Doctor Who in Christianity Today

Doctor Who in Christianity Today October 7, 2015

There was an article by Sarah Bessey just recently in Christianity Today about Doctor Who, and it included a mention of the book that I co-edited, Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith: Religion and Doctor Who. Bessey blogs quite a bit about Doctor Who, and so it is great to see that turn into an article aimed at connecting with a host of possible new fans-to-be.

I am always happy when the intersection of science fiction and religion/bible/theology is explored, but am always disappointed when the treatment is superficial. Unlike most of her writing on the topic, the CT article includes statements like these:

The concept of the show involves Christian symbolism; the series reboot gets referred to as a “resurrection” and each new Doctor an “incarnation.”

I realize that sometimes things like this are necessary as a hook to get people to even investigate something further. But statements like that are, in my opinion, way too typical in discussions of religion and science fiction. There is a tendency to notice surface-level similarities without asking about the outlook and message of the show as a whole, or of individual episodes.

And so I hope that the article will get some people to try the show out. But I hope those who do so will eventually engage the show more deeply, and find in it those things which not only can be utilized to express their faith, but also those things which raise awkward and challenging questions for it. And if they get beyond the CT article into some of her more detailed blog posts, Bessey’s writings will help them do that.

I was also recently made aware of Rob Martin’s blog, which discusses Doctor Who from time to time from an Anabaptist perspective. See too Chuck Wendig’s post about sci-fi and Biblical canons.

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  • Thanks for the shout-out. 🙂

    I do agree that, too often, engagement with sci-fi/fantasy genre visual media tends to be very superficial. This is one reason why I like Doctor Who… because while it would be easy, as Sarah did, to use the “resurrection” meme… there is a lot deeper stuff going on than appears on the surface. Hopefully, my article did not disappoint on that vein.

    If you like this kind of stuff on other topics other than just the Doctor, head over to… They have a LOT of great engagement going on over there.

  • arcseconds

    The individual Doctors look different, dress differently, and have different personalities, and there’s even some suggestion that they have different skills, yet they are understood to be the same person.

    Surely the parallel religious notion is reincarnation, i.e. not a Christian concept at all.