My Photo


  • Michael Moorcock
    "a genuine philosophy for the 21st century"
  • Mary Midgley
    "this matters - read it!"
  • Kendall Walton
    "wonderfully refreshing and inventive"


Game Design

Blog powered by Typepad

« Can There Be An Impressionist Game? (ihobo) | Main | How Do You Know Who You Are? »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

An excellent synopsis there - Well Done! Though the i-Magi-Nation (link via my ID below) has a somewhat different view of daleks than your own ... ;)

Thanks for the link - that's the weirdest, trippiest piece of Dalek musing I've seen. :)

have you seen torchwooD spin off? There is so much religion stomping in there and a large lack of morals but one thing they continue to say is "there is nothing just dark" in reference to death. I'm not sure if it was in doctor who or torchwood that he said but jack is quoted "I died once. It's dark it's nothing" or something similar. This makes me worry about the direction of the new series because in planet of the dead the woman with the telepathy says something will return from the dark which makes me wonder if the writers aren't going to take the torchwood approach which made me stop watching torchwood for the huge lack of any moral fiber whatsoever. Anyway just thought I'd point that out.

GKE: Yes, I know what you mean about Torchwood - the opening scene was a blatant metaphysical attack (seriously, people who are clinically dead are non-conscious - they do not come back from this state and bemoan that there's nothing after death!) and it went on in that vein. I stopped watching, however, because it had the format of a police procedural, and for me this makes for seriously tedious television! :)

There's an undercurrent of anti-religious bigotry in the UK right now; from the newspapers outwards, it manifests either as hostility towards religion itself or towards countries where religion is still an important part of culture, such as the US or Iran. It is arguably the only form of bigotry that is widely practised here.

Next year, the reigns of the show pass from Davies (the most rampantly anti-religious showrunner of all time?) to Moffat so I believe we will get a new direction, one that is less overtly anti-religious I am hoping.

Thanks for your comment!

There was always a nod and a wink toward anti religion in the first three series. Most of it was ambiguous and could be still said that they were not officially making a stand one way or another. The Doctor having to rethink his understanding of the devil etc.

But the atheist agenda was never more apparent than in the episode, "The Doctor's Daughter."

In the episode the Doctor after hearing the religion of the cloning humans says, "Ah just a Creation myth." then later in the cell explains to his new daughter that her beliefs are made up.

This stung. As a believer, there was no way to rectify their stance and say, "they hint, but never come out with it one way or another."

They drew the line in the sand in that episode.

What confuses me is that David Tennant was raised by a preacher and claims to be a "committed Christian." How does he justify going along with these scripts and blatant disregard for his father's life work and his own claimed beliefs?

It is a shame that Davies never took after England's greatest scholar C.S. Lewis. Because as Mr. Lewis points out in "Mere Christianity." Morality only works with a perfect creator. So the Doctor has this Moral code based on what? If there is no God... What standard makes the Doctor's way of life any better than the dalek's? Without absolutes you have moral relativism. What is good for one is not good for another. Who is to say then that rape and genocide is wrong? At the end of the day... The moral high grounders and the immoral dregs of society share the same fate. Get away with what you can when you can...because when you die...there is nothing. The child molester and mother Theresa will both end up in the same dark place void of anything. Eat drink and be merrry...for tomorrow we die.

Paul: By "first three series", you mean of course the first three series of the new show - not the William Hartnell shows. ;)

"What confuses me is that David Tennant was raised by a preacher and claims to be a 'committed Christian.' How does he justify going along with these scripts and blatant disregard for his father's life work and his own claimed beliefs?"

Well I must say I had not heard Tennant say that he was a Christian, so this is a surprise, but as I say in this piece the new Doctor Who can be enjoyed by a Christian audience because the morality on display is essentially Christian. It is only in the metaphysics that there is a disconnect - and many people consider the metaphysical issues to be secondary to the ethical issues.

I don't know Tennant's position in this regard - you'd have to ask him - but there are a couple of points worth noting.

Firstly, as an actor, he may feel obligated to go along with the script since his character is not himself. Tennant's Doctor is actually less tolerant than many of the earlier incarnations (this might be Russell expressing himself through his Doctors) and it is perhaps in character for him to attack a creation myth.

Furthermore, there is no reason one could not be a committed Christian and still not have a problem attacking a naive commitment to creation myths taken literally. Many Christians see Genesis 1 as a theological account, not a literal account, and as such it is effused with mythological themes. This doesn't mean that "it is false that God created the universe" - if one follows from the work of, say, Joseph Campbell one may see myths as powerful stories intended to gesture at deeper truths. The deeper truth of Genesis 1 to the Christian is that God is the source of all existence; one may believe in the creation story as a myth and still be a Christian; that parts of the Bible are theological or metaphorical (e.g. parables) does not undermine Jesus' ministry; for some people, it enhances it.

Thanks for your comment!

Does anyone know what Steven Moffat's personal belief is? His episodes seem to have tons of religious metaphors. Angels, clerics, faith, ressurection, following a bright light that leads to your own non existence....i'd say there's another artical to be written on his writing now as well!

MrMondas: Moffat hasn't made any public expression of belief, so I would suggest considering him an agnostic or religious non-participant. Certainly more neutral on religious issues than Davies (but then, who isn't!).

A sequel to this Religion in Science Fiction serial begins in 2011 - hope you'll come along for the ride!

Brilliant analysis, Chris. I also enjoyed your comparison of Davies and Moffat as principal scriptwriters.

Having just rewatched 'Gridlock' I noted something - the anti-religious aspect is most notable when The Doctor questions the motorists' faith in help coming from above ('what if there is nobody?'). I suspect a lot of religious people like the episode because it shows help coming from above, instead of the humans working something out for themselves (as in 'The Long Game' and most of the Moffat stories). Not only that, but it shows help coming from what was already above (the Face of Boe and Novice Hame) and someone who came in from far off (The Doctor).

Certainly the episode points toward much of the not-even-thinly disguised anti-religious matter of Who under Moffat's control (note the portrayal of homosexual 'marriage' as normalised, for instance), but Davies was less aggressive against religion in that he recognised that The Doctor works as a character because he is God-like. 'Gridlock' questions faith, but doesn't write it off wholesale as episodes like 'The God Complex' do. The Doctor comes off as a god of New New York because he solves the problem instead of resorting to the constant 'you have to sort it out yourself' endings of Moffat's writing.

Alfred: thanks for your comment! I have to admit, I half-hoped that after Davies stepped down the show would take a more positive stance on religion. But no, Moffat was willing to continue to push on Davies trajectory... Alas, the prejudice in the regenerated show reflects a wider prejudice against religion in the UK at the moment.

All the best!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)