So, DC comics have decided to release a new comic called ‘Second Coming’ featuring Jesus as a second rate superhero. Author Mark Russel explains in an interview:
“The concept is that God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.
“God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says ‘that’s what I wanted for you!’ He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.”
I find this offensive. Here are some reasons why.
- Jesus of Nazareth was real. He lived and died and rose in first century Judea. Without lifting a sword or writing anything much, he started a revolutionary movement which transformed the world. The historical evidence for his life, death and resurrection is plain for thinking people to see and continues to stand the test of historical and literary criticism. This kind of ideologically loaded 21st century retelling of the story undermines historical truth in an era of fake news. I think this is deceitful.
- Jesus laid the foundation for the freedom we enjoy in the West today. It is Jesus who reveals the God who appeals to us in love rather than coercing us with force. Consequently all of the arguments which produced the religious freedom we enjoy in the UK today came from dissenting Christians (those who took the teachings of Jesus more seriously than the threats of the state)….. And America became one nation under God with a separate church and state and freedom of expression. This has not happened where the teachings of Mao or Mohammed have been at the fore. To mock Jesus is to bite the hand that gave you the freedom to mock. I think this is just plain rude.
- Jesus is my saviour. I believe that I cut myself off from God with principled ideological deceit and selfish rudeness. The teachings of Jesus in the bible introduced me to a holy God who is aware of my deceit and rudeness and still loves me. They reveal a son of God who is willing to die to take away the separation from God which I have brought upon myself. They also reveal that Jesus genuinely historically rose from death, and is with God able to receive and reinforce my prayers. So I pray to God, through Jesus, and I love and worship Jesus for what he did for me. I dislike it when people I love are slandered or libelled.
Because of #2, I don’t feel that recourse to law in these matters is appropriate. I’m glad we have abolished blasphemy laws in the UK and pray that they will do so in Pakistan one day too. However, along with over 100,000 others I have signed a petition asking the publisher not to release this comic. If you find this offensive, maybe you’d like to do the same.