Pharyngula

Whoa. Superman is a humanist!

i-849388d587931655c5908f94f8aee4c9-superatheist.jpeg

Nice dig against Christianity in that last panel,too. Somebody needs to tell him about the Out Campaign, though.

Comments

  1. #1 geoffmovies
    March 29, 2010

    Superman is God.

  2. #2 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    March 29, 2010

    Superman is God.

    I’d like to think Superman could beat a dude in an iron chariot.

  3. #3 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    March 29, 2010

    :-)

    odd question though, since the DC universe is populated with Greek Gods. But I guess those don’t count :-p

  4. #4 Nemo
    March 29, 2010

    I’m sure I found this link from here originally, but… More than you ever wanted to read about Superman’s religious beliefs:

    http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Superman.html

  5. #5 https://me.yahoo.com/a/ZmiZc_Z2iYdD4s9Dn4zTDmwIxV1IUQ--#4ab6e
    March 29, 2010

    oh noes. next thing you know he will be promoting health care by giving out free x-ray vision tests to people!

  6. #6 Mr T
    March 29, 2010

    I want to see the part where he eats babies.

    Superman Clark Kent doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who would join the Out Campaign.

  7. #7 Stardrake
    March 29, 2010

    So he’s given up on Rao?

  8. #8 Crommunist
    March 29, 2010

    Superman telling people not to rely on a savior… 10 seconds after he saves a crowd of people…

    MY HEAD A ‘SPLODE

  9. #9 WowbaggerOM
    March 29, 2010

    Considering he was created by two Jewish guys, you could be fairly sure he wasn’t intended to be Christian – though of course that would never stop Christians from claiming him; they’ve stolen pretty much everything else they like to tout as ‘theirs’.

  10. #10 kiyaroru
    March 29, 2010

    I never really liked Superman.
    Dr. Strange was more my style.
    The Venerable One may have been a god.

  11. #11 tacroy
    March 29, 2010

    I’m pretty sure Supes has punched God in the face at least once, maybe twice. Much more than that if you don’t care about which god in particular.

    And yet still the Christians move the goalposts – no, it’s not our God, it’s Thor! No, our God isn’t Darkseid! Geez, it’s almost like those guys don’t want their precious deity being punched out by Superman.

  12. #12 phoenixwoman
    March 29, 2010

    Hey, I see Graeme’s got dungeoned. The Bird just isn’t the word, I guess, the Trashmen notwithstanding.

  13. #13 Glen Davidson
    March 29, 2010

    Well, clearly if God bailed people out, Superman would have nothing to do.

    It’s not necessarily a dig at religion, which always manages to put the onus upon you regardless of its promises.

    And as a sort of modern religious myth, I can’t say that Superman stands against fantasy. Not that those reading it have to believe in fantasy, of course.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  14. #14 geoffmovies
    March 29, 2010

    This reminds me of that great “Superman vs. Mighty Mouse” scene in Stand By Me.

    God Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman’s a real guy.”

  15. #16 DrClown
    March 30, 2010

    a superhumanist

  16. #17 Fil
    March 30, 2010

    Superman also seems to continue that ancient human misconception that vision requires the eyes to emit rays of some kind.

    Except badass Dinosaurs with laser eyes…they were real.

    Frankzappasaurus. ;-)

    Mmm, these funny mushrooms are nice…

  17. #18 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    March 30, 2010

    Superman telling people not to rely on a savior… 10 seconds after he saves a crowd of people…

    Would you prefer he stand there? It’s pretty much “I’m not going to be around everywhere, so do your own best”. Not /that/ unreasonable, I’d think.

    At least, I’m pretty sure comics are self aware enough to know that he can’t directly say “Saviors are bad” while saving people….

  18. #19 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 30, 2010

    Not really surprising.

  19. #20 mike.davis.50322
    March 30, 2010

    Wait a second… Superman’s not real? Next you’ll be telling me that my other hero, Sherlock Holmes, is fictional.

