Christians don't often get a lot of positive reinforcement out of Hollywood, and so when we do, it's a big deal. And so when the producers of the new Superman movie decided to make Christian themes part of the media promotion talking points, it is no wonder CBN News sent the "Miss America" of broadcast journalism, Wendy Griffith, to interview the director and cast of "Man of Steel."
Although the Christian themes mentioned in the talking points, (Both Superman and Jesus were 33 when they began their earthly ministry. And that both had fathers that sent them to earth to save mankind.), are "a bit of a stretch", I think most Christians will appreciate that the producers of the movie are willing to associate something good, like "the legend of Superman" with the Christian faith.
Actually, I think the reason Christians have loved Superman so much over the years is that the Superman franchise used to be fabulous character building entertainment for children. The new comic books, not so much, with their "edgy violence" and super sexy models.
I would often look out for the old Superman comics to give to the kids, and I finally found a Superman anthology to give them. Here, Superman was not flirting with the girls, he was saving them, and their families. And he was probably going to marry Lois Lane. And he was always fighting for truth, justice and, (dare I say it), "the American way."
Here is the big picture. If you had the chance to give the kids in Africa the modern day Superman comic books with their "edgy violence" and super sexy models, or the older comic books where Superman is fighting for "truth, justice and the American way", which would you choose? If you had the chance to teach the people in Africa the genius of limited liability corporations and free enterprise, and homestead rights and a land titles system to protect this and other property, versus communism, which would you choose? And if you had the chance to teach the people in Africa the ideals of loyalty and friendship in a lifetime marriage versus polygamy and promiscuity, which would you choose?
In the movie "Man of Steel" Russel Crowe plays Jor-el, Superman's father from Krypton. He says of his son, that on earth, he will be to them "like a God." I know what he means; like a god from Greek mythology. But you have to appreciate that they were "just" a money making franchise too. And people changed to trust the God of the Bible, because with regard to the Greek Gods, they just did not "buy it."
In the movie, Kevin Costner plays Clark Kent's earthly father. In the movie, Costner is my hero and I will tell you why in a minute. He is a good husband and father and wants to protect his son from the media circus that is sure to follow, when Clark reveals he was born on another planet. Until Clark - Superman and Earth, are ready.
It is a poignant moment, when Costner reflects with young Clark, how profound it will be when the people of earth finally meet someone from another planet. Costner's seriousness fills the big screen, and, although it may be somewhat misplaced, believe me, his sincerity and kindness, is appreciated.
It is as if the screenwriters worry about the old canard, of Christians, on learning of life on another planet, breaking down in tears, for believing a lie, all these years.
They need not worry.
Actually, Christians probably consider the possibility of the discovery of life on other planets just as "cool" as everyone else. Our faith in God is not because God created everything, although He probably has. Rather our faith in God is by God's spirit informing life with what is good. "In God, whose word we praise, in God we trust." Also, the Bible makes clear that God isn't telling us everything, including perhaps, about life on other planets. Paul in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians Ch. 13, puts it this way. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part;..."
And, for an authority on the issue, one of the greatest Christian scholars of all time, the Oxford Don, C.S. Lewis, who wrote Christian classics such as "Mere Christianity", "The Problem of Pain", the Narnia series including "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", also wrote a science fiction trilogy, that included aliens and space travel. So Christians are quite prepared for anything, whether it is the discovery of life on other planets, or even perhaps that life is not evolving, but rather, breaking down.
As for Superman being a Christ-like figure, there is one more characteristic that you might not have thought of, if you did not read it in the Bible. It is Zechariah 4:6 "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord."
The reason Costner was my hero in the movie was because, when he stood out there in the hurricane, and was willing to sacrifice himself for something bigger than life and to save others, he and not Superman, was the real Christ-like figure in the movie, "Man of Steel."
P.S. I was really impressed and cannot praise enough Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman, for playing so well the great true to life Christian gentlemen, Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, and the first black American to break into racist baseball, Jackie Robinson, respectively, in the baseball movie "42." When Harrison Ford said to his fellow Christian and Methodist, Jackie Robinson, tong in cheek, "God is a Methodist" you knew he meant that sometimes you have to bear, like Christ, really unfair slurs, insults and abuse, with dignity, if you are ever really going to be able to change people's hearts forever.
THE MAN OF STEEL