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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Charles Xavier
Professor X
of the X-Men, Avengers, etc.


Charles Xavier, who is sometimes known as "Professor X," was the founder of the X-Men. Throught most of the team's history, Professor Xavier has led the X-Men and the school he founded to train them and other mutants, although he has rarely been a field leader.

Professor Xavier's precise denominational affiliation and religious background has not been clearly described. Professor Xavier has referred to God many times throughout the decades during which the character has been in existence. The character appears to have a vague or perhaps generic belief in God and the afterlife, but his beliefs do not appear tied to any specific religion. Given Xavier's self-appointed role as an inspiration for mutants everywhere, and a beacon for mutant/human harmony, it seems likely that Xavier is consciously careful to avoid casting himself as being associated to any specific belief system, as he does not want his "dream" of mutant/human harmony to appear to be a sectarian religious crusade.

Clearly, however, Charles Xavier is a man who holds intensely felt beliefs and standards. His desire to see that mutants and humans can live in peace and harmony has dominated his life. So powerful is Xavier's vision that he is viewed as a sort of prophet or religious leader by many of the world's mutants, both in the present and even more so in various alternative futures that the X-Men have glimpsed from time to time. Bishop, for example, exhibited a quasi-religious awe of Xavier and the other core X-Men when he first arrived in the present from his future timeline. Xavier himself, however, has never couched his message in expressly theological terms or attempted to elicit religious devotion to himself in a traditional, Judeo-Christian sense.

Professor X asks: without limitations, what would God do with His time?
Above: Professor Charles Xavier discusses theology with the Danger Room. Source: Astonishing X-Men #11, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 16; written by Joss Whedon, illustrated by John Cassaday.

Joss Whedon, best known as the television writer, producer and director who was the creator of the popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was the writer for a thrilling X-Men storyline in which the Danger Room expressed sentience and attacked the X-Men. This story had a major impact on the X-Men, as the dismantling of the advanced Danger Room technology meant the team and Xavier's school no longer had this super-advanced training room which simulated any environment. Given the decades during which the X-Men had been in possession of the Danger Room, housed in the sub-basement of their mansion/school headquarters, this was a radical change. This was also a welcome change, as the Danger Room had often been a rather far-fetched creation from a logical point of view, and also had been something of an over-used crutch by writers.

In Whedon's story, the Danger Room manifest itself as a robotic artificial intelligence (A.I.) in semi-humanoid form. It called itself "Danger." After defeating the X-Men, Danger attacked Charles Xavier. Xavier fought back, damaging the machine by running a semi-truck into it. While Danger used its advanced technology to rapidly repair itself, Professor Xavier engaged the machine's mind on the astral plane, telepathically. One might think that a artificial intelligence would have not be able to do meet mind-to-mind with a telepath, but apparently Danger is so advanced that it is able to do this. During their discussion, Professor Xavier made one statement of a seemingly theological nature. Exactly what Xavier meant by this, and what it indicates about Xavier's own beliefs, is not entirely clear.

From: Astonishing X-Men #11, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 16; written by Joss Whedon, illustrated by John Cassaday; reprinted in Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 2: Dangerous trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group, New York City (2005):

Professor Xavier contacts Danger telepathically, on the astral plane.

DANGER: Mind games after all. You almost impressed me, old man.

PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER/PROFESSOR X: I have no interest in impressing you.

DANGER: You know I'm working myself back to operational status right now. You have seconds at best.

XAVIER: Seconds can be an eternity if we think them so. We may as well chat. Mutant to mutant.

DANGER: Don't call me that! I'm not a mutant! I'm not a natural at all! Mutants are the oppressors! The age of Homo superior is waning, father. I think you will know what I mean.

XAVIER: Not a "natural", and yet you take human form. I don't call that much of a leap.

DANGER: And what do you call a man whose best image of himself cannot so much as stand up? I choose my limitations, father. You are yours.