    Well. Anyway. We shouldn’t be surprised if the christians try to steal Superman for their own. Hell, remember the “Guideposts” article from a few days ago?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/03/subversively_charming.php

    They tried to steal MY son for themselves, and my name isn’t even Jor-El…!

  20. #21 starbix
    March 30, 2010

    Don’t forget, Superman has already sold his soul to Satan.

  21. #22 procrastinator.myopenid.com
    March 30, 2010

    re: Out campaign.
    Sorry, there’s no room on Superman’s chest for the big red A. Its already covered with the big red S. Can’t compromise the brand recognition you know. He might end up looking like a NASCAR driver.

  22. #23 dannystevens.myopenid.com
    March 30, 2010

    Has anyone tried bring a class action against soups for exposing everyone to x-rays all the time? Especially all the females he must have purved.

  23. #24 geekysteven
    March 30, 2010

    Should I say that I don’t believe in superheroes when asked about religion? I’ve never seen any evidence for Kryptonians.

  24. #25 finback
    March 30, 2010

    Actually, there’s a LOT of gods in the DCU. There’s the Judaeo-Christian one (who is connected to the Spectre and Eclipso); there’s the Greek pantheon, as per Wonder Woman; Doctor Fate works for the Lords of Order (vs the Lords of Chaos, who might be “above” gods in power). There’s the New Gods of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, who are more like demi-gods; they’re powerful but not necessarily omnipotent. The hero Aztek had powers derived from Quetzalcoatl.. and those are just off the top of my head for DC. I’m sure there’s more.

    Marvel brought out a “guide” to their gods for their Marvel Universe Handbook series; there’s a good thousand or so deities hanging around there.. plus they have gods for half their aliens like the Skrulls..

  25. #26 kiki.klank
    March 30, 2010

    I hover my mouse cursor above the picture but no text pops out. If Superman wants to get into the field of web comics, he’s got to have amusing text assigned to the title attribute of the strip’s img tag.

    … DON’T
    RELY ON SOME KIND
    OF SAVIOR TO BAIL
    YOU OUT. RELY ON
    YOURSELF.

    We should also rely in our friends. Humanism is a social thing and we should all be reciprocal to each other.

  26. #27 kiki.klank
    March 30, 2010

    Oh, and Superman is not even Human, he’s from Krypton!

  27. #28 The Tim Channel
    March 30, 2010

    So I was following links off the Superman page and guess what I ran into? The most delicious Sarah Palin dirt you will see this week:

    http://theimmoralminority.blogspot.com/2010/03/law-willow-and-wicked-witch-of-wasilla.html

    Enjoy.

  28. #29 mattheath
    March 30, 2010

    Tell everybody waiting for Superman,
    That they should try to hold on the best they can,
    He hasn’t dropped them,
    Forgot them,
    Or anything,
    It’s just to heavy for Superman to lift.

  29. #30 DLC
    March 30, 2010

    Superman was originally conceived as a fellow who would stand up for the little guy and help him out.
    Wikipedia Entry From that, if it’s correct, it sounds like Superman is rather a liberal guy.

  30. #31 Colin
    March 30, 2010

    @30 : Yup, Superman would have voted for healthcare.

  31. #32 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 30, 2010

    @geekysteven #24: But…but…you’ll believe a man can fly!

  32. #33 squealpiggy
    March 30, 2010

    I’m pretty sure that Batman is an atheist though.

  33. #34 masksoferis
    March 30, 2010

    I’d like to think Superman could beat a dude in an iron chariot.

    No, no, no. Don’t we remember Yahweh’s not in an iron chariot; instead those are his weak point. (And Superman no doubt knows this.)

    So, on the left, Superman, in an iron chariot, in an armor made of iron chariots, wielding a hefty iron chariot in each hand as his weapon of choice. On the right, Yahweh, in a chariot made of Kryptonite, armored with the foreskins of a thousand generations, and with his trademark Ravenous-She-Bear-Launcher Cannon (2 Kings 2:23–24) ready.

    It’s going to be a battle for the ages.

