Doctor Who, Atheism, and God, pt. 1…

Odd (or Ood) title, I know, just hang in there with me for a bit.  I’m a big Doctor Who fan, and am especially fond of Russell T. Davies’ version of the time lord.  I frequent one of the largest Doctor Who message boards, mainly as a “lurker,” and it is interesting that several themes keep being discussed.  One is the messiah-like qualities of The Doctor, another is faith, and another is atheism.  This interests me.  Why? Because the two main writers of the show, the ones that write the episodes where these topics come up, are both atheists; Steven Moffat, and Russel T. Davies himself (executive producer as well).

Now, what really floored me was that there are usually two opinions most prominent; the atheists on the message board acknowledging the fact that faith, and a messiah-type figure (The Doctor) are main themes of the show, and they have actually claimed a theistic storyline that they don’t understand given the atheistic beliefs of the dynamic duo; Moffat and Davies.  The other opinion is usually expressed by Christians bemoaning the fact that there is an atheistic agenda because of the fact that Moffat and Davies write a messiah-type figure, that is not Christ, and write about faith in something other than God, or just about vague faith (they are atheists, why should we Christians be surprised on that score?  We should be delving into why they write these things…).

What I see, with Doctor Who as an example, is the fact that if one doesn’t believe in God, one will try to find a way to fill that gap…and what one imagines, or writes, or experiences, will usually be similar in nature to the Truth, it resembles the Truth, but isn’t actually “it.”  How many times do we see messiah-like figures? Godlike, miraculous powers through science, magic, mutation, etc…  I believe there is a craving in every human heart, soul, and mind for these types of things, but only one thing can really fill that craving; the actual Truth.  Studying psychology and philosophy is interesting because the two intertwine (not surprisingly), and what I’ve noticed is that people also crave perfection.  They either crave perfection in themselves, or in other people, or in relationships…and that can be a problem.  Why?  Because nobody’s perfect.  So where did we ever get the idea of perfection in the first place?

Live with someone long enough and they will let you down in a mild way, or a major way, intentionally or unintentionally…be it spouse, parent, child, friend, etc… we are human we cannot be perfect, but we crave perfect people, people that are reliable, and we are hurt when we are let down.  We crave messiah-like heroes, and miraculous happenings…why?  Because we all crave the Truth and are drawn to God.  People crave to know, and rely on a perfect person, there’s been only One; Jesus.  Same with a true Messiah for everyone, the whole human race; Jesus.  Miraculous happenings and powers; God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Anyone that doesn’t have it, wants it, craves it, thirsts for it…and if they reject the True answer to these things, they try to fill that gap in other ways, including making it up in fiction form.  These false answers relieve it for a while, but that urge comes back, so they try to fill it in different ways; food, sex, drugs, false gods, intellectualism, even music, art, dance, etc… but only when one embraces and come to accept the Truth is one finally satisfied on a deep spiritual level.

John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

One way or another, humans try to quench that thirst, and when you drink of the Living Water, it is quenched for good, and your motivation is no longer thirst, but true faith, love, and hope.  Even if fictionalized faith, and messiah-like figures, and magical types of powers are fun to kick around in fiction, there’s nothing like believing in actual reality; the reality of the Truth of God, and Jesus Christ.  Again, I’ll point out that this faith we have is not blind faith, it isn’t just because we wish it to be true, or read about it in a book, or would like it to be true; it is because the evidence is there, both personal and public, and because of the grace of God.

Things like a beautiful painting, or music, or even a great story can touch us on a spiritual level, but we have to acknowledge what that means; there is indeed a spiritual aspect to our human existence.  I do believe everyone experiences this at some point in their lives, even if it is only as a child.  The key is not to try to latch on to a shadow of the truth, but to the Truth itself; so get to know the real Messiah, the real Lord of Time, it’s definitely worth it, and makes all other experiences richer; even watching our favourite shows like Doctor Who…


Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Of Interest, Sacred Secular, Theology

42 responses to “Doctor Who, Atheism, and God, pt. 1…

  1. “What I see, with Doctor Who as an example, is the fact that if one doesn’t believe in God, one will try to find a way to fill that gap”

    As an atheist I think the brilliance of the show is that it demonstrates incredible faith in people. While the Doctor is the hero of the show, with all that entails, his greatest ability is bringing out the best in the people he meets. Now that may very well be a Christian idea, but it isn’t unique to Christianity nor, necessarily, did it even start with Christianity.

