Sunday, November 11, 2007
SF Girl put up a post on her blog a couple of weeks ago about Christ-like figures in Science fiction and fantasy. What a great topic! So like I so often do, I'm going to steal the idea. :) I am, however, not going to go back and re-read Nina's post because I'll just end up copying it and I try not to be that much of a plagiarist. I'm kind of amazed I haven't really thought about this before. I'm sure it's something that has been commented on but I haven't seen it spoken of much. When I think of Sci-fi I often think of it as being non-religious because science is so often thought of as the voice of proof against faith. But when you look at popular sci-fi and fantasy, it's littered with Christ like figures. The one that comes to my mind most readily is that of Neo from The Matrix. I mean, can a character be more Christ-like when being referred to as "The one?" I suppose on a subconscious level I realized that Neo was being patterned after Jesus, though who God is supposed to be in that particular fairy tale, I don't know. But Neo has everything it takes to be like Christ. He can perform miracles and gather the faithful. Though I have to admit, I barely finished the third Matrix movie, so I'm not entirely sure if faith was required for man to be saved. Keanu Reeves just wasn't charismatic enough to overcome the script and the CGI of that last one. But you get my point I'm sure. Neo, despite the science of the film, is still kind of a mythic-- almost religious figure. I wonder why. It seems as if we still need something intangible to hold onto, faith in the face of science. But it's not just science that gets the Christ-like treatment in sci-fi and fantasy. Superman, especially in the latest version of the Superman myth--"Superman Returns"--is IMO deliberately crafted into a Christ figure. There is science behind Superman. He draws power from the Sun and comes from a planet of different gravity. But he is a man separated from his God-like ancestors and though he could be self-serving if he wanted to, he fights for mankind, putting his life between that of mortal man and that which would destroy us. I found the scene in "Superman Returns" in which Superman sits over his son and says "The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son," especially telling. I'm not entirely sure what the point of the scene was meant to be, but I can't help but think the God-like Superman was looking upon his son as a Jesus-figure (half-human Son of God/Son of Superman) that would take his place as the savior of mortal man. And what about resurrection? I can't begin to think of how many times I have seen my favorite sci-fi characters resurrected after we assume they're dead. In fact, this has happened so many times that I am surprised when the hero isn't brought back from the dead. C.S. Lewis openly used Christian themes when he created "The Chronicles of Narnia," but a lot of sci-fi also taps into the Christian theme of resurrection. Spock came back from the dead for crying out loud. So I guess I'm just wondering why. Why is it that science fiction, that is often supposed to be more about the rational mind, falls back on our religious superstitions? Is it simply that the creators of our favorite fiction find themselves going back to their childhood traditions? Even unconsciously? Or is science simply not enough to fill our need to know why we are here? Something to think about, no?