Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Friday, November 01, 2013

Good & Just Laws Increase Freedom

So many in our culture, even most of us while we were younger, might rail against the rules and question why you should be required to follow them.  We see laws, curfews, bed times as unreasonable restrictions on our freedom, but there are areas in life where we accept them without question.  Here is one.

Imagine that tomorrow, our government, coupled with the school’s driver’s training program decided that all of the traffic laws were too restrictive, or archaic, and besides the kids are going to break those laws anyway—laws like speeding or the driving on the wrong side of the road, or running a red light or stop sign.

So based on that conclusion, now youth will be taught simple things like just how to start the car, the basics of how to drive, how to navigate the roads without the old rules, how they can best avoid accidents (though none of their techniques are foolproof) and then how to make sure insurance pays for everything so you can buy new cars whenever you need to. 

The hope is that eventually the rules of the road will disappear and everyone will be free to drive however they want.

So imagine driving in a city where everyone ignored the lines on the road, no one stopped at stop signs or Red lights, where people drive on whichever side of the road they want to, turn left when they want to, where there is nothing to regulate or direct traffic. 

Are you more or less free?  Are you more or less afraid?  You’re less free—huge risk every time you drive—more fearful and less likely to drive at all.

Is that the kind of place you would want to drive in?  Just trying to drive in a world with no rules seems like suicide doesn’t it?

Can you imagine a government or a school system promoting this?  Would this be a better driving situation?  Would society be safer, would commerce and business work better?  Would you be more free?

All of the rules of the road actually make driving safer, more productive, less expensive, and ultimately more enjoyable.  You are MORE FREE because of the rules. 
Do you agree? 

Monday, October 07, 2013

Sabbath Sermons - Parts 1 & 2

At Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, I've been going through the 10 Commandments describing them as the 10 Commandments of Freedom.

Probably one of the most difficult in the series, given how the Christian church has dealt with it, is the subject of the Sabbath.  

There's a lot of confusion on the subject so I thought I would post the messages here.  The audio on the church video wasn't right so I had to re-record them later.  Here you go.
Here's Part 1 - 

Here's Part 2

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Apostle Paul - Why should we listen to him?

I ask this question because some people do not like Paul.

Do any kind of research on contemporary issues and the Bible and you will find heavy criticism of Paul.  Detractors will say he is the true founder of what we know as Christianity.  They will charge that Paul significantly deviates from Jesus’ teaching, that he is too opinionated and blind to his cultural biases on issues of women and sexuality.  Those with these perspectives argue that Paul is not a reliable source of truth.

In essence, such detractors create separate classes or levels of Scripture.  For them, there are the words of Jesus in the Gospels, there are the other writers of Scripture like John and Peter, then lastly and most questionable are Paul’s writings.

I would say in the majority of cases, these detractors have a misunderstanding of Paul and his positions and/or have their own agenda and issues for which Paul’s writings frequently frustrate so they have to find ways to dismiss them.  But while such criticisms may be modern opinions, they are by no means reason to discredit him.

I believe it is important to look at how Jesus and the Apostles viewed Paul and his ministry.  Early on, the Church was unsure of Paul as well.

Paul relates his background several times in his letters and his story is told in Acts.  In Acts 22:3-5 Paul relates his training and persecution of the church; persecution which resulted in people being thrown in prison or killed, like Stephen. 

Then Jesus directly confronted Paul on the road to Damascus.  Listen to Jesus’ words as he describes His call on Paul’s life.

Acts 9:15—“This man is my chosen instrument to carry My Name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name.”

Acts 26:16—“I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of Me and what I will show you.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.  I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

These are serious commendations of what Jesus was going to do through Paul.  Jesus’ words do not mean Paul was perfect, but it does mean he too is appointed as a representative of Jesus with a unique calling and apostleship. 

He had God’s approval.  This holy God continued to do “extraordinary miracles through Paul” – Acts 19:11.  This would be a strange thing to do if Paul was so unreliable or was fundamentally transforming the faith into something Jesus never intended.

The Holy Spirit spoke to the Church in Antioch and told them to “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” – Acts 13:2

Even the demons knew who Paul was; they knew that he was a powerful representative of God’s Kingdom.  While others were trying to invoke the Name of Jesus against a demon without really knowing Him, the demon responded, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” – Acts 19:15.

