Here is something that I have wondered for awhile, this stems from the emptiness and questions I had with Christianity.
Think about the Gods and Goddesses of Old. They stood for a variety of things, had a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Some were tricksters and villains, some stood for justice, love and defending mankind.
They were worshipped, revered, you called upon them for help. To right injustices, to protect your family.
Now think about the modern world, since the mid 1900′s we’ve had superheroes. These characters have the same variety of strengths and weaknesses, stand for a variety of causes. Some are villains, some stand for justice and defend mankind. Some are steeped in mythology, take Thor and Loki for example or Catwoman. Much like the Gods and Goddesses of Old they each have a superpower, representing a range of animals and symbols. Much like Zeus’ lightning bolt or Poseidon’s trident and Achilles Heel; we recognize Batman’s bat, Superman’s S or Green Lantern’s ring. Kids and adults alike where jewelry and clothing in honor of these heroes. Superheroes have always represented the extreme good and bad in life. Weaknesses and strengths. Mankinds desire to have a reason bad things happen. Joker robs Bruce Wayne’s parents thus resulting in their murders. Our desire for justice and our desire for someone to right the horrible wrongs of the world. To ensure that no child feels the loss he felt Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. One could even argue the similarity between god and Demi-god. Some heroes are human, some heroes are from other worlds. They have their own Pantheons, DC, Marvel, Gotham and Metropolis.
If these superheroes fill a void that mankind needs filled, the need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, something to make us understand good and evil, why does Christianity not fill this void as the church says it should. The church admonishes and persecuted the gods and goddesses and their worshippers, yet the same Christians have turned to the modern superheroes for the things that we see and need in our Goddesses and Gods, when they feel the Christian God has failed them. Never stepping in to save the abused woman and kids, to save the mugged man and much worse in the world.
Doesn’t this just make Batman and Superman replacements for Gods and Goddesses that he Church says believing in sends you to hell?
Back to the topic at hand, I think this Brook person is on the cusp of a much deeper concept, in that, it doesn’t necessarily relate to Christianity’s lack of a way to provide for the lesser blessed in this world. But more that superheroes prove that even the most ordinary person can do extraordinary things, and the true magic of it lies within the human spirit. This is seen time and again with Green Lantern (I will refrain from any reviews of the movie here). Hal Jordan, test pilot, happens upon a crashed alien ship, and in a moment of dire need, the ring transfers itself from Abin Sur to Hal Jordan, and Hal becomes Green Lantern. Multiple times he saves the world, other worlds, other races, and proves the worth of the weak, less-enlightened human race. Batman, I really wouldn’t go too far to say he’s in this same caliber, perhaps demi-god or some such. He has gadgets and money. I put him in the same category as Tony Stark (although given the choice I’ll watch Iron Man before ANY Batman movie, any day of the week)
So what is it really that makes superheroes the modern version of the Gods and Goddesses of old? MILLIONS of people, the world over, worship at the alter of Marvel, DC, Stan Lee and the like. That altar? Movie theaters and comic book stores. Obviously, Thor and Loki hold to the mythologies pretty well. The ability to relate to these people, who have taken whatever situation they are dealt (i.e. Bruce Banner/The Hulk… a gamma-ray infused version of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde without the depravity) and making the best of those situations, helping people, righting wrongs as they can, but still maintaining some resemblance of their former lives, -that- I think, is why so many are drawn to these characters. I think the ultimate truth within it all, is that religion, worship, spirituality, have all evolved. We don’t necessarily want to place our faith in a deity to take care of problems for us. WE want the ability to handle our own shit. We all want to be Catwoman. We all want to be Thor. We all want to be Tony Stark. And at the end of the day, we have it within our grasp to do great and wonderful things. We may not have Mjolnir, we might not have a vibranium shield, we might not have a solid gold bustier and the rock-hard rack to pull it off, but each one of us can make just the smallest difference in the life of another person. The ultimate truth here, is we all have it within our grasp to be heroes.. to be god/dess-like, if we’re only willing to accept what comes with it.
In the words of Uncle Ben Parker.. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
(DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for physical injuries or embarassment should anyone take it upon themselves to don a cape and spandex and think they can fly. WARNING: PLEASE do not tell Tony Stark about any of this, we do not need him getting an ego bigger than he already has. THANKS!)