Is Superman A Jesus Metaphor?

Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by Spider-Ranger, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    "Thank god you're alright." is a common saying. One need not be religious to say it or mean it. Clark seems to have recognized Kryptonian gods (having peppered his speech with sayings such as "Great Rao"), but was likely raised as some sort of Christian due to his upbringing in rural Middle America.
     
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  2. manofsteel4life

    manofsteel4life Well-Known Member

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  3. The Guard

    The Guard Well-Known Member

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    If we're getting technical, the Superman in the comics knows full well there's a God. He's encountered several versions of The Spectre, worked alongside the fallen angel Zauriel, has been to Heaven and Hell, and knows all about The Presence/God in the DC Universe.
     
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  4. \S/JcDc\S/

    \S/JcDc\S/ Well-Known Member

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    This thread gets made every 1.3 years
     
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  5. manofsteel4life

    manofsteel4life Well-Known Member

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    IMO if that's made aware in films that Superman knows there is a God maybe that would lesson the Jesus comparisons....if anything that would maybe make him more relatable to us.....key word...maybe
     
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  6. Krumm

    Krumm Beer Snob

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    Not sure about that. People would just think, "Well, this guy can just don anything can't he? He can even talk to God!"

    The best way to keep him relatable is to keep him as lost as we are regardless of the presence of the metaphor.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  7. LordofhouseEl

    LordofhouseEl Well-Known Member

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    Not anymore..............sadly.
     
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  8. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    If that's made aware in films it would strengthen it. There's no place for acknowledging God in a Superman movie.
     
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  9. manofsteel4life

    manofsteel4life Well-Known Member

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    Well I didn't mean him crying on his knees at night praying, just maybe a comment or something just acknowledging God. I would prefer they avoid it altogether as well...just saying if they did, I think that would be a good way of doing it.
     
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  10. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    Depending on how the comment is worded, it'll either be weird and unnecessary or completely glossed over. Sayings like "thank god" or "goddamn" are part of the general lexicon and don't point to any sort of acknowledging of a higher power.
     
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  11. Charlie The Red

    Charlie The Red Well-Known Member

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    Based on the footage I've seen from Comic-con, it definitely looks like they're going that route.

    I once saw a t-shirt that read "Jesus will return, and we'll kill him again."

    The sad fact is that with our society the way it is, if Christ did return, most of his Christians would think he was a nutcase and have him locked up. Once he started performing miracles, our government would probably send the military to take him out....

    ...similar to what I'm seeing in the Comic-con footage of Superman. If any messiah/superhero were to make an appearance, they'd be public enemy number one.

    Until Satan/Zod shows the world who the real enemy is, of course ;)
     
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  12. GeekSummit

    GeekSummit Member

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    Well…. It's safe to say that Superman has been THE superhero most equated to the Messiah figure relation. I don't think there's any danger is walking down that road again. I do think this movie will be a little more realistic in how the world will accept this Invinsible Flying Man. We would most definitely want him under some containment until we understood that he was no threat to humanity and that there weren't thousands more like him. So I don't think it s a persecution thing but I think the Messiah thing will keep coming up anytime you bring up Superman.

    The Messiah thing is one more contemporary way to dissect the Superman story but all these SUPER HUMAN beings have always been closer equated to the classic Greek Gods and Demi Gods. Flash/Mercury Superman/Hercules Batman??? Not so much…But a lot of those DemiGods had the same origins of being sent to aid mankind by their Diety Parent(S).

    In that way you could say that Jesus may have just been a Hercules Metaphor… It all depends on how you like to cook it.
     
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  13. StarvingArtist

    StarvingArtist Well-Known Member

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    Was Superman originally conceived as a Jesus metaphor? No.
    Over the years, has Superman been painted as one? Sure.
    Should he continue to be painted as one and is it acceptable for him to be a vehicle for Christianity? Hell no.

    I admit my bias in stating I am not a Christian.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  14. DrCosmic

    DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    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!"
     
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  15. Krumm

    Krumm Beer Snob

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    That is the right way to look at it. It isn't soooo much that Superman is a Jesus metaphor, though there are times when that is true, it's more that he is a Messiah, of which there are many.
     
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  16. Lead Cenobite

    Lead Cenobite Exquisitely Empty

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    Whether or not there are metaphors, I want Superman to be treated as just as important within that fictional universe, like mythology come to life.
     
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  17. Dark Raven

    Dark Raven The Gal from Themyscira

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    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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  18. StarvingArtist

    StarvingArtist Well-Known Member

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    Superman was never intended to be a metaphor for Jesus, but he has been depicted as one. A mistake in my opinion.
     
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  19. Stoic

    Stoic Ron Swanson Protege

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    Superman has the flexibility and ambiguity to be a Jewish allegory, a Christ-like figure and a Secular messiah. It is in the eye of the beholder what Superman stands for. Being that his creators and most of his early writers were Jewish and that may or may not have had influence in the crafting of his story.

    However, he represents the best in all of us, and religious and non religious people will try to align the hero to their beliefs. It is an unintended consequence of having a universally recognized hero figure like Superman.

    This is well plotted out and commented on in the "Superman: The High Flying History of the World's Most Enduring Hero" book by Larry Tye. Most of you know, like myself, know the history, but the book is well done and I enjoyed the historical account of the creation and history of the character.
     
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  20. StarvingArtist

    StarvingArtist Well-Known Member

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    :up:
     
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  21. gkokujin

    gkokujin Well-Known Member

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    meh
     
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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  22. Lead Cenobite

    Lead Cenobite Exquisitely Empty

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    Why? It's a metaphor, it's not like they literally changed his name to Jesus and turned Krypton into Heaven. I never understood why this sticks in people's craws so much.
     
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  23. 747

    747 Fanboy rivalry? Yawn.

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    Exactly. Superman is Superman first most and can mean a lot of different things to different people.

    Personally I'm an atheist but still love the christ-like allegories because they are great themes and stories that can communicate a lot of interesting things

    There is no yes or no to this question really.
     
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  24. Lead Cenobite

    Lead Cenobite Exquisitely Empty

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    I'm the same. I'm agnostic and religious parallels don't bother me as long as it's not preachy. There's nothing preachy about Superman: The Movie.
     
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  25. Baramos

    Baramos Well-Known Member

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    The Moses metaphor makes more sense to me, at least in regards to the sending him away in a "basket" (rocket in the case of Superman) Especially in regards to the creators who probably weren't thinking in Christian terms, they were both Jewish.

    On the other hand, it can be a Jesus metaphor if you want it to be. That's how metaphors/symbolism work, part of it is the interpretation of the reader.
     
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