Written May 29, 2013
My cousin posted this link on my Facebook page.
I wrote out a very long, thought out response on my phone. A response Facebook bots didn’t like since it went up and then immediately back down again. I couldn’t even comment that I had written a reply because the comments would immediately go up and then come back down again, though I could post comments other places.
So I am replying here.
The general gist of my post was…I don’t know. It might be or it might not be.
There are inherent flaws in his argument for Doctor Who as a religion…but religion itself is not something you can apply logic to or it all falls apart.
For a start, Whovians are not killing people who don’t think the way they do (yet…muahahaha)
Dr. Who is not an omnipotent, immortal being. Though he regenerates, he can be killed and the regeneration stopped. They’ve covered that in past episodes. But more specifically, he is not all seeing and all knowing. Most of the adventures that he has he stumbles on to accidentally because he and/or his companion decided to go somewhere in space and time and generally find that someone has screwed things up from the natural order.
On the other hand, he does have a very specific knowledge of fixed points in time that cannot be changed or risk changing the course of an entire planet. The volcano that destroyed Pompeii, for example. Sometimes bad things have to happen because it shapes the world to come. Something the Doctor accepts, to the chagrin of his companions.
To my knowledge, Dr. Who doesn’t have a fixed set of beliefs either…there is no guide for how to live. The general ideology seems to simply be “Be good to each other. This life and this planet and these people are all you have, so protect them”
Which, when you think about it, is what religion boils down to before you add in the humanity “interpretation” of that guide. The interpretation that seems to say “Love everyone and treat everyone well unless their thoughts and lifestyle are foreign or contradict yours…then be cruel and hateful and don’t worry you can use this book written 3000 years ago by, as Ricky Gervais says, sexist, sexually repressed men, to justify your hatred. No one can say anything as long as you quote this book at them unless they want to go to Hell.”
So I guess to their core you could call the two similar.
Though there is no Heaven or Hell ideology in the Doctor Who Universe. But I guess that isn’t what makes a religion necessarily.
I don’t agree with his point that Doctor Who has the group of symbols that create a sense of general order.
Yes, we have the symbols. The Tardis, the Screwdriver etc…but, at least for me, they don’t create a sense of general order.
Although, I think what draws people to Doctor Who is similar to what draws people who were not born into a religion into religion.
The Tardis is by and away the most popular piece of the Doctor Who fandom. You can find shirts, phone cases, pictures, bookcases (of which I am going to build one) etc…in the shape of the Tardis. What in the world is more romantic than the idea that at any second a man with a blue box that is larger on the inside can come and sweep you away across the universe and you can forget all of your problems here…your real life doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s the “I’m really a princess and someday my real parents are going to take me away from here” thinking we have as children in adult form.
In religion that thinking is “If I live my life a certain way and think certain thoughts and perform certain rituals (i.e. prayer) then someday a glowing man with wings is going to come and take me away from here and I go to Heaven and nothing that bothers me here is going to matter. And anyone who is mean to me is going to Hell to be punished while I live in eternal bliss.”
See the similarities?
So I am on the fence, though the more I think about it the more I come to his side of thinking. I still see the holes in his argument, but you can make a case that those same holes exist in any or every religion.
The biggest thing as far as western philosophies go is that the Doctor never asks to be worshipped. He tries to avoid having a footprint in human history, but a footprint is inevitable when humans can see you and you save their planet, no matter how incognito you wish to be.
But not every religion has a savior to worship. Some religions have no God at all. Which is a strange concept to wrap your brain around when you live in the states, but there it is none-the-less.
Like I said, I’m on the fence.
If nothing else, I think more Christians should strive to be like the Whovians.
Whovians will never have a”Pray the Dalek away” camp, unlike the Christian “Pray the Gay Away” camps/seminars etc… Whovians, for the most part, love anyone. Genuinely. Whether or not you are part of the Fandom they are the most accepting group of people I have ever had the pleasure to meet or call myself apart of (though I myself struggle with the loving and accepting everyone thing…but I’m working on it)…even if you hate Doctor Who or just couldn’t care less about the Doctor and his companions, as long as you are kind they will be kind to you. They may talk your ear off about what they love, but that is anyone with anything they are passionate about. They will love and accept you, even if you are a Dalek as long as you aren’t trying to destroy the planet.
That’s what humans are here for. (hehehe)
You can draw the line and say “Well being Gay is real, being a Dalek is not” but that’s not the point and I think you know that. The point is there is nothing wrong with being Gay and there is nothing wrong with being a Dalek provided neither group wants to rule the universe. And even then it’s not a group thing necessarily.
The best people I think you will ever meet will be the Whovian Christian. Possibly.
I do have to think about it some more. Talk it over with people who are wiser than I am. I think my bias against organized religion as something that generally hurts people rather than helps them is clouding my overall opinion. I don’t like the idea of religion being compared to Doctor Who because I see Doctor Who as a good thing. Which isn’t necessarily fair.
As a point in favor of Doctor Who as a religion however, I am having a Doctor Who wedding ceremony as opposed to a Christian ceremony…
So there’s that.
Be good to each other. This life and this planet and these people are all you have. Protect them.