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View Poll Results: Superman as a Christ Figure?
Yes 13 28.89%
No 32 71.11%
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:27 AM   #51
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Default Re: Superman as a Christ figure?

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I can't help but throw my hand in here... I've beaten this horse to a pulp over the years, but whatever, here's my conclusion, take it for what its two cents worth:

Superman certainly wasn't created to be analogous to the story of Jesus. He is though, inevitably a generic messianic figure. But he is also Moses... he's Hercules... he's Flash Gordon... he's just one more rather generic mythological god in the historical pantheon of fantasy characters. The only times issues arise though, are when those parallels become overt and blatant. Jesus himself is a figure not without controversy, especially to observant Jews. When you see Superman dying then coming back to life, or assuming crucifixion poses after sacrificing himself for humanity, then you're well on your way to turning Superman into something which should otherwise remain as secular and universally appealing as possible. There are plenty of ways to make Superman interesting, heroic, and contemporary without turning him into a figure that quite frankly not everyone is inspired by.
Amen.

Most any folklore hero can be spun into a Christ Figure, Superman included. However I don't think he was created with that slant in mind at all, and I don't think he is well suited to it. He is the ultimate action / adventure character, and placing a spiritual allusion on him just muddies the waters.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:49 PM   #52
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I don't think I've ever seen Superman's Christ Figure element be too heavy handed. It's only ever been used as a literary paralell.

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Old 07-09-2009, 05:05 PM   #53
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You can be inspired by Jesus but its hard especially since the man perfect. Not even Superman perfect he makesm istakes. But lol how is Superman Flash Gordon? And why people keep saying Moses how was he a messiah? He was a follower of Jesus i know but how was he a messiah?
THEOLOGY FAIL.

Kidding, kidding.

Moses wasn't a follower of Jesus. He predated him by centuries. I assume people compare Superman and Moses because they were both set adrift by their parents to save their lives, and they grew up to become great individuals in their adopted societies.

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Old 07-09-2009, 05:10 PM   #54
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I've never seen Supes holding tablets

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Old 07-09-2009, 06:30 PM   #55
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Sure, Superman has a lot of inspirations. That's a good point, and one is arguing that.

No one said he was only a Christ Figure. But he is a Christ Figure. By literary standards, there's just no way around it.

I think when you say "Well on your way to turning Superman into something which should otherwise remain as secular and universally appealing as possible", that's a bit much. How does dying and coming back to life make him less secular or universally appealing? How does assuming a relatively subtle pose that has come to mean sacrifice suddenly make him less secular, or into a Christian teaching tool, or any of that?
Superman isn't a christ figure, he's a generic messianic figure at most. There's a big difference. Jesus wasn't the only messianic figure in literature/history. A character can be a savior without being Christ. All heroes are somewhat messianic figures. It's when you heavy handedly borrow inspiration from a specific messianic figure that you run into controversey, especially if you're using Jesus.

Dying and coming back to life on its own is pretty general. But If you merge death and resurrection, with getting pierced in the side, sacrifice for all of humanity, and assuming the crucified position, all like in Superman returns, in my opinion that counts as pretty heavy handed christian symbolism. It turns Superman into an allegory for a specific messianic figure.

The real question is, why is it necessarily bad for Superman to be specifically a Christ figure, and that's a whole other debate probably better suited for the religious discussion thread.

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Old 07-09-2009, 07:01 PM   #56
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Superman isn't a christ figure, he's a generic messianic figure at most.
Superman, per his mythology, even in the comics now, has become a Christ Figure. And I'm not trying to be cute about the definition. The "You were sent to save them" angle is there now. Superman performs miracles. He has risen from the dead like three times, sacrificed himself to save his people, has been tempted by evil and tested many times. He has saved the world like nineteen times over, and you'll notice he often preaches very Christian, New Testament principles and displays them. He's a Christ Figure at this point, albeit most people probably don't see him as one.

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There's a big difference. Jesus wasn't the only messianic figure in literature/history. A character can be a savior without being Christ. All heroes are somewhat messianic figures.
I keep hearing "He can be this or that without being Christ". Yes. Exactly. No one is saying he IS Christ, or that he's ever going to be Christ. There are simply literary allusions and paralells to Christ.

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It's when you heavy handedly borrow inspiration from a specific messianic figure that you run into controversey, especially if you're using Jesus.
Elaborate.

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Dying and coming back to life on its own is pretty general.
It is? How about sacrificing yourself, facing punishment for it, dying, and coming back to life? Is that general?

