THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Faith and Salvation | FCC 69

In The Dark Knight Rises, the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman has to develop a childlike faith in order to escape the Lazarus Pit. Selina Kyle/Catwoman needs the Clean Slate for salvation, and Batman can provide it. In this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast, we discuss these and many more Christian themes.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:04:10 The Dark Knight Rises Discussion 
  • 01:07:20 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 01:17:00 – Reel News
  • 01:22:25 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:28:30 – Upcoming

Batman’s Childlike Faith

The villain Bane has placed Bruce Wayne in the Lazarus Pit, a giant hole in the ground that serves as a prison for some pretty raunchy criminals. Those detained in the place are free to go only if they can climb out, but so far, no one has been able to make the climb. No one, that is, except for a little child (we find out who that child is later in the film, but no spoilers).

After his back heals, Bruce tries to make the climb but fails. He then returns to his cell and begins training and strengthening his body with the hopes of becoming strong enough to make a successful jump; unfortunately, that training does him no good as he fails the second jump.

The doctor in the adjacent cell questions Bruce’s fear, and Bruce affirms that he is not afraid of jumping. The doctor then retorts that Bruce should be afraid; he calls the fear of death the most powerful instinct of the spirit, and if Bruce really had it, he would be able to complete the jump…like the child, without the rope.

This image from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES shows Tom Hardy as Bane.

This concept of jumping without a rope to catch you perfectly illustrates how God wants us to follow Him. By clinging to a safety rope, we express that we don’t have full faith in God and that we feel more secure with something else to catch us. It isn’t until we learn to let go of that rope and let God catch us like He said he would that we will be able to complete any leap of faith.

Jesus says it perfectly (like He is wont to do) in Luke 18:16-17, but for this segment’s key text, I’ll bring up the Psalmist’s thoughts:

The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me. (Psalm 116:6 NLT)

Selina Kyle’s Salvation

Selina Kyle is another dynamic character in The Dark Knight Rises, and it could be argued that her dynamism weighs slightly more than Bruce’s own change. She goes from running away from the offer of salvation to fully embracing, and her transformation is as epic as you can imagine.

After a life of crime, Selina has gotten in deep with the wrong people, so she is on the prowl for the Clean Slate. This concept of one’s personal history being completely erased so that one may start new in life is so attractive to Selina that she’ll do anything to obtain, including turning Batman over to Bane.

Little does she know that she cannot get this Clean Slate from anywhere else except from Bruce Wayne. The very person who can save her is the one she hands over to die (let that sink in). And even when Wayne comes back to Gotham and holds out the Clean Slate for her to see, Selina is reluctant to take it. Thankfully, she does, and even more thankfully so, she gets back in on the action.

This image from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES shows Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle with the pearl necklace.

Jesus also offers that Clean Slate, and like Bruce Wayne, he gives it away for free. It reflects how God has already given us…or at least offered…our own Clean Slates and how it’s up to us to take it and thus become able to point others to the One who first saved so that they, too, may be saved.

But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT)

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a way to use good stories to soften people's hearts.
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  • Philip Heard

    First off, I have to say that any listeners not reading Brenden’s articles that accompany each episode are missing out big time! I have taken to reading them to my wife and son in one of the days following us watching a film that FCC covers as a family devotional. My wife is quite impressed with Brenden’s writing, as am I.

    Upon re-watching this trilogy, I’ve changed my favorite from Batman Begins to The Dark Knight Rises, it’s got a very satisfying conclusion, with some things to ponder and hope for the future of the characters. That quote at the end from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most beautiful in all of literature, and even more so when you know it’s full context. Any lover of stories who has never read it owes it to their self to read that classic at least once in their lifetime, or listen to the audio book as I did.

    One thing I get from The Dark Knight Rises is Officer Blake’s promotion to Detective by Commissioner Gordon, and how it is kind of like Jesus calling a disciple. Gordon tells Blake now that he is a detective, he is no longer allowed to believe in coincidence. I think back to when I became a Christian in my mid 20’s and how words like “luck” and “coincidence” lost much of their meaning. A healthy understanding of God’s providence causes me to look at such things very differently now.

    1 Chronicles 29:11(NKJV) Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.

    Another observation is the contrast between Alfred and Miranda in relationship to Bruce. Alfred felt Bruce was making a mistake in taking on the Batman persona again, so he told him in an open, blunt, yet loving way how he disagreed. Miranda sweetened up to him, and we know how that turned out, right?

    Proverbs 27:5-6(NKJV) Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

    Great work with the Dark Knight Trilogy guys, I’m looking forward to Episode 70. Love the show! #muhweeladgimli

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