Superheroes. What is it that draws us into their riveting tales of rescues, battles and of course warding off evil? My children, much like most children I know, have a slight obsession with the caped men and women who cover our TV screens, books, pajamas and lunchboxes. Adults aren’t safe from the Superhero craze either! It is common to see neck ties, shirts and comic books geared towards the older crowd.
Heroes can be traced all throughout history from Hercules and Robin Hood to Thor and Superman. Furthermore, heroes can be found across every culture and in every society. This has led me to wonder, could this be something deeper than just fantasy? Could this fascination be fueled by some sort of spiritual hunger we have in American culture?
Perhaps our longing for superheroes points towards our need for a hero. Do we have a deep innate sense that we need someone to rescue us? I found this quote from B.J. Oropeza who is the Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Azusa Pacific that so eloquently sums up this idea:
“Most superheroes suffer tragic loss: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Robin, and Toro all lose their parents, the Hulk loses his sanity, and Spawn his life. Yet despite their losses, or sometimes because of them, they gain a sense of great commission, forever trying to mend something that has been torn apart. Their stories present a subtle parable to humanity: We have lost our true identity and need to recover what has been taken from us. Apparently somewhere deep within our psyche, we understand our status as fallen creatures.”
This isn’t a crazy notion either. Paul experienced a very similar situation in Acts when dealing with the false gods in Greek Mythology. Paul even argued that the Greek Myths pointed towards the one true God ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+17%3A16-33&version=NIV ).
We could use the same strategy as Paul used with our current day “myths” aka: superheroes. We know that the only true salvation can come from the only True Hero. We can overcome sin and death (be rescued) but only if we turn to Jesus. I think that this just may be the answer to our fascination. We do need someone to rescue us, the True Hero, Jesus Christ.
PS Here are a couple of superheroes I know personally – my boys: Emmett (3) Spiderman and Sawyer (5) Batman