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Old 10-22-2012, 09:52 AM   #67
Dark Raven
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Default Re: Is Superman A Jesus Metaphor?

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Originally Posted by DrCosmic View Post
I am a Christian, and I'm inclined to agree. There is a certain amount of Jesus-comparison that's unavoidable, because he is a messiah-type character through and through, since he was originally conceived as a Moses metaphor, who is indeed a type of Jesus, and currently the most popular messiah is Jesus, so that comparison will continue to happen, it will always be available for commentary and analysis of the philosophies that Superman media portray.

And while it's great to use Superman to explore philosophical issues, when those views are exclusively Christian, it dilutes the actual Christian messiah, Jesus as some sort of fisticuffer, which he isn't, or Superman into a pacifist, which he also isn't. There are similar themes but there simply is not parity. If we make Superman too Christ-like, especially in the modern Catholic-inspired vision of Christ we end up with a very moody actionless Superman, like Superman Returns. No one likes that, even Christians. That's not the way to go with Superman, imho.

Those are my thoughts on the matter, with admitted bias, of course. "Hey! You got Superman in my Jesus!" "No, you got Jesus in my Superman!"
Superman is admittedly a metaphor for Jesus, but an imperfect metaphor of course. Also, if you look at the history of the way Superman has been portrayed over the years, it kind of mirrors the way theologians have attempted to think about Christology and figure out the incarnation and how Jesus can be fully God and fully man.

So if you look at George Reeves's and Christopher Reeve's interpretation of Superman where the emphasis is on Superman as the main character and Clark Kent as the disguise, this mirrors a docetic interpretation of Jesus where some (such as the Gnostics and also other early church figures who thought along a similar line) believed that Jesus only appeared or seemed to be like a man. In that line of thinking, Jesus as God merely disguised himself as a man but wasn't truly human. The divine aspect had the greater emphasis here.

However, when you get to portrayals like Lois & Clark or Smallville, the emphasis is on Clark Kent as the true person, and Superman is just a persona or costume that he puts on. This follows those types of Christologies where there is more of an emphasis on Jesus' humanity and where he's almost seen as a normal man endowed with divine powers (or adopted as the Son) but not truly God.

Neither of these interpretations are accurate to the accepted doctrine of the incarnation but are definitely helpful in enabling people to think about these issues, and Superman himself is a really good teaching tool on this subject.

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