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Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?

 
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 01:18 PM
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Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Warning: This story contains plot spoilers




Is the Superman Returns movie meant to remind us of the Bible? And if so, is it blasphemy?

Well here's the story.

An all-powerful father sends his son to Earth to save mankind by showing them the "light". The son is able to perform miracles. He "dies" and is born again.

Sound familiar? It might do, it's the plot of the new movie Superman Returns. And in the blogs and internet forums there has been a maelstrom of debate on the parallels between Superman and Jesus Christ.

Superman has a long history of Judaeo-Christian symbols, but this time the film's makers have taken it to a new level.

CHRISTIAN ECHOES?
Stabbed in side with Kryptonite - like Jesus stabbed with spear
Empty hospital room - empty tomb of Jesus
Falls to Earth, arms outstretched - Crucifixion-like
Cradled in mother's arms - like Michelangelo's Pieta
Superman says world needs saviour
Superman's five years in space echoes the Ascension
Shown with weight of world/sin on shoulders

• At one point Superman falls towards the Earth in a pose that vaguely echoes the Crucifixion.

• He is stabbed in his side with Kryptonite in an echo of the stabbing of Jesus by a Roman soldier.

• A female nurse rushes into the hospital room to find it empty just as Jesus tomb was found to be empty by female followers.

And there are Christians in the US who believe that the symbolism is now sufficiently obvious that the film can be incorporated into religious teaching.

Stephen Skelton is the author of the Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero and has prepared guidance for pastors wanting to use Superman Returns in their sermons.

Sex and violence

"You would have to be blind to miss what they are doing in terms of the Christ imagery," says Mr Skelton, a Christian with a background in showbusiness, "there is a big foot in the door."

American churches have not generally been well-disposed towards Hollywood, with its laissez-faire attitude towards sex and violence. But the West Coast Babylon has recently offered two films which have been manna to churches, The Passion of the Christ, and the Chronicles of Narnia.

One or two voices have said how can we see Superman as a Christ figure when he is fooling around with Lois Lane when she is committed to another person - that simply comes from pushing the parallel too far

Stephen Skelton
Christian author

Some more traditional churchgoers may be under-whelmed by the use of movies to sell the Gospels, but Mr Skelton is unrepentant.

"That is a modern idea that we are somehow dumbing down the Gospels. This has a huge biblical precedent. In Acts 17:28 Paul quotes from a hymn to Zeus. He is using a pagan deity... the least we can do is take a second glance at Superman.

As well as the imagery, there is plenty in the dialogue. Superman refers to himself as a saviour, while baddie Lex Luthor talks about the man with his pants on the outside as a God.

Average cinemagoer

The film borrows Superman's father's speech from the first movie and gives it a prominent place, with Marlon Brando intoning: "They [mankind] 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."

But as far as the imagery goes, what is "blatant" for those with a background in Christianity, comics, art or criticism, may be a little more opaque for the average cinemagoer.

Mr Skelton says director Bryan Singer told him the scene where Superman's adoptive mother cradles him in her arms at the start of the film is a deliberate echo of images from the Renaissance of the Virgin Mary and the dying Christ such as Michelangelo's Pieta.

But it is easy to find oneself wondering whether there isn't a note of blasphemy in the film. If Superman is so clearly meant to be Jesus, why is he making goo-goo eyes at Lois Lane, who has found a long-term partner in the hero's five-year absence from the planet.

"One or two voices have said something - how can we see Superman as a Christ figure when he is fooling around with Lois Lane when she is committed to another person. That simply comes from pushing the parallel too far," Mr Skelton explains.

And Mervyn Roberts, a broadcaster and Anglican vicar, says although he has not seen the movie it is unlikely to be blasphemous or be difficult for a Church that has largely shrugged off the Da Vinci Code.

"The truth of the Gospel will come through. Superman is very much a kind of iconic image of the saviour figure that is seen throughout history.

"So the Superman movie, unless it specifically makes references to Jesus Christ in a negative sense, a direct insult to the person of Christ, identified an insult against God, it is just putting through that image."

'Gritty' gospels

But there are going to be plenty of Christians who do not find their hearts warmed by the use of religious imagery in a blockbuster. Superman hardly comes to Earth with an amazing message, and Jesus's purpose was not preventing man-made earthquakes.

Giles Fraser, parish vicar at Putney in London, says it was one thing to use the film to draw children into the Church by glossing over the "incredibly gritty" nature of the Gospels, but quite another to do it with adults.

"Using it as evangelism for adults is completely ridiculous. It is making Christianity into this rather wholesome nicely, nicely affirmation of American values, the morphing of Jesus into the American hero."

JEWISH LINKS
Both creators were Jewish
Superman and father's name sound Hebrew
Parable of Moses evoked
Condemned by Nazis
Story of immigration/assimilation

The black and white image of good and evil was not compatible with orthodox Christianity, Mr Fraser says.

And for all the Christian symbolism, it might be the case that there is no one religion that lay claim to the Man of Steel. Rabbi Simcha Weinstein has written a work, Up, Up and Oy Vey about the massive Jewish influence on the comic book industry particularly in its early years.