[Danger here refers to the fact that, even in this astral plane/mindscape setting, Professor Xavier has projected himself as sitting in a chair, analogous to his physical self, who is wheelchair bound. He may have done this unconsciously, or he may have done this as a deliberate attempt to frame the purpose of their meeting here as discussion and rational dialogue rather than confrontation. Clearly Xavier has projected his astral plane/mental self as fully mobile and not wheelchair-bound on countless occasions in the past, so Danger's assessment here may not be entirely accurate. Nevertheless, Xavier goes along with this statement, in order to illustrate a point to the A.I.]

XAVIER: In the end, though, aren't we all? Our limitations? ... If none of us had limitations . . . what would God do with his time?

Professor Xavier's Counter-Revolutionary Mission

Although today much is made about Professor Charles Xavier's role as a mutant civil rights activist, it is important to remember that defending the rights of mutants is only one of his goals. This goal was neither paramount nor clearly indicated when the character was first introduced in The X-Men #1 (September 1963).

In this first issue, Professor X clearly stated that his primary mission was to train his X-Men to defend the rest of the world against evil mutants. Nearly all mutant characters introduced in the pages of The X-Men in those early years were, in fact, evil - or at least criminally dangerous. A number of commentators have observed that Professor Xavier was expressly counter-revolutionary. Comparisons to civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Barty only became valid many years later. Xavier's initial mission was conducted in secret. He was not a public figure and he did not publicize the existence of his squad of "good" mutants (the X-Men).

From The X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics: September 1963); written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Paul Reinman; page 11:

Professor X (Charles Xavier) declares his mission: defending the world against evil mutants
Jean Grey (Marvel Girl): That's what I've wanted to ask! Just what exactly is our real mission, sir?

Professor Charles Xavier: Jean, there are many mutants walking the Earth . . . and more are born each year! Not all of them want to help mankind! . . . Some hate the human race, and wish to destroy it! Some feel that the mutants should be the real rulers of Earth! It is our job to protect mankind from those . . . from the evil mutants!
From The X-Men issue #1, the second part of Charles Xaviers's mission was clearly defined as the training of young mutants in the use of their powers. From The X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics: September 1963); written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Paul Reinman; page 10:
Professor X (Charles Xavier) declares his goal to train young mutants to use their powers
Professor Charles Xavier: Thank you, Jean! And now let me tell you more about my school . . . I was born of parents who had worked on the first A-bomb project! Like yourselves, I am a mutant . . . possibly the first such mutant! I have the power to read minds, and to project my own thoughts into the brains of others!

But, when I was young, normal people feared me, distrusted me! I realized the human race is not yet ready to accept those with extra powers! So I decided to biuld a haven . . . a school for X-Men! Here we stay, unsuspected by normal humans, as we learn to use our powers for the benefit of mankind . . . to help those who would distrust us if they knew of our existence!

Due to a childhood accident, I myself must remain in this chair, but through a master control panel I have many devices at my command . . . and through my mind, I am always in touch with my X-Men!

In Xavier's description of his school, note how he refers to mutants as being distinct from "normal humans," and note how he stresses that the purpose of the X-Men is not to serve and protect mutants, but to serve normal humans. Xavier also makes it clear here that he desires to keep the X-Men a secret and that he does not believe the world is ready to accept mutants.

Note that Xavier was aware of many mutants, however, who he never recruited to his exclusive school. His original class consisted of just five students (Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Marvel Girl). Outside the context of the story, one could claim that as a practical matter, Stan Lee may have limited the number of X-Men in Xavier's school in order to focus on a strong central cast. Yet, decades later, the school's scope was expanded to include over a hundred mutants studying there concurrently. Whatever the reasons for it, the truth remains that originally was clearly focused on forming a team that could combat evil mutants. Training young mutants was secondary to this, perhaps even an ancillary function.

