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Author Topic: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel  (Read 2450 times)

Altair

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The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« on: May 05, 2015, 02:50:28 pm »
I stumbled across this today, from a Catholic website:

'The Avengers' and Friedrich Nietzsche

Quote
Joss Whedon’s “Avenger” films, the second of which has just appeared, work as a sort of antidote to Tolkien and Lewis, shaping the imaginations of young people so as to receive a distinctly different message than the Christian Gospel.

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/the-avengers-and-friedrich-nietzsche

One immediate problem I see with this contention is that the author pins it on writer-director Whedon and his atheism, when in fact Whedon didn't just make this stuff up, but rather draws from well-established Marvel lore that predates him.

Anyway, discuss.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 02:51:04 pm by Altair »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Melamphoros

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 03:15:56 pm »
Quote from: Altair;174615

One immediate problem I see with this contention is that the author pins it on writer-director Whedon and his atheism, when in fact Whedon didn't just make this stuff up, but rather draws from well-established Marvel lore that predates him.

 
Part of me is curious what these people would say if he tried to revive Buffy...


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Sophia C

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2015, 03:40:58 pm »
Quote from: Altair;174615
Anyway, discuss.

 
It's a boringly obvious interpretation, since Übermensch is usally translated Superman, and Nietzsche's ideas have been associated with comic book heroes, to a greater or lesser extent, for a long time. It's really difficult to follow the writer's logic all the way to the anti-Christian assumptions though. Doesn't hold up logically or theologically. Dull.
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RandallS

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 04:05:11 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;174622
It's a boringly obvious interpretation, since Übermensch is usally translated Superman, and Nietzsche's ideas have been associated with comic book heroes, to a greater or lesser extent, for a long time.

Agreed.

Quote
It's really difficult to follow the writer's logic all the way to the anti-Christian assumptions though. Doesn't hold up logically or theologically. Dull.

I have trouble seeing these ideas as "anti-Christian" the way F. Barron does. I certainly don't see them as Christian ideas, but I think the story is non-Christian rather than anti-Christian. To be honest, however, I've never seen LOTR as particularly Christian -- unlike Lewis I've never had the impression that Tolkien was deliberately writing Christian literature as Lewis was. While one can see Gandalf as a Jesus the prophet figure if one wishes, I don't think he was written to be Jesus under another name as Aslan was.
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Melamphoros

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 04:08:13 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;174623

I have trouble seeing these ideas as "anti-Christian" the way F. Barron does. I certainly don't see them as Christian ideas, but I think the story is non-Christian rather than anti-Christian. To be honest, however, I've never seen LOTR as particularly Christian -- unlike Lewis I've never had the impression that Tolkien was deliberately writing Christian literature as Lewis was. While one can see Gandalf as a Jesus the prophet figure if one wishes, I don't think he was written to be Jesus under another name as Aslan was.

 
Didn't Tolkien once say that he hated allegory?  IIRC, he and Lewis almost had a falling out over it.


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Mountain Cat

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2015, 04:11:47 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;174620
Part of me is curious what these people would say if he tried to revive Buffy...

 

Okay, I'm way out of my depth in a discussion involving philosophy by this always catches me:

Quote
What the Christian evangelist can seize upon in this film is the frank assertion that the will to power—even backed up by stunningly sophisticated technology—never finally solves our difficulties, that it, in point of fact, makes things worse. ... And this admission teases the mind to consider the possibility that the human predicament can be addressed finally only through the invasion of grace. Once that door is opened, the Gospel can be proclaimed.


The presupposition that humanity or individuals needs to be saved, whether it be from itself as evil/sinful-by-nature beings or from outside sources such as the Christian Satan. It just bothers me so much. I have never felt a need to be saved from anything in the manner that is implied by Christian grace and the implication that all of humanity needs it is something I have a hard time understanding and dealing with.

I think, if you take out this presupposition, his thesis breaks down.

Sophia C

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2015, 04:31:26 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;174623
Agreed.



I have trouble seeing these ideas as "anti-Christian" the way F. Barron does. I certainly don't see them as Christian ideas, but I think the story is non-Christian rather than anti-Christian. To be honest, however, I've never seen LOTR as particularly Christian -- unlike Lewis I've never had the impression that Tolkien was deliberately writing Christian literature as Lewis was. While one can see Gandalf as a Jesus the prophet figure if one wishes, I don't think he was written to be Jesus under another name as Aslan was.

 
Mind you, there are some good theological interpretations of secular stories. I've just been listening to a progressive Christian podcast that was considering Daredevil from a theological perspective. Interesting ideas, even if I wouldn't think about these stories in quite the same way. The concept of the Sacred Story, be it ancient or modern, is motivating a lot of my spirituality at the moment.
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Altair

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2015, 06:04:31 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;174626

The concept of the Sacred Story, be it ancient or modern, is motivating a lot of my spirituality at the moment.


Right there with you on that.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2015, 12:31:54 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;174623
To be honest, however, I've never seen LOTR as particularly Christian -- unlike Lewis I've never had the impression that Tolkien was deliberately writing Christian literature as Lewis was. While one can see Gandalf as a Jesus the prophet figure if one wishes, I don't think he was written to be Jesus under another name as Aslan was.

 
My understanding of one of the things that he was doing was writing a mythic history of time before Christ in such a way that the pre-Christian polytheistic cultures could be, though not correct in their theologies, not wrong.  More thought experiment than didactic lesson.

(Gandalf can't be a prophet/saviour, he's an angel.  Frodo's a better Christ analogue if one must break the frame.)
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RandallS

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2015, 06:16:51 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;174745
My understanding of one of the things that he was doing was writing a mythic history of time before Christ in such a way that the pre-Christian polytheistic cultures could be, though not correct in their theologies, not wrong.

Oh boy, that would set off the fundamentalists in all forms of Christianity. Or maybe it wouldn't -- at least for the Fundies -- as for many fundies the idea that not correct could also be not wrong probably not a concept they'd easily grasp.

Quote
(Gandalf can't be a prophet/saviour, he's an angel.  Frodo's a better Christ analogue if one must break the frame.)

Good point.
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Aiwelin

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Re: The Avengers vs. the Christian Gospel
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2015, 08:41:45 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;174623
Agreed.



I have trouble seeing these ideas as "anti-Christian" the way F. Barron does. I certainly don't see them as Christian ideas, but I think the story is non-Christian rather than anti-Christian. To be honest, however, I've never seen LOTR as particularly Christian -- unlike Lewis I've never had the impression that Tolkien was deliberately writing Christian literature as Lewis was. While one can see Gandalf as a Jesus the prophet figure if one wishes, I don't think he was written to be Jesus under another name as Aslan was.
Agreed on Tolkien - I always giggle to myself when I see assertions such as the one in this article, because Tolkien is who lead me to Paganism.
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