    The real heroes of Doctor Who are the ordinary people who are put in extraordinary circumstances. The Doctor puts HIS faith in those people, in humanity (or the given alien species), and I think that is the strongest message of the entire show.

  2. kliska


    It does indeed demonstrate incredible faith in people, from the Doctor’s perspective. His role in pulling out what is “better” in others isn’t his only role, however. Even the atheists that I’ve conversed with say that he fulfills a messiah-like role, and one in particular also noted the prayer-like aspect of several of the storylines, and also the ideas of immortality in the character, and the show; in short, it is the totality of the themes that I am referencing.

    It isn’t unique to Christianity by any means, as Christianity owes its existence to Judaism, in which the Messiah was foretold; He, Jesus, is their awaited Messiah. While not being unique to the Judeo-Christian faiths, it finds it’s ultimate and True fulfillment there, in reality; Messiah impacts our lives to improve the human condition through faith; mental, emotional, even physical (esp. in time to come), and primarily spiritual, betterment. Again, yes there is a relationship component, but that is what our belief hinges on as well; a relationship between us and God; He helps us to fulfill our role as humans in a better way, which you point out is paralleled in the series.

    Keep in mind, a shadow of the Truth cannot match the Truth perfectly, that is why it is a shadow. I’m observing that the themes of the show indicate a desire or craving on the part of the writers, for certain things that can only truly be fulfilled in Christ. We wouldn’t expect non-believing, or secular writers to make it line up perfectly, and in fact they’ve written lines that are clearly atheistic in nature, but the underlying themes, and the “heart” of the issues are there, even if at an unconscious level.

    Again, the craving that I talk about isn’t always blatant, it can be subtle…I chose Doctor Who, first because it is my favourite show, and second, because both atheists and Christians have caught on and commented on the themes in the show.

  3. I wouldn’t deny for a second that there are many Christian themes in the show, or that the Doctor is a Christ-figure in many ways.

    What I love about it is that it takes the outline of the Christ story (which is a good story, no denying it, even if I happen to think the story isn’t real) and alters it in many ways that succeed in making it more interesting. For example, the Doctor being mortal (he only gets 13 regenerations, though an intrepid future writer may find a way around this), part of a race of people with similar characteristics, his reliance on the scientific method, and his greatest strength being his mental power as opposed to an emotional or faith-based power.

    I don’t, however, agree that the writers are desiring or craving for Jesus. Or at least, they might (as I’m not a mind reader, I can’t say for sure), but I don’t see the use of the messiah-ish nature of the Doctor as indicating it. First of all, the current writers didn’t create the character, and so many of his qualities existed before they came along. So they are merely expanding on what other writers have done before them.

    And secondly, as I said, the Christ story is a good story. There’s no reason anyone can’t take a good story and adapt it for their own uses, even if they think the story is fiction to begin with.

    And thirdly, the Christ story has many common elements with the standard “hero story”. So while the Doctor does have many characteristics in common with Jesus, he also has many of the same characteristics in common with Apollo, Hercules, Superman and Harry Potter. The Christian story happens to be the most well known, so of course we’ll read that into almost anything.

    Still, Doctor Who is a great show, and I’d watch it whether it had atheists, evangelicals or scientologists writing it.

  4. Samuel Skinner

    Think of it as “The Doctor died for your sins… repeatedly”. Yeah- it is the Christian cultural background.

    On a more serious note, the reason they have the theme (Faith and people and messiah like attributes) is because that is how are heroes tend to be- Superman for example has the same attributes.

    This should help explain- although a word of warning, it is EXTREMELY addictive.

  5. kliska

    Morse, A lot of what you are saying is actually underscoring the issue. Different writers have continued these earlier themes (that means viewers have been hooked by them, feeling that they resonate on some level, or several levels), but everyone agrees that the different executive producers and writers have placed their own ideas into the character; right now it is/was RTD’s turn, now it will be Moffat’s turn soon.

    The pull is to find something that humans attempt to harness to quench this spiritual-level thirst in place of real spiritual matters. You pointed out faith in your first comment, although you focus more on the intellect in your second. Faith is both an intellectual matter and a spiritual one; as is contentment, peace, etc… Also, if we do not accept the reality of Jesus, many often attempt to redefine, or rewrite the story into one that they can feel comfortable with or accept, but they only wind up with a man-made version. The idea is so strong, and the longing so strong, that man does make up a lot of Heroes…I believe there is a basis in reality for that longing, and only Christ truly answers that longing.

