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    Interesting video on Superman and Thor as Christ parallels

    AGoodReed
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    Post  AGoodReed September 28th 2022, 11:07 am

    Would really like to hear some thoughts on this. It's not short, though. But it's not looking at the parallels as positively as Paeter usually does.

    Paeter
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    Post  Paeter September 28th 2022, 5:13 pm

    I had time to listen to close to half at 2x speed (a bit tough with his accent) and would be interested to hear specifically what you're interested in getting reactions to.

    I thought it was interesting that he dipped into "creator intent" with Love & Thunder. I think creator intent is interesting from an art-analysis perspective, but I tend to be less interested in it when looking for useful parallels for us as Christians. (You could probably make a drinking game from how often I say "I can see a parallel, intended or not,...")

    Creator intent is tricky. Creators often neglect to be open about their intent, and so in search of it we can sometimes get stuck in thinking we can read the creators' minds based on things we happen to know about them. So for the most part I'm more interested in the net result of my experience with the content rather than what message the creator was trying to preach.


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    AGoodReed
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    Post  AGoodReed September 29th 2022, 11:06 am

    Paeter wrote:I had time to listen to close to half at 2x speed (a bit tough with his accent) and would be interested to hear specifically what you're interested in getting reactions to.

    I was mostly interested in takes on the Superman part. I missed a lot of the Thor part because there was a lot of noise at the time, and I'm not that invested in the character anyway.

    I guess the big parts I'm interested in start at the 15:15 mark. There are a couple extended clips from other videos featuring people with accents we're more used to (main video creator is from the Caribbean, BTW), so that might help in following them at a faster speed.

    As far a what you said about creator intent, I put a lot of stock into it, but if a creator decides to hide his/her intent, desiring to leave it up to consumers' interpretations, then I guess it's whatever each person wants it to be. But I hate that type of literary criticism that just tries to read meaning into everything, even against an author's stated intent. I had to take a class on that in college, and I did not like it.
    Paeter
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    Post  Paeter September 29th 2022, 12:39 pm

    AGoodReed wrote: if a creator decides to hide his/her intent, desiring to leave it up to consumers' interpretations, then I guess it's whatever each person wants it to be. But I hate that type of literary criticism that just tries to read meaning into everything, even against an author's stated intent. I had to take a class on that in college, and I did not like it.

    Yeah, hopefully I don't ever give the impression that I'm an advocate for that. When I talk themes, its not from a standpoint of "what does this mean?" or "what does this mean to you?", but rather "what does this bring to mind?" or "what might this bring to mind?" that could lead to worthwhile thought.

    As for the remarks around 15:15, I get the sense that there is some frustration being expressed that Snyder's Superman is being compared to Jesus when he is in many ways inconsistent with, and falls short of, Jesus' character. I can understand some of that reaction, especially if someone is going around saying, "Superman is just like Jesus!" or something along those lines. That's not where I'm at, and hopefully couldn't be quoted as ever saying that.

    For me, its about the "glass half full" approach. I like to celebrate and enjoy those qualities or moments in which Superman does parallel Jesus, and from there try to bring focus to Jesus himself. Any character serving as a metaphor for Jesus will fall short at some point, because they aren't actually Jesus. So comparing and contrasting Snyder's Superman with Jesus is worthwhile. But not if contrasting is done with an attitude of finger-wagging.

    Now maybe the expectation for consistency with Jesus' character is raised in a given consumer's mind the stronger they perceive those "Jesus moments" to be stated. I can see that being the case. The stronger the representation of Jesus in one moment, the higher contrast those moments will be with less Jesus-consistent moments. But that still comes back to a subjective expectation on the part of the consumer, that they may not even be aware of.

    So bottom line, I agree with all the ways they state that Snyder's Superman falls short of Jesus. But I don't think this has to diminish the usefulness of Snyder's Superman as a device we can use to reflect on Jesus or other worthwhile truths.



    And as a side note, I get BIG red flags in my mind from the content featured from the "Good Fight Ministries" documentary (leading up to and including the 15:15 mark). It emphasizes and sensationalizes background details [such as its comments on the origin of the name "Superman"] as though they are the main focus and driving inspiration. So that doesn't leave me thinking that GF ministries or this youtuber quoting them as a "source" are thinking things through as responsibly and carefully as they should. And it seems to be content focused on finger-wagging and creating fear while falling short in the area of discernment. Some real 1980's "satanic panic" vibes there.


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    Paeter
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    Post  Paeter September 29th 2022, 1:04 pm

    This topic also brings to mind Paul's use of secular (i.e. pagan!) poetry in order to make a point. (Acts 17:26-29) What Paul modeled in this case, when bringing up art made by non-Christians, was focusing on an element that is consistent with Christian teaching. He certainly contrasts pagan and Christian teaching in many other places. But also upholds and makes use of a portion of truth represented in pagan art, even though it was undoubtedly surrounded by falsehood.

    It makes me wonder if any legalistic Christians or Jews became outraged at Paul for not also spending time talking about how the other parts of the poem he quoted were wrong and inspired by evil ideas. He didn't feel the need to include that focus, in that setting and with that audience. And I think there's something valuable in that approach.


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    AdamCollings
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    Post  AdamCollings September 29th 2022, 8:58 pm

    Paeter wrote:For me, its about the "glass half full" approach. I like to celebrate and enjoy those qualities or moments in which Superman does parallel Jesus, and from there try to bring focus to Jesus himself. Any character serving as a metaphor for Jesus will fall short at some point, because they aren't actually Jesus. So comparing and contrasting Snyder's Superman with Jesus is worthwhile. But not if contrasting is done with an attitude of finger-wagging.

    I'm kind of the same. I've heard criticism from a Christian in the past that the Christ parallels with Snyder's Superman don't work because Superman is portrayed so flawed.
    But I'm fine with that. I want the Christ parallel that touches me on an emotional level, but I also want the deeply flawed hero. I don't see these as incompatible.

    In fact, I see Superman as a "type" of Jesus. The Bible does this a lot, often with very flawed people. If the Bible does this, I'm not too bothered that a superhero movie does it.

    (Note, I haven't watched the video yet, just wanted to comment on this particular point)

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