Sunday, September 25, 2011

Musings on the Messiah Complex of Dr. Who and Jesus Comparitively

Since I was 7 years old living in London, studying World Religions in public School, I've been fascinated with the Messiah Complexes, even now at 44 after reading tons of mythologies, poring over obscure tests, social psychology case studies and papers, I find it too easily to get absorbed on the very human need to control or give over control to another personality.

Now I could go into the charachter "Q" from Star Trek's NG from the 80's & 90's movies, or even the movie Dune, but it is the British storyline of a certain time traveling Doctor that most resonates with my own spirituality.  You see after all this "research" and even quite a few brushes with religious zealotry myself I've found myself believing in a very human messiah after all. Using a recent article on, "How Doctor Who Became My Religion" as my baseline, I will attempt to explain.

"The galaxy it seems is filled with no shortage of pricks who want to devour our souls, our faith, and even our faces"   And so that there must be a transcendant quality to one's own spirituality, because the "evils," stress, and flaws of our world, demand that we cannot possibly hold it all in, even if we all become blurred in some relativistic nirvana mind or something.

He continues later in the article, "In "Journey's End" the Doctor tells Rose that she made him a better person, and when Rose leaves, another human (Donna) tells the Doctor he needs someone to keep him balanced and in check.Perhaps, more telling, when the Doctor (Tennant) begins traveling alone in his final few episodes, his behavior becomes erratic, even conceited, as he tries to alter the time-space continuum to satisfy his vanity as much as to save human life."

SImilarly it has been the flaws, inconsisitencies, and downright human failings i've seen not only in the human charachters of religious texts, but the Divine as well... kinda like there has been an evolution not only in our conception of the divine, but also of the personality itself.  Now this may not bode well with standard linear christians, but let me assure you, it would have been more than fine with the much smarter and inclusive chrisitians of the first few centuries, before it became a suffocating religious system again like the Judiaism it grew out of.

"People sing songs about having a friend in Jesus, but this is a friendship that's much easier to understand. And not just because the Doctor is flesh and blood. He's a savior who loves us and needs us like the best of friends do. That he can bend time and space to save all of Earth from a Sycorax invasion is just gravy."  It is just this humanity but also mystical aspects within my own faith with and of Jesus that I've seen in more recent years, and calls to a more relatable understanding, like what did he do with sexuality, something that has mystified humanity in any culture or time. Even St. Paul stated he was mystified in "the way of a man with a woman" in one letter.  It is quite funny that the Doctor has never had relations with any of his companions or creatures he meets. Even funnier when in one of the more recent story archs it was thought he might be the Father of Amy's unborn Babe, only to find out it was his living time travel ship interacting with the union of her with her husband.

"What makes the Doctor so special is that for all his success, he often fails. People do die on Doctor Who. Civilizations are lost. Characters are made to suffer despite the Doctor's best intentions."   In translating and reading some of the earliest church documents as well as more modern writers like Jack Miles and Brian McClaren I have come to realize that something happened with Jesus that WAS very unique and special, much like the individuation that didn't actually surprise God that happened in Eden, as Miles puts it, God was apologizing, and truly saying They (Elohim) Understand, in Jesus.  It is this frailty and almost fallability that now makes my faith and spirituality that much more real, authentic and trustworthy.

I came to see that in truly giving Humanity rights/autonomy They (Elohim) had to have limited their own, and that in effect tied their hands.   St.Pauls words about evil being subsumed by over arching benevolence seem a bit trite here, but nonetheless true.  In the articles words:

"The show makes us realize that even with a semi-immortal Time Lord on your side you can lose. That we are struck by tragedy does not mean that there is no sense or purpose to life. It doesn't mean we are alone."   Anyone remember when somebody in the crowd shouted out safe thyself in the biblical story of Jesus?

"But what I find most engaging are the times I don't fully understand why the Doctor could not do more. So many times it seems the Doctor's hands are tied by scientific constructs I don't pretend to understand. And although it might be unsettling to believe in a god that has limits to his abilities, it's also reassuring that bad things can happen despite the best wishes and efforts of a higher power."  I couldn't have said it better myself.  Finishing up, not wanting to get into cleaning up the mess that we have become and churcianity is now, (not too much unlike Judiaism when Jesus hit the scene though, if that gives any hope).  Just ponder the last very profound words of the article:

"Imagine, for a moment that there is a real God. How many of His storylines have we not been exposed to? That god must have been broadcasting on channels we don't get for millennia. It would take a lifetime longer than the Doctor's to fully understand such a god.

Doctor Who teaches me I just don't know everything. Horrible events can occur for reasons explained in lost episodes or laws of physics too dense for my blogger's mind and that doesn't mean we are lost or unloved. There is the possibility of a god who roots for us, loves us, and grieves for us just like the Doctor. And a god who has saved us so many times and in so many ways we've never known.

And as far as I can tell, on a very basic and unspoken level, that is what hits me so hard about the show. Also, I really like the theme song.

Read more: How Doctor Who Became My Religion |"

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