Tag Archives: christian

What Superman and Jesus *Really* Have in Common

I’ve made no secret among people I know that I was severely disappointed with this summer’s Man of Steel.  Among very long lists of reasons why, a major one has been the over-the-top force-feeding of the idea that Superman is a representation of Jesus.  On a normal day I’d assert that they are barely alike and that anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  I remember no parts of the Gospels that tell of Jesus saving Mary Magdalene from the bald and maniacal Roman governor, Lex Luthicus.  Nor do I remember scenes in Man of Steel where Kal-El spoke against the hypocritical politicians of Metropolis or sacrificing himself to execution as propitiation to Jor-El for the sins of Earth. (Take note: Jor-El did not send Kal-El to save the people of Earth; Jor-El sent Kal-El to Earth to save Kal-El and the Kryptonian race.  Where is that Jesus parallel again?)

But this evening I had something of an epiphany.  The two characters *are* alike.  Not necessarily in parallels within their stories, but in how their stories have been handled and treated.  In fact, they are so similar in this regard that I can explain it by describing only one, yet the description works perfectly for both:

The story is of a man of humble roots but a fantastic origin.  He grows up and gives his life to saving those who cannot save themselves.  His story has been told over many generations, and those who hear it and *understand* it have celebrated and been moved by its beauty. Over the course of many years, this story helped shape cultures and entire groups of people knew it as they knew their alphabet.

But as it became more commonplace, as the idea became engrained into the popular consciousness, many people claimed to know it but actually only knew the name and the images they had been shown throughout their lives.  They had never actually picked up a book about this man to learn what the real story was.  They knew the bullet points and little else.  They still claimed to like the story; they still claimed to like that incredible man, but as they allowed it to be about culture and not about the actual story–to not be something that they tried to really understand and to be moved by it–they lost touch with what the message was in the first place.

As culture and societies changed, people began to mock the story.  They said that we were too advanced or sophisticated or evolved to accept such nonsense.  They would point out aspects of it that they interpret to be childish, or remnants of a long-gone era.  The more holes they believed they found, the more the culture at large embraced those perceived holes as truth.

Throughout all of this, there always remained a steady stream of people who did read the story and who did understand the themes and ideas, and really did understand why it was so appealing.  They would find themselves unapologetically drawn to it, and they hoped and yearned for a day when the world would see the beauty in it again.

So they would tell the story again and again.  They would put it into modern contexts but keep the message the same; keep the characters exactly who they were all along while applying contemporary concerns and addressing current issues.  Sometimes through this, new people would find the truth about the story, and they would join the ranks of those who showed it to them and attempt to tell more.

So then what happens when someone comes along and wants to re-tell this story on a large scale, but their motives seem to be less about the story and more about their personal gain?  They update the story but remove and reverse all that made it what it was.  They render the original concept utterly meaningless by all the alterations they make.  All the world takes notice and celebrates the new interpretation because it is recognizable but flashier, is easy to swallow, and appeals to their senses; but those who have understood the story all along cry foul.  They try to tell everyone that THIS story is not THAT story, but their protests are ignored and ridiculed.

“It has to be updated for modern society!” the new audiences say.  “Surely you cannot expect us to go along with those outdated concepts.  You’re only upset because you think you own this story and you only want it told YOUR way!”

“But those concepts are exactly the ones that we need in this modern age!” the others reply back.  “The problem all along hasn’t been that the story is irrelevant, but that so many have missed what the story is really about!  Contextualizing it to today can work but this has betrayed what this character actually stood for, and has undermined the entire meaning and message of the original story.”

Yet it feels as if it will be to little avail.  How difficult it is to try to show others the quality of something when something that looks the same but is easier (yet emptier) is being offered to them by someone else.

And it is at this point that the two stories stop being similar.  I can live my life without people “getting” the actual story of Superman, but my heart aches over those who would take an easier, false Gospel and think that they know Christ.  So if we’re going to compare the two stories, let’s make sure we’re comparing what they really have in common.

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Confessions of a Closet Yahoo! Answers User, issue 2

So I’ve been at it again.  I fell off the wagon.  Rather than feel guilty over it, I’m going to share my experiences here.  Hopefully this will be good therapy, as I clearly need help.

