Anime of Tomorrow
Madoka > Jesus – The Nature of Evil
I want to thank everyone for joining me on this philosophical journey over the past week. I had a lot of fun revisiting the Madoka mythos, giving my analytical side a good workout and satisfying my secularist itch, but today is the last part of this series…for now. It’s my hope that this isn’t the end because I’m looking forward to seeing where this can of worms I’ve opened wriggles off to.
7. The Nature of Evil
Madoka recognizes that good and evil aren’t black and white. Jesus is absolute and tyrannical.
When Kyuubey reveals to Madoka the relationship between humanity and the incubators, she’s shocked and disturbed, but she recognizes that things would be much worse if we had never encountered them. What Kyuubey does is a horrifying process, but nonetheless it has yielded something exceedingly beautiful.
By contrast, a certain interpretation of Genesis sees the serpent (a metaphor for Satan) not tempting Eve to sin, but encouraging her to pursue knowledge and free herself and Adam from living in ignorance. I think the majority of Christians would agree with me that learning about ourselves and the world we live in are laudable goals, but god doesn’t see it that way and Satan was punished for it and humanity with him.
Compared to rolling around in the dirt and living to the meager age of 30, the magic girls’ sacrifice for the advancement of the rest of society completely offsets their suffering in my opinion. Being barely better than beasts is the kind of squalor we escaped from to live in the extravagantly comparable comfort our species enjoys today and knowing what I know now, I’d gladly make that choice if presented with the opportunity (unlikely, since I’m the wrong gender).
The incubators’ system wasn’t perfect, but Kyuubey points out that we’re not treated on the same level as cattle, even though the incubators could have easily harvested us for our emotions. They recognize that fact that we are self-aware and treated us accordingly. It can even be argued that because the legacy of magic girls eventually yielded Madoka, that the system was finally able to correct itself into something happier.
God on the other hand intended for us to fall short of our potential and live cloistered lives of pitiful innocence. As often happens with overbearing parents (like Jesus), they want to remain their children’s superior throughout their lives, always doting on them and keeping them dependent rather than encouraging them to be all they can be and more. It is the hope of the best parents, teachers and leaders that the next generation surpasses them. But because Jesus demands subservience, believers find the concept of trying to surpass god’s greatness abhorrent. Additionally, there’s no contingency for fixing an out-of-date system that has become inflexible to the point of breaking.
Why is Madoka the better savior?
However revolted she was by Kyuubey, Madoka realized that the system of incubators was a necessary evil. In a way, she “made a deal with the devil,” by twisting his logic into a contradiction that turned the status quo on its head, thereby improving a flawed system by taking advantage of the benefits it offered to remove the darkness and filling it with hope. Not even Jesus possessed the presence of mind or the courage to make amends with his old archenemy when given the opportunity.
To believers the world over, god can only be perfect, but in the eyes of those on the outside looking in, nothing could be farther from the truth. The thought that things could be better never occurs to them because anything that opposes god is necessarily bad thing. I think a good analogy would be the Tower of Babel—a story of man’s attempt to surpass god. God punished man for insolence rather than applauding his resourcefulness and camaraderie. It’s clear that god has no desire to make things better now that people have reached a level of philosophical and moral development that exceeds that of the bible.