DOCTOR STRANGE: It’s Not About You | FCC 132

In Marvel Studios’ latest film DOCTOR STRANGE, Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a selfish, arrogant, and egocentric man who learns that he can only be great if he uses his talents and gifts to save other people. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.

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

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap 
  • 00:02:59 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:17:09 – Christian Themes in DOCTOR STRANGE
  • 00:51:16 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 00:52:57 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 00:53:42 – Upcoming

Doctor Strange and His Pride

Dr. Stephen Strange is a selfish and conceited man. He only invites his girlfriend Christine to accompany him to public engagement to make himself look better. He obliterates any confidence that his coworkers may have in their livelihood. Even when he first approaches the Ancient One for help, he only does so to heal himself and move on with his life as it was before the debilitating crash.

It is my (Brenden’s) contention that the moment that finally shakes Stephen’s world(view) is the moment when the Ancient One, as she is dying, tells him, “It’s not about you.” In this moment, Stephen finally begins to understand what is required when having his kind of power. It’s a small seed that grows throughout the rest of the film’s resolution, but it’s a powerful one.

This image from DOCTOR STRANGE shows Benedict Cumberbatch with the red cape.

Because Stephen then sees others as more important than himself, he is then free and able to carry out the mission set before him. He places himself between Dormammu and the rest of the multiverse, and he does this only because he is no longer the center of his own, small universe. He now understands that the real world is so much bigger than the space between his ears.

In his letter to the church in Colosse, Paul writes that he is “glad” to be able to serve that church body at the expense of his own physical health. Doctor Strange exemplifies this sentiment as he traps Dormammu into a time loop that can only be broken if Dormammu concedes to leaving Earth alone. That is how Doctor Strange keeps the darkness at bay – by unselfishly placing himself between the accuser and the accused – and that is how we as Christians can save each other and the rest of the world.

The Ancient One, Mordo, and Intentionally Making Disciples

Stephen may not have learned that lesson, however, if the Ancient One and Mordo had not agreed to train him. Upset by his pride, the Ancient One initially rejected Stephen’s request. It wasn’t until after Mordo advocated Stephen that the Ancient One finally let him join the team. Thankfully, the Ancient One and Mordo develop a relationship with Stephen and are later able to speak truth to him because of that relationship.

This image from DOCTOR STRANGE shows Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One pushing Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange out of his body.

They are only able to point out his fatal flaw and speak truth to him because of their relationship with Stephen. Unfortunately, Mordo falls from the path later on, but his tutelage still counts. Mordo welcomes Stephen by giving him the WiFi password – a nontraditional way of saying, “Hey, you’re one of us now.” The Ancient disciplines, spars, and wrestles with Stephen only to make him stronger. It is only after this kind of groundwork has been done that the Ancient One is able to call out Stephen on his sinful pride.

As Christians, we are called to not just be disciples but to make disciples. Making disciples means having a relationship first. Jesus had his inner circle and poured into them as much as he could, and they soaked up as much as they could. The Ancient One and Mordo poured into Stephen, and while he may not have gotten everything at first (who ever can?), he still eventually got it. So should it be with the Church.

Key Texts for Doctor Strange

Let these passages be your guide as you watch DOCTOR STRANGE with your friends and loved ones.

Colossians 1:24 NLT

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.

Ephesians 4:21-22 NLT

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.


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 a graduate student pursuing his Master in Theatre Arts degree with Regent University. He is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. You can find him live-tweeting his favorite movies on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever or posting poetry and unsolicited opinions at thebookofbrenden.com
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  • Philip Heard

    Hey guys, Doctor Strange was a pleasant surprise in that it had so many Christian themes going on. On the surface, perhaps a film about a sorcerer played by a Buddhist actor would lead you to think otherwise. But director Scott Derrickson did a great job of storytelling that explores some profound universal truths, and there is only one truth, after all. Here’s a link to Relevant magazine’s web site of an interview with Derrickson discussing the film and his faith. http://bit.ly/2mzBCEx

    The one thing that stood out to me most is the futility of a strict materialist world view, and how it is so inconsistent with living a life with any significant meaning. Stephen Strange’s own professed beliefs at the beginning of the film made his life’s work ultimately meaningless if all there is to this existence is atoms and matter, and no supernatural or eternal aspects. What would it matter if he was the world’s most renowned neurosurgeon if he was simply a chunk of atoms operating on other chunks of atoms with no eternal value?

    Great work, love the show guys! #muhweeladgimli

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