The early Church, while initially nervous about Paul because of his past behavior, eventually accepted him.  In Acts 15 when there was a dispute about salvation of Gentiles and whether circumcision was to be mandatory, Paul and Barnabbas went to Jerusalem, “they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.” – Acts 15:4.  Later at that meeting Paul related all the “miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” – 15:12.  In the end, the leadership at Jerusalem sided with Paul’s position and wrote a letter to the churches calling him, “dear friends.” – 15:25.

Galatians relates Paul’s own memory of meeting the Apostles after his conversion and during those events surrounding the debate about circumcision:

Galatians 1:18—“Then after three years [from his conversion], I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.  I saw none of the other apostles, only James, the Lord’s brother….
Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas [for the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15]
vs. 7—“they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.  For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. [notice Paul is not only equating his ministry with Peter’s but so are the other Apostles] 
vs. 9— “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars gave me and Barnabas the fight hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.  They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.”

So Paul and his ministry was accepted and validated by other Apostles and the early church.  Apparently Paul was so accepted as an equal, even to Peter, that he was confident enough to rebuke Peter publically in Galatians 2:11-21:

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

This is not a pleasant conversation.  It is confrontational, it is stinging.  And it was directed to Peter, one of the most prominent and respected disciples of Jesus.  By all indication, Peter received this rebuke, repented and realized his error.

What’s more, this incident did not seem to lower Peter’s opinion of Paul or his writings.  Look at these endorsing words from 2 Peter 3:15:

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.  His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

Peter recognizes that God has given Paul wisdom and that wisdom is applied in the letters he has written.  Peter acknowledges that some of the things Paul talks about are challenging and that false teachers, the ignorant or unstable are able to distort what Paul says.  Then, most importantly, Peter says these people distort Paul’s letters, “as they do the other Scriptures.”  So in Peter’s mind, what Paul had written in his letters is equivalent to his own writings, the other Apostles, and the established Jewish Scriptures, which we now call the Old Testament.

 So Paul’s writings are worth studying because Jesus, the Apostles and the early Church all voiced their acceptance of him and his ministry.  You may not like Paul, you may not like or agree with what he wrote but that doesn't change the fact that the he didn't just make stuff up, he was led and inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Next up will be a brief discussion of the nature of Inspiration.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wading in --Analogies, Restaurants & Regulations

In our country there are many types of restaurants.  Some cater to the wealthy, some to the frugal.  But all are free to go to and eat from these establishments provided they can pay the price.

To ensure public health, whether for rich or poor, each of these restaurants are required to meet basic health guidelines for cleanliness, preparation of their product, proper disposal of waste and other conditions.  They are routinely inspected and verified to be in compliance.   
There is also a mechanism for a restaurant to be reported by customers.  Should any restaurant repeatedly fail, they can ultimately be closed.

Is this a legitimate role for government?  Of course it is.  Ensuring public health by regulating the food industry is necessary and warranted.

But imagine with me that there was an exception to the aforementioned standards.  One chain of restaurants, a fast food place that is most commonly found in poorer and minority communities, does not have to meet these criteria.  It is not required to meet basic health standards for cleanliness—no requirement to wash or sterilize their dishes.  This restaurant can serve cat, horse, kangaroo or any other kind of meat they want and call it beef.  They don’t have to dispose of their waste like all the other restaurants but can leave it sitting around for as long as they want.   Of course if anyone asks, they say they’re doing it right, but since there are no inspections allowed, it’s hard to say what is going on.  All it does is provide cheap, affordable and tasty food.

Would there be any public outcry?  Would there be any charges of racism, discrimination or economic targeting?  There should be.

More at home, however, would you want to eat there?  What if your daughter wanted to go there for her birthday because they have the best fries or playground?  Would you take her?  When she moves away to go to college and she has limited money, would you want her going to this place on her own?

What if there are numerous customer complaints, health incidents, employee whistleblowers who come forward decrying what’s going on in the food chain and even people dying?   

Should the government step in and require health standards and inspections?  Surely, that should be a no brainer.

Then you find out that this restaurant chain donates big money to politicians for protection from any regulation.  Whenever anyone proposes regulation legislation, these politicians are right there to defend the chain’s exemption.  Would you be outraged?  Would you demand action from your government and want the exemption revoked?  Would you believe the charges against regulation from politicians on their payroll?

