catholicism, christianity, daredevil, g.k. chesterton, marvel, marvel's daredevil, religion, story dynamics, writing
Lately, I’ve been watching Daredevil on a free trial of Netflix that I was forced to get in order to complete a different class. I might as well milk it for all it’s worth while I’ve got it.
It’s pretty different, watching Netflix shows. They tend to be written much more tightly and be more hard-hitting than TV shows. Since it’s sort of a “view at your own discretion” situation, they can also deal with things that most channels would shy away from discussing.
I love the way Daredevil is written. The dialogue is tight and loaded. Not a single word is wasted. Each character has a distinct voice, or even multiple voices–Matt has his “lawyer” voice, which is reasoned and comes across as almost stilted but very well put-together; his “informal” voice–his natural way of talking; and his “Daredevil” voice, which is much more terse than either of the others. The very choice of words builds into the characters.
At one point, Matt asks Karen if she believes; she replies that she doesn’t. In return, she asks him if he does. He replies “Catholic.” The reply is so textured, so many-faceted, not least because of his word choice.
It implies so much. Matt sees his faith as part of who he is, fundamentally; to him, it’s the thing that motivates him to take a stand and not back down; to get up again when he gets knocked down. It’s both a motivation and an example. For him, his faith is something concrete.
But it’s not just part of Matt’s identity that his word choice hints at.
It implies that Matt also believes that it doesn’t just matter that you believe; your exact beliefs matter too. That’s rather an unpopular opinion to hold in these days of watered-down Christianity, where hounded Christians greet any fellow Christian of any denomination as a friend in a world that seems to hate their guts. But that’s just a symptom–a welcome one, though–of a bigger problem.
A lot of people seem to think that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you do. Still more appear to be of the opinion that you can believe whatever you like, so long as you follow the nebulous call of “the right thing”–but no one seems to quite know what the right thing is.
But you see… people with all their beliefs laid out clearly on the table do.
The modern school of thought on “the right thing” grows out of a set of damaging beliefs from religions that people don’t dare to call out individually. And thus, they water down beliefs that common thought understands to be hurtful. Christianity gets watered down right along with them, even though it shouldn’t.
As a result, we get a series of feel-good philosophies that are, once you’ve lived them out for a while, hollow and dingy, and when they don’t feel fulfilled people just move on and try the next one, or they throw their hopes into exercise or yoga or things that have much more potential for harm.
That is not what religion is meant to be.
Let me repeat myself: that is not what religion is meant to be!
Religion is hard-hitting. It doesn’t pull its punches. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
Either you believe it all, or you put your faith in nothing. It’s as simple as that.
Personally, I believe that there is God and the devil. I believe in Heaven and Hell; I believe in the Bible, and I believe in the Savior. I can’t compromise. This is, as it is for Matt Murdoch, part of who I am.
I won’t apologize (as in, say I’m sorry.) But I will apologize (as in, live out my faith for everyone to see, and defend it if it’s attacked.)
Another thing about the zeitgeist; anything is permissible as long as “it’s just who I am!” Well, this is just who I am. Are you offended?
If you are, I recommend that you look really closely at the reasons why.
(I also recommend that you watch Daredevil. There’s some language, and it’s very violent, graphic and even gory in parts, but it’s also a very good show, both writing and morality-wise.)
Thanks for reading, and God Bless!