Choosing the Doctor

I like Doctor Who for many reasons; it’s one of the most creative “ideas” out there (a space and time traveling time lord?), it’s always got a fresh new angle, it replaces its entire cast on a regular basis to keep things interesting, and… as a believer, the parallels between the Doctor and elements of my beliefs come up regularly.

I’ve been debating faith, and what drives us to choose faith, of late, perhaps due to the Easter season, when inevitably our thoughts turn toward Christ (or Canterbury Easter Eggs, whichever we crave more), and it occurred to me, it’s a bit like choosing the Doctor. He’s not really partial to his companions, except he always wants to have one, and he usually takes whomever takes an interest in him in return. Like he said in the newest episode, we spend our entire lives looking for someone who is looking for us back. But, one thing is for certain – the Doctor’s companions are never the same, for having known him. Some of them become bolder, others become more careful, and some of them even never come back… they get stuck somewhere, or die, but they still chose to go on the adventure.

There are no promises with the Doctor that you’ll be okay, or safe, or that where he’ll take you will even be “good.” More often than not, the companions wind up in the middle of a danger zone, caught up in an adventure. The Doctor is always beside them. He may not always be able to SAVE them, but he’s there. And often, after a taste of a first adventure, the companion wants more. They have seen that more exists than the reality around them, more is out there than they thought possible, and they hunger for it, so they either invite themselves along (like Donna) or wait to be asked to come with me.

Jesus and his disciples were the same way; once they knew him, the disciples were never the same. Some changed enormously (Peter ran away, and somehow, whatever he experienced around Christ changed him so much, many believe he was martyred for his faith – he stopped running; Paul persecuted believers, and then died as one of them); others encountered Christ and walked away disturbed, but unwilling to commit (the “rich man”). Some, like Pilate, sneered at the idea that truth even exists in a relative reality (“what is truth?”). Jesus was never what they expected, and not even what they necessarily wanted; he rose up amid a Roman occupation, and started preaching sermons not only about love and forgiveness, but that used terminology Rome preferred to use for itself (Rome called itself “the light,” thus even his pronouncement for others to be “a light unto the world” was a subtle dig at Roman religious authority, and the deities of the Caesars). The Jews wanted a messiah armed with a sword, to lead them in a bloody uprising against Rome, and got a pacifistic preacher who told them to care for their enemies.

Jesus chose those who responded to his call; who took an interest in him. And some of them never came back. Christians in former generations expected less earthly rewards than modern believers, perhaps because they were more rooted in a reality where people die, you experience loss, you go through tremendous pain, and still keep your faith. Christians have died in Roman arenas, in prison cells, in torture rooms, been burned alive, boiled in oil, beheaded, crucified, torn apart, gassed, and persecuted throughout the earth. Jesus said following him would likely mean persecution and death. And many may have held on, out of hope for something better in the next world.

But what if this world is all there is? What if there is no next world?

Would you still go on an adventure with Jesus? If you thought this was all there is, that being “good” here would not earn you rewards in heaven, that you would receive nothing when you breathed your last breath, having lived as Christ taught you to live, with forgiveness in your heart and mercy in your outstretched hands, that there is no heaven or hell, would that be enough to still make you choose Christ? Or do you pursue the ultimate reward, rather than the rewards of living as Christ lived in this life?

Sometimes, I think that’s the hardest question a believer must face, and the greatest challenge of faith: if you thought this was all you get, that your good behavior earns you nothing, that you are not winning bonus points with God by living as close as you can to the teachings of a messiah who lived thousands of years ago, and your only reward is self-betterment and greater compassion, mercy, and love for other human beings, often at great personal cost… would you still choose to follow Christ?

Would you still go with the Doctor?

5 Replies to “Choosing the Doctor”

  1. I have sometimes thought in a way the Doctor imitated Christ. When he gives his speeches about how he will protect Earth no matter the cost to him, that seemed very servant like and sacrificial to me.

    Your other question…what if this life was all that there was? I want to say that I’d still believe because what attracts me to Jesus is that God loved us first. He chose us first when He decided to create us in the first place, again when He decided to start over with Noah’s family, when He decided to send Jesus to die for us…

    The idea that God loved us first has always been very attractive to me and just seems lovely. I find God’s love hard to resist. God created us for himself so that means even in that scenario we wouldn’t find fulfillment without him.

    I’ve also found that while I do enjoy materialistic delights, they don’t last. Their enjoyment is short-term. I want something deeper that can’t be taken away from me by a job, by governments, or by people. To me the answer is God.

    If I should ever be persecuted (highly unlikely in a first world country where many people believe in Christ) then I would hope he would give me the courage to deal with it. The truth is that everyone who followed Christ throughout the ages, has had to give up something in order to follow Him.

    Even now we still have to give up something to follow Him. Even in a first world country like the U.S. Christ expects us to deny ourselves and take up our cross. That’s still giving up “something” to follow Him.

    I find Jesus fascinating and complex, He’s not exactly what one would expect from a deity. Yea so Jesus isn’t safe, but isn’t safe, kinda boring and way too predictable?

    1. The Doctor does indeed have many unconscious scriptural parallels — the alien among us, the sacrificial force of good who can also pass harsh judgment, etc.

      Persecution seems to, if anything, cause the Church to expand rather than shrink, perhaps because if people face that moment, all else becomes superficial; they may come to a greater understanding of God, through being forced to trust in no one EXCEPT Him?

      Jesus is what no one expected, and if through Him, you have seen the Father… does that mean God is what no one expects, also?

      1. Probably…you would think that God the Father wouldn’t have started over with Noah and his family. Or you would have expected Him to start a new universe, with a new Earth, New Eden and new humans, and not put anything in the new Eden to tempt them with.

        Or you would expect God to “settle” for angels and animals. They seem less troublesome than humans with freedom. We could also have expected God to be as petty as the Greek gods like Zeus, but He’s not.

        God is like this mystery. Yea so God the Father isn’t anything like you would expect either.

    1. I think without the bait of heaven, salvation from hellfire, and the promise of greater eternal rewards, what we are left with is a tremendous idealist in Christ who sets an impossible standard, but who lived everything He preached. The motivation would therefore be, rather than later reward for temporary sacrifice, the betterment of oneself, by becoming a greater human being.

      Since I am also an idealist, who is sometimes too hard on herself, the idea of becoming, in this lifetime, more loving, compassionate, and selfless would still appeal to me — so I would probably still choose Christ.

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