?

Log in

No account? Create an account
The Doctor-Companion relationship as a metaphor for trust in God - Light One Candle

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

Other Places My Fics Are Archived
FanFiction.Net
The CalSci Library (A Numb3rs Gen Archive)
The Invisible Man Virtual Seasons
The Sugar Quill

November 25th, 2006


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
08:46 pm - The Doctor-Companion relationship as a metaphor for trust in God
I've been thinking of posting something about this for a long time (ever since I first watched "Parting of the Ways," I think). It's not going to be extensive or scholarly, since I'm a newbie fan and since like most analogies, this only goes so far. (The Doctor can't really be God, or we lose a lot of story conflict value and character angst. LOL.)

But here we go.


The Doctor-Companion relationship as a metaphor for our trust in God

There is a lot of discussion among Christians about what it means to trust God, and how He proves himself faithful or trustworthy. Many people turn their backs on Him, for a short while or forever, because they feel that they trusted and were betrayed, trusted and were let down. They asked for health and happiness, for a particular job or child or home, and didn't get them. They asked for protection, but were hurt anyway. They asked for answers, and found His voice silent.

Partly because of this, I've heard (and used myself) a couple of related metaphors used to describe life in this world. It's not a place we belong, it's not an easy place to live. It's not home. Life is a battlefield, the setting for a war in which we are spiritual soldiers. It's enemy territory, in which we are ambassadors, or spies. A duty and a journey, where we serve.

And that fits well enough, but it doesn't really answer the question of trust. The facts of God seemingly not coming through place all the effort on Him. The metaphor of war, of being soldiers in service, places a lot of the effort on us. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see."

But it seems to me that faith need not be completely blind, and life need not be hopeless. That's why the relationship of the Doctor and his companions struck me so strongly. The type of trust going on between them (newbie fan: between the ones I've watched, anyway) is a peculiar sort of trust. It's a choice, one which has to be actively renewed in the face of danger and doubt; and it's not always based on actions, but on the Doctor's character.

Traveling with the Doctor is exciting, adventerous, amazing. (Fantastic?) It's not for the faint of heart. It's entirely possible to land in the middle of a war zone, of a battle between robots races or savages, of a diplomatic disaster or the outbreak of an epidemic. In fact, that's where the Doctor thrives, and to travel with him a companion must learn to do the same.

Admittedly, the Doctor presents a good risk for trust: he's brilliant, clever, knowledgable, empathetic, enthusiastic, moral, and even loving, after his fashion (which may not be quite like ours). Most importantly, he does not leave people behind. If a companion is captured, she knows that the Doctor will come for her; if a companion is in danger, he can call for the Doctor, and if the Doctor can come, he will. He's dependable.

That, to me, is a much better image of the Christian life. We're on an adventure. This world isn't safe, it isn't secure, but we're travelling with Christ. Even if we're captured, tortured, hurt or ill or left behind, He'll come for us, heal us, rescue us. We can trust Him.

In "Parting of the Ways," the Dalek Emporer taunts Jack Harkness about the Doctor's willingness to destroy all life on Earth in order to wipe out the Dalek race. How can Jack trust such a man, who seems willing to sacrifice him to meet a goal?

Jack's response is perfect, and perfectly sincere: "Never doubted him, never will." He knows perfectly well that the Doctor may have to use the Delta wave, but he trusts the Doctor even in the extremity of that situation. That's faith, if you like. Knowing and still trusting.

Let us go forth in such faith, and take the adventure that comes to us.

Current Location: my mental version of the TARDIS
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(7 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:November 26th, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, it's his character that is dependable. He is an example of faith, because the companion can't know how he will resolve the current situation, but they can know that he will generally be able to come up with something, even if things appear to be hopeless.

And sometimes one knows one isn't going to get out of this alive -- but it's never because the Doctor gave up on you. (Mind you, it might be because the situation demands that you sacrifice yourself for the greater good -- but that isn't "giving up", is it?)

Oddly enough, I had my own little insights of how the Doctor is a reflection of Christ:

- He is one who saves slave and king alike
- He calls not the world his home, yet he is at home anywhere
- He may be a Lord, but he doesn't lord over anyone; he isn't tempted by offers of kingdoms
- Peacemaker and Destroyer
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 26th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
the companion can't know how he will resolve the current situation, but they can know that he will generally be able to come up with something

Exactly! :-)

And sometimes one knows one isn't going to get out of this alive -- but it's never because the Doctor gave up on you. (Mind you, it might be because the situation demands that you sacrifice yourself for the greater good -- but that isn't "giving up", is it?)

