What Would Batman Do?

You don’t need to look very far to see that our culture is obsessed with superheroes and everything that involves them.  Movies based on comic books is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.  The Dark Knight (2008) alone raked in over one billion dollars in revenue.  With the third Batman movie in the Nolan trilogy coming our next summer, along with Marvel’s superhero team up of The Avengers (Captain America, Ironman, Thor, and Hawkeye) also coming out in the summer of 2011; the rebooted Spider-Man film set to debut in the summer of 2013, this obsession with Superheroes isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.  So since we cannot simply ignore this cultural phenomena, we must do our best to study and analyze it.

Zeus, Hermes, Poseidon, Apollo, Aphrodite, and Athena all have something in common with Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Green Lantern, and Ironman…. they were (are) the gods of their time.  As much as the Greeks looked upon their gods, we look more so upon comic book heroes as our gods.  I’m willing to bet you good money that more kids could name the members of the Justice League then they could name of Jesus’ disciples.  If you go into the secular culture, and ask for examples of good morality or examples we should strive to be, you will probably get answers like “Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Superman….”.  Superman is now lumped into the same group as Gandhi, Christ, Mother Teresa, and Superman when it comes to figures of great morality.  When did this happened, and how did we allow this?

I think another question we need to ponder is, “Is it such a bad thing?”.  Is idolizing Superheroes actually a bad thing?  Are “What Would Batman Do” bracelets a terrible thing?  I’m not convinced asking ourselves what Batman would do in any given situation is inherently bad.  However, if what Batman would do lies in contradiction to scripture, that is where it is becoming wrong.  In a lot of ways, comic book heroes give us an easy to understand view of biblical morals.  Does this happen all the time?  No.  Are comics a replacement for holy scripture?  Of course not.  But can you use your sons fascination with Superman and the sacrafice of his life to save earth to teach him about Christ and his sacrafice to save the elect?  Absolutely.

Please understand, I am not trying to say that any superhero is equivelent to Christ and the Cross.  But we can (and should) use what the culture gives us to glorify and make much of God.  If Batman can be used to help teach the gospel to a comic book fanatic, why try to impede that?  This is another classic example of us not being of the world, but in it.  American culture throws so much at us, it would be sinnful not to use what we can to glorify the “real” superhero, Jesus Christ.

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