Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Worst. Atheist. Ever.

Atheism is the most reasonable position as long as the evidence for a god is not compelling. In our reality, I feel this is true. In the fictional world of DC Comics, atheism and the most noted atheist character, is most probably wrong.

Mister Terrific would be an awesome atheist roll model. He’s one of the strongest minority characters in comics, has a mastery of science and his main “power” and is considered the third smartest man on the planet.* He would be an awesome atheist roll model...if his religious skepticism did not cross over into denialism.

For a little background, Mister Terrific is the modern incarnation of an older hero of the same name. His motivation to take up the Terrific mantle comes from a visitation from The Spectre who gave him a reason to live after his wife and unborn child died unexpectedly. It’s worth noting that The Spectre is the personification of God’s wraith. Yes, the Biblical God.**

Not only did God’s number one guy get Mister Terrific into the game, but Mr. T goes on to meet fallen angels and the gods that empower and inspire other heroes like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel!*** The DC universe is so chock-full of mythology, that it not only validates Christianity, but also the old-school faiths of the Greeks and Romans. In fact, being atheistic towards any god is probably incorrect since every religion is mostly true.

I understand that this causes problems. Every religion as the true religion would be paradoxical to the extreme, but with DC’s continuity problems, I doubt they care. They accept their necessary position as an amalgamation of sometimes conflicting stories. Even if we try to explain it all away in tradition picture-book fashion--with a retcon--and say that all the “gods” depicted in the comics are just super-powerful aliens masking their nature in familiar folklore, Mister Terrific would still be wrong. The true creative force, and for all intents and purposes his God, is the comic book writer. No matter how you look at it, he’s the worst atheist ever.

*The first and second smartest characters are never identified. Some same his assertion that he is third is “just being modest.” Others say that it is probably Lex Luthor and Batman, who are also very secular characters.
**DC recently rebooted their entire line, so I’m not sure if Mister Terrific’s origin is the same as mentioned above. See, keeping track of this is complicated!
***Captain Marvel apparently goes by Shazam now.

1 comment:

  1. When you share the same universe with superpowered entities like Superman and Captain Marvel, maintaining a 'no gods' really is just denialism.

    I mean, these are guys who can destroy whole worlds if they suddenly decided that'd be a fun thing to do. That's more god-like that anything Yahweh has ever pulled.