Jesus is My Superhero (Jesus vs Superman)

Hi friends in Christ!

I would like to ask your views if it is appropriate or Biblical to say that Jesus is our superhero? Is it acceptable, ethical, moral or simply correct for a church to use well known comics characters, their characteristics, their sacrificial saving powers fighting the bad guys (E.g Superman, Spiderman, etc) as a tool to explain or attract or engage them, that, hey, do know that amongst these superheroes, Jesus is the real superhero? What could be the possible impact this may bring to a non-believer using such approach or even to kids in children’s church?

I have also attached below a link of children’s song that is quite catchy whereby some churches use it as a praise song for kids. While the tune is nice to listen, the lyrics are easy to follow, the beat is danceable, should it be a concern knowing that children are vulnerable?

Jesus is my superhero

There are also sellers selling t-shirts where Jesus is sitting together sort of having discussion with comics Superheroes where he said on a callout “And that’s how I saved the world”. See the link below. What are your thoughts about this?

Jesus t-shirt design

Appreciate your views about this. Thank you for your time! God bless!

3 Likes

Hi @Sherilyn,

What a beautiful concern you have for the next generation. Personally, I believe the most important thing is the essence that you attribute to that term.

Meaning, if somebody say Jesus is a superhero, ask them first what do you mean when you say He is a superhero?

If the fellow explains with attributing some unbiblical supernatural ability, like Jesus can punch people from here to the other half of the world, or they only understand that Jesus can run like the flash but nothing more, than I’d say they have lost the biblical essence.

But if, like the song you pointed out, you talk abt Jesus making the sun shine, putting the stars, and he’s our friend and all that. Those are biblical truth about the divinity of Jesus as God. And they can back it up with verses.

For the materials taught to kids, ask the kids, what do they think of how Jesus saved the world as a superhero, what did He do? If they can say that Jesus saves the world by the cross, than it hits the mark, achieved the purpose of making the gospel relevant. But if they start attributing weird theories of how Jesus saves the world, by killing some bad nemesis guys like Hitler, or such (just making hyperbolic statements), then they have truly skewed the gospel.

Please listen carefully to the substance over style that is being conveyed. Judge the substance, not the superficial. Jesus himself was a revolutionary in methodology, challenging many traditional norms. Most importantly, He stays relevant and made Himself accessible to everyone.

I hope that helps. Blessings in Christ.
Roy

1 Like

Thank you for your reply @RoySujanto, appreciate sharing your views.

Another thing that concerns me is that superheroes are fictional characters which did not actually exist but merely product of imagination that entertains many people now adays. If we associate or compare Jesus with superheroes are we downsizing the divinity of Jesus? And that because of that association/comparison non-believers or even skeptics categorise Jesus as a fictional character too, worst Bible as fairytale story.

There may be the tendency that kids (and even adults) prefer to watch them as they are popular (like if you haven’t watch Avengers Endgame when it was first shown for example, you are not “in”) and entertaining over Bible-related movies or programs like Superbook or Veggietales. I don’t say its wrong to watch Marvel or DC movies but it could be used by the enemy to deceive people. So much so, some churches even printed posters of superheroes, life-size decals as a decoration in kids church, you can even take photos with them! What is alarming, they are becoming more popular than characters in the Bible… It is really sad, this is happening…

1 Like

Hi @Sherilyn, I hear your concerns. If that is what is happening then I’ll be concerned too.

I can’t speak for all churches, but I have seen this approach done beautifully, and the exact opposite of the effects you mentioned. What is amazing is that Jesus is taught of as real, not fictional like those superheroes you see in movies, and Jesus cares and loves you, something that the superhero characters fall short and cannot do for you. Kids relate and comes out of sunday school excited about Jesus.

Of course the caveat to this approach is eliminating the fictional affinities of typical superheroes and backing Him up with all the awesome biblical attributes, like the song you pointed to.

So, once again, instead of judging the approach, let us watch and judge the fruit instead. If it came out as bad as you observed, then something was clearly wrong in the teaching. But if it came out as great as I observed, then the method had been effective.

The objective observation being that the kids understood Jesus as the savior and God that He is according to the bible, and they grew to love Him more. Then I’ll take this approach any day, compared to an ineffective bible study. But if not, then the reverse is also true.

Thanks for this wonderful discourse though. Hope many adults are as mindful and as observant as you are about what is being fed to the kids these days.

We also need more Christians in the creative industry to diligently create contents that is comparable in quality or even more excellent than what is available today to compete for the attention of the next generation.

It will be complacent of the church to lax in relevance and playing catch up with the secular world in terms of methodology, of course without compromising the essential biblical principles.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

2 Likes

Hi Sherilyn! First, I’ve gotta say, I love Superman. And just to be clear, by “Superman,” I mean the Christopher Reeve Superman. Anyone can play Superman, but Christopher Reeve was Superman. Incidentally, the 1978 version of Superman is loaded with Christ-type parallelisms. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

I think you’re wise in examining this approach to communicating the person and work of Jesus because, after all, we should be accurate in our understanding and portrayal of him. We can’t say anything true about Jesus apart from right theology. So, the theological truthfulness of our analogies should be a concern.

If we consider that any extra-biblical analogy we make about Jesus will always be lacking and flawed, this may help in discerning the usefulness of the superhero analogy. But, the Bible has a lot to say about Jesus, so we can be thankful that we have much God-breathed truth about him to communicate to our children that we can be confident in. Like Roy, my concerns would be lie with what is being communicated

What do the hearers associate with the term “superhero?”

What am I telling them about Jesus when I compare and contrast him to a superhero? Am I making clear that he is the perfection of all good attributes, while clearly rejecting the unbiblical attributes of man-conceived superheroes, villains, and those needing rescue?

If we consider what the premise of pretty much every superhero story is in light of God’s story of redemption, is it more helpful or harmful?

If I had to summarize the archetypal superhero story, it might be like this:

A fallible person with extra-ordinary powers of some sort, and yet with at least one weakness, comes to save good people who are unable to save themselves from bad people. This superhero is often one of multiple alternative superheroes. In the process, they may or may not die, but this is not necessary to the salvation of the people. And while they save the people from something bad, the best good the people are left with is always something outside of the superhero and never fully satisfying.

Is this God’s story of redemption in the Bible? What are the similarities, and what are the differences?

Some questions I might strive to really clarify if I found myself having to use the superhero framework as part of a lesson might be:

  • Are any superheroes the creator of the universe they live in?

  • Are any superheroes the sovereign lord and judge of the universe they live in to whom all others are subject?

  • Is Jesus one of other alternative saviors?

  • Is Jesus fallible?

  • Did he have to die in order to save his people?

  • How and why did he come back to life?

  • Does the Bible divide people into two groups: good and bad?

  • Are the people Jesus came to seek and save good or bad?

  • Are the people Jesus came to save deserving of being saved?

  • Are we able or unable to save ourselves apart from a savior?

  • From whom/what does Jesus save us?

  • To whom/what does Jesus save us?

If a superhero story came up in conversation, I think it could provide helpful jumping off points to demonstrating our acknowledgment of our need for a savior. And that, if we’re honest, we know that nothing in this created universe can save us. Rather, it always comes up lacking. But that Jesus, being the only infallible God-man, is our only capable, sufficient, and fully satisfying Savior and Treasure.

4 Likes