in reflection

The simplistic theology in Daredevil

Daredevil Fan Art Image

Image courtesy of Jamie Castro from Devian Art

The new season of Daredevil is out on Netflix and of course, my superhero fandom cannot allow me to stay away.  If you follow this show and have not yet watched the newest season, don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.  This post is primarily about a theme that it looks like this season is exploring – and I wanted to comment on a few things I noticed.
When we start the season, Matt Murdoch, Daredevil’s alter ego, is struggling with the events that ended the previous season; events which caused him to doubt himself and his ability to fulfill his ‘calling’ as a superhero.  The lens through which he works through this struggle is his relationship with God.
He focuses on a few questions that have been asked universally over the ages by people from all walks of life:


  • Is God mad at me?
  • Does God speak to me?
  • Does God care about me?
  • Does God even matter?
These are all powerful soul-searching questions that we all have every right to ask. I am very pleased that the show is exploring this as a theme because it is an important discussion.
Where I think the show (or maybe just Matt) becomes simplistic about these questions about God is to frame them as an examination of whether or not God answers prayer.
The argument goes something like this:


  • God’s job is to answer prayer and help those who are in need
  • I see so much suffering and unanswered prayer, so God is either not doing His job or doesn’t care
  • In addition, I have never heard God speak to me, therefore I don’t think He speaks to people
  • Therefore, I don’t think He answers prayers
  • Therefore I don’t think He cares about me
  • Therefore I don’t care about Him
  • Therefore He doesn’t matter
  • Therefore I will do whatever I want (Matt puts it like this: “Not even God can stop me!.”)
The problem with the conclusion stems from the initial premise about who God is and what He is ‘supposed’ to do – about His ‘job’.  This misunderstanding about the purpose of prayer mischaracterizes the way in which prayer is actually illustrated and modeled in the Bible.
If I see God as a ‘vending machine’ that takes my prayers as the coins, then it’s easy to see how I would expect Him to do His part and give me my Doritos.
But, if I see prayer for what it actually is – a conversation through which I build and strengthen a relationship – I have a very different conclusion when I connect God’s answers to what I see around me.
Consider your own reaction to this post. I have a wide variety of beliefs represented in my relationships so I know that you could fall into one or more of the categories below:
  1. You believe God does not exist: you will probably see this post from a lens of anywhere from skepticism to outright annoyance. That’s okay, let’s just continue the conversation and allow me to present the case over time.
  2. You believe that some ‘higher being’ exists’, but he or she is not ‘knowable’: in your case, there is no need for prayer, because this higher power exists apart from us and we plot our own way. If this is you, I would love to continue the dialog with you too because there is indeed a mountain of evidence that says the contrary.
  3. You believe that it doesn’t matter whether or not God exists because it’s just a crutch for dealing with the reality of life: I am especially happy you are here because you are in the same place as Matt Murdoch on this and I hope I piqued your curiosity to learn more.
  4. You believe that faith is a very personal thing that we should not discuss in polite company and trying to force people into one way of thinking is wrong: This might surprise you but, I absolutely agree with you. I do not believe it is my, or anybody else’s job to ‘convert’ you. I do however believe in two things: two propositions that oppose each other cannot both be true (i.e. truth is mutually exclusive) and the art of civil discussion, even in the face of disagreement, is dying, and I have a burning desire to revive it. This post, and some of my future ones are my contribution to this dialog.
So, if you enjoyed reading, look out for my future musings. I cannot promise a consistent schedule, but I can promise consistent reasoning.
And if you have thoughts, questions, or comments – feel free to jump in. I only ask that you be respectful to others as you would want them to respect you.