Even though you would never take your daughter there, does that mean other’s health and safety are not important?

You’re probably reading this thinking I’m kidding, that such a restaurant doesn’t really exist.  Well you’re right… kind of.  It’s not a restaurant.

The name of the chain, you ask?  Planned Parenthood and other Abortion Clinics which are not held to the basic health and safety standards for surgical procedures.  These clinics have largely gone unregulated, uninspected due to political pressure and money since 1973.  The Gosnell trial in Philadelphia and the similar trial in Houston, TX are only recent highlights of just how much of a threat to women’s health unregulated abortion clinics can be.  Sadly, these are only recent examples.   

The full number of women who have died, been sterilized, contracted a disease or injured in other ways is unknown because the government turns a political blind eye to what goes on in such clinics.  Because the right to an abortion (and the money generated from it—never forget that) in the name of women’s health is really more important the actual health practice of the facility in terms of standards of sterilization of equipment and emergency protocols required of all similar surgical facilities.

According to this article, 37 of 42 abortion clinics in Texas may close; due to the new law just signed by Gov. Rick Perry.  Abortion funded politicians decry this as an assault on women.  I look at that number and cringe, thinking that 37 clinics that are supposed to serve women’s “health” do not meet basic health standards for clinic and doctor related care.  The fact that the government allowed such places to stay open so long should scare you and infuriate you, certainly more than you were getting upset over a fast food chain.

If your love for abortion prevents you from seeing this truth, then you are the one truly unconcerned with women’s health.

Opponents charge:
“Proponents of this bill are not really concerned about women’s health,” Carla Holeva, CEO of Planned Parenthood of West Texas, said in a statement. “This bill places onerous requirements on health centers, requirements that do nothing to improve the health or safety of women.”

What are some of those “onerous requirements?”
  • (1)  the construction and design, including plumbing, heating, lighting, ventilation, and other design standards  necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients;--

    (This is truly a terrible and unreasonable expectation)

  • (2)  the qualifications of the professional staff and other personnel;

    (you mean they can no longer use volunteers with no medical training to assist with medical procedures?  How offensive)

  • (3)  the equipment essential to the health and welfare  of the patients;

    (they have to have proper medical equipment—how could politicians demand something so outrageous?)

  • (4)  the sanitary and hygienic conditions within the  center and its surroundings;  and

    (they’re making them wash and sanitize things—they must hate women)

  • (5)  a quality assurance program for patient care.

    (follow up to make sure the women have been well cared for and are truly recovered from the procedure and not left to bleed out on a table—that’s too much to ask of any clinic isn’t it?)
These laws are not only for abortion clinics, they are for all medical facilities—abortion clinics are merely being included in existing law.
I am thankful this new law has gone into effect—the lives of many innocent children will be saved.  The lives of many women will be saved as well.

This article shows that the only reason these clinics are open is to perform abortion.  All of the other “services” they provide are not important to stay open—mostly because they are not money makers.  It’s not like the organization doesn’t have the money, they’re just more interested in abortion than “women’s health”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie Review - Man of Steel

Many have undertaken to compile a narrative and review about the events that have been viewed among us, just as other eyewitnesses of Man of Steel have done.  It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything, even seen it twice, to write to you an orderly review of my own, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have heard.

OK, sarcasm time aside… by now you’ve probably heard about many of the messianic references in Man of Steel.  If you haven’t, I’ll discuss a few later in this review.  I will say, that Man of Steel is, in my opinion, the best Superman movie to date. 

But first, I want to get my biggest gripe about the film out of the way.  You may not have noticed it but it really bugged me.  Apparently, very little of the movie was filmed with a steady camera.  It was constantly bouncing or jiggling just a little bit.  Even slow intimate scenes, close ups of excellent actors, were distracting.  It seems to be a trend for some movies, thinking that it’s a cool, “realistic” way of making film.  It felt more like I was watching Cloverfield, a monster movie from a few years ago that was supposed to be filmed on a hand held camera.  That’s what numerous parts of Man of Steel felt like.

But to me, it really took away from what could have been a better movie.  My natural eyes don’t see the world with that kind of bouncing, my motor control systems hold me steady and my brain stabilizes the view better than any camera.  To have this done intentionally goes against how I naturally see the world and it distracted me greatly.  I could never get a good look at any scene.  Maybe it didn’t bother you, but it really did me.