From The X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics: November 1963); written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Paul Reinman; page 16: Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) states Xavier's mission: defending humans from evil mutants

The Vanisher: You're keeping it [the satchel containing top secret Pentagon defense plans] from me by mental power! You . . . You're a mutant, too!

Jean Grey (Marvel Girl): That's right, Vanisher! There are good ones as well as bad! Our prime mission is to protect the human race from the likes of you!

When Xavier first formed the X-Men, he worked directly with the federal government. As shown in X-Men #2 (November 1968), Xavier gave a communication device to FBI Special Agent Fred Duncan. The device allowed Agent Duncan to receive mental communication from Xavier while Duncan was in Washington, D.C., and Xavier remained in New York. The two arranged to meet weekly to discuss what Xavier and his X-Men could do to assist federal authorities. In turn, the federal government cooporated with the X-Men. A federal agency known as the Bureau of Special Affairs loaned the X-Men a McDowell XV-1 Convertiplane for transportation (The X-Men #2, page 13).

Professor Xavier: In Love with Jean Grey?

Well... This is slightly disturbing.

From The X-Men #4 (Marvel Comics: January 1964); written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Paul Reinman; page 4:

Professor X (Charles Xavier) ponders his unspoken love for his teen student Jean Grey

Charles Xavier: [Speaking to Jean Grey, while touching her shoulder and holding her hand] Be careful, my dear! I cannot tell what powers this mutant [the Blob] may possess! He may be a danger to you!

Jean Grey (Marvel Girl): Don't worry, sir! Remember ho well you've trained us!

Charles Xavier [thinking]: "Don't worry!" As though I could help worrying about the one I love! But I can never tell her! I have no right! Not while I'm the leader of the X-Men, and confined to this wheelchair!

Not long after the formation of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier was portrayed as harboring unspoken romantic love for his young student, Jean Grey. Note the panel below in which he touches her arm and hand, and afterward thinks about this love that he dare not voice.

At the time, Jean Grey was a teenager about 15 years old, and Xavier (who had been active as a soldier at the time of World War II) was at least in his forties. Even if there was no age difference between Xavier and Jean, it would be completely unethical for him to pursue a relationship with her because he is her teacher and the headmaster of her school. Both their teacher-student relationship and his considerably greater age would make any relationship between the two inherently unequal and unethical.

Whatever the source of his ethical values (whether these values stem from a traditional religious upbringing or otherwise), Xavier fortunately had enough discipline to not pursue his "love" for Jean further. He apparently lacked, however, sufficient discipline to not entertain such thoughts in the first place. Oddly enough by today's standards, Xavier seems more concerned about the fact that he's in a wheelchair than about their age difference or student-teacher relationship.

It was later revealed that even before joining the X-Men officially, Jean Grey had been studying privately with Xavier. One wonders whether Jean Grey's Episcopalian parents would have allowed Jean to continue studying under Xavier if they knew his thoughts about the girl.

Professor Xavier never told Jean Grey about his romantic feelings toward her, and he never acted further on these feelings. However, these feelings were touched upon in later stories. When Onslaught (a powerful manifestation of the subconscious of both Magneto and Professor Xavier) confronted the X-Men, the creature told Jean about Xavier's feelings. This occurred in X-Men (wnd series) #53 (June 1996), written by Mark Waid. Jean was horrified to hear about this, and she has not spoken to Xavier about it since. In the next issue (X-Men #54, Jean became enraged at the Juggernaut when he made a joke about her and Xavier. In another issue, when Jean first became Phoenix and was in the hospital, Xavier told his long-time girlfriend Moira McTaggart that he once thought he loved Jean as much as he did her (Moria).

Some readers felt that an exchange between Xavier and the living Danger Room in Astonishing X-Men #11 (2005) also hearkened back to Xavier's feelings for Jean. The Danger Room AI told Xavier "The X-Men. They don't have the slightest idea of who you really do they?" Xavier replied: "I like to think that Jean knew. Knew and understood."

Discussion

From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):

07-18-2002, 01:02 PM
wonderfly

What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?

