More wacky religious takes on Superman

More wacky religious takes on Superman July 4, 2006

Stephen Skelton is at it again. The man who said Christians can use the Superman movies to evangelize because we don’t need to “interpret” them has now written an article on Superman Returns for Beliefnet, in which he makes even more off-the-wall claims.

For example — and be warned, there are SPOILERS here:

Moments later, we learn that Superman–our Christ figure–left Earth five years ago and ascended to the heavens, returning to his home planet Krypton to confirm that it was destroyed. The time he is away from Earth is reminiscent of the time between Christ’s ascension and return. While gone, he finds that he is, in fact, the planet’s only survivor–the Only Son.

So he’s the “only son” because everybody in the heavens died, and when he ascended, he found no Father whose right hand he could sit at. Uh-huh. There’s a lot of Christ imagery in that, I suppose.

When Superman comes back to Earth, he finds a world much worse off than when he left. Most upsetting to him personally, Lois Lane–our Mary figure, with resonances of both the Magdalene and Mary the mother–has moved on. She has a fiancé and a 5-year-old son named Jason (which is a derivation of the name Jesus).

Say what!? Jason was the name of an ancient hero in pagan Greek mythology. Not surprisingly, Skelton never acknowledges any of the other Greek myths that make their way into this film, either — Lex Luthor as Prometheus, Superman as Atlas, and so on.

Skelton and his ilk may not be the cause of Christian cultural illiteracy, but they sure aren’t doing anything to put an end to it.

I’ve already heard from several Christians upset at this plot point–Lois Lane having a child out of wedlock. But I don’t think that’s the only interpretation. Watch carefully, and you’ll find suggestions of virgin birth–not surprising, given the heavy gospel allusions throughout the movie.

Virgin birth!? Granted, Skelton’s use of this term is probably a wee bit more accurate than Craig Detweiler‘s rather strange reference to “immaculate conception” a couple weeks ago. But it still makes no sense to me. Where, exactly, does this movie do anything to suggest that the sex scene in Superman II did not happen?

(Footnote for non-Catholics: The doctrine of the “immaculate conception” has nothing at all to do with the conception of Jesus — rather, it refers to the conception of Mary, as understood by Catholicism — and it has nothing at all to do with the presence or absence of sexual intercourse at Mary’s conception; indeed, it is assumed that her parents did conceive her in the usual way.)

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