OK, enough about that.  Now let me get to my thoughts about the story and movie itself.   

I’ve read some who think the movie was shallow on plot, I cannot see that.  What may cause people to think so is the over familiarity of the basic story.  People have seen Superman origin stories before.  While the basic skeleton of the story is still there, I really enjoyed the nuances of how this version is different.  WARNING: Spoilers will follow.

Some examples:

Krypton is far more violent and philosophically interesting.  No one is just stoically standing around in flowing robes.  They show emotion and passion.  This is a world that is experiencing a military coup.  As for their culture, issues can be seen that are worth looking at.

Strict Genetic/Population Control—according to Jor-El, Kal’s birth is the first natural birth in centuries.  All other children are genetically mapped out ahead of time and grown in a “genesis chamber”, an external womb that is harvested at full gestation (reminding me of scenes from The Matrix).  It’s like the curse of Genesis 3:16 has been circumvented.  When General Zod was told of this “miraculous” natural birth uncontrolled by the genetic map called the “codex” he describes it as “heresy”.  So there seems to be some cultural imperative that makes such “breeding” not just undesirable but morally wrong.  Zod speaks of preserving certain bloodlines and eliminating others—so there is an artificial way to prevent any future children for a family or “house” to be born.  They get to choose who gets to have children and prevent undesireables—a form of Eugenics is at work here that we dealt with in our history and motivated people like Margaret Sanger—founder of Planned Parenthood—who viewed minorities as inferior which is why most PP facilities are in minority neighborhoods.

Genetic Determinism v. Freedom—the genetic controls determine the skills, training and life of the child.  Babies are genetically modified to be the ultimate soldiers, farmers, statesmen and scientists.  Essentially they are locked in to that role for their entire lives—there is no deviation allowed.  So if you’re a programed scientist who would rather be a farmer, tough luck.  It functions kind of like aptitude testing—some nations and even education “experts” recommend aptitude testing at various ages to determine the kind of education and “life skills” these kids receive.  After all, why set the kid up to fail with mathematics if they test out as a laborer when they are 8 years old.  Jor-El saw the limitations of this philosophy and rejected it saying, “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?”

This was Jor-El’s dream for his son.  He didn’t want Kal-El locked in as he was.  He wanted something more for his son, as all father’s do.  Jor-El believed this locking in system was one of the greatest hindrances to the culture moving forward. Krypton had become comfortable with where they were and what they had achieved—there was little drive for greater things or things outside of the achieved box. 

But the society had locked itself into a Caste System.  There was a ruling class, warrior class, science class mentioned and presumably more.  By all indication, people were not able to change classes.  All based on their genetics.  They believed a form of Genetic Determinism—as if the sum total of a person’s ability is determined by their genetics—that they have no real freedom and no real choice.  This kind of discussion took place in the movie “Gattica” at a much slower pace but still interesting.  Deviation from the genetics was not allowed, but the unexpected events and outcomes and geniuses have a way of pushing the box.  That “it” factor that was talked about in the first rebooted Star Trek movie that attracted Captain Pike to Kirk in the first place—that willingness to leap before looking and unpredictability was something “Star Fleet has lost”. 

But Krypton had settled for a false sense of Managed Evolution.  I’m no fan of evolutionary theory—I understand it well and it has far too many holes and theological consequences.  But since that’s the world the movie was working with, I’ll jump in a bit.  The Kryptonians have been controlling genetic profiles and outcomes—essentially controlled breeding to engineer the perfect race—hmm sounds like Hitler a bit to me.  But not even that is really evolution.  Humans have selectively bred dogs for centuries and produced enormous changes within that species (microevolution) but few scientists would call it true evolution at work.  This is what the Kryptonians have been doing, selective & controlled breeding.

Laying aside the merits & theology of evolutionary theory for the moment, one of the female Kryptonians said something interesting later on.  Faora: [While Beating up Kal-El] “You have a sense of morality and we do not. And that gives us an Evolutionary Advantage. And if there's one thing that History teaches us it's that Evolution always wins.”  This is interesting because many leading evolutionists argue that morality can exist within an evolutionary system.  But the only real law in evolution is “survival of the fittest”—if killing helps ensure your survival, you are morally justified in doing so.  Kal-El’s unwillingness to kill made him hesitant or unwilling to unleash his full power to take Faora out.  His morality was an “evolutionary disadvantage”.  To me this says that morality has to have something other than a pure evolutionary cause—because without it, we can justify anything.

