Respectful Insolence

This might almost make me go back to church!

i-9a85c9b2641cdda37e35e91516dfbefc-doctorwhoBBC_175x125.jpgNow here’s a church service that I could get into, the Church of the Time Lord. As an article in Metro.co.uk says:

A congregation are to be invited to compare a Time Lord with the Lord of Time at a special Dr Who-themed church service, it was disclosed today.

Teenagers and young people in their early 20s are being targeted for the “cafe-style” Communion service, with music and video clips from the hit series, at St Paul’s Church in Grangetown, Cardiff.

The Anglican church was used as a location two years ago for an episode of the series starring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor.

Fr Dean Atkins, youth officer with the Diocese of Llandaff and one of the organisers of the service, said: “The figure of Doctor Who is somebody who comes to save the world, almost a Messiah figure.

“In the series there are lots of references to salvation and the doctor being almost immortal. We are using the figure of Doctor Who as a parable of Christ.

“The language used in the series lends itself to exploring the Christian faith.”

This whole comparison of the Doctor to Christ is rather amusing, given that the producer responsible for resurrecting Doctor Who in its current glorious form, Russell T. Davies, is an avowed atheist. Of course, there is the old joke about how the Doctor is better than Jesus because he’s come back from the dead nine times now and Jesus only did it once…

Comments

  1. #1 mds
    September 15, 2007

    given that the producer responsible for resurrecting Doctor Who in its current glorious form, Russell T. Davies, is an avowed atheist.

    Of course, he’s also the man who wrote and produced The Second Coming for British television, in which Christopher Eccleston(!) plays the returned Son of God. So there’s some wiggle room. ;-) (Yeah, it was still quite an indictment of most religious thinking. I’d recommend its showing at St. Paul’s as well.)

  2. #2 Bryn
    September 15, 2007

    The 9th Doctor??!?!??!? The 9th Doctor? Oh, please! The man is a blatant fraud, a “dark angel” trying to draw us from the well-lit path of righteousness. Everyone, everyone knows that the 4th Doctor and *only* the 4th Doctor is The True One Doctor.

    Heretics!

  3. #3 justawriter
    September 15, 2007

    And then there is this First Church of Woo that I was disgusted to find when I opened my paper this morning. I wonder how many “cured” folks will have to keel over before this fraud is forced to shut down.

  4. #4 Mike O'Risal
    September 15, 2007

    Jesus put some demon into a pig. Dr. Who wiped out an entire race of civilization-obliterating, genetically-engineered cyber-soldiers bent on eradicating all life forms in the universe. Who do you trust?

  5. #5 J. J. Ramsey
    September 15, 2007

    Since we are talking about something British, I might as well introduce some British slang that I learned on the Ship-of-Fools forums: naff. The meaning of it that seems most appropriate is this one:

    Something which is seen to be particularly “cheesy” or “tacky” or in otherwise poor aesthetic taste. An example of a sentence in which it might be used is, “Did you see that American Chopper repeat on the TV last night? I’ve never seen such naff programme!”. It seems particularly to be used in relation to interior décor, furniture, furnishings, clichéed popular artwork, clothing, accessories, and the like. (“That’s a naff tie.” “That 1970s wallpaper is really naff.”)

    I wonder if the term will catch on here in the U.S. :-)

  6. #6 MartinM
    September 15, 2007

    Unfortunately, JJ, in the UK the term ‘naff’ has itself been considered ‘naff’ for quite some time ;)

  7. #7 J. J. Ramsey
    September 15, 2007

    MartinM: “Unfortunately, JJ, in the UK the term ‘naff’ has itself been considered ‘naff’ for quite some time ;)”

    That makes a certain perverse sense, somehow. Maybe the term should be resurrected. Or should that be regenerated? :)

  8. #8 Thalia
    September 15, 2007

    And the 10th Doctor is waaaaaaaay hotter’n Jesus. I know who I’d worship. :)

    Seriously, though, this Pagan/atheist/Doctor Who fan would like to tell whoever came up with this idea to fu*k off. They’ve appropriated enough stuff.

  9. #9 Alan Kellogg
    September 16, 2007

    I say Jesus is superior to The Doctor, because Jesus only had to be resurrected once. :p

    (Having a dad who won’t let you go out and get into trouble also helps. :) )

  10. #10 Thony C.
    September 16, 2007

    Orac, believe me you don’t want to go to church in Grangetown.

  11. #11 Morgan
    September 16, 2007

    Ugh. I said to myself when I first saw it, the third season finale was too messianic. And lo and behold, here we are!

    Of course the nonsensical flavour of pacifism espoused by the current Doctors (not sure if it was similar for the elder incarnations) will probably play well to a “spiritual but not religious” audience, if that’s who they’re targeting.

  12. #12 Orac
    September 16, 2007

    “Pacificism”?

    I’m a bit confused.

    Where did you get that idea? For example, look at The Runaway Bride. The Doctor gives the Empress The Empress of Racnoss one chance to stop what she’s doing and let him help her. She refuses, not surprisingly, and the Doctor then basically fries her children, who were threatening the world. In Human Nature/The Family of Blood, he showed a rather shocking ruthlessness at the end towards the Family of Blood.

  13. #13 Morgan
    September 16, 2007

    It’s inconsistent, which is part of my problem with it. For the most part he refuses to carry or use a weapon, but he’s happy to be defended by people with weapons. He won’t shoot a Cyberman but he’ll devise a plan where others do. He was unwilling to destroy the Daleks on Earth at the end of Eccleston’s run because it would kill the humans there too, even though they were going to be killed by the Daleks anyway, and mostly already had been. He’ll cause deaths but not kill directly. It seems to me like a problem the writers have depicting a principled, non-violent hero – which is hard to do, sure, but they let his words and actions clash terribly.

