Batman and Theology

Batman and Violence

One critical response or obstacle some people may have to making any connection between Batman and Jesus is that Batman seems to be such a violent and vengeful character. Someone may think, “How can you uphold someone who is so aggressive and commits such violent deeds as a Christ figure?” I can certainly sympathize with that critique, so let me try to offer a few different responses 1. Batman does not go out on the streets of Gotham because he wants to commit violence. Bruce Wayne isn’t sitting in Wayne Manor thinking, “I really just want to get my hands bloody tonight.” In other words, he doesn’t get his thrills from committing acts of violence. He sinks down into Gotham to rid the city of corruption, evil, wickedness, and uses physicality as a means to do that because sadly in the case of Gotham, it has become infected with such great evil and it is so widespread that Batman has to use extreme tactics to expunge out the infection. It cannot be solved easily or neatly, rather it takes great suffering and pain.  2. Given… Read More »Batman and Violence

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Conversation with Eric Peterson about Batman and Theology

I recently had the privilege of talking with Eric Peterson, (pastor of Colbert Presbyterian Church) about Batman and Theology. Check out our conversation below: EP: So I gather you grew up enjoying comics? SV: I think I read the comic books later. I first watched Batman on TV, the Adam West 1960’s Batman, then I watched the cartoons. Then for a while there was a series of pretty bad Batman films in the 90’s, which I watched, but I lost interest in the character. Then in 2005, this new director Christopher Nolan made Batman Begins which was just really great. Good story, great writing, entertaining. And that’s when I really got interested in the character again. And then of course The Dark Knight which was the sequel which had huge cultural impact and became sort of an iconic version. And I think it was really after that one that I thought about Batman and theology. I thought, wow there’s all this great stuff in here, I want other people to see this too. EP: So that’s when you thought about writing the book? SV: Yeah,… Read More »Conversation with Eric Peterson about Batman and Theology

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The Dark Knight and Human Nature

If you ever look up philosophical/psychological perspectives on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, you would immediately come across arguments about whether the films are “liberal” or “conservative” particularly as they relate to the question of human nature. Questions concerning anthropology such as, “What are humans fundamentally?” “Is human nature essentially good or essentially evil?” “Is there even such a thing as an established human nature or is it malleable and constructed individually or culturally?” are important questions and undoubtedly emerge in Nolan’s three Batman films.  Some argue that the movies present a nihilistic worldview, (the rejection of any objective meaning or principle, life is ultimately void of any real purpose) as presented through the character of the Joker. Others think that the Batman trilogy puts forward a humanist worldview as it displays the greatness of the human spirit to overcome and triumph over struggles as presented through Bruce Wayne or the passengers on the ferries. Others think the story is about the battle between the humanist and the nihilist, one trying to convince the other that human beings are fundamentally evil or fundamentally good. I… Read More »The Dark Knight and Human Nature

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