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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Superheroes and Morality

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

A few days ago I read a Polygon article about why superheroes don't kill their enemies. This was well written and I think the author, Susana Polo, did a good job expressing her concern about the articulation writers use in saying why superheroes don't kill. You can read it here. Her main point was that superheroes, on some level, believe the system can still work. That the justice system can still solve crimes and protect the innocent.

I would say it goes far deeper than that, though. God has given us many pictures of Himself throughout creation and even life itself. Marriage is meant to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Nature shows us different aspects of who God is. Romans 1 speaks of God's wrath and His speaking of truth to humanity.

"...since what may be known, about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20

We all know that it is not our job to decide who lives and who dies. God placed this moral code in us. Unfortunately we also have a different moral code working in us. This is called sin and it is a code of selfishness that pushes all limits when we allow it to do so. Sin says "do what you want, consequences are irrelevant." Or, it says "you know what you are doing so why bother with listening to that other message?" This is why we have so many villains in life. Why some think it is ok to treat others with disrespect. To control everything. As you read further in Romans you will find Paul discussing the war of these two differing motivations.

I say that we don't allow killing because we know that God has a better punishment for them. Even if we claim not to believe in God, we know that He will hold each person responsible for their actions, including our own. Why doesn't Daredevil kill? Because he knows he's accountable to God for his actions. Daredevil is a catholic. He has gone to confession. Heck, the first person in the MCU to really know what Matt was doing at night was his priest.

Agents of SHIELD got into a similar argument last night. Daisy and Mac were discussing how to find out where the watchdogs were and she suggested "shaking someone down". Now, this is a strategy that Batman and Daredevil have used. Beating info out of someone who knows something. It works. We, as humans, will crack under those kinds of pressure. But Mac said something about it. "This is not about them, it is about us. We are supposed to be different." This is where things sometimes break down with superheroes. They take certain liberties the authorities can not take and it is not always a good thing. This is why The Flash sometimes gets on edge with The Green Arrow in the Arrowverse. The Flash does not accept fear tactics as legitimate or trustworthy. Instead, he goes to science for his info and he inspires people to get info from them.

The possibility of being able to win without changing gets argued often. When Elektra and Matt have this discussion about killing, he says this: "It's not hard. It's impossible. But it's a choice. I make it every day, sometimes every second. And you can to." When we are not capable of dealing with something without sin, we turn to Christ. He strengthens us and motivates us for righteousness. 

Do we as humans believe in a justice system? Yes, but not because of a societal system. We believe in a justice system because God has endowed it with rights. God has given us a deep seeded notion of justice but it isn't just about the system. It is about who we are both within and without that system. Not killing is a choice. Rather than an inaction it is an action of recognition; that God will decide the fate of this person, not you.


  1. I'm watching Daredevil and I was reminded of the episode 3 debate more like a argument between daredevil and punisher and thought NERDCHAPEL i hope they have a post about this what do you know you do episode 3 and 4 are my favorite episodes of 2 maybe the whole series I'm glad that you as a fellow brother in Christ have watched daredevil. Also wanted to ask what inspired you to start nerd chapel I'm curious and tell me how you felt about Ep 3........oh also the priests eulogy whether not the guy is an actual priest and sermon about us being worlds

    1. I was really tired as I watched episode 3 that night, so I won't comment on it now. Maybe I'll watch it again and let you know my thoughts further. We shall see. I started Nerd Chapel after accepting a calling to do ministry to nerds/geeks. I was on a Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission in Slovakia when I accepted this calling. I started by running game nights at my house. After people moved on and I realized I was not fulfilling my calling I did a couple You Tube videos and then started the blog.