Many have noted that as well as being created by two Jewish authors, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman and his father's Kryptonian names both end in the Hebrew name for God, Kal-El and Jor-El, and that Superman's departure from Krypton can be taken as an echo of the story of Moses' childhood.

The Nazis went out of their way to condemn Superman, with Goebbels writing a polemic in April 1940 in Das Schwarze Korps, an SS newspaper.

Viewer's discretion

And even the Buddhists are getting in on the act. An article on the Buddhist Channel compares Superman to a Bodhisattva, "a great being who aspires to unconditionally help all beings be free from any suffering".

Danny Fingeroth, author of Clark Kent in Disguise: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero, says there is a certain inevitability to the reading of religious references into superheroes.

BUDDHIST PARALLELS
Meditates above Earth
Draws on Guanyin Bodhisattva
Has gone on soul-search
Distracted by worldly love

"While they have loaded the Superman movie with Christian imagery and dialogue it is still at the discretion of the viewer to see it that way.

"There is religious imagery because of the very nature of the superhero mythology - somebody with great powers who uses them to do the right thing.

"One of the appealing things is that while they may remind us of certain religious figures or ideas the fact that they are not of any one religion is what has allowed them to be embraced around the world.

"And if you like Superman rather than Batman it is unlikely you will get into an argument with someone and end up dead."



"You wrote that the world doesn't need a saviour, but every day I hear people crying for one "

Superman to Lois Lane
-------------------------------------------------------------​-------------------
Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

[link to news.bbc.co.uk]
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 01:24 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
whatever
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 01:25 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
whatever
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 81359

so you have no real comment?
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 01:27 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
i mean,what the fuck you want me to say. Its the usual white america, white hollywood, pushing the white superiority image. For crying out loud! jesus was a bloody semite, not european! he was swarthy not milky white! he had curly hair not straight!

give me a fucking break!



whatever

so you have no real comment?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 126650
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 01:29 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman Jesus
Spiderman Jesus
Batman Jesus
Aquaman Jesus
Lone Ranger Jesus
Tonto Jesus
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 01:29 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
""One or two voices have said something - how can we see Superman as a Christ figure when he is fooling around with Lois Lane when she is committed to another person. That simply comes from pushing the parallel too far," Mr Skelton explains."

perhaps lois lane is mary magdalene in a way?
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 01:32 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I did notice those things from the previews.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 01:34 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman Jesus
Spiderman Jesus
Batman Jesus
Aquaman Jesus
Lone Ranger Jesus
Tonto Jesus
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 103782

they all save the day, don't they?

Superman refers to himself as a saviour

superman was written as well as being created by two Jewish authors, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman and his father's Kryptonian names both end in the Hebrew name for God, Kal-El and Jor-El, and that Superman's departure from Krypton can be taken as an echo of the story of Moses' childhood.

and of course, "superman returns"
wolfeman
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08/04/2006 01:38 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Jesus is not among us but he is waiting to come down from heaven and save all people that believe in him. GOD BLESS!!!! Brandon Routh is not Jesus. spock spock
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 04:28 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
i mean,what the fuck you want me to say. Its the usual white america, white hollywood, pushing the white superiority image. For crying out loud! jesus was a bloody semite, not european! he was swarthy not milky white! he had curly hair not straight!

give me a fucking break!

you read the article then, right?
it's not white hollywood but two jews who wrote the story of superman. no one said jesus or superman was european.





whatever

so you have no real comment?

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 81359
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 04:28 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Jesus is not among us but he is waiting to come down from heaven and save all people that believe in him. GOD BLESS!!!! Brandon Routh is not Jesus. spock spock
 Quoting: wolfeman 118012

kind of like superman. that is the point of the article.
B
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08/04/2006 04:44 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman has a son and what was
astounding is when he said to the son:
the father lives in the son.

Scripture tells of Jesus saying that
he is in the Father, and the Father is
in him.
acid

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08/04/2006 04:45 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
does the new superman have long hair , smelly sandals and have holes in his wrists and feet ?

if the answer is no then guess what sherlock
im out of here - trinity has turned this site into something which i have no interest in , respect to the others who have decided to leave also - adios
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 04:48 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman has a son and what was
astounding is when he said to the son:
the father lives in the son.

Scripture tells of Jesus saying that
he is in the Father, and the Father is
in him.
 Quoting: B 75422

interesting how the two can be so related. was it done this way on purpose? perhaps by using comic and comic characters, the child mind can be controlled at earlier ages?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 04:51 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
does the new superman have long hair , smelly sandals and have holes in his wrists and feet ?

if the answer is no then guess what sherlock
 Quoting: acid

CHRISTIAN ECHOES?
Stabbed in side with Kryptonite - like Jesus stabbed with spear
Empty hospital room - empty tomb of Jesus
Falls to Earth, arms outstretched - Crucifixion-like
Cradled in mother's arms - like Michelangelo's Pieta
Superman says world needs saviour
Superman's five years in space echoes the Ascension
Shown with weight of world/sin on shoulders


they must have missed the long hair, smelly sandles and holes in his wrists and feet. they came close though?

