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Michael Netzer On Some Pastors Rejecting The Hard-Sell Of Superman As A Christ Figure
posted July 9, 2013
I'm not sure what's baffling me more. The idea that the new film's version of Superman was presented to religious communities as a Jesus parallel - or that some religious representatives rejected the idea.
The new film's Superman seems so far removed from Jesus in every way imaginable that it makes the older versions appear more plausible, by comparison, for making such an analogy. This Superman seems entirely uncaring of the human state, or the frivolous death and destruction he leaves in his own wake - while trying to tote a heroic ideal that comes across as little more than visually grandiose lip service. A shallow message that borders on transparent hypocrisy given the odd behavior written into his character. Trying to sell this Superman as Jesus to religious communities seems to cross every line of market sensitivity and tact that I can imagine.
But on the other hand, it seems that most religious constructs that have risen upon the foundation of the story of Jesus, have also become very far removed from the historical character as he comes across in the Gospels (and I think that's true for most institutionalized faiths and the source material they're founded on). We might be hard pressed to find remnants of the Jesus whom we know from the good book, when looking closely at the social and political path that most religious communities are on today.
The Jesus whom the world knows is a man of universal compassion and forgiveness. A man who placed himself in harm's way in order to help the weak and downtrodden. Jesus eschewed violence and the use of force in order to change the world, and chose instead to inspire a goodness in humanity by way of his own good deeds and sacrifice, so that his message would endure. But there was one injustice in the world that Jesus did not hesitate to speak out against; the hypocrisy of institutionalized religious leaders as it was embodied in his time. He often spoke against big shows of worship and prayer, while instead diverting attention to a merciful conduct and humility that helped his fellow humans see the light.
The voices heard from religious institutions speaking in Jesus' name today seem to embody most of the ideals he spoke against; a flamboyant show of worship and pretense of piety; use of legislation to enforce a selective morality on divergent communities; political manipulation to agitate strife and war between contending nations and peoples on the world stage by way of socio-political intimation; a longing for a destruction of the world in an apocalypse that would only leave like fellow believers as survivors, all being ideals that Jesus himself never seemed to speak about or support in such a way.
This being the face of religious communities, or at least the way many communities are allowing themselves to be represented by their leaders and spokesmen, I'm not really sure there's much of a difference between that and the uncaring destructive persona of Superman that comes across in the new film. So it's a little baffling to me why some such representatives rejected the idea, as this new Superman seems like something they might be able to relate to.
Baffled as I am however, I haven't forgotten that many spiritual spokesmen aren't too sympathetic towards the comics culture anyway, and I suppose I can understand why it may be important for them to try to appear to be other than what this new Superman stands for. At least to strike such a pose in this particular instance.