6/16/06

Superman and Christ

According to a recent Yahoo MovieNews article many Christians are seeing obvious parallels between the new Superman movie and the Gospel of Christ. Certainly, the article says, the studios are not discouraging such comparisons (regardless of whether they are warranted) because they know that getting the "Christian population" behind a movie means more money for them.

When I read this article my first thought was that Superman was "the philosopher king." Let me explain. Plato, in his Republic, argued that the best possible form of government is one in which one person has all the power and is perfectly good and wise to use that power for the good of the whole community. He is the philosopher king. The worst possible regime is one in which a bad person has all the power, a tyrrany. He also says that the second-to-worst regime is a democracy, by the way.

I have argued that the form of a government is (in theory) essentially neutral and what really matters is the content of the character (as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. might say) of those who make decisions: the one king in a monarchy or the whole population in a democracy. It seems clear that it is more likely that one man can be perfectly good and wise and informed than a whole population.

Now enter superman. He doesn't seek political office in any official government sense, but he is the most powerful man on earth. He can do whatever he wants and no military technology on the planet will stop him. He always uses his power for good, as they used to say before the days of multi-culturalism: "Truth, Justice, and the American Way."

Of course, my theory is that both Plato and the writers of Superman were getting at something that is deeply engrained in us. The philosopher king is what we all really want because it is what God designed us for. Christ is the true philosopher king. He is the one who reigns perfectly with all power. His Kingdom was announced upon the earth through his ministry and began to break into this rebellious world through his resurrection. And it will be brought to completion at the resoration of all things to their original intent. The question for us becomes: will we as individuals and as communities live under his reign, under his Lordship, in his Kingdom or not?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Nance said...

Well I thought that was a terribly interesting post, of course, I would.
I'll see you tomorrow; have a safe drive.
-Nance

10:50 PM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger Stephen said...

I guess we need to look at what the Lordship of Christ would look like. I would offer the Gospel of John as one model. What did Jesus say about his kingdom and his lordship?

I believe he tied a towel around his waist and washed his disciple's feet. Servant Lordship? A difficult paradigm indeed.

7:59 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Stephen said...

P.S. It is a great movie, lots of Christian themes.

7:59 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

haha, well in good (20th century) Methodist fashion, Stephen, you didn't mention anything about the 2nd coming of Christ when John doesn't describe him looking quite so humble. We should also keep in mind that if the crucifixion-resurrection-ascension is his enthronment then this holds the balance between self-giving humility (humiliation really) and mighty victory of Christ the King.

8:05 AM, July 06, 2006  

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