  34. #35 ursulamajor
    March 30, 2010

    OT if you don’t think he’s Superman. Hitchens is on Morning Joe in a few (MSNBC 7:30am EST). The subject is the catholic church and, well, you know…

  35. #36 Nick
    March 30, 2010

    Marvel Comics solved this a while ago. In a universe with many, many Pantheons, (The Greeks, Norse and Japanese pantheons have been warring lately, and Asgard is currently relocated to the middle of Kansas) the Fantastic Four eventually travelled to Heaven and met the one True God in Fantastic Four #511.

    At least it has the benefit of fitting in with existing writings on the subject.

  36. #37 Becca Stareyes
    March 30, 2010

    In universes like DC/Marvel, I tend to assume any people who are atheists are what I like to think of as ‘Granny Weatherwax atheists’ — they acknowledge that all those pantheons actually exist, but they don’t particularly believe in them giving a damn (at least no more than they believe in any one). So someone like Superman might assume that a godlike being is a good person until he sees them doing bad things, but that’s not because of any special belief about gods, but more because Supes likes people, including the powerful ones.

  37. #38 Givesgoodemail
    March 30, 2010

    The DC universe also has the New Gods, but I never bought into their divinity anyway.

  38. #39 Cerberus
    March 30, 2010

    Mr T @6

    Actually Superman is his “real identity” and Clark Kent is the strangely costumed character he’s hiding behind.

    He’s always been an interesting superhero character, because most of them are the alter-ego, I mean, they are hiding their powers, but that human shmuck is who they were and are, whereas, Superman is that red and blue tighted alien, that costume is a gift from his father and was in the spaceship with him. Clark Kent is the persona his adoptive parents asked him to adopt.

    But yeah, the whole “secret identity” thing in general does make it so he’d not be well expected to “come out” anytime soon.

    Superman has also had some really interesting writing lately as writers have pretty much noticed that the range of powers Superman has makes him fundamentally similar to a minor deity, so there’s been a lot of humanist and liberal religious sort of dealies going on about taking from Superman the strength to be a humanist and take care of yourself instead of just relying on him to get you out of each and every jam.

  39. #40 phoenixwoman
    March 30, 2010

    Yahweh/Kal-El matchup? Nah, Bruce Wayne/Kal-El matchup! That’s the one for the ages, as Dark Knight fans know.

  40. #41 Sili
    March 30, 2010

    @geekysteven #24: But…but…you’ll believe a man can fly!

    Funny. In the small preview, I thought this image depicted the Pope talking to General Zod. (Kneeling is imminent.)

  41. #42 Richard Wolford
    March 30, 2010

    I would just like to take this opportunity to whore the fact that I own a comic book store :) Yup, I’m a Sr. Technical Project Lead with Wells Fargo, got my doctorate in MIS and a MS in Comp Sci, and I own a comic book store, shattering stereotypes! (Right?) Anyway, Superman is a big seller along with Batman and Green Lantern. I’ve always liked him but I was never an avid collector of Superman, instead I filled my collection with Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and yes, Aquaman!

    Anyway, this is a really cool find, the DC universe has always been a bit more godless (in terms of real religion being reflected) than Marvel, and yes Batman is an atheist, I have several issues where this is blatantly obvious (most notably Legends of the Dark Knight).

  42. #43 Free Lunch
    March 30, 2010

    Since Siegel and Shuster gave everyone on Krypton deistic names, maybe they were just saying that Superman was one of the gods from that council of the gods.

  43. #44 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 30, 2010

    Actually Superman is his “real identity” and Clark Kent is the strangely costumed character he’s hiding behind.

    He’s always been an interesting superhero character, because most of them are the alter-ego, I mean, they are hiding their powers, but that human shmuck is who they were and are, whereas, Superman is that red and blue tighted alien, that costume is a gift from his father and was in the spaceship with him. Clark Kent is the persona his adoptive parents asked him to adopt.

    Thanks, Bill Cerberus!