""You would have to be blind to miss what they are doing in terms of the Christ imagery," says Mr Skelton, a Christian with a background in showbusiness, "there is a big foot in the door."
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/04/2006 04:55 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
"The film borrows Superman's father's speech from the first movie and gives it a prominent place, with Marlon Brando intoning: "They [mankind] 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."


could/would this be considered "blasphemy" by christians?
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 05:30 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman more like the antichrist.
Anonymous Coward
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08/04/2006 09:13 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
well, superman does get his power from the sun of God. (he wouldn't be super if it weren't for our yellow sun)

is lex luther a jew?
B
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08/04/2006 11:59 PM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
The movie is fiction and as a
Christian, I was not offended.
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 12:46 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Jesus wearing tights I dont think so, at least I hope not
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 01:25 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Actually, the "Superman as a messianic type" topic is something that's been discussed in comic book circles for years. I think a lot of people pick up on the Superman/Christ parallel subconsciously even if they don't quite consciously realize it, and that's why a lot of people get so ticked-off whenever they see Superman dragged through the mud or tarnished in any way. And, I think TPTB know this even if the people them-selves haven't quite consciously figured it out (I'll explain where I'm going with this in a moment.)

Another thing that's been discussed extensively in comic book circles is Superman's inability to have any offspring with a human (and even whether or not he's capable of having sex with a human woman without killing her -- though that's a subject I won't be going into).

So, Superman has been this squeaky-clean, childless, "messianic type" for a very long time, and TPTB understand that many people view Superman as a "type of Christ" without consciously realizing it.

Now, what have TPTB done to Superman? They have tarnished him (especially on the TV show "Smallville", sheesh, that Superman does "drugs", robs banks, and kills people).

AND, immediately after the movie "The Da Vinci Code" came out, all of a sudden we're presented with a Superman who has a son with a human woman.

I found this portion of the article to be most interesting:

"And Mervyn Roberts, a broadcaster and Anglican vicar, says although he has not seen the movie it is unlikely to be blasphemous or be difficult for a Church that has largely shrugged off the Da Vinci Code."

But, what Mervyn Roberts does not realize is that "Superman Returns" reinforces "The Da Vinci Code", and does it much more subtly and even on a subconscious level.
Dynamo Hum

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08/05/2006 03:05 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
It's nice to know a few of you picked up on the Superman/Christ innuendo's in the film.

Don't forget Mrs. Kent (mother) waiting outside the hospital (tomb) for his recovery (resurrection).
Making people nervous since 1965
NO COMPROMISE / NO SUBSTITUTES
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08/05/2006 03:16 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
yah and back in 1977 ppl were comparing STAR WARS to christianity till future stories/movies more and more revealed the pantheism ideals behind the movie

if it aint the real deal, its no deal

i believe GOD can use any or all things to reach any one ... but this over usage of using media to catch the eye of a bored person to "join the flock" is really not biblical IMHO

for salvation keep your eyes OFF icons/idols (and project blue beam!) and onto the real thing! ONE way - not many

& btw hehe thx for the spoilers - being in JP means i wont see this movie till it hits rent (not going to pay $20 to see a movie at a theatre that takes me $5 & 1 hr on a train to go see ... then to top it off see it in JP language) -- but for the sake of watching a possibly good movie, i will rent it -- but bible comparisons ended for me when i was a teen and made that mistake with Star Wars
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 09:19 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
KaL-EL may be how the Canaanite Heyl-EL was pronounced.
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 09:28 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
BTW. I'm surprised this thread has gone so far without anyone mentioning Superman's large PENTAGRAM housing an unmissable "S" on his chest.

I guess the best place to hide a secret is in full view of the public.
A Mighty Pirate

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08/05/2006 09:36 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
that movie sucked anyway... toooooooo long...

Asland from the Chronicals of Narnia is more like Jesus than Superman is agumball
A Mighty Pirate

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08/05/2006 09:39 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Superman is too goody goody... give me Wolverine and some of the XMen
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 09:41 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
Why so fucking surprised?

It's a (old and mythical) story brought to you by jews...of course he's a reference to a messianic figure...of course they make ridicule of it...

What is really disappointing is that it was done so obvious that even if your half a sleep during the movie (which is plausible) you will still get the symbolism...
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 09:49 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
I've seen the light, Superman Returns is INDEED the return of the Christ... the fictional story has now come full circle. moshpit
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 10:37 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
If the jews leaders like messiahs so much
why did they have Jesus killed?


Why so fucking surprised?

It's a (old and mythical) story brought to you by jews...of course he's a reference to a messianic figure...of course they make ridicule of it...

What is really disappointing is that it was done so obvious that even if your half a sleep during the movie (which is plausible) you will still get the symbolism...

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 114312


The story is hundreds if not thousands of years older...the biblical story is just a re-write from a re-write...from a re-write..
Anonymous Coward
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08/05/2006 11:05 AM
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Re: Is the new Superman meant to be Jesus?
According to The Spaceman (Gary Bell) on his radio show "A View from Space" MOJO Radio AM 640 Toronto... if you really look at it the Illuminati have twisted it so that Superman really illustrates the Antichrist. He had a big 5 hour show on it about 3 weeks ago.

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