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Haddock: Is he religious?

#1 · Posted: 6 Feb 2005 10:54 · Edited by: Moderator
In Tintin in Tibet Haddock doesn't behave very well (I enjoy it!) in the monastery or with those beautiful monks...
Buddhist monks are very tolerant and highly spiritual: they don't mind.
Just imagine one second what would have happened if he had behaved the same way in a Christian church - would the book ever have been printed?

PS: What about the Thom(p)sons in the desert when they kick the two praying Bedouins (who, by the way, haven't taken their shoes off)?
#2 · Posted: 6 Feb 2005 20:45 · Edited by: Moderator
I think in both cases (especially Haddock's) the actions taken may be due more so to ignorance than to lack of faith or religious respect.
Much about Haddock's personality seems to indicate somewhat agnostic or atheist characteristics (although he takes off his cap and folds his hand when the Thompsons' calculations mark their supposed locationx-Westminster Abbeyx-in Red Rackham's Treasure).
Also, Haddock's personality itself is very brash, and Hergé may have intended his behavior at the monastery for humorous purposes rather than to hint at his character's lack of religious faith...
With regard to the Thompsons, they kick the Bedouin's rear end to prove (incorrectly) that he was in fact a mirage (a rather stupid thing to do in retrospect).
There is nothing in that scene to indicate that they were doing it to mock their faith.
And as for their shoes, I hadn't noticed that! It was probably an oversight on Hergé's part, even though he had noted this custom in The Crab With The Golden Claws...
#3 · Posted: 6 Feb 2005 23:46 · Edited by: jock123
Although this seems to be following too closely on the heels of the "Is Tintin Christian?" thread, and therefore much of this sort of argument is thrashed out there, I can't see how the example you give in the body of your message ties in with your choice of subject title? Why does the fact that Haddock behaves badly in a Bhuddist monastery (and as mitsuhirato says, probably through ignorance) make him an atheist - he might just be a rude theist.

I've taken the step to change the title, broadening it out from "Haddock: An atheist?" to "Haddock: Is he religious?", so that it can look for ways in which his attitudes to religion can be discussed, rather than limiting it to a binary choice.
#4 · Posted: 7 Feb 2005 16:22
You are both perfectly right!
Maybe the title is not correct, it should be something like: "Haddock: atheist or rude theist?"
I moved from "Is Tintin a christian" because "Admin" told to do so if we wanted to discuss Haddock's faith or absence of faith!
Nevertheless I'd like someone to comment the second part of my quote: what would have happened if he had behaved the same way in a Christian church?
I think the book would unfortunately have never been published...
#5 · Posted: 7 Feb 2005 16:44
I'd say it was pretty inconclusive to be honest, without having a good go through the books to check for some things he says. The only thing I can think off hand is that Tintin says his guardian angel has a full time job, not really proof.

He does take off his hat in Red Rackham's Treasure, but that's more of a sign of knowing the correct customs than any religous belief.

Harrock n roll
#6 · Posted: 7 Feb 2005 18:05
It's interesting to note that when Haddock suffers a “crisis of conscience” on board the Ramona we see inside Haddock's own mind an angel and a devil as the embodiment of that conflict. From the way the two sides of his conscience are represented it could be said that Haddock at least has christian values/ethics whilst perhaps not being “christian” in the true sense himself. It's a sure bet he would have drunk that bottle had it not broke!

Snowy suffers the same dilemma as Haddock too, twice in Tibet, so now we have a christian dog! I think it's notable that whilst Snowy takes the wrong decision on both occasions in Tibet (drinking whisky from the rucksack and opting for a bone in favour of an SOS note) he pays for his wrong-doing in the first instance (with near death!) and redeems himself in the second. An example of the sense of moral justice that permeates through the books.

Overall I think the ethical viewpoints of Hergé's characters probably says more about the author's own upbringing and conditioning than anything else. I can't imagine he'd make one his main characters - an extention of himself in many respects - an atheist. I'd say Haddock is a harsh realist with basic christian values about right and wrong - definitely not an atheist.
#7 · Posted: 21 Feb 2005 03:56
Angels and Devils representing the different parts of the conscience are nearly a joke! Even in non-religious content there are those two characters! They mean nearly nothing.

The part of "Red Rackham's Treasure" where the Captain is praying is nothing more than to irritate the Thom(p)sons. Look how he suddenly changes after all that acting and how the twins just walk out stunned! That scene shows nothing about the Captain's spirituality.

Morals could be inherent in all of us, even if it is not manifested in Angels and Devils. Even without a religion, we would know that Snowy did two wrongs things in "Tintin in Tibet" as mentioned by Harrock n Roll (I'm athiest-agnostic). Yes, morals are in many cases universal, just that many cultures describe it differently...
Harrock n roll
#8 · Posted: 21 Feb 2005 14:38
They mean nearly nothing.

Little angels and devils have certainly been used to represent someone wrestling with their conscience well before Hergé and the imagery is universally understood. But they are undeniably part of christian imagery.

In a rather longwinded way I was saying that because Hergé used it as a moral reference point - being a Catholic himself - he could have been implying that Haddock had christian “ethics”. Just a possibility.

Hergé was struggling with his own morality around the time of The Red Sea Sharks and Tintin in Tibet. Perhaps the angels and devils were also a metaphor for his own personal crisis?

Or maybe, as snafu says, they mean nearly nothing!

This topic is closed.