My Father was a man who had a hard time communicating affection. One way he was able to do so when I was a child, was by bringing me home comic books. My Mother wasn’t wild about me reading all these comic books. (My stash was significant.) She understood, properly, that I could be spending my time reading better subject matter. Of course, at that age I didn’t see that but looking back I realize how right she was.
Many have opined, and likely properly so, that the advent of super-heroes rose corresponding to a decline in the proper concrete estimation of the character of God. God is diminished and the vacuum is filled with God as man said loudly. Another observation is that with superhero comic books it’s as if the gods and the demigods of the Romans and Greeks made a sort of comeback. In all of this there is the idea of continuity of being. God and man are not that really different after all. The difference merely being that the gods have more being than mere mortals.
Still, comic books got me started in reading. These many years later the comic book world has been translated onto the Movie Screen in Hollyweird for the Baby Boomers, and I, like many others have viewed more than a few comic book films.
The latest comic book film to hit the silver screen is “Dr. Strange.” Dr. Strange belongs to the Marvel Comic Universe. Dr. Strange was the superhero for the paranormal and it is interesting that Dr. Strange as created in 1963 presaged the rise of interest in the paranormal and the occult that soon saw Universities across the nation offer programs in the Paranormal. (Stanford University, in 1911, was the first such university to offer such a program to students in these US.)
Dr. Strange reflected that occult- paranormal interest perfectly. Modern man, in the 1960’s had become rationally bankrupt and had begun to turn in earnest to the Occult as a worldview option. That pursuit continues full-throated to this day. The Dr. Strange film taps into the modern fascination with the occult.
In the Dr. Strange film, one finds the usual contradictions that Worldview oneism provides. Oneism is a common denominator in all occultic worldviews and the Dr. Strange film is no exception. Oneism, communicates the idea that underneath what mortals see as differences there is an abiding sameness to everything. Hence the common mantra, “All is one.” We see this Oneism in the film when the guru “Ancient One,” says to Dr. Strange,
“At the root of existence, mind and matter meet.”
And again the villain Kaecilius offers in dialogue with Dr. Strange explaining what the conflict is all about,
“The many becoming the few, becoming the One.”
And again in that same exchange,
“This world doesn’t have to die, Doctor. This world can take its rightful place among so many others, as part of the One. The great and beautiful One.”
Dr. Peter Jones has done some excellent work on “Oneism.” I recommend his books to all who desire to see and understand the occult worldview expanding in our culture.
So, in the Dr. Strange film one finds this theme of oneism (All is one) and yet the contradictions continue to roll as there is a universe of different Universes. All is one and yet the film toys with the yin and yang theme which posits two equally opposite forces in the universe. Further, the film shifts from the idea that all is Material to all is non-material. In this sense, it is Western new-age. Now toss in Occult symbology here and there and you have a typical Hollyweird Kaballah film.
Another example of the embrace of contradiction is seen in this exchange,
Dr. Strange — “I control the river by surrendering control? That doesn’t make sense.”
Ancient — “Not everything does. Not everything has to. Your intellect has taken you far in life but it will take you no further. Surrender Stephen.”
This is not a great deal different from when assorted Roman Catholics, Arminians, and Open Theists tell me that “God is sovereign enough to not be sovereign.”
The appeal to the irrational is also part of the appeal to contradiction. Not everything has to make sense is an overt embrace of reasoning by contradiction. The call to surrender is the call to surrender rationality.
There was also a substantial amount of worldview inversion going on where good was being labeled “evil,” and evil was being called “good.”
The most blatant example of this was seen when the villain Kaecilius says,
“Dormammu gives freely. Life, everlasting.”
This is never denied in the film. Indeed the Ancient One lives long life by tapping into Dormammu.
Christianity, on the other hand teaches that it is Christ who came to give life and give it abundantly.
Another example is where we see the desire for eternal life as painted as being evil, and “the Ancient” who was one of the main “good guys” could only be good and have long life as long as she tapped into the evil. (Nevermind, that if all is one, good and evil are categories that can’t exist.) It is only in the Dark Dimension were the omnipotent Dormammu reigns where time does not exist and where all can have eternal life. In the Dr. Strange film, the only way to access eternal life was through concourse with the dark side.
Second, there is worldview inversion where death is seen as a positive good that gives meaning to everything.
Ancient One — “Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered. Your time is short. “
So, one can have eternal life by embracing evil Dormammu or one has to die to find meaning in living. Of course in Biblical Christianity death is the enemy… the last enemy to be defeated.
There are also hints of blood atonement in the film, but in the worldview inversion, the atonement is offered up to the Satan character in the film. Dr. Strange has to die over and over again in order to ransom earth. The ransom is paid to Dormammu (Satan). This is an inversion of Biblical Christianity where the blood ransom price in the atonement that is required is paid to God. Whereas in Biblical Christianity the ransom as the atonement price means peace with God in Dr. Strange the ransom as the atonement price means that Dormammu (Satan character) leaves earth alone.
Top all this off with a clear teaching of a kind of ethical relativism and one has the perfect recipe for a film with an anti-Christian worldview. While in Christianity Christ comes to keep all of God’s law, in Hollyweird’s “Dr. Strange,” the Hero comes and saves the world by breaking all the unbreakable rules.
In the end, Mordo, a co-hero in the film, ends up turning disillusioned and embittered because the unbreakable laws were all broken. Dr. Strange as the hero is willing to do anything — to break any rule — in order to get the right result, while the perceived legalist Mordo won’t break the rules and is seen as lacking compassion. Is this a Hollyweird hint that Christians are legalistic and lack compassion because they are not relativists and won’t break the rules?
In the end, while Dr. Strange may be entertaining, it is fraught with Worldview ugliness.
Par for the course for Hollyweird.