I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...

Anyone know if Charles Xavier is Catholic or Protestant, or uh, possibly Jewish? What religion is that man anyway?


07-18-2002, 01:30 PM
Machina

This is a discussion I've had several times with my friends, and usually I step out of it when it turns offensive. (Which with my friends, it always does!) Thing to remember though that until recently, like the past decade, religion and talks of such were verboten in most main stream comic books. Now that's changed...

Let's see...

...Daniel "Iron Fist" Rand is a Buddhist and Magneto is Jewish. Xavier may just be nondenominational. No idea what Scott Summers is but it seems that Jean Grey is a Christian as well, and same with the Hank McCoy...

From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
From: OSinner1

Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?

Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?

In particular:
Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Captain America
Dr. Doom
Spider-man
Professor X
Magneto...


Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:02:28
From: The Black Guardian

All I know is the last one [Magneto]: Judaism. Most of the rest are probably various denominations of Christian.


Date: 21 Oct 2004 15:19:09
From: Paul O'Brien

re: Professor X

Presumably Christian.

From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):

...By the way, Marvel apparently recognized early on that its original books had been too whitebread. All five of the original X-Men [Cyclops, Iceman, the Beast, Angel and Jean Grey/Marvel Girl] were WASPs ["White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"], but when they revived the book in the 1970's, the new team members (Havok, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Banshee and Sunfire) were WASP, German Catholic, African Pagan, Canadian, Native American, Irish Catholic, and Japanese, respectively...

posted by Asparagirl at 8:14 PM on February 5

From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):

Emerald Ghost
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM

Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.

I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.


StarsAndGarters
05-16-2005, 06:05 PM

Anybody know anything about Xavier's beliefs?


Archer
05-16-2005, 06:28 PM

I can't think of any references... [I think] the more faith people have in non-spiritual, non-religious ideals, the less faith they tend to have in religion (and vice versa). If that applies to Xavier, the fact that he has so much faith in his dream - even when it's been torn up and twisted - implies he wouldn't have much faith in any higher powers.

I could really see him as someone who has no real time for or interest in religion, instead being much more concerned with how people treat each other here and now, trying to help people here in this life as opposed to speculating about life after death. As he travelled a lot in his youth, he was probably exposed to a whole lot of different cultures, ideas, and religions - which might make him less inclined to believe that any one of them is the "one true" way.


The Lucky One
05-16-2005, 09:09 PM

re: "Anybody know anything about Xavier's beliefs?"

I'm 100% positive it's been referenced before, but for the life of me I can't remember where. From what I can recall, he's something of a lapsed deist who isn't sure what kind of higher power he currently believes in, if any.

From: "Superman as Christian Allegory? The religion of Comics" message board started 14 June 2006 on Military.com website (http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/672198221/m/8000028270001/p/2; viewed 20 June 2006):
BlindSword

For some reason, I can see Professor X as a Scientologist... err... I mean a harmless good ol' Christian.

From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):

01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?

Scott
Jean
Professor X
Magneto
Wolverine
Wanda
Lorna
Bobby
Pietro
Storm


ibrakeforchinwe
01-16-2007, 04:38 PM


Kitty - Jewish
Jean - Protestant
Magneto - Jewish
Xavier - Protestant
Bobby - Jewish
Wanda - Jewish
Pietro - Jewish
Lorna - Catholic?
Storm - No idea...
Wolverine - Protestant?
Emma - Catholic?
Sam - Baptist?
Angel - Protestant?
Banshee - Catholic?
Chamber - Anglican?
Scott and Alex - Protestant
Psylocke - Protestant or Anglican

AnthonyJ
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM

Most comic book characters are blandly nondenominational with a tendency towards being WASPs [i.e., "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"]. The only ones I would consider obviously practicing members of a faith are:

Kitty: Jewish
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Magneto: Jewish
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
Sam: Baptist
Kurt: Catholic

From: "How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?" forum discussion, started 20 May 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?p=3716053; viewed 24 May 2007):

05-20-2007, 06:23 AM
JoeZhang

How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?


