We Need A Hero
"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
We live in an interesting age of superheroes. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Cinematic Universe, the Netflix Series, most of the lineup on the CW, it's all about superheroes. And that makes some sense. Superheroes are the cultural mythology of our day and age. They give us something to aspire to and give us hope.
Even though the stories have become more complex and darker in recent years. Of course, that's nothing totally new. "Watchmen," the rare comic to make the Time Magazine list of the 100 greatest novels of all time, was all about being weary of heroes.
Written by Alan Moore, a anarchistic atheist, who had a somewhat dark view of the world, especially those that would claim to be heroes and saviors. He felt anyone who claimed to be either did so because of a narcissistic and self-serving pathology. And his work, "Watchmen," reflects that belief.
But he's hardly the only one to question heroes, even in our modern age. In 2002 when "Spider-Man" burst unto the scene, the band Nickelback provided the song "Hero," which was featured in the film. It's catchy, but if you listen to the words, it's hardly hopeful.
"Someone told me love would all save us
But, how can that be, look what love gave us
A world full of killing and blood spilling
That world never came
And they say that a hero could save us
I'm not gonna stand here and wait
I'll hold on to the wings of the eagles
Watch as we all fly away"
It doesn't espouse a belief in heroes, per se. Even the recent films have grappled with the nature of heroes. The central conflict in "Captain America: Civil War" was about whether the Avengers were doing more harm than good. And in "Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice," the same questions were raised about Superman.
Part of it is our culture. Given the leadership we have in our country and our world, and the secularization of culture, people have become weary of the idea of heroes and saviors.
But there is another interesting element to the discussion. What does the idea of heroes do to our psyche? It can give us an unattainable image of what it means to be a hero. That is the interesting idea tackled in the recent some from the Chainsmokers and Chris Martin called "Something Just Like This."
"I've been reading books of old
The legends and the myths
Achilles and his gold
Hercules and his gifts
And Batman with his fists
And clearly I don't see myself upon that list
But she said, where'd you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can miss"
It's an interesting idea. The idea that what we really need isn't a superhero, but every day heroes. Upright, moral people who care for one another. And that's true. It's also something we see in Scripture in the form of Jesus.
Why are superhero shows and movies so popular? Because now, more than ever, we know we need a savior. And now, more than ever, our society doesn't seem to know how to find one. But they should.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." — John 15:13
Jesus is the hero, the savior that we need. We just have to know how to find Him.