Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Madoka > Jesus – Human vs God

Marlin-samaI didn’t want to discuss these kinds of topics too often because while Charles over at Beneath the Tangles has made a name for himself as the Christian aniblogger, for the longest time I didn’t want to be the atheist aniblogger because I didn’t want to limit myself on the material I wrote about.

But as I’ve been on a little break-ish sort of period to think about the future of the site, I realized that having a focus on one idea I’m well-versed and passionate about doesn’t preclude me from writing about other stuff.  So in what I’m expecting to become something of a new theme, today I’m finally getting around to beginning my analysis of why Madoka is a better savior than Jesus.

I say “beginning” because I started writing and ended up with so much material I filled over six pages in MS Word and I’m still not done (one of my usual review posts only takes up half a page).  In order to make the reading and commenting easier for everyone, I’m breaking this piece up into articles I’m going to post once per day.  So check back every day this week for more content.  Special thanks to Charles and Tommy at Anime Bowl for writing some posts here and here that started this fire under my butt and got me motivated to do something I’ve put off for too long. 

1. Human vs God

Madoka started as a humble human who transcended existence.  Jesus was always a god, which calls into question the logic of his methodology and thereby also the validity of said godhood.

Madoka is a wonderful example of a humanistic hero because if anything in humanism can be called a “commandment” it is the willingness of people to give of themselves for the sake of others.  Although she was just a person, Madoka realized that she possessed the potential to save many.  She gave all of herself willingly and completely for the sake of others with no thought of reciprocation. In a twist of logic that I like to think of as a natural kind of altruistic karma, she received a reward of sorts—a change in her very nature that is at least equivalent to what most people could consider a demigod.

Jesus on the other hand started as god and was always a god.  Even having taken human form he was still a god, omniscient and omnipotent.  The incomprehensible process of having to sacrifice himself and come right back begs the question of why he didn’t just set up the system the right way to begin with.  Why create everything just to change it a few thousand years after the beginning of recorded history?  Why have any old testament at all if the current status quo was always going to be the end result?

Looking at Jesus from this perspective makes him seem rather callous for allowing people to suffer death for so long when he could have done something about it sooner and capricious as well for having to go through so many loops to achieve something that the all-powerful creator of the universe could have accomplished by snapping his fingers and being done with it.

Why is Madoka the better savior?

In short, Madoka saw suffering and injustice and upon realizing she had the capability to right this wrong, she was moved to action.  Jesus on the other hand sat on his butt for untold millennia watching the people he claims to love writhe in pain and die without salvation before finally getting around to doing something about it.

Madoka > Jesus – Part 2 – The True Sacrifice

Madoka > Jesus – Part 3 – Benevolence Given Freely

Madoka > Jesus – Part 4 – Madoka Succeeded, Jesus Failed

Madoka > Jesus – Part 5 – Madoka is More Plausible

Madoka > Jesus – Part 6 – Madoka Enables; Jesus Indulges

Madoka > Jesus – Part 7 – The Nature of Evil

UPDATE: Nick at A Rather Silly Blog has posted a rebuttal to my first argument.

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14 responses to “Madoka > Jesus – Human vs God

  1. Ian April 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I’m not sure your views on Jesus are completely accurate according to Christian dogma. From what i remember of the bible, Jesus didn’t know he was the son of god until sometime in his childhood. Not to mention that in the bible, depictions of Jesus jumped from age 12 to 30. That’s 18 years of missing history. Just what was going on in those almost 2 decades? Probably him trying to wrap his head around the fact that he was basically god, is my guess. It’s kind of a big concept to grasp.

    Not to mention, I don’t believe there was any mention of Jesus until he was born. He may have been some facet of god itself, that god split off and used as an excuse to give humanity a way to save itself from it’s own sinful nature. Or something. It’s been years since i read that book.

  2. TWWK April 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I’m glad you’re writing this – I’m really interested in seeing what you’ve come up with over the next few days.

