Monday, December 26, 2022

It’s Iimi! St. Mary’s Outside the Malls

The girls were just looking to redeem their Christmas gift cards. But a chance encounter with Saul—on a date with Tasha—turned it into an apologetics battle as they they debate… St. Mary’s Outside the Malls

Pre-comic notes: The basic influence for this comic comes from St. Jerome’s Against Helvidius. Note that the objections modern Protestants use to deny the Perpetual Virginity of Mary were refuted over 1100 years before the Reformation even began.


St. Mary’s Outside the Malls is a wordplay on the Church, “St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.” It’s also a pun on the dual meaning of the apostrophe S. It can indicate possession (or dedication in the sense of a Church name) or a shorthand for “is.” Kismetta is seeing a graffiti image of Our Lady outside of the Mall, and is the topic of conversation in the comic.

Post-Comic Notes: And thus, ends Season 3. Season 4 begins on January 2, 2023 with Dam it All!


2022 was interesting. I began January looking to bring two stories to fulfillment (I had been laying seeds for them since 2021): Paula’s adoption and Kismetta’s conversion. 


I knew I was going to do Paula’s story since the “Paula’s abortion” story arc (Issues 44-52). But I also knew I would need to wait to complete it until 2022 to avoid a rushed story. 


Kismetta’s conversion was a story I wanted to tell since 2020, but I didn’t want to even begin until I felt I could represent Islam fairly and without stereotypes. Because Kismetta was established as a sincere Muslim, I needed to establish how her beliefs could be plausibly challenged. That meant studying both Muslim apologetic attempts to discredit Christianity, and the reasons/struggles Muslims had who did convert to Christianity.


In portraying the Muslim reaction to Kismetta, I started with the assumption that it would be similar to how a Catholic might react to a teenager making anti-Catholic points in a youth group. Nobody devoted to their beliefs (and I include myself) likes their beliefs being rejected. Some would take a “shut up” attitude. Others might try to talk patiently with the teen. From there, I looked for Muslim responses to the question “What would you do if your child left Islam?” while avoiding extremist responses. 


One thing I did not want to do is play the “Islamic extremist” card. Unless (God forbid) an act of Muslim motivated terrorism happens in the real world that they discuss, you won’t see that portrayed in my comic. 


Of course, the rest of the Dhumzur family haven’t vanished. They’ll show up in 2023. 

And, we’ll begin 2023 learning something about Iimi…

Monday, December 19, 2022

It’s Iimi! God and Pharaoh

When Lilavati has some questions about Christianity, Rick hijacks the discussion by accusing God of doing evil to Pharaoh by hardening his heart. Does he have a valid point? Or has he missed the point about the battle between... God and Pharaoh 

The close-up of the meanings for the Hebrew:

Post-Comic Notes: This is more of a technical detail. I mentioned in the comic (page 9) that Iimi leans towards Molinism. This is one of the orthodox schools of thought on free will and salvation. The other is Thomism. Molinism tries to balance God’s grace as being essential contrary to Pelagianism. At the same time, it recognizes unimpaired free will as why people resist grace. In contrast, Thomism uses concepts of efficacious grace. Molinism tends to be weaker in explaining the role of God’s grace. Thomism tends to be weaker in explaining free will. The Catholic Church has not taken a side on this debate. In fact, it forbade people to condemn either of them being in error.


Molinism was an answer to the Protestant denial of free will. Briefly, men like Luther and Calvin believed that giving weight to free will would mean that men saved themselves. But (as Iimi pointed out in It’s Iimi! A Dialogue on Misconceptions) by free will, we can lower ourselves into a hole that we can’t get out of on our own. If we accept the lifeline God throws us (grace), we did not save ourselves.


The reader should be aware that the term is also used in Protestantism as a counter to Calvinism. Calvinist based Protestantism condemns it as a heresy. Not being a Protestant, I won’t address their dispute. But it has differences from the Catholic concept. So, be aware of that.


Iimi, being Catholic with a Molinist outlook, takes a view of Pharaoh being to blame for his own predicament. Some Protestant denominations do hold that God actively blocked Pharaoh from repenting. I think that fits into their concept of “double predestination” (God predestines some for salvation and some for damnation). The Catholic Church rejects that view, and I think the double predestination position is harder to defend against scandalized non-Christians who think it makes God a “monster.” As we see, this is part of Rick’s atheism. 


Of course, no human can know the mind of God or be His counselor (see Isaiah 40:13). Nothing in this comic should be seen as disagreeing with Catholic teaching that we absolutely need God’s grace to be saved and that we are to blame for our own fall, while accepting Church teaching that culpability can vary depending on the conditions of the individual sinner.

Monday, December 12, 2022

It’s Iimi! One in One or Zero in One

Machen and Otios enlist math teacher Paul Gehr to challenge Iimi. When he appeals to probability about extraterrestrial life and casts doubt about religion, Iimi must show why she thinks that the real question of probability is… One in One or Zero in One

Post-Comic Notes: Like Iimi in the comic, I’m agnostic on the topic of extraterrestrial life. We won’t know if it exists unless we encounter it. We won’t know it doesn’t exist unless we search every possible place that such life could exist. I’m unaware of any Church teaching on the subject. I can only say that if it does exist, it is from God, not chance. The title of the comic reflects my formulation that, if God willed to create extraterrestrial life, then it exists (a 1/1 “chance”). If He did not will to create extraterrestrial life, then it does not exist (0/1 “chance”).


One thing I’ve noticed on this: Neither the Creationists nor the Atheists I’ve encountered like this theory. The Creationists I’ve met think like Saul. The atheists I’ve met dislike the fact that my view doesn’t exclude God from the universe.

Monday, December 5, 2022

It’s Iimi! Denouement and Reboot (The Long Goodbye: Part III)

The final day of the Dhumzur family in America has arrived. Kismetta, accompanied by Thea, goes to the airport to see them off. Then, Kismetta must face a new world with a new family. It’s a… Denouement and Reboot.


Pre-Comic notes: Denouement means “The final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work.”

Post-Comic Notes: This isn’t the final appearance of the Dhumzur family members. But how they will appear will be different than in the comics up to now. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

It’s Iimi! Transitions (The Long Goodbye Part II)

The day has finally come. The day before Thanksgiving and Escrow has closed on the Dhumzur house. Kismetta is moving to the Iscra house while Sumeja and the twins go to a hotel before they travel to the United Arab Emirates. Thea senses some unease and sorrow from Sumeja. Can she help them with the… Transitions