Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

"Even though you've been raised as a human being you're not one of them. They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all -- their capacity for good -- I have sent them you, my only son."

Obviously, that's Superman's dad speaking in the trailer for the new Superman Returns movie. When I first heard it the other day, I was shocked. At least in The Matrix or Spiderman, the Christian allusion was more subtle, but this is pretty conspicuous. Regardless, I'm beginning to realize the amazing consistency of Christian elements appearing in all classic stories, from Homer's all the way to the Wachowski Brothers'. It certainly makes you wonder why the Greatest Story Ever Told, even if only bits and pieces of it, appeal to all people at all times, including those who've never heard of Him. Perhaps the answer is because it's true. It reminds me of C.S. Lewis' own joyful "surprise" that the greatest myth -- the myth of God becoming man to save mankind -- is actually true; that it happened on Christmas Day in the small town of Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod.

And with that, I'll leave you with some more thoughts by Francis Schaeffer on why Christianity, among all the world views out there, seems the most realistic and rationally satisfying:

Christianity is realistic because it says that if there is no truth, there is also no hope; and there can be no truth if there is no adequate base. It is prepared to face the consequences of being proved false and say with Paul: If you find the body of Christ, the discussion is finished; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. It leaves absolutely no room for a romantic answer. For example, in the realm of morals, Christianity does not look over this tired and burdened world and say that it is slightly flawed, a little chipped, but easily mended. Christianity is realistic and says the world is marked with evil and man is truly guilty all along the line. Christianity refuses to say that you can be hopeful for the future if you are basing your hope on evidence of change for the better in mankind. The Christian agrees with the people in genuine despair that the world must be looked at realistically, whether in the area of Being or in morals.

Christianity is poles apart from any form of optimistic humanism. But it also differs from nihilism, for nihilism, though it is correctly realistic, nevertheless can give neither a proper diagnosis nor the proper treatment for its own ills. Christianity has a diagnosis and then a solid foundation for an answer. The difference between Christian realism and nihilism is not that the Christian worldview is romantic. We should be pleased that the romanticism of yesterday has been destroyed. In many ways this makes our task of presenting Christianity to modern man easier than it was for our forefathers.


Anonymous said...

1) what are the christian themes in Homer?

2) is Christianity the greatest story ever told, or the greatest story ever remembered by mankind?

3) perhaps christianity in terms of utility and effectiveness is (morally?) superior to other religions in shaping the most pleasant [or romantic]world. it doesnt necessarily follow that jesus is god. to reach that conclusion requires more. much more.

Albert Lee said...

Hi anonymous, thanks for visiting!
1) A recurring theme in Greek mythology is the gods masquerading around as mortals, many times to play tricks on them but also sometimes to test their righteousness. Either way, there is this idea of god becoming man and living among them. Jesus kinda embodies that idea, although He takes it to a radically different and profound level.

2) I would think that if there were a greater story told but not remembered, it must not have been very great to begin with. Regardless, whether you think the story is great is just a matter of opinion anyway. What matters isn’t that you think it’s a great story, but whether you think it’s a true story.

3) I'm glad to hear you might concede that Christianity is more useful, effective, and morally superior to other religions. I didn’t say any of that in my post however, so I'm not sure where that came from. My main point was that it is the most realistic and rationally satisfying; that among all the worldviews out there (not just religions), it seems to fit perfectly with the way things are; it can answer all the hard questions like no other can. So, if Christianity is the most realistic, that’s a pretty good case for it being real, for it being true. And well, if it’s true, then it necessarily follows that Jesus is God, because without that, you don’t have Christianity.

Anonymous said...

yo matrix actually follows gnostic ideology, which is an offshoot/cult version of christianity son

Albert Lee said...

yup! exactly my point.