    My problem isn’t that the Doctor is pacifist, it’s that he’s bad at it.

  14. #14 Bronze Dog
    September 16, 2007

    In Human Nature/The Family of Blood, he showed a rather shocking ruthlessness at the end towards the Family of Blood.

    Watched that with my brother in Austin. It was pretty creepy for me.

  15. #15 Dunc
    September 16, 2007

    Hmmm, perhaps this plan might just back-fire;)

  16. #16 Sastra
    September 16, 2007

    Russell T. Davies, is an avowed atheist.

    Oh my — not just an atheist, but an avowed atheist? Admits it boldly, right in public, does he?

  17. #17 Orac
    September 16, 2007

    Actually, Davies is not just an avowed atheist, but a gay atheist!

  18. #18 Sastra
    September 16, 2007

    So Davies is an avowed atheist and an admitted homosexual? The double whammy!

  19. #19 Justin Moretti
    September 16, 2007

    …civilization-obliterating, genetically-engineered cyber-soldiers bent on eradicating all life forms in the universe If you’re talking about the Daleks here, recall that it cost him Gallifrey to do it. Even if you’re not talking about the Daleks, destroying his entire race in the process of winning the war sort of takes the shine off his marvellousness. A bit like using C.S. Lewis’ “Unforgivable word” actually.

    Oh, and as for not killing directly – in Revenge of the Cybermen he kills one cyberman directly with gold dust IIRC, and as the fifth Dr, I recall him killing another in single combat by grinding Adric’s gold badge into his chest.

  20. #20 Ginger Yellow
    September 17, 2007

    Surely if the Doctor resembles anyone in Christian mythology, it’s the Wandering Jew.

  21. #21 Orac
    September 17, 2007

    Oh, and as for not killing directly – in Revenge of the Cybermen he kills one cyberman directly with gold dust IIRC, and as the fifth Dr, I recall him killing another in single combat by grinding Adric’s gold badge into his chest.

    In Warriors of the Deep, the Doctor kills a bunch of Sea Devils and Silurians with a gas that is only poisonous to sea life and not to humans. True, he adamantly refused to use the gas at first but changed his mind when he could find no other way to stop them from wiping out humanity by intentionally causing a nuclear war. He did this even in spite of the fact that he considered both to be “noble” races who normally wouldn’t stoop to such acts.

  22. #22 MartinM
    September 17, 2007

    And of course there’s Genesis of the Daleks, in which the Doctor ultimately attempts to more or less eliminate the Daleks from history altogether; though, as with Orac’s example, he initially refused.

  23. #23 Dunc
    September 17, 2007

    Genesis of the Daleks is a really dodgy one – he won’t detonate the bomb himself, but he does arrange for a passing Dalek to set it off. That’s a pretty questionable moral distinction.

    And while we’re on the subject, here’s a relevant little joke from one of PZ’s comment threads:

    What’s the difference between a Cyberman and a Clergyman?

    One is a mindless robot dedicated to transforming all of humanity into copies of itself. The other is a fictional alien from Doctor Who.
    ;)

  24. #24 Orac
    September 17, 2007

    Genesis of the Daleks is a really dodgy one – he won’t detonate the bomb himself, but he does arrange for a passing Dalek to set it off. That’s a pretty questionable moral distinction.

    I don’t think he intentionally arranged for a passing Dalek to set the charge off. As I recall, he was dithering about the decision, because he couldn’t decide whether he had the right to commit genocide even on a race as evil as the Daleks would become, when he was forced to hide and drop the detonating wires. The passing Dalek that forced him to flee then detonated the charge by running over the wires.

  25. #25 DragonScholar
    September 17, 2007

    What amuses me about Russel is that, as an atheist, he really HAS put all sorts of messianic and other references in the series. It’s sort of a JMS type vibe really – archetypical references that some may take as religious.

  26. #26 Ruth
    September 20, 2007

    “I don’t think he intentionally arranged for a passing Dalek to set the charge off. As I recall, he was dithering about the decision, because he couldn’t decide whether he had the right to commit genocide even on a race as evil as the Daleks would become, when he was forced to hide and drop the detonating wires. The passing Dalek that forced him to flee then detonated the charge by running over the wires.”

    This is a classic technique used in all kinds of ‘hero’ literature to allow the villains to be destroyed without the hero having to get blood on his hands. The villain just-so-happens to accidentally destroy himself. In the first Spiderman movie, Spiderman doesn’t actually destroy his adversary, the adversary impales himself on his own fancy flying machine.

    It’s very convenient being an author/screenplay writer. You can make the entire world do your dirty work, so you don’t have to make any of your ‘nice’ characters do it.

  27. #27 MartinM
    September 20, 2007

    Genesis of the Daleks is a really dodgy one – he won’t detonate the bomb himself, but he does arrange for a passing Dalek to set it off.

    As I recall, he was dithering about the decision, because he couldn’t decide whether he had the right to commit genocide even on a race as evil as the Daleks would become, when he was forced to hide and drop the detonating wires. The passing Dalek that forced him to flee then detonated the charge by running over the wires.

    Well, you’re both wrong :P

    He rigged up the bomb, dithered over the moral issues, then left to do…something else which escapes me at present. This was around the time that Davros was playing nice with the Kaled opposition to the Dalek project, so probably the Doctor was looking for a peaceful solution.

    Ultimately, though, he decides that destroying the incubator room is the right thing, and sets off to do so. That’s when the Dalek interrupts him and, as Orac says, runs over the wires.

    Incidentally, it wasn’t merely the act of genocide which gave him pause; it was his knowledge that in the future many races would find common cause in fighting the Daleks.

    </geek>

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