The Superhero Myth that Really Happened

Here is my Good Friday piece for Aleteia in which theories of the atonement are explained and how comic book heroes help us understand the gospel

An earlier view of the death of Christ combines two understandings of who Jesus and what his death accomplishes. First is the idea that Jesus pays a ransom to redeem humanity from Satan and the power of sin. It is as if the human race had been kidnapped and held hostage and threatened with death by an evil villain and Jesus steps in to rescue them. Combined with this is the idea of Jesus Christ as the conqueror over evil. Jesus engages Satan and the powers of darkness in a great battle. The villain seems to win when Jesus dies, but it is through the reversal in his resurrection that evil is defeated and humanity is saved.

This is the classic Catholic understanding of the death of Christ, and it is immediately the explanation which connects best with trends in modern culture, and by “modern culture” I’m referring to popular culture: the comic book and superhero movie.

In comics and superhero movies we see the same story being played out time and again.

Read the whole article here.


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