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What isn’t wrong with DC Comics Jesus? January 18, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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DC comics is turning Jesus into a superhero. Has the writer even read the Bible? Yes, he has – but he’s often wondered if some of the people complaining have.

image twitter.com/rpace

The first I head about DC Vertigo’s “Second Coming” was from people who don’t like the idea. So far over 72,000 people have signed a petition. (I’ll give you the link later but first read a little more and maybe even pray about it). Here’s the letter you can send without knowing anything more than what is in the petition…

Dear DC Comics Board and Management,
I am appalled by your decision to publish “Second Coming,” a comic that features Jesus Christ as a clueless superhero sidekick.
In a recent interview with Bleeding Cool, author Mark Russell described the concept behind his upcoming comic. He explained, “God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.” In Russell’s comic series, Jesus comes back to earth as the roommate of “an all-powerful superhero, named Sun-Man.”
Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Mohammed or Buddha? 

This content is inappropriate and blasphemous. It should be immediately pulled from your publishing schedule.
Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Citizon Go Campaign, Stop Release of “Second Coming”

“What isn’t wrong with DC Comics Jesus?” was more than a rhetorical question. I genuinely wondered if there might be some good coming out of it? After all Jesus didn’t always respond to opposition as his disciples expected (Luke 9:49-56) and Paul one said, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (see Phil 1:15-18).

An article in the Christian Post digs a little deeper into Russell’s motivation

The theme of the comic is noticeably birthed from Russel’s own idea of Christianity, shared in the books he authored, God Is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. Both revealed that he believes people have “really misunderstood” the Bible and the Christian faith “doesn’t really base itself on what [Jesus] taught, particularly in the modern Evangelical megachurches.”

Christian Post, DC Comics to introduce Jesus Christ as new superhero with a distorted telling of the Savior

…and the preface of his earlier book is worth reading for its challenge to us to actually read and understand the Bible for ourselves and not just the bits we get in Sunday School.

Among other things Mark Russel says, “The Bible may be the single most important book in human history”. He also says, “it’s my guess that of more than a billion people who claim to live according to the teaching of the Bible, not too many of them know what the Bible actually says. They, like me prior to writing this book, probably only know the tiny morsel of the Bible that was spoon-fed to them in Sunday School”.

How much of the Bible do Church-going Christians know? How much less do those outside the church know?

I do think the Bible is worth reading and have a different approach to encouraging people to engage with the text. Russel’s summaries cross the line much of the time, (one reviewer talked about there being a place for a sanctified irreverence), but should at least lead people to saying, wait, does the Bible really say that?

As for the comic? In Russel’s own words

What can readers expect from Second Coming?
Mark Russell: An all-powerful superhero, named Sun-Man, has to share a two bedroom apartment with Jesus Christ. The conceit is that God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.
God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says “that’s what I wanted for you!” He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2018/08/25/jesus-superhero-mark-russell/

Note that Russel refers to the plot device as a conceit. He’s not claiming this to be the truth just a fanciful device to explore his own ideas.

(I googled a definition of ‘conceit’)

Wikipedia also has an article on ‘conceit’ in which it says “In modern literary criticism, more common with genre fiction, conceit often means an extended rhetorical device, summed up in a short phrase, that refers to a situation which either does not exist, or exists rarely, but is needed for the plot.”

In other words this work of fiction might not be intended to be a false gospel, it might be a parable intended to make readers think. There’s usually a lot of thought provoking stuff in comics for those that stop to think about them.

Sun-Man is not as far as I know based on a real character unless Russel chose to model him on that angel of light known as Lucifer, or perhaps the kind of superhero the devil tempted Jesus to be at the start of his ministry. And in the Biblical narrative the crucifixion was not a mistake. The DC JC may appear naive and misguided. The real Jesus was no such thing. He chose not to avoid his arrest, beating and crucifixion. He chose not to heal himself at every lash of the whip, or come down from the cross but to endure his suffering and humiliation despite Pilate giving the people opportunity to petition against it.

That bit in comic books were the hero seems to die but then comes back to life again. Jesus did that first!

I’m not urging people to rush and buy the comic book but I’m not sure it’s going to lead readers of DC’s Vertigo series any further from the truth than the other titles. It is going to be a distorted picture of Jesus and it may or may not inspire a few people to search out a clearer picture.

If you want to sign that petition after reading a bit more the link is here.

The Preface (and others bits) from God Is Disappointed in You is available on Google books or Amazon (with audio sample). Some of the book is quite clever and funny, some bits will make you feel a bit uncomfortable (much like the original).

If you want more uplifting overviews of the Bible I recommend the Bible Project. You can even read or listen to the Bible at Bible.com , Bible.is and many other sites.

scene from the Bible Project overview of the New Testament

To be continued….

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