Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tardis Theology

An interesting cover article I spotted yesterday in the library from Church Times. I think the author may be reaching a bit, but still it's an interesting take on the new Doctor Who series from a Christian perspective:

"The Doctor recognises both the monstrous sinfulness at the heart of the human condition, and the potential for us to become so much more than we are. We might disagree whether the solution lies in our own hands or in God’s, but the diagnosis itself is not so different.

Then there is the question of evil. Davies has said that his Doctor Who has no stereotypical mad evil geniuses, because they are not believable. Instead, he wants his villains to have "motivation, and background, and depth, and good dialogue, and a sense of humour". In carrying this through, he displaces the caricature of evil with an attempt to portray complex beings whose subtle motivations and attitudes can lead to evil actions.

Evil has always played an important part in Doctor Who, and that provides another parallel between the spirituality of the show and the Christian faith: both can be considered as "dramas of reassurance". Just as the Christian story tells first of humanity’s fall and then our redemption, so Doctor Who takes us on a journey of horror, fear, and successful resolution.

With fall and redemption in mind, the most uplifting moment of the 2005 series came towards the end of arguably the most frightening adventure: the two-part story set in London at the height of the Blitz. After almost an hour and a half of seeing people turned into soulless, gas-masked zombies, the Doctor manages to reverse the process with a triumphant cry: "Oh, come on, give me a day like this. Give me this one. Everybody lives, Rose. Just this once, everybody lives!"

The fact that a single episode combines both the most terrifying and the most euphoric scenes helps to reinforce the link between the fear of the journey and the joy of the rescue. Critics who condemn the show for being too frightening miss one important fact: the Doctor always wins.

The universe of Doctor Who, where evil exists, but where good ultimately triumphs, alludes to a world-view Christians would have no difficulty in embracing. Paradoxically, a scientific rationalist like the Doctor would be unable to offer any such guarantee.

Religion might be banned on Platform One, but it seems that some reflection of a Christian world-view cannot help but find its way into Doctor Who , whether that is what the programme-makers intended or not."

read the whole thing.


Blogger Father Joe Jenkins said...

Are you another clergyman who likes British Science Fiction and Doctor Who?

If so here are few asides, including Dr. Who pics with a priest, me, in civies:

Father Joe

5:05 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Well, more like science fiction in general. I don't discriminate based on country of origin!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Ciaviel said...

Not going to spoil it, but some of the second season really deals with Christian issues. "Parting of the Ways" and "Bad Wolf" are really a story about redemption, if we're to believe the bits about the Time War. (Don't think I'm spoiling anything, since they've already aired here.) Although the old Doctor Who had a rather atheistic/humanist slant to it, especially in the 4th Doctor's time.

3:11 AM  

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