I’m grateful to a commenter for pointing out to me that on December 24th, The Guardian featured an op-ed piece on the Doctor from Doctor Who by Stephen Kelly, asking “Does Doctor Who feature a god for our times?”
Here’s a sample:
He may not be the messiah but this Sunday, one and all shall gather to worship in his name. That name being the Doctor: he who, the Scriptures of Moffat say, brings salvation wherever he goes – transforming the lives of whoever he meets through kindness and sacrifice. Ridiculous? Well, maybe, but such an analogy, for me at least, has always seemed perfectly apt – not only in the context of the show or as a fan, but as an example of what is a wider social shift. That is: heroes of popular culture becoming modern figures of worship.
This is a personal case, obviously. I’m not a religious man: I don’t pray, don’t go to church. I don’t even believe in God. Yet I’ve always admired Doctor Who; not only for its values of intellect and empathy, but also for its often overlooked ability to explore deistic themes – both in the show and through the ardent devotion of fans. The Doctor, of course, isn’t marketed outright as a messianic figure but it’s all there: “the lonely god”, more of an idea than a man, who resurrects himself in a crucifix position; who has, literally, defeated the devil, resisted temptation and forgiven his greatest enemy; “he’s like fire and ice and rage”, it was once said. “He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. And … he’s wonderful.”
Even the main premise of the show is built upon the concept of existential salvation: the idea that one day this wonderful being will drop out of the sky to rescue us from the crippling tedium of adult life, to make us believe that there is more to existence than work, bills and over-thinking popular tea-time television shows.
Click through to read the rest. Then please do come back here to share your thoughts.
The intersection between Doctor Who and religion is a major focus on this blog, and so it is good to see others tackling it and generating public discussion.