    As for the story of Christ, it is a story indeed, a wonderful story, but it is also a true one, a factual one. Christ is someone you can truly trust; emotionally, spiritually, and also with your mind. Take your time, do some serious research; study the evidences for the resurrection, study the validity of scripture, they have been found to stand up to historical scrutiny, are archaeologically accurate, inherently consistent, prophetically accurate, hold up to legal scrutiny, etc… When one come to Christ in faith, everything truly becomes more interesting, not just religion itself…it adds a new dimension to life, that’s for sure!

  6. kliska

    Welcome to you as well, SS! Thanks for the interesting link, there are similar sites for heroes in literature too.

    And, again, I do agree that these attributes are what are heroes usually have, I just believe that there are reasons why we are so attracted to the idea, and to the themes. I’ve seen the show Heroes as well (can’t wait til the new season!), and it too shows that we long for those types of things, even when we know that there is going to be a villain, or “evil,” or a wrong to right, just look at the title of the show. I just think there is a reality behind the themes, and that is one of the reasons we have the themes and the attachment in the first place.

    As for The Doctor and his regenerations, yes the parallel is pretty obvious, and I have the suspicion that they will indeed get around his “limited” regens…they have also found ways to push the idea of souls, prayer, and immortality without blatantly committing to a spiritual realm, although I believe it is written in, almost at an unconscious level.

  7. We will just have to agree to disagree, kliska. Which is fine, as I had no intention of converting you.

    I just happen to think that the appeal of this type of story is why people came up with the story of The Doctor and the story of Jesus. You obviously think that the story had an origin with Jesus, which is where we differ.

    Either way, I will say it one last time. It’s a very good, very entertaining and often uplifting story.

  8. kliska

    Morse, I do realize we will and do disagree, I’m writing my blog to make people think, and there will always be agreement, and disagreement. I appreciate your feedback.

    I agree with you that the story of Doctor Who has an appeal, and that the story of Jesus does as well…we should at least give thought as to why they have that appeal, and since one story claims that it is True, it is worth looking into. I think the appeal comes from God, that it is a spiritual part of us, and predates Jesus’ life on this earth, although it does always point to Him, and the fact that we respond and are drawn to watch, write, read, and makeup similar stories, with similar themes is that we are attempting to respond to that thirst…if anyone truly wants it quenched in a meaningful and fulfilling way, they can turn to God, that story is the ultimate story, and has the advantage and excitement of being true.

    Yes, I look forward to the Who specials next year, and a new season in 2010! Hopefully Tennant sticks around a good long while…

  9. Rabid1st

    I would be interested in hearing what people, atheist or christian or other, think of the latest episode of Doctor Who to air in the U.K. and the underlying idea that the Doctor now has the power to decide how people will live their lives even against their expressed wishes? Also, in this same vein, earlier in S4 we deal with the idea of predestination in the story of River Song. River wants her predestined life…she asks the Doctor not to change a thing…and so he must follow through on points “such as giving her the sonic screwdriver” to make sure that she still feels “special to him.”

    Assuming the Doctor is NOT God…is there a line he has crossed in his assent into the position of God? Are we at last saying that humans really can’t make life and death decisions for themselves when we are happy that the Doctor has arranged everything for everyone with out consulting anybody else?

  10. kliska

    First, a general heads up; anyone who wants to comment on specific episodes, and plot lines, make sure they contain no spoilers for episodes that have not aired in the US yet. Rabid, you squeaked by in that you didn’t give any specifics away, and I feel that the Doctor has already been caught imposing his will in past episodes. (BTW, yes, I live in the US and am spoiled rotten; but I stop before actually watching the full episode…so those who have seen the rest of this season have me at a disadvantage.)

    Here’s some thoughts; there have already been people pointing out that at various points The Doctor (Nine and Ten, at least) has began acting more along the lines of thinking he knows what is best in a situation, and acting on it despite the wishes of others, even though he is a limited being. I have a feeling that this is a plot point about his character that will be explored in the future. As the Doctor isn’t God, nor even a god, I would argue that he has crossed the line, though he may believe it is for the right reasons…

    As for the predestination angle, it is only truly “predestined” if the outcome cannot be any different, and if the Doctor abides by River’s wishes…and he does those things that will ensure the outcome that he believes is the correct one; but again, we know so little about River that it is hard to tell where they are going with this. I personally believe it isn’t predestined, that the outcome can be different, and that will be part of the storyline at some point in the future.

