Saturday, June 18, 2005

Gotham City and the Fact of Sin

From a review of Batman Begins by Marc Newman; published by American Family Association - AgapePress News:

The Biblical World of Batman

No one, perhaps, has said it more effectively than G.K Chesterton: "Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin -- a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or not man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was not doubt at any rate that he wanted washing."

While films like Spider-Man, The Incredibles, and the forthcoming Fantastic Four posit an essentially good world that needs to be saved from an anomalous, encroaching evil, Batman is blunt. The world is not a good place -- it is seething with sin. Even when admitting that there are some people trying to do the right thing, as did Bruce Wayne's philanthropist father, it was twisted by his home town, Gotham City, into evil. Before I am set upon by people who think this view too bleak and pessimistic, it must be noted that this view is no stranger to the Scriptures.

Our world is described in the Bible as "a crooked and perverse generation" where no one "does good" (Phil. 2:15; Rom. 3:12). The people who inhabit it are enslaved to sin (Rom.6:6). Our struggle is described as "not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). But make no mistake -- these are forces that control those they have enslaved.

Gotham City is sin writ large. The niceties of "civilization" have been stripped away and what viewers see is raw motive. Like Abraham contending with God over Sodom, we are seeking at least some righteous to warrant the saving of the city. Enter the flawed hero -- Batman.


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