Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Humiliation of Superman

God of Israel says "I will not give My glory unto another."  Isaiah 48:11

This is in the context of Isaiah prophecy against idol worship among the people of God.

There is a certain red line that should not be crossed.

In case of the Superman series I think it was already in the first movie where the critical line was crossed. Superman became a symbol of a divine being who can turn time back and raise the dead.

While Superman is busy saving others, Lois's car falls into the ground due to an aftershock. It quickly fills with dirt and debris and she suffocates to death. Distraught at being unable to save Lois, Superman ignores Jor-El's warning not to interfere with human history, preferring to remember Jonathan Kent's advice that he must be on Earth for "a reason". He travels back in time in order to save Lois, altering history so that her car is never caught in the aftershock. Superman then delivers Luthor and Otis to prison and flies into the sunrise for further adventures.

True, it was not the handsome Adonis-like Clark Kent/Superman Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) who wrote the script that crossed the line. There were several writers, including Academy Award winner Mario Puzo (1920-1999) of Godfather fame, David (1937-2003) and Leslie Newman (d. 2003) and Robert Benton (b. 1952). The final script was rewritten by Thomas Frank "Tom" Mankiewicz (1942-2010) of James Bond fame on request by director Richard Donner (b. 1930).

Christopher Reeve did not write the script that lifted the fictional character into an idol, Superman  who is like god. But he became a powerful symbol and personalized this character to all humanity from Alaska to Australia.

Humiliation of king Herod Agrippas
The Acts of Apostles describes the humiliation of King Herod Agrippas I (10 BC - 44 AD) in the coastal town of Caesarea (north of modern Tel Aviv).

And when Herod had sought him and found him not, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea and there stayed. And Herod was highly displeased with those from Tyre and Sidon. But they came with one accord to him and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was nourished by the king’s country.

And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne and delivered an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, “It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!”

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and gave up the ghost.
Acts 12:19-23 KJ21

Other cases
Here are some examples further illuminating the red line that mere humans should not cross, not even in fiction without proper handling giving God the glory.

Such hybris was abhorred already by ancient Greeks and Romans and the Bible gives stern warning of the consequences.

Tower of Babel reaching heavens (Genesis 11:5-8)

RMS Titanic (1911 - 15 April 1912) the Unsinkable pride of human technological achievement

Third Reich (30 January 1933 - 23 May 1945) Thousand years of rule with the true Fuehrer of humanity

Klement Gottwald (1896-1953) Stalinist president of Czechoslovakia in 1948 to whose honour archbishop Josef Beran had a Te Deum sung in Prague Cathedral.

Gottwald died on 14 March 1953, just five days after attending Stalin's funeral in Moscow on 9 March. His death, due to a burst artery brought about by prolonged heart disease, was heavily affected by other factors: syphilis and alcoholism. His body was initially displayed in a mausoleum at the site of the Jan Žižka monument in the district of Žižkov, Prague. However in 1962 due to a botched embalming, the body had blackened and was decomposing. It was then removed and cremated.

John Lennon (1940-1980) "We're more popular than Jesus" Interview 4 March 1966.

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) of Nirvana fame. Heart-shaped box
"The video is rather odd and depicts a little girl in what seems to be a Ku Klux Klan uniform and an old man with a Santa hat on dressed like Jesus and tying himself to a cross. It also shows a rather large woman wearing a suit of meat for the verse "meat eating orchids forgive no one just yet." Later in the video her uniform turns black and she tries to snatch unborn babies from a tree."

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