    In general I can’t help but to feel that the writers (this may all change when Moffat takes over) are pushing these ideas intentionally to make the viewer question whether the Doctor has too much power, or is abusing his power, or if it always defaults to him doing the right thing… I dunno, but it is an interesting discussion, and I look forward to see what the writers do with these different themes.

  11. Pingback: Doctor Who, Atheism, and God, pt. 2… « The Christian Scribbler

  12. Samuel Skinner

    Given that superheroes- or sometimes just plain old heroes- have the power beyond that of normal people, religious comparisons and imagery are inevitable.

    The Doctor and Superman are unique in that they are literally super powered- one can alter the course of time and fate and the other is almost indestructible. Superman fits better for Moses comparisons though.

    This happens often enough in fiction though DS9 anyone?

    Why is this so common? Do people- even anti theists- desire religion? Maybe. Or maybe by adding in religion you can make everything more serious. Or maybe people rip of cultures and decided to borrow from religion too.

    As for the popularity of Dr Who… no idea. That show refuses to die- and has spawned too others. Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

  13. Pingback: Doctor Who, “Midnight” Review « The Christian Scribbler

  14. Pingback: Finding the Sacred in the “Secular”… « The Christian Scribbler

  15. Kliska

    SS, while I agree that they are inevitable I believe there is indeed a deeper reason as to why they are inevitable.

  16. Pingback: Joss Whedon’s at it again… « The Christian Scribbler

  17. Pingback: Biblical food metaphors… « The Christian Scribbler

  18. Pingback: Doctor Who; The Stolen Earth (pt. 1) Review « The Christian Scribbler

  19. Pingback: Doctor Who review; The Eleventh Hour… « The Christian Scribbler

  20. Jennings Cunningham

    I think you read to much into it. Everyone wants to be saved from their problems. There doesn’t have to be anything religious about that.

    • Kliska

      Perhaps, perhaps not. The fact that humans want to be saved from their problems in and of itself is relevant. For example, nothing in Darwinian evolution would lead us to expect that we human beings would, in a purely naturalistic world, ever be saved from our problems…quite the opposite, so where did that desire come from? It definitely doesn’t always produce a good outcome in humans. Also, there is the interesting way in Doctor Who that help comes; in the form of a messiah-like saviour.

  21. Pingback: Doctor Who; Big Bang Review… « The Christian Scribbler

  22. Bob

    How silly, to call The Doctor a messiah figure. Is everyone that seeks to do good automatically a messiah? That is what Christians would hope for, but alas, the world is bigger than superstition, and there are more important reasons to be good than imaginary hellfire.

    More than anything else, the Doctor has faith in his OWN MIND, that he will be able to solve any problem put to him. This is the source of his eternal optimism.

    As to why atheists writers would turn to religious themes, it is because it is always a good source for evil intent. Half the “bad guys” in Doctor Who are religious, the other half are mad scientists. The Doctor represents reason and compassion – genius and wisdom together. Why is this such a mystery to you?

    • Kliska

      It’s actually rather silly to deny something that even the writers of the show embrace, as RTD once said, “…the Doctor is a proper saviour.” You may wish to look up the idea of what a Messiah is, as it is more than what you imply here…perhaps you were going for a “saint.” I would also point out that Christians don’t “do good” because of some fear of hellfire; that argument is a straw man version of why Christians exhort one another to yielding to righteousness.

      As mentioned in other articles of mine; if the Doctor relies only on himself, to whom does the Doctor pray when he shouts to the heavens to allow people to live? A universe that cannot answer back because it is composed of mere matter? That would be completely illogical. He shouts to Someone.

      Quite the contrary, religious themes involve eternal truths, that something is wrong with the universe, that there is right and wrong and good and evil; redemption, salvation, love, trust, forgiveness, etc… Again look into what a lot of the writers of Who have mentioned. You talk of mystery, but in fact, in your talk of mystery you once again underscore my point; Jesus the true Messiah and Saviour is the embodiment of Genius and Wisdom, the very Wisdom, or logos of God made flesh. You should learn of Him, as He invites, He is a lot more exciting, merciful, brilliant, compassionate, powerful, and perfect than the Doctor, and has the distinct advantage of not being a fictional character. He came and lived the perfect life, was crucified, and and rose three days later so that you may have a relationship with God. I hope you come to know the True Messiah!