But I thought it strange that Faora appealed to evolution—which is supposed to be an unguided process—when everything about her society and existence was planned, orchestrated and controlled.  There was no “evolution” at work in her. 

She represented humanity trying to function as gods, whereas Kal-El was born the way God really intended.  She thought that control made her better, but in reality it did not.  In other words, perfection is not going to be achieved through human effort, we’re not really as good as we think we are.  We think we can improve the process, like with genetic modification, but we don’t always see the long term effects of such tampering.  Our generation is going through this right now in the debate on genetically modified crops.  Are there some immediate and visible “improvements”, to be sure.  Are there unseen consequences that may not show up immediately?  Probably.

Another interesting trait of the Kryptonians was how they had once been explorers, expanding their territory, building bases and establishing colonies.  But by this point, they had Retreated into Isolationism—almost as if leaving Krypton at all was to be avoided and a form of punishment.  Losing that vision of exploration is what had locked them into the controlled environment.  Given our country’s retreating from the space program—like no replacement for shuttles, no willingness to go back to the moon etc. this could be commentary on those types of attitudes. 

As for the rest of the film…

In the 1978 original film—about all they showed of Clark struggling to fit in was his inability to play football when he could score every time he touched the ball.  He endured being picked on as the equipment manager.  But in Man of Steel, Clark’s secret is far more than just not getting to play football.  His powers come on suddenly like an illness that is very traumatic for a young kid.  Other kids make fun of him and he has to struggle with whether he should defend himself.  He shows the essence of Meekness—which is not the absence of power, but rather power that is restrained.  Clark could have beaten or killed the kid, but again, his morality held him back.

Kal-El/Clark struggles with how to use the abilities he has.  In saving people, they see what he can do.  So there is a battle between protecting his identity but using the abilities he has to save people.  His father Jonathan Kent warns Clark that people will likely fear and reject him—saving people is going to hurt, cost you friends, relationships, maybe even your life.   

Case in point…

Jonathan Kent’s death.  This was so much more compelling in this version.  Previously, Jonathan Kent was walking back to the barn and collapses with a massive heart attack.  Clark can do nothing to save him and that grief sends him on his journey.  In Man of Steel, Clark and his father are arguing in a car about whether Clark should listen to his father’s wisdom.  It’s a common type of teenage conversation made stronger by the adoption angle of “you’re not even my real father.”  With the pain of that statement still hanging in the air a life threatening situation comes up.  Jonathan tells Clark not to reveal his ability but to get his mother to safety.  Jonathan risks his life for the family dog and goes back and when it’s clear that the event is going to claim him, Clark begins to move but is stopped by his father’s hand telling him no.  Clark could have saved his father, but was obedient when it really mattered.  That decision haunted Clark. 

This movie also didn’t try to introduce the dual personality of Clark Kent and Superman side by side in Metropolis.  What little they did show, thankfully, Clark doesn’t look like he’ll be getting the geek treatment in future movies.  As great as Christopher Reeve’s version of the characters were for their day, the bumbling, geeky reporter routine has become more and more frustrating and irritating.  Who would hire that guy?  Who would ever do an interview with that guy?  Why would he ever be partnered with an ace reporter like Lois Lane?  Thankfully, as they are not treating Clark Kent with geek gloves, they are also not treating Lois with Blind & Stupid gloves.  Glasses don’t fool her.  Because she knows Superman, she recognizes him immediately and presumably she’ll be helping Clark cover for the sudden disappearances. 

I liked the way that Zod and the other Kryptonians had a hard time adapting to earth’s environment and the powers that came with it.  The transition to power was painful and difficult for them as it was for the young Kal-El.  The senses were overwhelming and it took intense mental control to push through it.  At one point, when Superman first used his eye beams on other Kryptonians like Faora, she was shocked and for the first time, started to retreat.  Zod was eventually able to master the sensory overload and control his powers much like Superman.  This led to better…

Fighting—technology finally lets you see the scale and destruction of a fight between such powerful beings.  Until Man of Steel, only the cartoon version of Superman could convey what would really happen to a city with this going on.  The attacks were fast and hard unlike any other of the Superman movies.  Sometimes the previously mentioned camera stuff interfered with a good view of the fight, but I can forgive those moments more than the slow ones.  In the fighting between Superman and Zod, you again see the influence of genetic superiority and the caste system when Zod, who was born a warrior and trained his whole life, mocked Kal-El’s ability to match him because Kal received no real military training only what he could learn “on a farm”.

