When they hear the title of this blog post, Doctor Who fans will undoubtably think of the Dr. Who television special which claimed that the Doctor was half human – a notion then dropped from the canon of the show, unless I’m mistaken.
Classicists may think of any number of demigods from classical mythology.
But many people will think of Jesus, in spite of the fact that the classic orthodox Christology is not that Jesus has a divine Father and human mother and thus is a mixture of both, but that Jesus is fully divine and fully human, conceived miraculously rather than through some sort of divine-human intercourse. The latter understanding of Jesus as “son of God” was clearly around at the time of the rise of Islam, and it is not surprising that a monotheist like Muhammad would polemicize against the idea. One wonders how Christian-Muslim relations might have differed, had such misunderstandings of the Christian view of Jesus not existed. But the same view can be found today, including among those who consider themselves Christians. I can’t think of an academic year that has gone by recently without my encountering it.
And so it may be that, as Jim West has claimed, I am depraved to find amusing and provocative the ad I shared a few blog posts ago. But when you treat in a woodenly literal fashion a symbolic notion such as God as Father, you are bound to end up with all sorts of strange notions. Using reductio ad absurdum with a dash of satire to address such ideas may not be entirely inappropriate, in my opinion.