No, it isn't, and that is exactly the sort of thing I was getting at. This type of trust could be defined by quoting Hebrews chapter 11 (even "those who did not receive the promises")--but it's so much easier to understand and think about through these stories, through the example of the Doctor. I find this analogy completely awesome. "It's never because the Doctor gave up on you." Yes. Yes, yes.

I like your list of other similarities. This post was originally going to be much longer and more detailed, because there are really a lot of similarities there, but I decided that could wait--trust was the most interesting bit of it, to me right now.

[User Picture]
From:scionofgrace
Date:November 27th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, yes, yes, yes! I was thinking much the same as this post and comments. Here you have this Doctor who is an alien, who looks like us but isn't quite, and though he is never what the companion expects, he is exactly what the situation needs. His methods may be strange, but his motives are right, and he will always do what needs to be done.

I was just pondering also how stepping into the TARDIS is like becoming a Christian; going off on this wild adventure who-knew-where... how many of us would balk, and stay home with our beans-on-toast?

The Doctor is so a Christ figure, especially since the loss of Gallifrey.
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:November 27th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC)
(Link)
The Doctor is so a Christ figure, especially since the loss of Gallifrey.

Why especially? Not disagreeing, just not understanding. How does the loss of Gallifrey make him more like a Christ figure than he was before?
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 27th, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
(Link)
Adding something else, here: I was watching the Doctor Who Confidential features on the DVDs, and there was a good deal of discussion about how the Doctor makes his companions (and pretty much anyone he works alongside) like himself--teaches them how to be brave, be good, stand up for what's right, rescue people... and sacrifice themselves, if necessary, for others or for the world.

Gwynneth ("The Unquiet Dead") was one example they talked about, and that made me think of the 4th Doctor story I also watched this weekend ("The Ark in Space"). There, too, even limit exposure to working with the Doctor inspires a technician to sacrifice himself to save the rest of them.

I love that. I love that just travelling with him is enough to inspire change, inspire action, and how he molds those changes (whether he does it on purpose or whether it's just how he is--the world doesn't change him, he changes the world) in everyone around him. The Doctor's companions follow him maybe initally out of fear (he's a protector) or necessity, but soon enough they follow him out of simple love, and they readily change to stay with him and be like him.

I seriously need to write a proper essay about this metaphor.
[User Picture]
From:reveilles
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
This whole discussion is wonderful. I'd had the occasional inkling of such a metaphor, but I've never explored it to this extent.

Of course, the analogy does break down (the Doctor isn't omniscient or perfect), but as far as faith in him goes, and his record and general character (and the way that Companions are likely to be in a lot more conflict and struggle when they ride with him than if they didn't, but who would trade time with him for sitting at home eating chips?), I think you guys have nailed it.

I'm sure the creators/writers aren't secretly trying to promote a Christian metaphor for anything, but in God's usual way, He talks to us in the language we understand (see Acts 2:6), and if we grok Doctor Who, then He'll use that. :)

I especially like how you pointed out Jack's response to the Dalek Emperor. I need to take that to heart when something tries to make God small in my eyes.

::hugs you all::
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 27th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'd had the occasional inkling of such a metaphor, but I've never explored it to this extent.

I think I totally need to do a bigger post about this whole metaphor, because it's much broader and more pervasive than this small facet.

as far as faith in him goes, and his record and general character (and the way that Companions are likely to be in a lot more conflict and struggle when they ride with him than if they didn't, but who would trade time with him for sitting at home eating chips?), I think you guys have nailed it.

Thank you. :-) I'm just glad that other people see this too, and that we're having discussion about it. And yes, the whole thing about the struggle and conflict being worth the trip...that's my Christian walk, to a T.

I'm sure the creators/writers aren't secretly trying to promote a Christian metaphor for anything, but in God's usual way, He talks to us in the language we understand (see Acts 2:6), and if we grok Doctor Who, then He'll use that.

Isn't that the most awesome thing? He's been doing that sort of thing to me for a long while, and this is just the latest in a long line (also one of the coolest instances, but...yeah). :-)

"Never doubted him, never will."

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com