I started out in areas of helping people with guitar questions.  It seemed sterile enough.  But that turned out to be the problem . . . I needed controversy.  My brain needed twisting; my emotions needed riling.  So I stumbled into the cesspool known as the “Religion & Spirituality” category.  It really found me, honestly.

So I responded to many questions that caught my eye.  I’d answer one, then see the four suggested “Open Questions in ‘Religion & Spirituality,'” find a new one, answer that, then rinse and repeat.  All said and done I answered probably 15 questions.  I’m so ashamed . . . but let’s get to what we have.

Let’s start by giving you an idea for the two polar opposites that are at war in the “Religion & Spirituality” category of this site.

First, my *cough* brothers and sisters in Christ . . .

Yes or No…… Do you believe in this lie of the Devil ——>?

Pangaea……
The absurdity of India forming the Himalayas is of particular interest…….
Should not India be surrounded by 250 Million year old Oceanic-Crust?
If you say it has been Sub-ducted then how did
India get enough traction to form Mount Everest?

To which I responded, “Can I answer your question with a question?  How will this poking and prodding and instigating arguments change people’s hearts about Jesus?”

I didn’t get best answer, but I did get five votes from those who are not myself FOR best answer.

And in the other corner, the “free thinkers” of the world, the Angry Atheists . . .

When will Christians understand that when you finally accept the truth that gods are just silly . . . ?

To which I responded, “And come to accept everything you believe, since there is absolutely no way that you have been lied to or deceived?  I wonder when, indeed.”

That question was actually deleted because it violates some Yahoo! Answers rule, which I find amusing.  Not that it got deleted, but that Yahoo! Answers has rules.  I answered that one late in my binge and my patience was wearing thin, as if any time spent there will reap any positive rewards.  It’s just people on one side prodding at people at the other side, and no one actually wants answers, they just want to be right.  And there I am, playing along with all of it.

They range from the playful in spirit . . .

Christians, would the arrival of aliens to earth change any of your religious tenets?

Would it affect you more if they were atheists or had their own deities?

The one chosen as best answer is actually pretty darn good:  “Hum, fun question.  No, theoretically it changes nothing for me, or the Bible story.  Good news, anthropic principles are so strong that such an idea is basically scientifically dead and the distances God has put between the Galaxy’s are so huge that how could we ever get there anyway?”

. . . to those with inter-religious bones to pick . . .

If Jehovah’s Witness faith is wrong then explain how your church has been in wars and theirs haven’t?

I’ll let you mull that one over on your own.

. . . and then you have the mind-bogglingly, poorly thought out questions from both those who hold a political point of view that clashes with Christianity, and those who claim atheism.

Exhibit A:

A question for pro-life Christians?

Just out of curiosity, do you attach the same importance to opposing the death penalty and war that you attach to opposing abortion?  If not, why not? Are lives less valuable once they’re out of the womb?

To which I lost it and answered: “Okay, I’m tired of this argument, because it’s clear as day that you, and those who hold it, haven’t thought it through. YOU want to throw in our faces the reality of war and the consequences of heinous crimes against humanity as a justification for ending a 100% innocent life out of convenience. So is YOUR ideal world one without war, without the death penalty, and no one questioning whether it’s right or wrong to kill a baby?”

and Exhibit B:

If “god” made me, why did he make me an atheist?

Which got deleted, too.  Gotta love them rules.  Another one of the same kind:

Why do theists want so badly for hell to be real?

Again, take a second to think through the logic of that, especially if you’re a Christian who believes in the reality of Hell.  Then know that the “best answer,” as chosen by the asker, was, “Revenge, for picking on them,” and the asker followed up with, “Sad to say I believe you’re right.”

Sighplusface-palm!

All of this really brings me even further to the conclusion that nothing of value can come from not only this site, but any format like it.  There has been plenty of discussion, and even research, on how poor of a resource this site is for actual answers, and it’s clear that its worst when the questions are the most important of all.  I have to fight the temptation to spread the word about this, which will only ultimately keep me here . . . . . . I sure hope he ignores those thumbs down under my answer, seeks out a real person, and makes it.

No . . . wait . . . that one got deleted, too.  What rule did that break?