Zod also was locked in on his mission to protect Krypton.  This came from his breeding.  He was not truly free but lived only for that purpose.  So he felt justified in doing anything to complete that mission, even if it meant killing billions of others, all because they were not part of Krypton.  It’s the same type of philosophy that the Nazis used to justify what they were doing in protecting the “superior Aryan race”.  Zod had no reason to live once the possibility of a reborn Krypton was removed.  He then lived only for vengeance.

Messianic/Religious Messages.

Here there are many and many have been written.  The Washington Post, Drew Zahn, & Time Magazine.   Screenwriter David Goyer commented in an article: "We didn’t come up with these allusions of Superman being Christ-like, that’s something that’s been embedded in the character from the beginning. But also the legend of Moses, clearly the whole way his parents give him up."

Kal-El has a “miraculous” birth and is sent to earth like Moses in a space faring “basket”.   

Jor-El calls the baby “Kal, Son of El” early on which if you know any Hebrew, El is the word for God, shortened from Elohim.

Kal states clearly that he is 33 years old, the traditional age of Jesus at His crucifixion. 

Superman leaves the Kryptonian ship in orbit in a position mirroring the crucifixion.

When trying to decide what to do, Clark seeks counsel in a church from a minister, presumably Lutheran or Episcopal as there’s just a cross, not a crucifix.  Over Clark’s shoulder is a stained glass window depicting the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus wrestled with sacrificing Himself to save humanity.

The minister helps Clark by saying that the step of faith comes before trust can be established.  Faith & Trust are pivotal themes as are the search for purpose and meaning.  There are many messages on the nature of Sacrifice, the acceptance and rejection of someone with this kind of otherworldly power, the choosing of genetic family & adopted family, even the morality of killing in combat. 

Zod stated at one point that the only way the fighting was going to end is if one of them were dead.  Clearly with his desire to save life, Superman doesn’t like the idea of killing, even someone like Zod, but left with no choice, he very graphically breaks Zod’s neck (though I thought there were other options).  This was a very dramatic break from previous depictions and this hands on killing clearly took a toll on Superman’s character. 

In the future, I suspect that the life of Superman will parallel the life in Jesus in that there will be a period of popularity, then a period of rejection—probably orchestrated by Lex Luthor, then even a death & resurrection.  We’ll see on that.


I thought the music was excellent and very fitting for the screenplay.  I heard an interview with the composer Hans Zimmer on the pressures of composing music for the same character that John Williams had done in 1978.  William’s theme is one of the most recognizable in filmscore.   And that’s one philosophical difference, Williams was writing a theme song that could stand alone—like the introduction to a regular program that is meant to remind everyone what show is next.  Zimmer changed the style and the sound by deliberately removing the trumpet from his instrumentation and by harkening back to themes of the American Midwest in composers like Copeland—Appalachian Spring/ Fanfare for the Common Man, Gershwin, Bernstein & others

There were several bones thrown to fans of Smallville who had hoped Tom Welling would be cast in the main role.  There were four people in Man of Steel who spent at least one episode in Smallville.  Amy Adams was in one of the worst SmV episodes (called Craving) in its entire 10 year run as an overweight girl turned skinny, fat consuming psycho.   Mackenzie Gray played the old Lex Luthor clone in the season 10 opener.  Tahmoh Pinikett was in three SmV episodes and Alessandro Juliani, who had a small role in the Canadian cold, played Dr. Emil Hamilton on SmV for a couple of seasons.  Another Smallville bone was the name of the place that Jonathan Kent was working at when Clark got in a fight when he was 12--the name of the place was Sullivan's.  If there were more, please let me know.

All this to say, I really enjoyed the movie, even if I was one of those Smallville fans who were upset at a Brit getting the role of the American Way Superman… well done Henry Cavill—you actually looked like you had real muscles, unlike some others… B.R.