The Christ-like Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Tyler Durden is a Christ-figure to the men who follow Him. He is a makeshift savior or even God to the men who look to him for guidance and hope. At one point, Jack even says, “In Tyler we trusted.”

Tyler Durden is thoroughly misguided, so I hate to admit that his methods for living resemble Christ's. But it’s true nonetheless. Tyler exemplifies the freed quality of thinking that should characterize every Christ-follower.

Durden instills vision into his followers in much the same way that Christ instills His own followers with heavenly vision. While Christ-followers set their sights on otherworldly, eternal goals, members of Fight Club or Project Mayhem set their sights on Tyler Durden’s otherworldly imagination.

Everyone has a built in need to live for a purpose. Everyone wants something greater then themselves to live and to die for. Tyler’s insane charisma fills this hole for his followers.

Durden reminds his basement congregation that they have no great wars or depression that might unify them. He points out that their war is a spiritual war and their depression is their lives. Average listeners can’t help but say “Yes! Please lead us!” to Tyler’s basement speech.

In the next few minutes Tyler gets the opportunity to solidify his followers’ faith in him.

The owner of that particular basement is Lou. Lou descends his stairs with an armed henchman intending to break up these fight clubs forever. But neither Lou, nor the henchman, nor anyone else in the room (including Jack) can understand the unrelenting quality of Tyler’s dedication.

Tyler deliberately provokes Lou to the point that he is pounding Tyler’s face in a frustrated rage. Lou even gets into a rhythm as Durden continues to egg him on, laughing hysterically. Durden finally wins the contest not by physical force, buy by psychological outmaneuvering. He jumps up from the floor with his pulverized face and pins Lou underneath him. Tyler then splashes his own blood and saliva all over Lou as he continues to laugh, in between breaths begging Lou to let them stay. This convinces Lou to let them keep meeting in his basement.

An average man such as Lou would could not comprehend Tyler’s psychotic dedication. This goes to show how an average, sane person would be helpless against an insane person. In a fight between the sane and insane, the sane person’s sanity works against him. An average man’s sanity would inspire him to be reasonable while an insane man knows no such bounds.

Tyler is insanely sold-out for his cause to the point that no amount of pain and not even death, can dissuade him. Granted, his foundation for acting thus is based in his well-honed ability to dismiss reality, however this does not lessen the power of this gesture. In return for a pulverized face, Durden earns the unfading dedication of his awe-struck audience.

Tyler Durden’s psychosis allows him to capitalize on the unexpected genius of martyrdom. Anyone who is willing to die for their cause cannot lose. If a man who is willing to be martyred isn’t killed by his opponents, then great… he will continue advancing his cause while he's still alive. In the event that his opponents succeed in killing him, he will succeed even more in advancing his cause.

There is a kind of insanity that is beneficial for the gospel’s sake. I use the word “insanity” in a relative sense. People from the dark ages would call modern medicine insane simply because they wouldn’t know any better. What is and what isn’t insane all depends on people’s point of reference. As for spiritual matters, people can only be sane if their point of reference is Christ.

A person who has not been fundamentally altered by the Spirit of God would consider following after God an insane pursuit, especially when they are so in love with the futility of self-indulgence. Any person would have to be crazy by the world’s standards in order to follow after a God prefers to remain untouchable and invisible. But, again, it all depends on what or who is our point of reference.

A Christ-follower might consider average westerners crazy for putting all their confidence in numbers with dollar signs posted next to them. Even if I hold a twenty dollar bill in my hand, where is the value in it? It looks like paper to me. Why should I worry about trying to accumulate stacks of similarly-printed bills when I am already perfectly content without them?

Jesus Christ, in His time, stood alone as the only Man who kept His sights on God's holiness despite all the distractedness the sinful men who surrounded Him. Even despite all the threats and pain and mockery of the whole world pressing in on Him, He persevered even still. This made Jesus look crazy.

So who is more crazy, sons of this world, or the Son of God? Even if all the sons of this world rise up in opposition to the Son of God, is not the Son of God still far more trustworthy?

Therefore, let those of us who follow Christ embrace a heavenly quality of insanity. Let’s seek out the freedom of saturating ourselves with God's Spirit, however imprudent this may appear to the rest of the world.

Insane dedication to Christ is highest level of sanity in God's eyes. We needn’t dismiss reality, but rather, in Christ, we can finally embrace it. We needn’t try and cover up any truth about ourselves because God will cleanse us spiritually so we are clean in every way.


Anonymous said...

I understand what you are trying to do in your interpretation, but comparing Tyler Durden to Christ is an unchristian concept and overall badly-reasoned argument. You attempt to compare Jesus to Tyler by debasing each of their actions to seem equal in their zeal, goal, and insanity. By doing so, however, you disregard their contradictory intentions. Christ's zeal was gentle, his goals were pure, and his insanity was founded in faith. Contrastly, Tyler Durden's zeal was aggressive, his goals impure and destructive, and his insanity founded in unrestrained desires and instincts. Tyler was a lust-filled, violent, and destructive nihilist. He is the philosophical epitome of Nietzsche's Zarathustra- the man who has assumed the destructive forces and strengths of a lion. Considering this, Tyler Durden is the antithesis of Jesus. While both are leaders, they should never be said to be comparable. Nonetheless, you have provided a valid argument, but if you replace Hitler with Tyler you would almost get equal results within your context. To top it all off, Tyler Durden not only disbelieves in God, but kills the only higher belief in which he adheres to.

I really enjoyed where you went with the blog, however. I have never objectively perceived faith before, in that it is an insane action. Very cool.


Patrick said...

Thx Ross

Anonymous said...

Yeah but I am sure that when the second coming of Jesus occurs he will be a lion and not a lamb.


FANTiM said...

I thought of this quote today "Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction... " and in my head was comparing it to Rom 14:19 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." and it's relationship with self edification.
Then I did a search and came across your blog. Like the writing.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with this any more. I have been thinking the same thing for a long time. Ultimately I think Tyler Durden symbolizes Christ-like qualities, but he more resembles the Zeitgeist (spirt of the time) or the Holy Spirit especially since his character is merely a self created image which resembles qualities of good and evil. However, the evil done in the movie never gets anyone killed until Bob and that's when the movie really starts to shift. Many of the evil things done in the movie are trying to show people through subtle-anarchy that the things they value most in life don't mean anything.

Project Mayhem represents the focus on how to change the world by destroying the money system. In the end the Jack doesn't understand why Tyler is doing this. He then tries to stop it, but what he doesn't realize is everyone is OK with it. I think one thing he's truly struggling with at the end is being admired as some sort of God where everyone does what he says. The scene emphasizing "His name is Robert Paulson" shows his people inability to relate on a human level, they become almost like Robots.

By finding his soulmate at the end (Marla) he realizes that he doesn't need Tyler anymore and the job Tyler came to do is done, which is why he puts his gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. Tyler's character truly wants control over people and the Narrator knows this is not what the world needs, people need to think for themselves. At the end you start to see the human side of people again. They brought up beer and friends to watch the culmination of the best thing they've ever done in there lives, free people from the financial hardship created by the banks and the elite.