05-20-2007, 06:34 AM
RedRonin

...I say Wolverine or Xavier. Both seem like they could be [atheists].

From: "Jewish Heroes or Villians in Marvel Universe?" forum discussion, started 12 December 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://www.xmenindex.com/forums/comicbooks/t-97146.html; viewed 31 May 2007):

furie
12-12-2005, 05:50 AM

Reading the " Black Panther thread" got me thinking. Are there any Jewish heroes or villians in the Marvel Universe?


Pike
12-12-2005, 01:51 PM

I always thought that both Magneto and Charles Xavier were Jewish. I thought it added some real character depth to Magneto as a character. If I saw my parents slaughtered by the Nazi's then I might be looking to wipe-out human kind as well...


StoneGold
12-12-2005, 03:27 PM

Chuck [i.e., Charles Xavier] ain't Jewish. But his crazy homicidal, occasionally dead son is.

From: "Which superhero would be the best Muslim?" forum discussion, started 17 January 2006 on the "Muslim Student Association: University of South Florida" website (http://www.msausf.org/MSAUSF/forums/467/ShowPost.aspx; viewed 4 June 2007):

01-17-2006, 9:00 AM
Kashif

Which superhero would be the best Muslim?

Salam. Me and Momodu were speaking to each other over some delicious baklava and coffee about which superhero would most likely be Muslim. I would say Batman is most likely to be a great Muslim because he practices great self-restraint when it comes to alcohol consumption, and fornication mashallah. Also, Batman does not eat pork because it slows him down in his nightly crusades against Joker and other foes. Also, he does not have time to backbite or gossip or engage in other forms of fitna because he is too busy cleaning the Batcave and changing the oil in the Batmobile. Thank You.

Momodu, on the other hand, says the Hulk would make an amazing Muslim because he always keeps his gaze lowered. Also, Momodu says the Hulk's purple pants somehow always manage to cover his a'ura, as in his body from his belly button down to his knees. Please dont be shy about showing your feelings. No one is here to judge you and all your postings are welcome.

P.S.
DC and Marvel superheroes are both welcome


01-31-2006, 3:20 PM
Mouhannad

Oh no, you did not go there. Wolverine was always angry for the right reasons, it's just Cyclops was a control freak and didn't want to lose the X-men to the obviously more influential member. And though Wolverine never really agreed with all of their expeditions, and wasn't always sure if he wanted to be a part of the next adventure, he conceeded to the wisdom of Professor Xavier. Finally, I think we all know where the X-men would be if Wolverine wasn't there. As for Jean... it was her fault she kept giving Wolverine hope while still claiming to belong to Cyclops. That is a no-no, and as a result the man is not fully responsible.

Anyways, Wolverine is a hardened dude whos been through a lot. you can't expect him to be a sissy hero who is so noble and shows great emotions and restraint. All in all, if I were an X-man I would want Wolverine to have my back.


02-06-2006, 11:10 AM
momodu

That is biggest load of bologna that I have ever read. First of all I think we all know that Wolverine was not a threat to Cyclops' position. If anyone was next in line to lead it would be storm since she is second in command. Second wolverine was always out for personal vengance especially when he fought Sabretooth. That doesn't seem like the right reason to be angry. I didn't want to have to go here but I guess I have no Choice. OK here goes. Wolverine liked to beat on women. Thats right I said it. He was constantly fighting Mystique hand to hand, and actually stabbed her a few times. He also got into a huge brawl with Lady Deathstrike who was once his fiance. And finally Jean did not throw herself at him. He was always chasing her but in the end he just didn't have what it took. Wolverine was a great hero, that's for sure. But could he be a great Muslim? I don't think so.


