Friday, March 27, 2009

Science Fiction Co-opts the Christian Story

At the C.S. Lewis Institute Art Lindsley identifies "C.S. Lewis's Seven Key Ideas." One of them is Lewis's idea that Jesus was "the myth that became fact." In the recent City Journal there's an essay by Benjamin Plotinsky called "How Science Fiction Found Religion." Plotinsky finds the basic Christian story in a lot of science fiction and fantasy movies. Quoting Gabriel McKee: “There are inherent messianic qualities in the . . . concept of the superhero—an individual with exceptional abilities who sacrifices part of his or her life for the greater good.” Plotinsky finds the Christian story in The Matrix, Superman Returns, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, Harry Potter, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (obviously), The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Phantom Menace, Star Trek, The Terminator, Dune, I Am Legend, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and others.

(I'm now also reading philosopher Tom Morris's Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way, Watchmen, and Watchmen and Philosophy. I've long been interested in our cultural obsession with superheros and mythic figures as reflective of our deeper, spiritual-existential neediness.)