If you’re new here you should know that Superman is my all-time favorite superhero. It’s not because of his powers, although so many superhero powers are based on the Kryptonian power set, but what he does with them and who he is as a hero. Everything he stands for (when written well) is the standard for what a superHERO is, because superVILLAINS have powers too, including many of Superman’s powers. Powers make the “super”, not the “hero”.
I am also a Christian so I love Jesus. He is the Son of the God I worship, a portion of God made flesh and thus technically also God, broke the barrier of sin between man and Creator, and preached wise words that many of us still follow to this day, even those who don’t believe Jesus is God. These are both great figures in their mythology and legend.
They are not the same person, nor is one analogous of the other. As a Christian this bothers me for what should be the obvious reason. It’s why Anakin being “Force Jesus” bugs me as well. I won’t go so far as to call it blasphemy because it isn’t, but it is annoying. In the same vein it bothers me as a superhero fan because it restricts Superman and continues to push the “boy scout” stereotype that only people who play paladins in RPGs put up with more severely. (Or so I hear since I don’t play RPGs. Apparently having a conscience and rescuing cats from trees is a goody-two-shoes instead of not being a jerk.)
In the following video by Pillar Of Garbage the host goes over why making Superman into a Jesus allegory isn’t in line with the character, and which Biblical figure is more accurate.
As someone who has read and
wasted used up a summer reviewing Seduction Of The Innocent I find it funny that Joseph Goebbels was calling Superman a Jew when Fredric Wertham was calling him a Nazi up to the release of Superman: The Movie. It makes Wertham look even dumber than he did on his own.
One of the YouTubers I go to often for content assists, Professor Geek, has noted that a character evolves into what is needed at the time, not always what group X would want. He also buys into the “Superman as Jesus” perspective and I have to disagree with him. Pillar Of Garbage makes a better case for Jesus, the light showing them the way not out of Egypt but out of the hands of evil. Superman is not a god, I don’t care how many powers he has. He was never meant to be a god. He’s SuperMAN. Jesus is God becoming “like one of us” but He is still God. If Superman is Jesus then he is above humanity, as God is the Creator of men (and women). Moses was chose by God, or in Kal-El’s case fate, to lead people to a better world. Superman leads us to a better world. Siegel and Shuster, in re-imagining their psionic villain as a superstrong hero, would be more inspired by Moses since they were Jewish in culture and ancestry. They weren’t even Messianic Jews, Jews who do believe the Savior came and Jesus is that Savior.
And there are times Superman doubts or struggles to find the right solution, whether or not to trust someone, and he needs help from time to time. It’s why he’s on the Justice League to begin with. The disciples are just there to spread His message. Jesus did the miracles he did to show us what we could do and he taught us how we should be. That’s the only thing Clark Kent has in common with Jesus Christ. However, Superman doesn’t really spread his message except on rare occasions. He does give a good speech.
Whatever happened to Helspont anyway? I heard they’re trying to bring the WildCATS back to the DC universe again but the solicit I saw doesn’t mention him.
Anyway, Superman lives by example more often than not. He can comfort and that’s the final thing that he has in common with Jesus on Earth. However, he’s more like a fireman than a pastor. He is humbled by humanity and what we can achieve without superpowers, how brave we can be without being invulnerable, and how caring most of us are. We do not worship Superman, but on some level Superman worships us, or at least is as big a fan of humanity as humanity is of Superman. That’s not Jesus. Jesus loves us but he is not us just because he became “AS one of us” for a blink of human time. Jesus is to be worshipped, Superman is not. And nobody worships Moses either. Even the people he led from Egypt went and made their own god because Moses went to the library for a while.
(And while I’m on the topic of who Superman is or isn’t, he isn’t an immigrant allegory either. Superman came to Earth as a baby, was raised by humans, hid his unique talents until the world was ready for them, and can easily pass for a human–in the same way that the Israelite Moses passed for Egyptian–if someone doesn’t know who he is, one of the reasons the Clark Kent identity works. Trying to do so is to “other” Kal-El for the wrong reasons and it doesn’t matter because he helps anyone in need without checking their voting record or where they’re from.)
This is what I meant yesterday about not being as big a fan of Superman: The Movie as other DC fans. The essence of who Superman is as a character is there but there are things that became part of the character that shouldn’t. Jor-El didn’t send his son to Earth to lead them, nor to conquer them like Smallville was hinting at. Earth was chosen because it was the nearest planet to sustain a Kryptonian humanoid, with the superpowers being a bonus to stay protected. He sent his son there to not die. That’s it. He didn’t care about us humans so long as they would raise his son to be a good man. Everything Jor-El and Lara wanted for their boy he presumably became thanks to Jon and Martha Kent raising him with good morals and to believe in the overall goodness of humanity without being naive enough to think evil didn’t exist. Also, when Moses killed a man to save someone else he went off to self-imposed exile until he came across the Burning Bush telling him to go back. You know, like times when Superman killed someone to save innocent people.
So can we please stop making Superman into Jesus? He isn’t and it’s not right for the character to be shoved into that role. It continues the false belief that powers make a hero and elevates Superman to god-level instead of the humble and caring human he sees himself as. Superman doesn’t need to be Jesus to be a hero. Take it from a fan of both.