02-07-2006, 3:25 PM
Mouhannad

Momodu, i think the only 100% accurate source to rule over this is Marvel itself. And according to that amazing source Sabretooth is a vicious blood thirsty mutant who has always been threatened by Wolverine. Wolverine's pursuit of Sabretooth is nothing short of Xavier's pursuit of Magneto, except on a smaller scale. As a matter of fact, it is even less controversial considering the fact that it could (COULD) be argued that Magneto is not necessarily all evil. Wolverine is an invaluable part of the X-men and has probably sacrificed more then any of them in order to help the Professor's cause. As for his relationship with Jean, well I still hold to the fact that Jean leaves the door slightly ajar for the possibility of those two, as she can't seem to make up her mind. But regardless, we are not asking who would make the perfect Muslim, but a good Muslim. Who knows, with Jean as Phoenix maybe he will finally move on.


02-27-2006, 4:33 PM
Mouhannad

I agree with Kashif, Spiderman should have never been mentioned. Anyways, I think we have all neglected Professor Xavier. I mean the main problem with all these superheroes is the ladies (further proof that the world would be a better place if the women let men and male mutants take care of the important things). Anyways Xavier has that down so well that it hasn't even occured to me to think of that man with a woman. Yet it is very obvious, unlike Spiderman, that Xavier is not gay. Not only is Xavier immune to the charm of the ladies, but hes also got everything else. He is a noble leader, who fights for the good of everyone INCLUDING HIS FREAKING OPPONENTS. He also observes everday Islamic conduct like an Islamic haircut, and the fact that he never eats while standing up. I could sit here and list a million things about how good a Muslim he would be, but instead I ask, no I challenge you all to find something that would prevent him from being such a good Muslim.


03-01-2006, 12:11 PM
momodu

...Spiderman would not make a good Muslim, but that has nothing to do with being gay. In fact its just the opposite. He can't control himself around women. Now the professor is alright but I think Magneto would be a much better choice. He is constantly going out of his way to establish a state for his people. Unlike the professor he is very decisive. He looks out for is people when they are being persecuted and defends them with forceful action. This guy would make a great Muslim and leader.

From: Clark Goble, "Unpractical Ethics: Superheroes", posted 11 October 2005 on "Millenial Star" website [which comments on topics relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] (http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2005/10/11/unpractical_ethics_superheros; viewed 5 June 2007):

Even as comics have sort of become marginalized again, superheroes have experienced a renaissance the last five years or so. It seems every year brings two or three big budgeted superhero films. Admittedly most aren't terribly good. But while I've not read comics for quite some time, I do enjoy the Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman pictures. I have to confess I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming rebirth of Superman by X-Men's Bryan Singer. (And dreading Brett Ratner taking over X-Men). Anyway, I thought for a change of pace rather than doing a "practical ethics" I'd do the opposite. The most unpractical ethics of all: analyzing superheroes.

Now I know at least one person is preparing a post on an other blog taking exception to some of my views. And I'll further confess that with a few exceptions while reading graphic novels at Borders, I've really not read comics since the early 80's when I was a kid. Since comics are re-invented a lot, things may have changed. But here's my views...

Batman. He's the ultimate vigilante. Yeah there are competitors with typically less savory moral backbone. (Think the Punisher who is sort of the ultimate revenge fantasy - quite out of step with our theology of forgiveness) How would Batman be viewed by God though? Yeah, he tries to save even the villains and (at least in the comics) as often as not pays for their treatment and perhaps ultimate rehabilitation. Although one can't help but wonder whether this is worth it when they keep escaping and reaping havoc.