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But If you merge death and resurrection, with getting pierced in the side, sacrifice for all of humanity, and assuming the crucified position, all like in Superman returns, in my opinion that counts as pretty heavy handed christian symbolism. It turns Superman into an allegory for a specific messianic figure.
"Heavy handed" is a bit much. Most people probably wouldn't even see the allusions until they have it pointed out to them. A lot of fans, who knew of the Christ Figure elements of the mythos, still had to have it pointed out to them after SUPERMAN RETURNS.

It turns him into what he's been since the early 1990's. A Christ Figure.

I really don't see how him being a Christ Figure makes him any less Superman. It's just one more than that he is.

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Old 07-09-2009, 07:52 PM   #57
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THEOLOGY FAIL.

Kidding, kidding.

Moses wasn't a follower of Jesus. He predated him by centuries. I assume people compare Superman and Moses because they were both set adrift by their parents to save their lives, and they grew up to become great individuals in their adopted societies.
Well, if you go by the Christian view he was a follwer of Jesus because Jesus is G-D, he just didn't know Christ by name. Old Testament saints died with belief of a coming messiah...Jesus.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:55 AM   #58
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Superman, per his mythology, even in the comics now, has become a Christ Figure. And I'm not trying to be cute about the definition. The "You were sent to save them" angle is there now. Superman performs miracles. He has risen from the dead like three times, sacrificed himself to save his people, has been tempted by evil and tested many times. He has saved the world like nineteen times over, and you'll notice he often preaches very Christian, New Testament principles and displays them. He's a Christ Figure at this point, albeit most people probably don't see him as one.
Look, I'm not arguing that the parallel isn't there. Sure you can see Superman as a christ figure if thats what speaks to you about him. And Supes princinples can certainly be interpreted that way, regardless that he was created by two Jews. My point is that I don't think Superman stories should have christian spin on them, or any kind of spin for that matter. Take a superman comic story like the silver age Superman origin (the first of the six part mini series) or birthright for that matter. There really isn't any christian symbolism in it, yet it's still Superman AND you can still draw the parralel to Christ if you want to. But when you have metaphor after metaphor for Christ in a given storyline, similar to the way they did it in the Matrix movies, it's obvious who the writers are comparing Superman to, and I think it does a diservice to the mythology. The difference between the Matrix and Superman as far as christ allegory is that the matrix was intentionally created to be a metaphor or contemporary, ass-kicking, retelling of the story of Jesus


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I keep hearing "He can be this or that without being Christ". Yes. Exactly. No one is saying he IS Christ, or that he's ever going to be Christ. There are simply literary allusions and paralells to Christ.
I agree the parellels and interpretation can be made. But I say leave it to the people discussing the stories, not the writers of the stories themselves.


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It is? How about sacrificing yourself, facing punishment for it, dying, and coming back to life? Is that general?
Well no, now that's starting to sound more like something only Jesus would do.

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"Heavy handed" is a bit much. Most people probably wouldn't even see the allusions until they have it pointed out to them. A lot of fans, who knew of the Christ Figure elements of the mythos, still had to have it pointed out to them after SUPERMAN RETURNS.
The crucifixion pose while falling to earth was heavy handed imo. And after I saw the movie, I thought more about it did I realize the other similarities. So my reaction was basically, "ok, I get it, you want me to see Superman as Jesus Christ." I'm not a christian, so I can't really relate to those allusions.

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It turns him into what he's been since the early 1990's. A Christ Figure.
Christ allegory isn't intrinsic to the Superman mythos, nor was he created to be an allegory for, again, a specific messianic figure. Just because a given storyline has him doing christlike stuff, doesn't automatically make him a christ figure. Maybe in the context of the story sure, but that doesn't mean every subsequent story thereafter has to incorporate some kind of Jesus iconography.

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I really don't see how him being a Christ Figure makes him any less Superman. It's just one more than that he is.
That's because obviously you're a christian and it inspires you to think of Superman as a christ figure, and that's totally fine, I respect that. But you could have thought of him that way before the christ allusion idea was injected into the mythos. And now that it has been, at least for those stories, it makes Superman less accessable for people who don't believe in Jesus.

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Batman is Batman because of his bat motif's. Take them away and he's just Manman.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:45 AM   #59
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Default Re: Superman as a Christ figure?

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I've never seen Supes holding tablets
Clark Kent does.

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Old 07-10-2009, 08:15 AM   #60
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This Christ/Superman allusion is what's causing the franchise to tank in my opinion.

We have Spidey in films who is just as conflicted as he was in the early comix.

We have a rather narcisistic Tony Stark/Iron Man and the GP appears to really take to that.

We have a very conflicted Bruce Wayne/Batman who the GP seems to adore and have a very deep love affair with

Then we have goody-goody Clark Kent/Superman.

I realize I'm oversimplifying the point but maybe it needs to be. I think we're getting mired in the weeds here and not seeing the bigger picture.