    I think you make good points. I just want to address one – about the way in which Jesus did what He did. If nothing else, the OT tells us how serious sin is – it’s serious in the sight of God and leads to death and suffering for man. Saving from this death requires the death of another – of something pure. The image of so many animals being slaughtered for death is a horrific one, and it should be, because so many innocents are slaughtered for human crimes. Jesus, of course, represents the perfect lamb – He is human and He is God, the only one able to substitute Himself of all sins of all mankind, past and future.

    Could God have snapped his fingers and made everything perfect? Certainly. But how is that loving? As a parent, I see this – if my son hurts my daughter, I could easily take care of her and diffuse the situation, all without making my son do anything. But I’ve tried to instill in him a love for his family and others, cultivated sometimes through discipline, so that when he does mess up, he’ll be the one to take the initiative in apologizing and making things right. It becomes his choice as he grows in character. If I let him be – what would he learn? Not nothing – worse than nothing, he would become a person of poor character, and we don’t need more people like that in the world. He gives us the choice, offering love rather than dictation.

    • Marlin-sama April 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Ok, I’ve got some problems. You say saving mankind from death required the death of something pure…um…why? This sounds to me like the old ritual of scapegoating where a village would put all of their sins onto a goat and send it out into the wild to take their sins away—a backwards superstition created by the minds of primitive men.

      And to answer your question of how god snapping his fingers and making everything perfect isn’t loving…I’d say it’s more loving than having someone tortured and killed to teach a lesson. I mean, he’s god, right? Omnipresent and all that? Why not just have a simultaneous one-on-one time out with everyone to clear things up?

  3. Pingback: Something More: Modaka > Jesus? |

  4. Cytrus April 23, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Jesus wasn’t omniscient and omnipotent while he lived as a human – that he was susceptible to pain, fear and all human weaknesses, and yet overcame them and consistently chose good over evil is an important part of why he is presented as the ultimate teacher. (He did bring about many great miracles, though.)

    That said, he was all-knowing in spiritual matters from the time he was a child. Which does make it difficult to appreciate many of his deeds. There wasn’t much need for him to believe in God when he knew God, nor would it be half as difficult for him as for an average human to resist temptation when he knew that the physical reality is just the blink of an eye compared to spiritual eternity.

    One of the reasons Madoka is at times more inspiring than Jesus would be that she was not born any more divine than those around her. Her very first wish was just enough to help a dying cat, and she would die doing what she thought right countless times after that, so every bit of her strength is hard earned. But even with the potential of her wish, anything she did would turn against her in the hope-despair equilibrium if she had not gained the wisdom to find a way to break the system. Madoka’s ascension is the final episode of her long personal growth, and no part of it was “built in” or “divine destiny”.

    Another thing would be, as you note, that Madoka’s final wish was a true leap of faith. The only certain thing was that she would be putting an end to her earthly existence. Whether any good would come of it and whether she would be able to continue to exist in another form was all a huge unknown, but Madoka weighed the odds and took the risk. She learned as much as she could, and her wish is the product of that learning. But she had no guarantee things would turn out well, either. Both those facts are central to her sacrifice and how it differs from what is postulated about Christ.

    Sorry for getting long-winded ;).

    • Marlin-sama April 23, 2013 at 6:41 am

      One of the issues with downplaying Jesus’s godhood while he was in human form is that it lends credence to the claim by many nonadherents of Christianity that their religion is actually polytheism rather than monotheism.

      • Cytrus April 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

        Regarding the concept of trinity, I would consider the father/son relationship between God and Jesus to be a more obvious pointer to a polytheistic interpretation. A man can give up using some of his powers or knowledge for a purpose, but can’t really become his own son…

    • Nick April 23, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Can’t reply to the last comment, but Trinitarian theology has never claimed that Jesus is His own Father: that’s Modalism/Sabellianism, which was an ancient heresy pre-dating the first ecumenical council.

