Religious Celebrities: Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow and the Orthodox Jewish Taliban-Like Women

Amazingly, in our archetypal framework of analysis of religious personalities, two ostensibly different types of religious practice fall into the same personality category, the "Celebrity."

As we see it these two religious personae in the news today are "Celebrities" -- Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow (see Times Op-Ed Columnist Frank Bruni on, "Tim Tebow’s Gospel of Optimism") (and see the Times editorial, "Tebowing on the Gridiron and Off") and the Orthodox Jewish Taliban Women (hat tip to David for the latter VIN link).

Our sharp scalpel of analysis cuts it like this. Both are valid expressions of what we call in our new book, "the celebrity mode of religious expression" whose anthem is, "We're number one!"

Celebrities show their specialness and triumphalism in many ways, by slogans, by unusual and distinctive tribal dress, and in purely public mannerisms. You could point to war paint for native Americans, or to the Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow genuflecting in the end zone after a touchdown. Those kinds of public displays immediately reduce down to parallel archetypal content-less bravura put on for show.

Those acts have a dual purpose for the personality who puts them on for us. They say first, We are better than you, We are winning, and they, second, seek to intimidate the competition. The intellectual, theological and philosophical emptiness of the celebrity mode is so elegantly demonstrated when Tebow equates winning at a football game with winning at religion. It's all just a big game for him in both those cases.

And witness that neither of his celebrations of victory or supremacy has any depth or durability.

Eventually all teams will lose. And then they will have to go back and look for some actual defining knowledge or substantive meaning, some real content, not just bravura. Or else they just will disappear into the mists of former glory.

And oh well, we might go one step further in our parsing of religious personality.

If you are not an admirer of fundamentalist Christians or if you are not a fan of Taliban-like burka-wearing Orthodox women, the answers you may speak to the celebrities that you don't like are:  (a) simply and loudly tell them that they don't scare you; and (b) mock them mercilessly to everyone else for their utterly silly actions.

And of course, for the "Celebrities" that you do like, just wave your finger in the air and join them in the chant and the dance, "We're number one!" And, go out there and win that game! And if you win, take a bow.

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