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Old 07-10-2009, 12:50 PM   #61
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Goody goody? The guy who left Earth and the love of his life without telling anyone to find Krypton was still there?



The Christ/Superman thing is a small reason why the general public didn't get onboard SUPERMAN RETURNS. Most of them, in my experience, didn't even see it until it was pointed out to them.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:12 PM   #62
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THEOLOGY FAIL.

Kidding, kidding.

Moses wasn't a follower of Jesus. He predated him by centuries. I assume people compare Superman and Moses because they were both set adrift by their parents to save their lives, and they grew up to become great individuals in their adopted societies.
But Moses did not die alot like Superman did and came back to life and also save a whole world or fight evil. Plus Superman gets more credit then Moses does when it comes to saving people.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:14 PM   #63
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Superman when he first started was not christ like. Fighting wife beaters, the KKK, corrupt poloticians. He fought then all in a rage way. Back then Superman was not a boy scout he was a badass! He people criminals down to a semi bloody pulp. Also he was kinda racists i mean the whole Japan thing. During the WW2 era when USA was beefing with Japan Superman participated in a advertisement showing him beating up a japanease person. And back then US were heavily raicts against Japanease. Even theo nes who were nice.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:15 PM   #64
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Look, I'm not arguing that the parallel isn't there.
You aren't?
Then what's "Superman isn't a christ figure, he's a generic messianic figure at most." about?
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Sure you can see Superman as a christ figure if thats what speaks to you about him.
I see him as a Christ Figure because he is one. That's not all I see him as. He has a number of different elements to him. He's a messiah, he has allusions to Moses, Jesus, sci fi characters, fantasy and mythology characters...
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My point is that I don't think Superman stories should have christian spin on them, or any kind of spin for that matter.
I agree with you, and I don't believe they do beyond some of his morals.
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Take a superman comic story like the silver age Superman origin (the first of the six part mini series) or birthright for that matter. There really isn't any christian symbolism in it, yet it's still Superman AND you can still draw the parralel to Christ if you want to. But when you have metaphor after metaphor for Christ in a given storyline, similar to the way they did it in the Matrix movies, it's obvious who the writers are comparing Superman to, and I think it does a diservice to the mythology. The difference between the Matrix and Superman as far as christ allegory is that the matrix was intentionally created to be a metaphor or contemporary, ass-kicking, retelling of the story of Jesus.
How does making parallells to Christ concretely do a disservice to Superman as a character overall? That's like me suggesting parallells to Hercules do him a disservice.

The Matrix was never designed to be just the retelling of the story of Jesus, it was simply the Wachowskis foray into mythology and the hero quest, period. Neo simply became a Christ Figure. That was one element of the storyline. A Christ Figure has parallells to the story of Jesus, but its use does not have to suggest that the character IS Christ, merely that they share similarities.

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I agree the parellels and interpretation can be made. But I say leave it to the people discussing the stories, not the writers of the stories themselves.
The stories themselves have put this out there. It's one thing not to want that in the future, but it's already there. Should a movie go that route? Eh, it's debatable. I don't think it needs to be as overt about it, especially since it's basically already been done in SUPERMAN RETURNS.
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Well no, now that's starting to sound more like something only Jesus would do.
No, but doing those things makes him a Christ Figure. The same way mentoring makes someone a Mentor, and being a hero makes someone a Hero. These are literary elements.

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The crucifixion pose while falling to earth was heavy handed imo. And after I saw
the movie, I thought more about it did I realize the other similarities. So my reaction was basically, "ok, I get it, you want me to see Superman as Jesus Christ." I'm not a christian, so I can't really relate to those allusions.
Then every single time we've seen that in literature is "heavy handed". I can't consider something heavy handed that most people didn't even see. The "spear in the side" was another fairly subtle element, as were the "multiple falls".

The movie wants you to see Superman as a Christ Figure. Not as Jesus. There's a difference.

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Christ allegory isn't intrinsic to the Superman mythos, nor was he created to be an allegory for, again, a specific messianic figure. Just because a given storyline has him doing christlike stuff, doesn't automatically make him a christ figure. Maybe in the context of the story sure, but that doesn't mean every subsequent story thereafter has to incorporate some kind of Jesus iconography.
I have never suggested he was supposed to be an allegory for a specific messianic figure. You keep going "But that's not ALL he is, that's just part of it". No one has said otherwise.

No one element is particularly intrinsic to the Superman mythos. There's nothing that every single version or story of the character "has to" explore. The mythology could survive without a number of elements, right down to taking away his costume and his secret identity, and a number of other key elements. It just wouldn't be what it always has been.

But you cannot look at the mythology fairly, as it exists, and say that Superman is not a Christ Figure based on the mythology. Because he is.