But what about that whole vigilante mindset? Can it be reconciled to a "justice is mine, saith the Lord?" What about our recognition of working within the system. Yet, at the same time, the fictional city of Gotham is as often as not portrayed as corrupt and crime ridden. Not unlike the Nephites at the time of Mormon and Moroni. While watching the film this summer which appeared to take cues from Chicago and its crime in the 20's and 30's, I thought the modern equivalent would be a place like Mexico City and not any US city. How does one respond to government when it is corrupt? Do we withdrawal after proclaiming warnings, ala the prophets at the time of Lehi and Jerimiah? Or do we get involved and fix it up. Could Batman's actions be justified? (Ignoring the many practical problems of a successful Batman)

X-Men. These guys always remind me of the Mormons in Missouri. Persecuted because they are different, yet not afraid to take matters into their own hands. Who is Magneto? Is it the Danites? Porter Rockwell? Lots of interesting parallels in our own history to the moral conundrums found both in the films and in the comics. To what degree must we be both in the world yet not of the world. The difference between X-Men and Superman is that where Superman is respected by the world, the X-Men are feared, distrusted, and ultimately the government works against them.


[Reader Comments:]

Comment from: DKL

I see Spiderman as the ultimate Mormon. By definition, there can only ever be one Superman (and good call on Astro City, Ivan; I think that Busiek's Samaritan is actually the best Superman story told--Frank Miller's Superman story is a Batman story with Superman as a guest star). Spiderman represents all of us. He's the underdog that is always in over his head. Even if we can't swing from building to building, we can all make a difference the way that Spiderman does. Not only that, but Spiderman sets an example (let's his light so shine...) while Peter Parker remains anonymous (waiting for his reward in the hereafter).

Batman is the most extreme super hero. Being a super hero requires one to be a vigilante in some sense, and therefore to assume a moral authority in one's own right outside of the authority structures of society and culture. Batman, therefore, is Joseph Smith with a family fortune.

As far as the X-Men, I've only read it sporadically. I think that the Danites is a good comparison.

Ivan, I disagree with your reading of Moore's The Watchmen. Superheroes everywhere live out the fantasies of mere mortals. In The Watchmen, Moore just picks fantasies that are more realistic (and less ideal) than comic book writers had hitherto chosen. I believe that your right about League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where Moore makes mere mortals out of heroes. I believe that this represents the thematic continuity between the The Watchmen and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

10/11/05 - 19:09


Comment from: danithew - http://blogdiss.weblogs.us

As far as adjectives go, Mormons are most like the X-Men. The X-Men are "uncanny" while Mormons are "a peculiar people."

10/11/05 - 23:18


Comment from: Ivan Wolfe - http://inmediasrays.blogspot.com/

re: Batman, therefore, is Joseph Smith with a family fortune.

and the inability to attract or keep any real followers (the man is on his fourth or fifth Robin - they all get sick of him and leave or die. He's on the outs with Comissioner Gordon, Batgirl currently hates his guts, etc. etc.) He's also much more of a loner than JS. The parallels are forced - and the few parallels there are apply to nearly any hero (even the Punisher).

No, the superhero most like Joe Smith is (wait for it....)

Dr. Strange. (just kidding)

really, it's Charles Xavier (Professor X).

Of course, I don't read many X-Men related comics. I don't find them all that interesting. My knowledge of Wolverine comes from his team-ups with Ghost Rider (my favorite character).

10/11/05 - 23:51

From: "Super Hero Religions" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on "RonFez.net" website, home of the Ron & Fez radio show (http://www.ronfez.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-50765.html; viewed 11 June 2007):

booster11373
06-15-2006, 02:10 PM

Ron and Fez did an awesome bit on this years ago... Popular Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith...


kdubya
06-15-2006, 03:10 PM

What about Green Arrow? I would say an atheist, but wasn't he brought back form hell or something? So maybe not.

I would also say Mr. Fantastic is an atheist because of the scientist thing.

Cyclops is a good red-blooded Protestant boy.

Prof X, Buddhist, just because of the hair-do.

Guy Gardner, former Catholic.

Booster Gold, Scientologist.

Yorick Brown, Agnostic.


Coach
06-16-2006, 01:27 AM

I am pretty sure he [Magneto] was a Jew, (he was just out of an extermination camp when Xavier met him) and married a gypsy "witch." Scarlet Witch not only is a mutant but has magical abilities, as does Quicksilver, although they were latent in him... I seem to recall a comic which recounts the twins being sent to safety by a half-cow/half-human nanny. (P.S. Xavier is a W.A.S.P. [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant]).