  23. Taylor

    While Mr Russel T Davies is a noted atheist, what proof have you that Steven Moffat is? I’ve seen more of a spiritual edge in Mr Moffat’s episodes than Mr Davies’.

    • Kliska

      I’ve see spiritual stories in both writers work…so much so that I don’t feel one outweighs the other. As for “proof,” do some Google searching, there are other reports of his atheism. I believe I recall at least one interview, not with Moffat, but with Davies where atheism is discussed, and Moffat was included. No, I have no clue which interview or clip that it was, and I suppose whoever edited it or even Davies himself might have been wrong…or joking, or being overly inclusive of “the writers.” I do know it was when RTD was in charge and would now be several years ago.

    • Kliska

      Taylor, if you read this again, here is a link to another person’s blog post that touches on this: And I also came across some info that jogged my memory on where I originally heard Moffat’s stance; it was around the episode about River being downloaded into the Library’s database. If you can find the “Confidential” eppy that went along with that story, I believe there were comments made in there about the human soul.

  24. Mike

    Doctor Who is the product of a Christian civilisation, and naturally carries the hallmark! As does the justice system, the notion of health care, free education, benefits for the disabled, the scientific quest for truth and ideas of equality: we are all equal before God. What is funny about Doctor Who is the blatently christian dualism, and the battle of universal Good versus Evil without mentioning the “G” word! The greater the effort that is made to write God out, the more ridiculous the scenario gets! To find faith through Doctor Who would not be unimaginable – doctor who is dealing with universals: life-death, time-lines, eternity & infinity versus ephemeral & finite. However, as with all parallel realities, the alternative universe of Doctor Who could prove dangerous should one get lost in time and space… Doctor Who has built an alternative universe that could trap the unwary traveller in an artificial realm and the inevitable black hole of futility – the price all pay for the stupendous arrogance of cutting the creator out of creation and not building a spiritual life

  25. alexander

    In Doctor Who, “A Good Man Goes To War”, 4 June 2011, “the Church”, headed by a “papal mainframe”, is portrayed in the future as an evil entity and enemy of the Doctor. The antipathy displayed between the Doctor and the said future “Church” was apparent in episodes last year. However, the inimical relationship is now characterised as full-blown.

    This has all the appearance of a blatant attempt by a particular mindset operating within the BBC to affect children’s relationship to the Christian church (which in many cases includes their own parents) through setting it up in opposition to a much loved character. Trying to explain why the Church should be evil in the future puts Christian adults in an impossible position. This is not family viewing but an undermining of family cohesion.

    Parents should not be forced into the position of refusing to allow children to watch Doctor Who because “the Church” is portrayed as ultimately evil in the future.

    The old Doctor Who scrupulously avoided the issue of belief in a creator God except for a single, brief, unscripted quip (The Three Doctors). The new Doctor Who has since had the Doctor state that he is an atheist seeking knowledge (The Satan Pit). Such a role modelling should never have been introduced into the character. It is unnecessary and unhelpful and should be undone satisfactorily so that the character is believably restored to his prior neutral position on the question. I have watched Doctor Who since I was small but shall no longer watch it unless the BBC undo the anti-Christian mindset introduced into the show, first by Russell T Davies and now by Steven Moffatt. Clearly, the current patronising atheistic diatribe against Christianity in particular has encouraged those of a certain mindset working within the BBC to think that it is appropriate to paint future Christianity a particular colour in what is the most popular child-focussed family programme in Britain. Perhaps the BBC could have created even better atheist anti-Christian propoganda in Doctor Who; perhaps this is only the start. In an era when the BBC is being whittled away, being perceived as an opportunistic mouthpiece for atheist anti-Christian thought would certainly encourage lots of people to reconsider whether it is worth continuing to fund it. I would previously have never considered such a thought but the furtherance of such a mindset across programming as a whole may alienate me completely from the BBC. Even the obligatory religious output of the BBC is not untainted by such a mindset.

  26. Joshua

    “A Good Man Goes To War” is nothing compared to “The God Complex”, I almost stopped watching because of that one.

    Also the catholic church is not “attacked” in this episode, and the headless monks are not “villains”; they are antagonists, which is not always the same thing. We are not (yet) told their full motivations , but considering the Doctor a dangerous threat is perfectly reasonable, if misguided (remember “The Waters of Mars” and “The Pandorica Opens”?).

