song ends with the line to the effect of “that’s why I would still never believe in dust bunnies even if I saw one.”
So, for Loonette, the obvious evidence often produced by Molly pointing to the possibility of the existence of dust bunnies – always dismissed, often in favor of explanations that are actually less plausible – never matters. Further, even the existence of dust bunnies as objective, rational truth is not at issue. (After all, Loonette stated that even if she saw a dust bunny she would still continue to deny their existence!) The only thing that matters to Loonette is that the existence of dust bunnies is incompatible with her worldview. And what makes it so incompatible? The fact that for her to admit an existence of dust bunnies would make her an object of scorn and ridicule to her peers, her friends and family. Believing in dust bunnies would cause people to regard her as insane, eccentric, or at least immature. Either way, the result would be her forfeiting the privileges that come with being regarded as a stable, responsible adult. Because Loonette greatly values these privileges, things that would cause them to be denied to her, including the rational truth of the existence of dust bunnies, cannot coexist with her. This would be an amazing statement of her mindset (inasmuch as Canadian children’s shows shown on public television can be) even if the TV viewers were not shown images images of dust bunnies playing with the very items that Molly insists to Loonette that the dust bunnies have in their possession even while Loonette is vehemently denying them.
Whatever motive that this show has for including this recurring theme, I have not been able to discern. However, it is very easy to correlate this with the real world and Christianity. Romans 1 states that the mere presence of a grand and orderly creation makes self – evident the existence of One God who is both holy and all powerful. In refusing to believe in the existence of dust bunnies despite the abundance of evidence around her, Loonette is like mankind who rejects the clearly revealed knowledge of God to go after abominations, whether false gods or evolution.
Yet Loonette is given another chance: Molly, who not only believes in the dust bunnies because of the evidence, but persistently shows Loonette the evidence and interprets it for her in a way that she can understand and cause belief in the truth. However, Loonette is similar to the instance in Jesus Christ’s parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13:1-23, and Luke 8:1-15) where the seeds fall on stony ground. These people actually believe the gospel initially (Loonette acknowledges having believed in dust bunnies in her own youth) but abandon it, not because it has been proven to be untrue or insufficient, but because “when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” When you are concerned with what others think of you and receiving benefits based on it, the truth doesn’t matter. Your worldly position and privileges matter, so you will inevitably deny the truth to hold onto your little bit of the world, just as Ananias and Sapphira did when they rejected the truth to hold back part of the price of the land and fell down slain by the Holy Spirit (as a contrast to falling down after allegedly having been slain IN the Holy Spirit).
So, this little dust bunny joke on “Big Comfy Couch” reminds me of how we Christians are to keep a childlike faith in a Jesus Christ that the world has rejected and will continue to reject. Recall Loonette’s declaration that she wouldn’t believe in dust bunnies even if she saw one. Is this any different from the Pharisees and Sadducees that rejected Yeshua HaMashiach, whom we English speakers call Jesus Christ? They saw the miracles. They saw Jesus Christ fulfill the prophecies. And they knew that He resurrected from the dead. But the Pharisees in order to remain in power needed the support of the poor. The hope of the poor was a change in earthly circumstances, liberation from Rome. They had little use for a Messiah whose message was an eternity with God in the next life and the strength and help required to endure until the end in this life. (The prosperity doctrine adherents are their successors, incidentally.) And the Sadduccees were Hellenists. Their power despite their being despised by the people had a lot to do with their adopting a form of Judaism that the pagan Roman Empire found acceptable, which included denying a belief in the resurrection. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, it completely shattered their entire belief system, as well as the pagan belief system of the Roman Empire that they had co-opted. (Liberal Christians who accept evolution as fact while denying the virgin birth, deity, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are their descendants.)
But what do the Pharisees and Sadduccees do? Conspire to cover up the truth. Pay people to say that the Body of Jesus Christ had been stolen, and threaten and kill anyone who said anything different. For the Pharisees to stand up for the objective rational truth: that Jesus was the Messiah, would have meant being rejected by the people and losing their power. For the Sadduccees to do the same in acknowledging that Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead would have meant being rejected by the Romans as unlearned religious fanatics not worthy of being entrusted with their governing responsibilities. So despite the fact that they saw the Son of God and knew of the empty tomb, they had to deny it.
But Molly believed in dust bunnies. Why? Because she had nothing to lose. As a child, or more accurately a childlike doll, she had no esteem, no responsibilities, no privileges to lose by declaring a belief in dust bunnies. And we are to be the same. So long as we have an investment in this worldly system, whether it is financial, political, ideological, or simply our own pride and desires, we will never have faith in the real Jesus Christ, the corner stone that the builders rejected. Oh, we will declare faith in a false Christ, one that the world deems acceptable to believe in, loudly and profusely. We will even accept persecution in the name of this false Christ so long as it confers worldly benefits. Take the Crusades. While there may have been legitimate political and military reasons to fight the Crusades, the truth is that not one word of scripture can be construed in support of these campaigns. Yet the Catholic Church declared a holy war, and even at one point promised automatic salvation to anyone who died fighting, no different from the modern Islamists. So, many thousands of professing Christians marched off to deprivation and death, pursuing a false Jesus Christ whose commandments in scripture that they did not obey, but instead offered worldly benefits like a false assurance of salvation and the status of a hero. But suffering persecution for the God of the Bible does not interest the world, so it does not interest those of the world.
So, we have to be like Molly. In order to have faith in the true Jesus Christ, we need to have nothing in this world to lose. The only way that we can reach that point is, of course, to renounce the world. Unlike the rich young ruler, who failed when he was tested, we have to be willing to forsake all, follow Jesus Christ, and live for our riches in heaven. Will you do so today?