    YahooID sucks, but it’s all I have at work,
    -Kemanorel

  44. #45 Richard Wolford
    March 30, 2010

    Actually, meant to post my store’s infantile website, http://www.dmccomics.com. If any of you guys are ever in the Charleston-Huntington, WV area, stop by and say hi, I’m in the shop every Sunday.

  45. #46 Gus Snarp
    March 30, 2010

    @Fil (#17)

    Superman also seems to continue that ancient human misconception that vision requires the eyes to emit rays of some kind.

    The beams aren’t so he can see, those are the heat rays he’s using to weld up the scaffold so it doesn’t fall.

    I love the humor of this sequence, Superman basically acting as a god and a savior while making humanist statements and telling others not to wait for a savior. Brilliant.

  46. #47 thethyme
    March 30, 2010

    What is Clark Kent?

  47. #48 MoonShark
    March 30, 2010

    Who’da thunk Supe-dawg would obscure humanist values behind loosely Krypt(on)ic statements? ;)

  48. #49 llewelly
    March 30, 2010

    Fil | March 30, 2010 12:40 AM:

    Superman also seems to continue that ancient human misconception that vision requires the eyes to emit rays of some kind.

    You’re just jealous because you don’t have LIDAR vision.

  49. #50 Randomfactor
    March 30, 2010

    “There is a god, and he’s American.”

  50. #51 Givesgoodemail
    March 30, 2010

    @40: “Nah, Bruce Wayne/Kal-El matchup! That’s the one for the ages, as Dark Knight fans know.”

    Nah, been done. Wayne/Batman always wins, because the Kal-El, the Big Blue Boy Scout that he is, is too naive and Wayne is WAY too crafty–he always has plans within plans within plans.

  51. #52 Tulse
    March 30, 2010

    Actually, there’s a LOT of gods in the DCU.

    And then there’s The Endless.

  52. #53 The Pint
    March 30, 2010

    Superman as a humanist encouraging people to take care of themselves rather than wait to be saved by a “higher power” makes sense when you think about it. He can’t save everyone all the time so it makes sense that he’d want to encourage people to look out for themselves rather than wait for him (or anything else) to save them.

    This however is the idealistic version of Superman – there have been some very interesting alternate universe/1-shot stories examining how circumstances could alter Superman’s general belief in humanity’s strength and goodness. Red Son was a really good What-If Superman had crashed in the USSR and been raised with Communist values? And [SPOILER ALERT] Kingdom Come has all the aged DC heroes dealing with a world that Superman abandoned after the death of Lois Lane at the hands of the Joker. The Kingdom Come Superman is a lot more of a “take charge for humanity’s own good” and of course, it doesn’t turn out well.

  53. #54 Krystalline Apostate
    March 30, 2010

    I’m somewhat curious how Supes could use heat vision to keep a scaffolding from snapping?
    As to who’s an atheist & who is not:
    http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html
    Of course variants creep in contingent on who’s the writer.

  54. #55 Randomfactor
    March 30, 2010

    Spot-welding, Krystaline Apostate.

  55. #56 TB Tabby
    March 30, 2010

    In the DC universe, not only are angels real, but one of them has been a member of the Justice League.

  56. #57 Richard Wolford
    March 30, 2010

    Kingdom Come has all the aged DC heroes dealing with a world that Superman abandoned after the death of Lois Lane at the hands of the Joker. The Kingdom Come Superman is a lot more of a “take charge for humanity’s own good” and of course, it doesn’t turn out well.

    If you like this version of Superman, you should read Irredeemable by Mark Waid.

  57. #58 kinem
    March 30, 2010

    Posted by: Richard Wolford

    Actually, meant to post my store’s infantile website, http://www.dmccomics.com. If any of you guys are ever in the Charleston-Huntington, WV area, stop by and say hi, I’m in the shop every Sunday.

    Might have to do that. (I live in Charleston). BTW, you might want to show up at the Charleston atheists meeting sometime.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/West_Virginia_Atheists/

  58. #59 Knockgoats
    March 30, 2010

    Sorry, there’s no room on Superman’s chest for the big red A. Its already covered with the big red S. – procrastinator

    The secret meaning of that big red S is Skeptic! Before every Tom, Dick and Graeme started abusing it, that was an honourable title, and implied agnosticism if not atheism.