  27. I have been an avid fan of Dr Who since my childhood. My first Dr was John Pertwee but my favourite was Tom Baker because he had all of the true Who elements.

    All of that aside I have recently been reading on a lot of forums about how a lot of entertainment now has its central male figure set in a messianic role in one form or another.

    I found this idea fascinating so looked further into it.

    There seems to be a growing number of people that believe the gnostic gospels and anti-christ ideas are being used in movies more and more now. You just have to look on youtube to see how many people have had that idea.

    What do you think of the idea that the Dr is actually the anti-christ?

    • Kliska

      I don’t actually think that the good Doctor fits the description of the idea of the Anti-Christ. Instead, he has always been a symbol of the actual Messiah-like figure that features in many many stories. Notice that his incarnations have been around since the 60’s, and though I do realize that the new series can “stand alone” it is also true that it pulls directly from the older Doctors, and the images invoked don’t seem to line up with the AC image.

      I do think what is happening with Eleven, is they are exploring the Doctor’s limits as a fellow created being, so it could be that the writers are kind of switching to a more human idea of the Doctor, rather than that Messiah-like figure.

  28. Tom

    I am an atheist who sees this human reliance on the Doctor and his resurrections, his technology that appears almost magical, and his ability to deliver us from Daleks as fundamentally antithetical to science-fiction, which at its best explores the human condition and its relationship to technology, science, and the universe. Other friends who are atheists do not seem to see this failure of the series to move humanity out of the Doctor’s stewardship – we’ve been relying on him for decades – wonderstruck yet impotent, and remaining so as long as we have the Doctor on hand. The show reinforces the impression that humanity are children, and shall be delivered by a celestial power, as long as a few young idealistic humans become his assistants (read disciples).
    I think your assement is right on the money, and there is a subconscious desire amongst some to have a scientifically advanced messiah come to sort their lives out – an aquaintance admitted as much -so they didn’t have to worry about doing things for themselves, and revert to an infantile state, or worse, that of an indulged pet, in one case this is married to a years-long dependency on hand-outs, so that parasitism becomes a default state of existence, whether it’s the Doctor/alien benefactors suckling you, or the welfare state is, For people who claim to be existentialists, the idea of self-definition lost its appeal next to definition in relation to a cosmic guardian, and that I find desperately pitiful – Let me make it clear that if you believe that God is a supreme authority and are open about that relationship, then fair enough, but these people are paying all the lip service to atheism and existentialism to assert some status, then calling for messiahs from space and getting others to sort their lives out.
    I do however disagree on the point made by those who say that replacing Jesus with another celestial saviour is in anyway atheistic; it is just another suspension of human responsibility,

  29. Nic

    How wonderful to see such a sensible and reasonable discussion between Atheists and Christians. Dr Who really does bring out the best in people. Thank you Kliska for curating this so amicably.

    Personally I find it harder and harder to watch the series, although I too grew up with it. I found the hostility of the Doctor towards the preacher in the latest episode “A Town Called Mercy” hard to take. That’s not my Doctor.

  30. caity

    I really don’t think it is meant to be religious…….me and My mother who are Christian got quite upset at the episode “Rings of Akhetan ”. But I told her that they weren’t forcing any sort of religion on people and they weren’t forcing atheisim either. Its not like a show is going to change your religion.( unless you’re a gung-ho fan girl Or really flaky..


  31. Andrew Dexter

    We only have to look at stories like the Daemons and the TV movie to see on much christian symbolism is put into Dr who. In the Daemons Azal is quoted as ”the fallen angel” just like the devil was cast out of heaven. Azal is also an Illustration of saton himself. In the TV movie the Doctor is shot, supposedly dies and rises again in the third hour(not exactly third day) he is dressed in a white robe and opens his arms in crucifix fashion. Steal thorns in placed upon his head which may represents the crown of thorns, the master takes the form of an evil snake which is to me an image of the serpent who tempted eve in the garden of Eden, need I say more?

  32. Steven

    I found your blog today after watching the first installment of the two part episode “The End of Time: Part One” last night (on Netflix), which begins with the narrator (whose identity is revealed at the end of this episode) referring to Christmas as a “pagan ritual.” One can hardly be more blatantly anti-Christian than that. I will be interested to see what this narrator character does/says in Part Two. I cannot help but see in the Dr. Who character I have observed that he exhibits many Christlike qualities and, though I don’t expect the show to embrace Christianity or any other religious tradition, I did find it hard to hear this vaguely omniscient voice make this particular statement. I deeply appreciate the civility and intelligence of your discussion board.