      • Cytrus April 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

        While it follows logically from God and Jesus being two aspects of one being and Jesus being God’s son, Jesus being his own father obviously sounds horrible. I do not doubt there was need to restate things so as to walk around the issue, but that does not make it disappear. There’s a reason why the trinity is called one of the great mysteries of faith.

      • Marlin-sama April 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        As Richard Dawkins put it in The God Delusion, rivers of ink (and blood) have been wasted trying to explain the Trinity.

      • Nick April 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

        @ Marlin: Most of the blood shed over the Trinity (if not all) was the Arians persecuting those of the Nicene faith (a.k.a. what’s considered orthodox today). The Arians were the ones who assumed the governmental control of power, especially through St. Constantine’s sons, and persecuted St. Athanasius and company. All of this is detailed abundantly in the writings of St. Athanasius and historians that followed and is well known by scholars of every background. Dawkins, while a good biologist, doesn’t know theology or the history of christendom.

        @ Cytrus: But the Father and the Son are not two aspects of one being, that’s exactly what I mean when I’m saying it is Modalism. If indeed they were aspects, you’d be completely right, as the essence would be de facto equal to God and the aspects are just expressions: but this isn’t at all what’s stated by Trinitarian theology. You are right that at the end it is a mystery in that we’ll never be able to fully understand it, but we can always eliminate that which is not the revelation (a.k.a. apophatic theology). The three persons that share the same essence is different from the one essence that expresses itself in 3 different ways. While Father and Son are equal in glory, divinity, power, grace, the characteristic that is not communicated is the Fatherhood of the Father and the Sonship of the Son: the Father is unbegotten while the Son is begotten of the Father. They exist as distinct persons that are not interchangeable.

  5. medievalotaku April 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This seems like its going to be an interesting series of posts. But, it is obvious that you do not know Jesus, whose kindness surpasses understanding.

    I’d have to place the main reason for Jesus not coming earlier in time due to people not being able to understand who He was and what He did for them. He needed to come at that particular moment in history because Hebrew theology and Greco-Roman philosophy had reached the point where people could believe in God coming to earth in order to redeem them. The revelations of the Old Testament prepared Hebrews for the coming of the Messiah. Platonism and Aristotelianism gave Christians the tools for understanding theology more thoroughly–as we find in the Augustinian and Thomistic Schools of theology. Our God is a humble God: He does not usually create conditions which irresistibly compel us to believe in Him, but uses His Providence to influence us to believe in Him. He respects our freedom.

    Also, God never sits back. Our very being itself requires that God continually sustain us in existence. Then, He uses His loving Providence to watch over us. In the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, one must consider the infinite love He displayed in His Crucifixion and Death. How all the waves of human wickedness from Adam to the very last man who shall walk this earth did not quench the fire of Divine Love burning in His Sacred Heart. There’s no way a Madoka or anyone else could endure that and still love the very people causing them pain.

    God could have taken away our freedom and forced us to believe in Him. But, then we should no longer have freedom, which is of absolute necessity if people are to actually love one another and not possess a mere facsimile of love.

    • Marlin-sama May 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      It studied philosophy in college and I feel that probably the most important thing that I gravitated towards was the teachings of Socrates, particularly the famous quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Through a long road of study, I came to the conclusion that god isn’t necessary.

      I see no evidence to support any of the claims you’ve made here. God constantly interfered on behalf of the Israelites in the old testament and even came right down and knocked around St. Paul in the new testament. So god respects our free will as much as the next person.

      I also see nothing to suggest that god is active in any part of the universe. Everything has a natural cause and explanation so how can you claim that anything is “sustaining” us besides ourselves?

      As for divine love, see my comments on The True Sacrifice, because I know I would be fully capable of enduring all the hate of every person who ever existed if there was an infinite reward for me (as there was for Jesus and for Madoka). But again, I just want to say it all goes to show that we don’t need a god. I’ve taken a good look at the world and while there is a lot of bad there is much, much more good. We can save ourselves and it really wouldn’t be all that hard if we realized it.

  6. Pingback: (Superficial) Christianity in Anime | Japesland

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