  59. #60 Steve N
    March 30, 2010

    Recently in the “Marvel Universe” they’ve kind of revived the “godness” of Thor. And there have been some fun moments. At one point he’s talking with the spirit of the fallen Captain America, and asks why Cap. isn’t in Valhalla. Cap says he doesn’t believe in Valhalla, and Thor tells him that it is not necessary for him to believe. Now that’s the kind of notion of afterlife that almost makes sense! The punchline is that Thor goes on to offer Cap vengeance on those that killed him. So Thor’s a bit old school.

  60. #61 tutone21
    March 30, 2010

    I may be a bit behind in this forum, but the Cat-licks are recruiting using 3D

    http://www.examiner.com/x-10284-Episcopal-Examiner~y2010m3d26-Youthful-fascination-with-3D

    In the midst of all that is going on they are trying to get more kids into the church!!

  61. #62 Danaleigh
    March 30, 2010

    Actually Superman is his “real identity” and Clark Kent is the strangely costumed character he’s hiding behind.

    He’s always been an interesting superhero character, because most of them are the alter-ego, I mean, they are hiding their powers, but that human shmuck is who they were and are, whereas, Superman is that red and blue tighted alien, that costume is a gift from his father and was in the spaceship with him. Clark Kent is the persona his adoptive parents asked him to adopt.

    Since the 1986 John Byrne revamp it’s been portrayed that *Clark* is the real person and Superman is the costume he chose to put on to be able to use his powers. One of my favorite lines from the TV show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” from the 1990′s, was “No, Lois, Superman is what I can do. Clark is who I am.”

  62. #63 Pierce R. Butler
    March 30, 2010

    His birth name is Kal-El, and his buddies in the Justice League call him Kal.

    And if Kal-El is a humanist, he’s an apostate Methodist.

  63. #64 edmundog
    March 30, 2010

    Mr. Terrific, Booster Gold, and the two Starmen from the Knight family were ‘out’ atheists. On the marvel side, the only one that springs to mind is Ant-Man.

  64. #65 The Pint
    March 30, 2010

    @ Richard #57 – Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been lax on keeping up with the Capes & Cowls titles for awhile and will definitely check it out. Been reading more of the Fables/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen titles, but Kingdom Come is one of my all-time favorite superheroes stories.

    btw – that’s awesome that you own your own comics store! Stereotypes are meant to be shattered and anyway, comic book geekery crosses a whole host of boundaries. In my experience, comic stores make for great social spots and you can build friendships with people you normally wouldn’t meet because of a shared love of comics. One of my friends runs a social club for nerds in Chicago and recently hosted a series of seminars at city comic store over the topic of comic books in academia – ended up meeting someone who’s focusing his doctoral studies on comic book history & symbolism. And back in high school we had our regular new release Wednesday crowd and the owner often let us stay past closing to order a pizza and hang out – probably wouldn’t have survived high school without those people, and the owner was a stand up guy for providing that space for us. So I’ve got a special soft spot for people who run comic stores.

  65. #66 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 30, 2010

    I don’t know about Superman. I’ve got to wonder about some guy who wears his underpants on the outside.

  66. #67 Fil
    March 30, 2010

    In regard to the serious unresolved question of Super Duper vision (lol, little optic joke there). I realise that he has at least two separate super powers. One, his x-ray vision and two, the heat form used to weld up his mates’ cars and stuff.

    Thing is, with the x-ray type, does he emit x-rays and hope some bounce back? Or are his eyes so sensitive he only needs the few high frequency photons around naturally to spot people’s junk? (eww)

    Also, when welding, does he emit laser light or just lots of infra red or something?

    Why am I writing this nonsense?

  67. #68 Ing
    March 31, 2010

    Batman is more or less an atheist.

    However, that doesn’t stop him from having a plan to take out god if he’s wrong.

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