  33. Wow, what a cool blog!

    Enjoyed it!

    From time to time I try to make links between Christianity and DW. Has many ideas that we can take the series to assist in the gospel.

    Your blog has some FanPage on Facebook to keep up?


  34. Pingback: Doctor Who, Atheism, and God, pt. 1… | E N T I T Y

  35. Matt Mesina

    If the BBC is using Doctor Who to subvert religion, and it increasingly to be the case, I wouldn’t mind if the series was cancelled. Yes, I love Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the Dr., except for the constant comments on religion and God and belief that seem to be more and more common as the writers are emboldened by a lack of real protest or boycott. In fact, the show just seems to want to promote political ideas as well as atheistic ones. I’m not sure why entertainment can’t simply entertain, and why it has to promote an agenda. I’m also not sure why the most liberal-minded people among us claim to be the most tolerant as well, and then wear their bigotry on their sleeves.

    For my part, I continue to watch the series because it has no ability to to influence me. I find it absurd on it’s face that a show about a man who travels in a transdimensionally-engineered box through time and space and talks to horses and points a stick at a door to opens it would even make an attempt to supplant any belief system that it’s writer’s and producers would deem out of touch with reality. Actually, by refusing to fictionalize God, the writers have paid him the ultimate compliment, if inadvertently. After all, if God were part of a fictional universe, God would be reduced to something less than the source of all reality. He would become a creation of a false reality in the process. So, I don’t mind if they leave the Lord out of the series, though I still wish they would stop conflating religion with the immaturity of the childish human race.

    • Kliska

      You may be right on all counts… I wouldn’t know as I lost the urge to watch Capaldi’s Doctor at the end of last season. All the episodes are recorded I just can’t be bothered to watch. There was definitely a shift in writing and they apparently think it is the in thing to bash spiritual belief.

  36. Daineth

    How interesting to find this blog. I did a search after completing “Death in Heaven,” the final regular series episode of Capaldi’s first season (just saw it via NetFlix,) because I was wondering if there would be any intelligent commentary on increasingly blatant anti-Christian jibes coming from the good Doctor lately.

    Ever since the series revived, it is a given that one will have to ignore the standard-issue BBC atheistic existentialism and promotion of their particular social agendas, ie, homosexuality and transgenderism. (Of course, the same has been true of “Star Trek” since the “Next Generation” premiered, but I digress.) Like the mandatory smattering of profanity in most movies nowadays, one just has to expect it and get past it and concentrate on the otherwise enjoyable aspects of the story.

    But the revival of “Doctor Who” has increasingly upped the proverbial ante as it were, and made it increasingly difficult to carry on. You made some interesting points, such as just who the Doctor is crying out to in “The Doctor Dances.” (Come to think of it, who is he addressing about how much he could have done in “The End of Time”?) But that seems to be a subtle contradiction to the more expressly-stated atheistic themes.

    There have been entire stories based on insulting premises and loaded with ridicule, condescension and illogic, such as “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit,” in which Satan turns out to have been a minor being who could be trapped on a planet by a prior race of beings; the Doctor dispatches ol’ Mr. Horns and Pointy-Tail in about as much time as it takes Bugs Bunny to dispatch Yosemite Sam. There have been others, in which there have been “real-world” explanations for the “mythology” of the Bible, and they have all been preposterously bad episodes.

    But as I said, they have upped the ante with passing jibes. David Tennant, probably my all-time favorite Doctor, also delivered the following jibe in “City of the Dead”: “The funny thing is, I don’t often do Easter. I can never find it. It’s always at a different time. Although I remember the original. Between you and me, what REALLY happened was…” Ominous beeping then intervenes before the Doctor can REALLY put his foot in it.

    And after a number of snotty remarks delivered all season long by Capaldi’s Doctor, the snottiest appears in the aforementioned “Death in Heaven,” with the Doctor fatuously sneering, “I don’t want Americans bobbing around the place. They’ll only start praying.”

    So I searched, and so I arrived. And I see your last comment, posted less than two weeks ago: “I lost the urge to watch Capaldi’s Doctor at the end of last season.”

    Was “Death in Heaven” the final straw?

    Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are fine actors, but they were certainly done no favors in many instances by the scripting. It is all quite sad, but I may indeed be at the same place that you have found yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s