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Is Tintin a Christian?

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JasonD
Member
#11 · Posted: 31 Jan 2005 13:10
Chrisians do not have a monopoly on high principles and qualities so the fact that Tintin has them does not mean that he is a Christian.

If it turns out that he is, I shall be burning all my TinTin books.
jock123
Moderator
#12 · Posted: 31 Jan 2005 13:21
JasonD
Chrisians do not have a monopoly on high principles and qualities…

I don’t think anybody has said such a thing here.

Anyway, it seems to be a small matter – when plainly the question is completely hypothetical – to set you on the course of burning all your Tintin books. He is, after all, only a cartoon character... As has been said above, the character has been drawn by Hergé going to church and praying, so perhaps you’d better go and get the matches?

What we are indulging in here is literary speculation - how could anyone say one way or the other? Just enjoy the books for what they are – some enjoyable adventures, and beautiful art.
OJG
Member
#13 · Posted: 31 Jan 2005 20:53
As has been said above, the character has been drawn by Hergé going to church and praying

I never knew about that. Do you know where, jock?
jock123
Moderator
#14 · Posted: 31 Jan 2005 21:11 · Edited by: jock123
Hergé drew Christmas cards for the Studio and the Journal, as well as seasonally themed covers and editorial illustrations for the latter.

There are several places where these have been reproduced, and I have seen one of the main characters filing towards a lit up church at night, presumably to Midnight Mass; I have to be honest that, upon reflection, it might have been Haddock who is shown praying in another picture (I’m doing this from memory, but I think they are shown in Benoît Peeters Monde book).

Addition: I’d just like to say that while the information in the cards etc. can be used as ammunition for the speculation we indulge in, it isn’t in anyway “true” – not unless we accept that Tintin also indulged in a bit of sado-masochism, as he has also been drawn by Hergé standing over him at his desk with a whip in his hand...
OJG
Member
#15 · Posted: 31 Jan 2005 22:35
Duh! I have Tintin and the World of Hergé and just looked and saw some of the stuff you mean. There are quite a few. There are Christmas cards showing Tintin and Snowy following two silhouettes towards a church (as you say), and there is one of Tintin and Snowy sitting before a nativity set with Tintin praying. There are also pictures of a Christmas bauble showing Tintin, Haddock, the Thompsons and Calculus singing a carol (I think it was on the home page here over Xmas), and several medieval-style drawings with the charaters dressed accordingly. I'd completely forgotten about these!

I agree with you though that they are not 'true', at least the Christmas stuff as that is just in the spirit of the occasion.
Jyrki21
Member
#16 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 05:32
We'll never know whether Tintin was supposed to be practising, but I think it goes without saying that a white, Belgian young man in the 1920s and 1930s at least would have simply been presumed to be Catholic by any and all. Certainly not a practising member of another religion, anyway.

Michael Farr elaborates a little on this topic in his discussion of The Broken Ear, where he notes that to Tintin readers at the time, Ramon and Alonzo being carted off to Hell would have been simply natural and without question. It would hardly look like the fanciful, out-of-place image it seems today.

Yesteryear was not a time of religious diversity or fluidity... secular or not, Europeans, as far as anyone was concerned, were Christian, end of story. Speaking as a Jewish reader, I certainly never pretended for a second that Tintin was one of my people, I can tell you that! ;)
rastapopoulos
Member
#17 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 11:37
I certainly never pretended for a second that Tintin was one of my people, I can tell you that!

Although Tintin was mistaken for a Jewish terrorist called Finklestein in the 1939 version of 'Land of Black Gold'.
OJG
Member
#18 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 11:46
I don't think Hergé ever intended for Tintin to have any one religious affiliation as it is irrelevant in the context of the stories. And like Mitsuhirato says, it would potentially turn certain markets away from the stories. Ceratinly after the Tintin series started gaining broader recognition (i.e. outside of Belgium), Hergé would have realised that to mark Tintin down as of any particular religion would undoubtedly do this. There is always scope for the reader to see Tintin as a follower of their particular religion as he does not show any signs of doing otherwise. As for the earlier books, where Hergé might not have thought about the potential turn-off Tintin's beliefs might have had, his boss was a catholic, but as I said earlier, religion was pretty much irrelevant in the context of the stories. Father Wallez would have obviously assumed Tintin to be a catholic like Jyrki says because of what and when Tintin was, thus keeping Wallez happy.

As for the other (non-Christmas related) religious-style pictures Hergé drew of Tintin and the other characters, they are not canon, so I don't think they bare any significance to the facts about Tintin's world.
jock123
Moderator
#19 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 12:40
Good point, well made, Jyrki21 - I think you actually have it spot on there!

OJG, I don’t think that there was any question of Hergé just keeping Father Wallez happy. As Jyrki21 says, it would have been so automatic for any white, bourgeois, Belgian boy-scout(ish) character appearing in a Catholic newspaper, written and drawn by a Catholic, to be Catholic himself, that it wouldn’t just have been Father Wallez, but everyone who would have thought that he was “Catholic” (as much as any fictional figure has such a dimension). The idea that faith was professed through good deeds was probably enough for all concerned.

I also don’t believe that Hergé thought anything about the “religion” of the character being a turn-off – it just so happened that the subject didn’t need to come up, and that was a benefit in the long run.
rastapopoulos
Member
#20 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 15:16 · Edited by: rastapopoulos
Ramon and Alonzo being carted off to Hell would have been simply natural and without question. It would hardly look like the fanciful, out-of-place image it seems today.

Is this what Micheal Farr said? I dont think Herge was making bold statement about heaven and hell. I think it just a comical jesture that was probably copied from another artist, probably dear old uncle Walt.

I dont think Tintin can be jusified as being a christian for being in a catholic newspaper. If you believe that then im afriad you will have to call him a Nazi too... for being printed in a Nazi run newspaper.

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