From: "Religions of super heroes" forum discussion page started 14 August 2006 on "Wizard Universe" website (http://wizarduniverse.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1595.html; viewed 20 June 2007):

BigEvil
Aug 14 2006, 09:39 PM

There sure are a lot of Catholic superheroes. I love how they got Batman pegged... But Professor X just gets "religious" as his. But for the most part I could see these at right. Something I never really cared about before was who my heroes prayed to, but I guess its something to think about.


hrdwrkngXsoldier
Aug 15 2006, 10:37 AM

They probably listed him [Professor Charles Xavier] that way because he can analyze everybody else's beliefs and become truly ZEN, but that is a state of mind, not a religion.

From: "Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers: O Deadly Night" forum discussion, started 2 December 2003 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-6949.html; viewed 28 June 2007):

ramberk
12-04-2003, 05:27 AM

Another... equally sappy-holiday-esque story is Uncanny X-Men #308 and #309. In 308, the X-Men have a good old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of character-driven scenes with Scott and Jean deciding to get married and Xavier showing some signs of jealousy over their happiness. Meanwhile you also get a friendly football game. Issue 309 has nothing holiday related to it but Xavier sort of has an imaginary conversation with Magneto -- guess he was feeling guilty about mindwiping him and showing his regrets for trying to also manipulate Ameila Voight in his youth. Character driven stuff. Always poignant and sad...

From: "Religious Super Heroes PC or otherwise" forum discussion, started 17 September 2003 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-8036.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

Hermit
Sep 17th, '03, 09:38 PM

Another thread got me to thinking a bit about religious super heroes. They do occur in comic books. Some it barely gets mentioned, some few are quite devout in their faith...

How much or little does your typical super human in your campaign (or game if you are a player) let his/her faith affect his/her life especially AS a super hero?


McCoy
Sep 18th, '03, 07:40 AM

Should also mention that my games take place in an alternate Marvel universe, one player did worship Apocalypse as a god, another was a time traveler (and Magneto's great-great-granddaughter) who had a religion founded by Sam Guthre worshiping Professor X, Magneto, Cable and Apocalypse.

From: "What is Professor X's Religion?" forum discussion, started 21 July 2007 on Yahoo Groups website (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ux-fans/message/6980; viewed 11 August 2007):

Steven / steviemort45
Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:24 am

Reading X-titles over the years religion has played a big part in many of the characters lives, Nightcrawler is very dedicated to Catholicism. A big part of Kitty is her faith in Judaism. Storm was worshipped as a godess. But one character who faith has never been explored (to my knowledge) is Professor Xavier's. Is he Catholic, Jewish, or is he an atheist?

Opinions?


Darren Duncan
Jul 21, 2007 6:41 am

...Charles Xavier, I haven't seen conclusive proof one way or another. However, I strongly suspect he is an athiest. Or perhaps there is indirect evidence for this by just that he hasn't been seen doing anything pertaining to a deity, that I recall.


Daniela de DPX Comics / dpxcomics
Jul 21, 2007 2:08 pm


I think the Professor believes in God but doesn't per se adhere to any denomination in particular.

This site contains interesting information on comic superheroes and their religion:
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

And this is the bit that talks about the Prof according to references in the comics:
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/ProfessorX.html


Duane / dualind
Jul 21, 2007 2:18 pm

I understand that he [Professor X] is Jewish. But I can't tell you where I got that from.

The second article is very well researched and kind of interesting to read...


baldurthebrave / scottsummers
Jul 21, 2007 10:16 pm

Read the early books.... Xavier is a Protestant Christian but I can't remember what denomination.


Daniela de DPX Comics / dpxcomics
Jul 23, 2007 4:25 pm

If anyone can point out a specific reference to Xavier's religion, please do so.


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