Batman is an Atheist?

According to DC Comics, Batman, or Bruce Wayne, is an atheist. In a new version of the the comic book, Batman gets into religious conversations with other characters. He says that he “used to” believe in God. He goes on that his father believed in Christianity, but that “I… put aside believing in… a deity.”

I dislike it when massive pop culture figures take positions in the culture war, because it so clearly shows that their authors want to use their art as propaganda. It’s like J.K. Rowling declaring that Dumbledore is gay, even though there is no mention of it in the books. There can also be no doubt about why she did it – to make a political statement. This is different from having a character that has some political or cultural attitude from their inception. But when characters are already well-established and then their creators suddenly declare that they have this and that political or cultural position, then it is clear they are just using the character’s fame to preach their own views. It feels wrong, because people didn’t fall in love with this politicized version of the character.

Also, whenever you import politics into a story where it was not incorporated from the start, you destroy some of the magic. You destroy the idea in your audience’s subconscious that this is another world. You’re affirming that it is really our own world, with the same cultural and political movements. It’s like that moment in a real puppet show when there’s a mistake and the puppet master accidentally shows his hand. It spoils the whole atmosphere.

4 thoughts

  1. I dislike it when massive pop culture figures take positions in the culture war, because it so clearly shows that their authors want to use their art as propaganda.

    Would you similarly upbraid comic writers for characters who take positions which you find more agreeable? For example, when it became revealed that Nightcrawler or Daredevil or Huntress or Fire or a host of other characters are Christians, were you similarly upset?

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  2. I’m not a big comic book guy, so I didn’t know any of the characters you mentioned there were “outed” specifically as Christians. The many decades Batman has been a feature of pop culture there was never, as far as I am aware, mention of his religious views. Now suddenly he’s an atheist and around the time when atheism has become more popular in the wider culture. I mentioned that I didn’t have a problem if the character always had those views, so I don’t know when those other characters you mentioned gained their views, but I don’t believe it is the same situation as Batman.

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