Paul Asay

Award-Winning Author, Journalist and Blogger
Religion, Movie and Pop Culture Geek

As far as the 21st century is concerned, Ben Whittaker might as well be dead. Whittaker, the 70-year-old titular character played by Robert De Niro in “The Intern,” sports more gray than the Confederates at Manassas, more wrinkles than a balled-up fitted sheet. Television networks don’t care if he watches their programs. Advertisers don’t beg him to buy their products. In a culture that worships the young, Ben is irrelevant. And his ever-present tie shows you just what a relic he is....

Paul Asay is a senior associate editor at Plugged In, a ministry that reaches more than 6 million people with movie reviews that help people understand popular cultural trends and how they intersect with spiritual issues. Paul is an award-winning journalist who covered religion at The (Colorado Springs) Gazette and whose work has been published by such outlets as The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Youth Worker Journal and Paul has a special interest in the unexpected ways faith and media intersect. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Wendy, and two children.

Last year was called the year of the faith-based movie, and in a lot of ways, it was. Three straight-up Christian flicks (Heaven is for Real, God’s Not Dead and Son of God) each made more than $50 million. Another two movies theoretically made with a faith-based audience in mind—Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings—banked even more. Only problem: Secular audiences had no use for the former, and most evangelical Christians kinda hated the latter. ...

Posted Sept. 20, 2015, by Paul Asay

So why write a book about Batman? Why not Superman or Spider Man or The Avengers?

When I was a little kid, maybe 6 or 7, my best friend Terry and I would pretend to be superheroes every chance we got. He was always Superman or Captain Marvel or someone impossibly strong and powerful. But I was always Batman. For me, even though Batman wasn’t the strongest superhero around, he was always... Read the rest of this answer.

Batman may be a hero, but he’s a pretty dark one—particularly the hero we see in Christopher Nolan’s recent movies. Why did you pick him to use as a spiritual exercise?
God-honoring stuff can be found in really rough and messy circumstances sometimes. We’re living a world that no Christian should be comfortable in, just as the Apostle Paul was. But Paul used elements of the culture to speak into people’s lives. And even today, I believe that God’s fingerprints can be found on everything... Read the rest of this answer.

Batman’s been around for nearly 80 years now, and he’s more beloved than ever. What’s the secret to his continuing popularity? 
Well, he just looks cool, for one thing. One look at the guy, and you know not to mess with him. And then there’s the fact he has so many awesome gadgets, drives an amazing car and could buy a handful of Caribbean islands if he really wanted to. But an even bigger reason, I think, is that he’s recognizably human, just like... Read the rest of this answer.

Is Batman Christian?
That’s a hard question to answer. In the end, I think it depends on who Batman’s caretaker is at any given time. Batman’s first origin story shows him praying to God after his dad dies—praying for the strength to fight evil and, in essence, become the hero he’d eventually grow into. But he’s always been a man of... Read the rest of this answer.