Man of Steel: A Religious Perspective

Man of Steel Pic1

I love the third Man of Steel trailer. It is nothing short of pure awesomeness. Who doesn’t love aerial hand-to-hand combat and explosions along with bassy orchestral music booming in the background? Picturing this in my mind just pumps me with sheer excitement. The problem many viewers probably had with all this action, though, was that Superman seemed to be another excessively powerful hero, one that is too perfect for any of us to embrace. Like Jor-El, Superman’s biological father, said in the trailer, “He’ll be a god to [us].” Hence, it is very reasonable for us to think Superman’s god-like perfection would disconnect us from him, but, similar to many religious figures, I think it’s his perfection that aims to guide and strengthen us.

But first, why do we even need Superman to help us at all? Is there some interstellar threat like General Zod that only superpowers can protect us against? Maybe, but I think Superman’s purpose is even more significant than that. I think his purpose is to help us remove our strongest plague, evil, so that we can begin helping others, stopping violence, and standing up against General Zod, etc. on our own will. Superman comes to Earth to serve as a shining example, a Christ-like “ideal,” of the goodness we as humans should struggle for.

You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders. — Jor El

The only thing keeping us from joining this struggle is the fact that we are not so accepting of people like Superman. We don’t like being told that we’re sinful/evil or that we need to devote a life of goodness following a perfect being. Jewish leaders hated Jesus for this same reason. The moral responsibility is too strong for any of us to bear. And so we would rather reject him. “He would be an outcast. [We] would kill him.”

That’s what differentiates Superman from other comic book heroes. His weakness is not about powers; it’s something much more severe: being forsaken by the human race. It will take much bravery, heroism, and self-sacrifice for Superman to fight Zod (and evil) on behalf of mankind even in the midst of such human resentment. But because of his inherent moral perfection, I’m sure he will do it anyway.

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