Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Top 10 Christ Figures

10) Littlefoot from A Land Before Time. Let's examine the Christ-like characteristics. When his mother dies in the earthquake, the fact that he survives at all is an absolute miracle. The three baby dinosaurs who join him in his quest could be seen as apostles, drawn in by his kind nature. Finally, he ends the movie leading his friends to the "promised land." I guess that makes him more like Moses than Jesus, but I'll give it to him because he's so cute and because I cry every time I watch this movie.

9) Simon from The Lord of the Flies. The only character who has any sort of innate moral compass and doesn't become homicidal on the island. He loses points for providing no miracles, but his conversations with the pig's head are downright biblical: they are weird, hard to understand, and highly symbolic. Those conversations plus his martyrdom at the hands of the crazed boys add up to a convincing case.

8) Hurley from Lost. This is mainly speculation at this point, because the series is not close to over, but Hurley already has a few things going for him. First of all, he's clearly the nicest guy on the island, and he's all about making sure everybody has a good time by organizing golfing outings and such. Secondly, the fact that he hasn't lost any weight while he's been on the island is a veritable miracle.And although he hasn't done anything yet, the series keeps alluding to him having to make a sacrifice. If he does so, and especially if he dies, he will gain some serious ground. Stay tuned.

7) Billy Pilgrim from Slaughterhouse Five. From his last name, it's clear that Vonnegut intended Billy's journeys to be viewed as somewhat of a religious pilgrimage. While it's not clear whether he is supposed to be Christ himself, his innocence and ability to time travel suggests that he has risen above the realm of mere mortals. The main thing holding him back is his lack of miracles, which is the obvious constraint of a postmodern novel.

6) Jim from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think I wrote a paper on this in 8th grade, and I forget most of the details, but the general point is that compared to the rest of the characters of the book, Jim is a saint. He cooks for Huck, nurses Tom to health, and seems to be the only one that cares about the boys. He also gets points for operating within a white society that outcasts him despite his kind nature.

5) Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. He gets serious points for being one of the only characters on this list to die and come back to life. He also gets points for saving his crew from the Orcs, and for being super nice to everybody, even the lowly hobbits. However, he loses points for being a sorcerer, which is seemingly the easiest way to anger the church establishment. In fact, I'm pretty sure that even making this comparison would be blasphemy in certain churches. Please forgive me.

4) Joe Christmas from A Light in August. I wrote a paper on this case in 11th grade, and the case is pretty cut-and-dry. He shows up abandoned in front of the orphanage on Christmas day, he questions his racial background, and his initials are JC. But it's his death that really seals the deal: he dies at the age of 33, and Faulkner describes the bullets that hit him arms as like "nails through a cross." Literally those words. Come on, that's too easy.

3) Neo from The Matrix. First of all, Keanu Reeves is the perfect cast for a Christ figure, because he's the only actor in Hollywood who wouldn't realize whats going on and ruin it. And Neo has some pretty serious things going for him. He is able to see the green lines of code in the matrix, which suggests that he has a close connection to the "creator." He is constantly referred to as "the One," and although people sometimes call me that on the basketball court, in this context they mean he is the messiah. Finally, he dies, rises from the dead, and returns to sacrifice himself for the sake of humanity. You might not like it, but you have to admit that is pretty Christ-like.

2) Jesus from The New Testament. The holotype. You've got to give it up for the big guy JC. Why isn't he number one? Mainly because of expectations. When you read the New Testament, you expect him to be Christ-figure like on literally every page, which is simply not possibly for anybody to do. Sometimes he has to deal with normal stuff like everybody else does, like walking around, settling disputes, and eating supper. So while he is a pretty good Christ figure, he loses out the top stop to...

1) The Master Chief from Halo. This is mainly assuming that the "legendary" ending in Halo 3 never happened and that the series ends at three, where it rightfully should. If so, the Master Chief has a pretty compelling futuristic-Christ case. He is the only remaining "child" of the SPARTAN-II program that created him. Plus, his performance of miracles is pretty outstanding: he saves all sentient life in the universe in Halos 1, 2, and 3. The third one is especially important, as much of it is set on Earth, but he manages to save the world regardless. Along with his martyrdom at the end of Halo 3, this is a remarkably impressive record. Good enough for tops on this list, anyways.