THE DARK KNIGHT: Empathy and the Watchman | FCC 63

“Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” Everyone asks it, but most people may not have a good answer if they even have an answer at all. In this episode, we use The Dark Knight to better understand the answer to this faith-defining (and sometimes faith-defying) question. 

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

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:03:50 The Dark Knight Discussion
  • 01:23:25 – Reel News
  • 01:37:15 – Listener Feedback and Challenge
  • 01:46:00 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:50:15 – Lightning Round
  • 02:04:35 – Upcoming

Where Is The Dark Knight When It Hurts?

The Joker has pulled off one of his finest deceptions: he has made the citizens of Gotham City believe that the Batman is responsible for all the death and destruction that has befallen them. He has challenged the Batman to remove his mask and has threatened to kill at least one person a day until he does so.

And the Joker is a man of his word: he is ultimately responsible for the deaths of Judge Surrilo, Commissioner Loeb, and most unfortunately Rachel Dawes. He even attempts to assassinate the Mayor, but Lieutenant Gordon takes that bullet.

The Joker has effectively sleighted the blood of these good people from his own hands to the Batman’s own hands, and the people of Gotham want the Batman to answer for the crimes they know he didn’t technically commit.

This image from THE DARK KNIGHT shows Batman standing in a building that has burned down.

The Batman, however, is not so far away from the pain as the Gothamites have been duped into believing; instead, he is right there hurting with them through the entire process.

Sure, he could stop the Joker by killing him, but that would be against his nature. And he could also take off his mask, but that would defeat his purpose further still. So Batman makes the choice that no one else can (or would even be able to) make: endure.

In like manner, God hurts with us whenever we hurt, and God has shown us how to endure when we don’t think we can. God could most definitely stop the evil and pain and suffering in the world by force, but to do so would be contrary to his loving nature. Instead, he has shown us that the way to overcome evil with good is with humble submission and not proud dominance.

Just as the Batman is close enough to the rubble of the building that just blew up with his beloved inside of it, God is close enough to us to catch our tears and put them in his bottle.

Key Text: Psalm 56:8

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

He’s Being The Watchman On The Wall

In the Old Testament, whenever God brought any type of disciplinary action on his people, he would always set a watchman on the wall of the city so as to warn people of the wrath that was to come. If the watchman did his job, the blood of the unrepentant city would not be on his hands, but if he did not do his job, that blood would be on his hands.

The Batman is that type of watchman in that he stands guard over the city and watches over it. Even though he hurts with the city and is despised by its inhabitants, he is still driven to protect it and them to the best of his ability. (You know, working out Gotham’s salvation through fear and trembling and all that jazz.)

This image from THE DARK KNIGHT shows Batman watching Gotham City.

But the Batman isn’t just a watchman because a watchman would not willfully take on the burden of his city’s sin. In this, the Batman emerges more as a Christ-figure in that he does take that sin and shame upon his own shoulders. He tells the revived Commissioner Gordon to chase him and condemn him because he isn’t the hero that Gotham deserves but the hero that Gotham needs.

Similarly, we do not deserve anything God has given us including his own Son; however God, in His infinite mercy, gives us what we need to come back home to Him on the condition that we accept His invitation.

Key Text: 1 Peter 2:24

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

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 good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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