Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The "S" Stands for Hope

In June, the newest "Superman" film will open (June 14, for those of you wanting to sit in a movie theater hallway at midnight).  While I am not sure I appreciate the proliferation of redone iterations of classic superhero movies (what number "Batman" are we on now? - and didn't the last "SpiderMan" come out, like, just three years after the one before that?), I can accept the fact that these characters are part of our American mythology.  Superman is a favorite, and I will go see this one.

However, the idea of the Superman finds its origin in the "Ubermensch" of the atheistic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.  Nietzsche proposed this ideal human being, this superman who rises above all others because of his self-will and ability to create values for himself in a God-less world.  Nietzsche, an atheist who posited the "death of God," held the Ubermensch up as the perfect human who fulfills our natural destiny.

All that philosophy aside, Superman has evolved in our "Christian" society as another Christological example.  He comes to Earth, having been sent by his father, and would be regarded as a god - but also opposed by evil.  He shows humanity our own greatness, though.  Watch this latest trailer - and keep your faith switched on - it will speak to you loudly!

His adoptive father tells him that he might spend the rest of his life discovering his purpose - and in this, as in most Christ figures, we should also see ourselves.  But as Superman, "he will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive for.  They will stumble; they will fall.  But in time, they will join him in the sun."

Jesus is more than just some "ideal," though.  It is He who makes our greatness possible.  We are modeled on Him but the Father.  As St. Paul says, "He is before all else that is.  All were created through him; all were created for him" (Col 1:17ff).  We are all "supermen" (and women!), in Christ.  The Father has sent His Son - for us - so that we become adopted sons and daughters in Christ. In time, he will help us accomplish wonders.

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