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That's because obviously you're a christian and it inspires you to think of Superman as a christ figure, and that's totally fine, I respect that. But you could have thought of him that way before the christ allusion idea was injected into the mythos. And now that it has been, at least for those stories, it makes Superman less accessable for people who don't believe in Jesus.
I have some values that could be considered Christian, because there are values I...value.

But if I'm anything, I'm agnostic. I am not a practicing Christian in most respects.

Superman inspires me, period.

And it inspires me from a creative standpoint that Superman has reached a point where he can penetrate literature, and draw from many literary and historical elements, and be a part of them all. It's pretty much that simple to me.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:16 PM   #65
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Read up on Moses. A simple 5 minute search should be all you need.
I just said he was not a messiah he was a follower of Jesus. He saved people but not like Jesus did. Jesus saved the whole world and died for us. Moses did not save the whole world and he did not die like Jesus did.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:17 PM   #66
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The Guard Superman inspires you? Know he not real right lol. Joking man its cool he does man.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:20 PM   #67
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Heck yes. Half of what I learned about life I learned from comic books.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:50 PM   #68
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Heck yes. Half of what I learned about life I learned from comic books.
Say lets say Superman was real how would you react? Honestly? Would you feel safe having him knowing the super villians he has?

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:22 PM   #69
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But Moses did not die alot like Superman did and came back to life and also save a whole world or fight evil. Plus Superman gets more credit then Moses does when it comes to saving people.
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I just said he was not a messiah he was a follower of Jesus. He saved people but not like Jesus did. Jesus saved the whole world and died for us. Moses did not save the whole world and he did not die like Jesus did.
I don't think anyone said Moses was the messiah nor that he saved the whole world and died for anyone. The parallels between Superman and Moses lie in the circumstances surrounding their births and the fact that they both grew up to be great leaders who helped their people.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #70
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Say lets say Superman was real how would you react? Honestly? Would you feel safe having him knowing the super villians he has?
I guess if I lived in the DC Universe, I don't think anyone would be "safe". . I'd feel like there were both good and bad elements to Superman's existence if he were real. I couldn't blake Superman for the actions of his supervillains. Just because his presence would cause supervillains to lash out wouldn't make me hate him as a result.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:35 PM   #71
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Heck yes. Half of what I learned about life I learned from comic books.
co-sign. he taught me to read at 3. I loved looking at the pictures and it inspired me to learn how so I could understand and follow the stories. He also kept me company when I was a lad. I'd sit in the waiting room for children at St jude's reading his comics, while my sis and my parents were having to get treatments for her leukemia.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:36 PM   #72
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I guess if I lived in the DC Universe, I don't think anyone would be "safe". . I'd feel like there were both good and bad elements to Superman's existence if he were real. I couldn't blake Superman for the actions of his supervillains. Just because his presence would cause supervillains to lash out wouldn't make me hate him as a result.
Actually pre crisis Superman if we had him no one would stop him plus their would really be no supervillians.

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Old 07-10-2009, 02:38 PM   #73
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I don't think anyone said Moses was the messiah nor that he saved the whole world and died for anyone. The parallels between Superman and Moses lie in the circumstances surrounding their births and the fact that they both grew up to be great leaders who helped their people.
Okay cool. I understand now.

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Old 07-12-2009, 03:59 PM   #74
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A thousand times..........NO!

A scientist on a distant planet discovers that his world is doomed. He is a lone voice, and is ordered to remain quiet in order to not cause unnecessary panic among the populace. As his planet crumbles around him he places his son in a rocket/star ship and launches it into the cosmos to save him from certain death. The ship arrives on Earth where this boy under the influence of a yellow sun develops powers and abilities far beyond those of Earth's inhabitants. Chief among them are invulnerability, amazing strength, incredible speed, and flight. He grows to manhood and dedicates the use of his powers to an endless battle for..........ah we all know the rest.

Now can someone please explain how this is rife with comparisons to the life of Jesus Christ.
Please tell me you are being ironic in how you dont see the similarities. And no, we're not talking about the man called Jesus Christ but a saviour-type god-sent "alien". Let me rephrase your words:

A god in a distant/parallel universe discovers that mankind is doomed. He has no followers and cannot be heard. He sends his only son to Earth where he develops abilities and ideas and thoughts far beyond what Earth's inhabitants have seen or heard before. Chief among them are healing the sick, walking on water, feeding thousands with a basket of fish. He grows to manhood and dedicates the use of his powers to an endless battle for good and to save mankind.

A small rewrite of that, and you have the script for STM.

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Old 07-12-2009, 04:42 PM   #75
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I rather they make Superman a Moses figure then Christ.

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